Question on Baptism of John the Baptist
Though the baptism of John the Baptist was for repentance of sin, Jesus took his baptism in order to reveal the God the Father Son and Holy Spirit before the ministry and to prove He is the Son of God, about the Prophets said before.
My question is about the baptism of John the Baptist. Is that his baptism was also for remission of Sin of Eden similar to the New Treatment Baptism? Did the Son of God was born with Sin of Eden?
In HIS Love,
Thomas Mann KL.
- --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:
> My question is about the baptism of John the Baptist. Is that his baptism was also for remission of Sin of Eden similar to the New Testament Baptism? Did the Son of God was born with Sin of Eden?---------------------------------------------
Dear Thomas Mann,
I am in no way qualified to speak with authority on this matter. I will give you an answer based on what I have read. I look for feedback from everyone.
Let me first say, the New Testament Baptism is NOT for the remission of the 'sin of Adam in Eden' (also called as Original Sin). Son of God was NOT born with 'Original Sin'; neither are we.
Adam and Even committed the Original Sin. Only those two are guilty of that sin. We all who are descendants of Adam and Eve only inherit the consequence of that sin; not the guilt.
To be more clear; let me use the following example:
Think of a married man who goes and commits adultery with a prostitute who has HIV. He also contracts HIV. Then he comes home and has relations with his wife. His wife conceives and a son is born with HIV. Only the man who committed adultery is guilty of that sin; the son is not guilty. But the son also suffers the consequence of the sin, which is HIV infection.
So what is the consequence of the sin of Adam in Eden? We know God created Man in his own image and wanted Man to grow into His likeness. God wants us to be like him. But what did Man do; Man disbelieved in God and instead choose to believe what Satan told him. As a result the 'image' in him was corrupted and death entered the world. Adam who was created with an immortal spirit and immortal body became mortal. His spirit died the very day he ate the fruit and eventually his body died as well. After the death of his body, his dead spirit went into the 'realm of the dead' (called Sheol in Hebrew and Hades in Greek) and remained a 'captive' there. So there was no way Adam could attain the purpose of his creation; which was to attain the likeness of God. It is this corrupted nature (disease) and being a salve for ever to death and Hades that the descendants of Adam inherited from Adam; just like the child in my example inherited HIV infection from his father. We did not inherit this guilt.
The only sins that we are guilty of are the sins that we commit ourselves. However prior to Christ, every spirit, even if they were righteous, went into Hades and remained there. There was nothing they could do.
This gives us a good framework to understand the salvation offered by Christ.
The whole purpose of the Incarnation, Earthly Ministry, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ was to heal us from corruption and restore us to the original 'image', there by freeing us up to attain the likeness of God. St. Athanasius the Great summarize if for us: "God became man that men might be made gods." We sing about this teaching in the second stanza of 'Sleeba Prabhata Prarthana' hymn that starts with 'Riju-mathikal-kkirulil Prabha-yulavayi'.
God created man in His image and with the potential to attain His likeness. In other words God wants us to be 'gods' like Him. With the fall we became slaves to death and satan and lost our potential to attain the likeness of God. Prior to Christ, all men died and went into the realm of the dead (called Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek). So men were literally slaves to death and hades; and there was nothing men could do to escape it. Christ died on the cross and entered the realm of the dead (Hades). When light enters darkness, darkness vanishes. Just like that as 'the Life' (Christ) entered 'the realm of the dead' (is Hades); Hades vanished (As wax melts before the fire). Christ destroyed Hades, liberated the souls kept captives there and liberated us from slavery to death. So salvation has to be seen as liberation. There are two aspects of liberation:
- Liberation from death and Hades
- Liberation to attain the likeness of God (ie Theosis)
The second aspect of liberation; the liberation to attain the likeness of God (which by the way is the true purpose of our creation), does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process of 'living faith' manifested by works; and by participating in the Holy Sacraments instituted for us.
SO THEN WHAT IS THE NEW TESTAMENT BAPTISM?
NT Baptism is 'being born-again' or 'rebirth' or being 'resurrected'.
Look at the service of the Baptism:
The very opening prayer on page 1 reads:
"O Lord, through the mediation of us sinners, grant salvation to the soul of this Your servant who approaches You for washing and REBIRTH;"
On page 25 pay close attention to the prayer by the priest over the water just before the candidate is baptized: "This water is blessed and sanctified so that it may be for the divine washing of REBIRTH."
Man has a soul and a body. So men has two deaths and two resurrection. There is death and resurrection of the soul and there is a death and resurrection of the body. We read about this in Revelation 20:6 "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."
As we are born into this fallen world; our soul is infected. This old soul dies at baptism and is resurrected as a renewed soul. The baptismal waters symbolizes the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Refer to prayer at the very of page 22 of the Baptism service). So the first death and the first resurrection referred to in Revelation 20:6 is the rebirth that occurs at Baptism. And as that verse says; those who has part in this first resurrection (rebirth of baptism), the second death has no power. The second death is the death of the body. So those who had rebirth of baptism, does not have to worry about the death of the body; over him this second death has no power. The second resurrection, is the resurrection of the body; which happens at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
PROBLEMS WITH INHERITING THE GUILT OF ORIGINAL SIN
The concept that we are all guilty of the sin of Eden is a western (Roman Catholic/Protestant) view. This has led to many heresies in the west. The western view of sin and forgiveness goes something like this:
-All men in this world are born with Original Sin.
-Because God is holiness, He cannot tolerate sin.
-God is a Just God, The Justice of God does not allow God to freely forgive our sin.
-The wages of sin is death; so all men deserve to be punished by 'death'.
-However, God is also love, so He sent his only son to the world to be punished on our behalf.
-At the cross, Father poured out His wrath on the Son, forsakes the Son and allowed His son to be killed.
-By the death of Christ, the divine justice and wrath of God the Father is satisfied. Or in other words, Christ is punished on our behalf.
-If a man believe the work that Jesus has done on cross, Jesus' blood that was shed on cross would cover that man. God is willing to forgive all our sin now and we can get into heaven . We are saved.
This above explanation; called the 'penal substitution theory' of atonement is not something emphasized in the Orthodox Church. The problem with this theory is that; it teaches that 'God the father does not forgive sins freely.' It assumes a payment or fine is needed for sins to be forgiven. It even portrays God the father as a blood thirsty authority, who is so angry, that His anger is satisfied only by blood.
Let us examine how God the father gives sins:
We read in Psalm 103:13 "As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear (love) him." How does a father forgive ? Our Lord clearly illustrates that in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. As we can see, the father never stopped loving the son, even when the son had 'fallen' away. The father always wanted the son to return. All it took for the father to forgive, was for the son to turn away from sin, repent and return to the father's house. The father ran up to meet his son and embraced him. There was no payment needed; or a fine imposed by the father for the sins of the son to be forgiven. Similarly God our father never demanded any payment to forgive sins. All men had to do was to sincerely repent and ask forgiveness.
I am sure this raises a lot of questions about sacrifices in the Old Testament. The scripture clearly tells us: "without shedding of blood there is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22). How are we to understand it ? In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we can see there is shedding of blood. It was part of the reconciliation of the son with the father. We can see the father saying: "Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." (Luke 15:23-24). Let us keep in mind the forgiveness was not granted because the calf was killed and the blood was shed, but it was the other way around. The calf was killed to celebrate the repentance and forgiveness of the son. This gives us a good context to understand Old Testament sacrifices.
God is a loving father. He is not some kind of blood thirsty authority who does not forgive sins without blood being offered. In an agrarian economy which the Jews had, farm animals were very precious. So to sacrifice one, especially the best animal, was to show the level of seriousness one had about sin and forgiveness. It was never a payment. We clearly read in Psalm 51; "For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart - These O God, You will not despise."
Another problem with this understanding of inherited guilt of Original Sin, is the teaching about the 'Immaculate Conception of Mary', proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854. We all know why the Holy Spirit chose, 'Virgin Mary' as the Mother of God. It was because she was sinless. Now, if everyone is born with 'Original Sin' then how can Virgin Mary be sinless. Even if she herself didn't commit any sin, she still must have had 'original sin'. So they solved this dilemma by introducing the doctrine of 'Immaculate Conception'. The truth is that there is nothing special about the conception of Virgin Mary. She was conceived by the marital union of her parents Yuyakim and Anna, just like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us she didn't have the guilt or stain (i.e macula) of Original Sin. And just like the rest of us, she also had inherited the consequence of Original Sin; but that she along with the rest of us was saved from that consequence by her Son, who trampled down death by his death. The thing that is special about Virgin Mary is that, she by her own free will didn't commit any sins, while we all do.
Mathew G M
- Dear Mathew,
Many Thanks for your wonderful explanation. It throws more light into my learning but also gave me contradictions.
>>The only sins that we are guilty of are the sins that we commit ourselves....The simple logic contradicting is washing is for cleaning. Holy Baptism washes us. Washes us from what? Is that not from the sins? And for what? To born again.
>>PROBLEMS WITH INHERITING THE GUILT OF ORIGINAL SIN...
Psalms 51 we sing- "Annyayathil naan ulbavichu.Papangalil enthe mathavenne garbham darichu. I was sinful at birth and sinful from the time mother conceived me". I am not sure whether it is contextual to King David. If not, it validates the birth with sin.
Also the hymn after the gospel reading of Holy Baptism says "wash me from my sins". Isn't a new born washed from his\her sins? Isn't that the Sin of Eden and other sins from the generations? Because the idol worship and having the food offered to idol is a sin passed to generations (Exodus 20:5). Again Luke 11:50 also mentions about the sins passed over to generations.
After cleansing us in Holy Baptism, with Holy Mooron a person gets new life in Christ, protection from evil and the armor against Satan. So am I correct saying - "Being the Baptism together with anointing of Oil First the Holy Moron cleans the water and the person is cleaned in that water. In other words the person becomes eligible for new life(only eligible). With baptismal anointing of Holy Mooron, the person born again. In other words this cleaning and anointing is nothing but the death of the old person and resurrection as a new person as new born (Rebirth).
With this context the question remains in me that Baptism of St John the Baptist was also for Original Sin similar to the New Testament baptism?
In HIS Love,
Thomas Mann, KL.
- Dear Brother in Jesus Christ,
< My question is about the baptism of John the Baptist. Is that his baptism was also for remission of Sin of Eden similar to the New Treatment Baptism? Did the Son of God was born with Sin of Eden?>
Jesus was without sin. Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was without sin: Hebrews 4:15 " For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet WITHOUT sin" (KJV). The baptism of St. John was for repentance and to prepare the way for Jesus's ministry. Acts 19:4 "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." So, John's baptism was not exactly same as Christ's baptism. We see this difference in Acts 19:5 where 12 men who got baptized in `water' where again baptized by St. Paul.
Baptism after Jesus's death on cross and resurrection, follow two steps; first one with water and second one with Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8) " I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit".
The sin from Eden we all inherit is the spiritual death (Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned"). Jesus gave us resurrection from spiritual death through his death on cross and resurrection (Hebrews 2:14 "For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil). We are baptized to his death and resurrection through our baptism (Romans 6:3 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life").
Then the question arises why Jesus got baptized? There are several purposes for Jesus's baptism, but none of those were for repentance or remission of Jesus' own sin, because he was without sin.
The reasons for John's washing of Jesus with water were:
1. To introduce Jesus Christ to the Israelites (and the whole world)
John the Baptist was preaching about Jesus Christ and he was preparing a way to Jesus' ministry. However People didn't know who John was talking about or who Jesus really was. The Baptism of Jesus in Jordan River gave an opportunity for John and heaven to introduce Jesus Christ to the people there.
John 1: "29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water" (KJV). In addition, the heaven opened and manifested publicly that he is the Jesus Christ. Every one gathered there heard the sound from heaven (Luke 2:22) "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased".
2. To follow the laws (of ordination): Jesus was a high priest
In addition to the baptism of repentance washing with water was also used for ceremonial purposes in the Old Testament. John the Baptist also asked the same question, why Jesus is coming to him for getting baptized. Jesus's reply was this: (Mathew 3:15) "Allow this now, for it is proper for us to fulfill all justice".
The baptism of Jesus was also part of the fulfillment of the laws. Jesus was about to start his ministry and according to the Israel's tradition (laws) one is required to get anointed by another valid priest. John the baptist was born to the Levi tribe (Luke 1:5) who serve as priests for Israel. In our church this is why we give too much importance to the succession of ordination.
John's baptism of Jesus involved washing with water similar to the ceremonial washing we see in Numbers 19:7, Levi 8:6 and Psalms 26:6. Washing with water was major part of the ordination as seen in Exodus 29: 1-4 "This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests .And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water". Another part of ordination is anointing with holy oil which is considered as representing the Holy Spirit. Exodus 29: 7 "Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him". We can also see Samuel using oil on David to anoint (1 Samuel 16:13) "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward". Use of holy oil to represent Holy Spirit is a practice in our church even today for sacraments. In Jesus's baptism, the heaven opened and the holy spirit came upon him in the form of a dove (Mathew 3: 16 "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him").
Even though he was God and do not really need an ordination or baptisms from anyone. Jesus was showing the gesture of humility and respect to the ministry of John the Baptist, who was a Levite Priest. Hebrews 7:23-24 "Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood". Jesus came on earth not to break the laws but to fulfill (Mathew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill"). Jesus showed the importance of following the laws of ordination and ministry to us.
The gospel of Luke refers that Jesus was thirty years of age (Luke 3:23) at the time of his baptism and as we see in Old testament 30 years was the usual age limit for priesthood (Numbers 4:2).
Hebrews 6:20 "Where Jesus entered before for our sake and has become The Priest for eternity in the order of Melchizedek". Remember the song we sing in the church "Adyacharyatham kaikkondaharon Moosayodonnnichu......Yohannan karthavinnum".
"when the priesthood passed on down;
Moses got it, Aaron too;
Moses passed it to Skarya
Passed Skarya it to John.
John did pass it to our Lord"
3. A Betrothal of the Bridegroom to his Bride (Church, the followers)
The baptism of Christ is interpreted as the unveiling of the heavenly Bridegroom by great scholar poets like Mor Ephrem. In one of his poems he says:
"My imagination wafted me to the Jordan
Where I beheld a wonder
When the glorious Bridegroom was revealed
To make a marriage feast for the Bride and to sanctify her" (Mor Ephrem)
Mor Ephrem in his poetic imaginations considers Christ's baptism as a betrothal of the church with the Heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, in presence of John the Baptist. In Mor Ephrem's view, the betrothal of Jesus with the church (the followers) must have taken place on the shore of Jordan river. Presence of water was very common at betrothals in the Old Testament as most of them took place near wells. This betrothal with the God continues to all of us through our baptism. Thus the church, which include me, you and everyone else including St. Mary, the mother of God, apostles, Mary Magdalene, is the Bride for Jesus Christ. Mor Ephrem in one of his poems mentions St. Mary, the mother of God as Jesus's Bride!:
"She alone is Your mother
But she is Your sister, with everyone else.
She was Your mother, She was your sister,
She was Your Bride too,
Along with all chaste souls.
You, who are Your mother's beauty
Yourself adorned her with everything" (Mor Ephrem)
Our early church fathers including Mor Ephrem considered baptism as a betrothal ceremony, where Jesus is the Bridegroom and the church (members) is the Bride. In this sense, there is nothing wrong in addressing any of the members of his church as Jesus's Bride. Remember the popular song sung during the wedding ceremony in the church, "Sundarikalil adhi sundhari nee " referring to the church. But the wedding with Jesus is not the same as the wedding we see in our life and has no sexual relation involved. It is a unity of the souls with God, not body. Mor Ephrem in another poem:
"Cry out for Joy, you Bridegrooms and your brides!
Blessed is the child whose mother became
A bride to the Holy one.
Happy the wedding feast
Where you, Christ, are in its midst:
For even though its wine
Should run out all of a sudden,
Thanks to you it will be abundant again" (Mor Ephrem)
Sinu P. John, PhD
Member ID: 0076
> --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:---------------------------------------------
> > My question is about the baptism of John the Baptist. Is that his baptism was also for remission of Sin of Eden similar to the New Testament Baptism? Did the Son of God was born with Sin of Eden?
Dear Thomas Mann,
I my last email I was trying to make the point that we are not born with the guilt of original sin and the new testament baptism that we currently perform in the church is not for the remission of original sin (sin of Eden). The new testament baptism is a service of 'rebirth' or in other words it is the service of 'first resurrection' mentioned in Revelation 20:6.
Here I would like to quote H.H Ignatius Zakka I, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East; on this topic.
His Holiness says; and I quote:
Lord Jesus met John and asked him to be baptized, but John declined saying to him. " `I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? ' But Jesus answered, 'Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he consented " (Matthew 3:14-15). This righteousness that Jesus wanted to fulfil was the righteousness of HUMILITY that began in him through his incarnation.
He (Jesus Christ) is the only one to have been born and remained free from sin. The sinners had confessed their personal sins and received forgiveness through repentance at the hand of John who baptized them with the baptism of repentance.
The Lord Jesus confessed before John the sins of humanity that were placed on His shoulders by His will. For that reason John later called Him the Lamb of God who was lifted up for the sins of the world. (John 1:29) Through His baptism the Lord made the water holy when it touched his pure body.
All of us are one family born from one mother, baptism, which the Lord Jesus established the day he was baptized by John as some of our Syriac fathers contemplated. Baptism symbolized the DEATH of Christ, his burial and his RESURRECTION and the apostle Paul says about this matter: "Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).
That is why we Syriac Orthodox baptize the believers by immersing them in the baptismal fount three times. This symbolizes the burial of the dead in the tombs as the baptized are buried with Christ to rise up with him in the new life.
The above is from an article written by H.H Zakka I and published in "The Patriarchal Journal Vol. 32 January/February 1994"
Now, I have a question especially to our respected Priests in the forum. H.H Zakka I clearly says that we Syriac Orthodox baptize by "immersing". However I have never seen any child being immersed in the water; I have only seen priest pouring water with their hands over the child. I have been to a Greek Orthodox baptism, where the priest, literally immerses the child in the water and as seen in the following video:
From the words of the Patriarch, it seems that is the Syriac Orthodox practice as well. So in Malankara who we just pour water over the head and not immerse?
Mathew G M
- Dear All..
I have small question on this matter.
After the Holy Babtism, once the person is grown up and if he shows the characters (A) ( Galatians 5 � 19 �21) instead of the characters with fruit of the spirit(B) What we have to understand. Hope somebody would enlighten us on this.
A ) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality,(AF) impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.(AG) I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.(AH)
B ) 22 But the fruit(AI) of the Spirit is love,(AJ) joy, peace,(AK) forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.(AL) Against such things there is no law.(AM) 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh(AN) with its passions and desires.(AO) 25 Since we live by the Spirit,(AP) let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,(AQ) provoking and envying each other.
Our tiny state , lot of us are drunkards and so on ( can categorize in section (A)). In Europe, churches goers are lesser now a days, might be because they are busy with something or the other. In other words , we are mainly rely on the earthly/bodily happiness instead of Peace & Joy & righteousness of Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist called them , �You brood of vipers� Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?(K) 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Is this call still valid to us..? My perception , yes it is still valid. Our tounge is splitted like the viper, we talk according to the convenience and the situation.
- --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:
> Dear Mathew,
> Many Thanks for your wonderful explanation. It throws more light into my learning but also gave me contradictions.
> The simple logic contradicting is washing is for cleaning. Holy Baptism washes us. Washes us from what? Is that not from the sins?
It is not the guilt of original sin that needs to wash away.
Here again I want to use an example:
A father tells a son, don't walk through a particular road after its dark. It is very dangerous. There are robbers there ready to attack you and rob you. The son disobeys the father and walks through that road after its dark. And just as the father had said, robbers attack the son. The son is hit and is wounded. Now the father goes out looking for the son and finds the son. What will the father do? The father immediately forgives the son for his disobedience. The priority of the father is not to punish the son or to ask him for a fine for disobeying. The priority of the father is the healing of his son and the restoration of the son to original health. The father will wash the wounds; most likely with Dettol or some other disinfectant. That washing is for healing; it is for the restoration of the son to original health.
Similarly the washing of Holy Baptism is for the healing from the consequence of Original Sin; not the guilt of Original Sin. Of course we are guilty of our personal sins; we definitely need remission from the guilt of those sins.
Now if the example that I have cited above sounds familiar; it is because I took the liberty to take the Parable of the Good Samaritan and modify it slightly to a modern context.
Listen to the following Malayalam translation of a hymn originally written by the Syriac deacon Simon Kukkoyo.
This is a hymn from the fifth Sunday of Great Lent. This hymn is based on the homily by St. John Chrysostom (Swarna-naavu-kaaranaya Mor Ivanious).
St John Chrysostom (Mor Ivanios) teaches us the hidden meaning in the Parable. He tells us that the Good Samaritan is our Lord Jesus Christ himself and the man who was attacked by robbers is Adam or every human being.
Mankind went down "from the heavenly state to the state of the devil's deception, and fell among thieves, that is, the devil and the hostile powers." We are mortally wounded by sin. The Good Samaritan, Christ our Savior, comes down from Heaven to earth to heal us wounded men.
He finds us and pours in oil. His oil, administered in Baptism, Chrismation, and Unction, heals through the mystical work of the Life-giving Spirit Who extends the healing of Christ, pours the Life of God into our bodies, souls, and spirits, and thereby heals our delusion, darkness and alienation.
Next, the "Good Samaritan" pours in wine, offering us His pure blood for our battered souls. As Mor Ivanios Chrysostom says, "by mixing the Holy Spirit with His blood, He brought life to man." Then Christ our God sets the man upon His own animal, or as John expands the thought: "Taking flesh upon His own divine shoulders, He lifted it toward the Father in Heaven."
Then the Lord "...brought him to an inn, and took care of him" (Lk. 10:34). Our Lord brings us poor travelers and pilgrims in this life, "into the wonderful and spacious inn, this universal Church." You and I do not "join" the Church; it is God's gift to us for our deliverance. When considering the arrangement with the innkeeper for the man's continuing care, St. John connects the innkeeper through the Apostle "Paul to the high priests and teachers and ministers of each church." And St. John understood the Blessed Apostle to be saying to the many ministers of the Church: "Take care of the people of the Gentiles whom I have given to you in the Church. Since men are sick, wounded by sin, heal them, putting on them a stone plaster, that is, the Prophetic sayings and the Gospel teachings, making them whole through the admonitions and exhortations of the Old and New Testaments."
Be patient for it takes time to rid you of the poisons, infection, corruption, and wounds that left you half-dead and helpless.
I hope I was able to give you how I understand the "washing" aspect of Baptism. For us Orthodox Christians Baptism is a Holy Sacrament established by our Lord for our Salvation. We cannot put the Holy Sacrament under a microscope and analyze exactly how every aspect of it works. For us Orthodox Christians this is a roze qadeeshe as they say in Syriac or Divya Rahasyam as we say in Malayalam. It is a divine mystery. As we grow more and more in faith; and when we more and more start to resemble the "likeness of God' in our thoughts, words and deeds, He will reveal more and more of His roze qadeeshe to us.
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:
> Psalms 51 we sing- "Annyayathil naan ulbavichu.Papangalil enthe mathavenne garbham darichu. I was sinful at birth and sinful from the time mother conceived me". I am not sure whether it is contextual to King David. If not, it validates the birth with sin.
The infant starts "living" from the time the infant is concieved. We can see in the Gospel, St. John the Baptist rejoicing when Virgin Mary the Theotokos was speaking, even when he was still in the womb. It is because of this Christian understanding that life beings at conception, that we think abortion is the same as murder.
Now if life begins right at conception, right from that time we are capable of thinking and is under the attack from the evil one; because we are born into a fallen world dominated by the evil one. So the sin that Psalm 51 is talking about is the personal sin that we commit not the inherited guilt of 'Original Sin'.
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:
> Also the hymn after the gospel reading of Holy Baptism says "wash me from my sins". Isn't a new born washed from his\her sins? Isn't that the Sin of Eden and other sins from the generations?
It is the personal sins that are being washed away.
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mann wrote:
> With this context the question remains in me that Baptism of St John the Baptist was also for Original Sin similar to the New Testament baptism?
Baptism of St. John the Baptist was a baptism of repentance. It was for the washing away of personal sins. In my previous post, I have quoted H.H Ignatius Zakka I, who has explained it much more better than I ever can. All the Baptism of St. John did was it washed away our peronal sins upto that point. It didnot give us rebirth or the first resurrection.
The new testament Baptism of Jesus Christ, is also for the washing away of our personal sin; but it much more than that. It is a "rebirth" or "resurrection of the soul" that heals us from the consequence of Original Sin. It restores us and gives us back the potential to attain the likeness of God. It is completely upto us men how we use that potential. Baptism does not by itself give us the likeness of God; it only restores our image and give us the potential to again attain it. To attain the likeness of God, we have to travel the narrow path; it is a life long journey.
Mathew G M
- --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Benny wrote:
> I have small question on this matter.----------------------------------
> After the Holy Babtism, once the person is grown up and if he shows the characters (A) ( Galatians 5 19 21) instead of the characters with fruit of the spirit(B) What we have to understand.
As we see in Genesis, we are created in the 'image' of God and God wants us to be 'gods' or in other works He wants us to attain His 'likeness'.
So what does created in the 'image' mean? That means we have a 'free will' like 'God'. Our God respects our 'free will'. None of the sacraments takes away our 'free will'. Baptism gives us rebirth; it gives us resurrection of our soul and sets us free to 'attain' the likeness of God. That is the ultimate destination. It is a long journey through a narrow path. It is completely upto us.
But even if we fall after Baptism, we have a forgiving God. All we have to do is repent and ask. That is why we have the sacrament of 'confession' for our healing.
But if by 'free will' , if we dont want 'forgiveness' and dont want to be 'like' God.. our God respects that decision of ours.
That is my understanding. I look forward to reading your thoughts and the inputs of others as well.
Mathew G M
- Dear Brother in Jesus Christ,
<< After the Holy Babtism, once the person is grown up and if he shows the characters (A) ( Galatians 5 19 21) instead of the characters with fruit of the spirit(B) What we have to understand.>>
In baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit. In Old Testament, we see that the Holy Spirit dwell in people but some times leaves when they sin. Holy Spirit indwelt King Saul but left him (1 Samuel 16:14) when he committed sin (1 Samuel 15:24). King David was afraid that the Holy Spirit would leave him when he committed adultery and he cried (Psalms 51:1) "Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me". In New Testament, we don't see similar experiences of Holy Spirit leaving the body. Most scholars believe that Holy Spirit is sealed permanently in us at our baptism unlike the OT time, and they interpret the verse (Ephesians 1:13) as a permanent seal (as long as one remain in the same faith). Moreover, the purpose of sacrifice by Jesus was to restore permanently the lost glory on Adam and his children. As St. Paul says, our body (those baptized) is a temple for God where the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies"). So we are supposed to live a life without sin. Mor Ephrem in his hymns says same thing:
O body, strip off the utterly hateful old man,
Lest he wear out again the new (garment) you put on when you were baptized.
For it would be the inverse of paying his due
That he, if renewed, should wear you out again.
O body, obey my advice; strip him off by (your) way of life,
Lest he put you on by (his) habits.
For baptism our Lord made new your old age-
He, the carpenter of life, Who by His blood formed and built a
Temple for dwelling. Do not allow that old man
Dwell in the renewed temple.
O body, if you have God live in your Temple,
You will also become His royal palace.
Jesus also had promised that he would give the Holy Spirit the comforter, to be with us forever. (John 14:16) "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever". St. Paul also quotes from Jesus implying to his everlasting presence and love (Hebrews 13:5) "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (KJV).
So, if the Holy Spirit never leaves(as long as one remain in the true faith), what would happen if a baptized person sin as mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 (A)? Well, of course those who sin are going to hurt the Holy Spirit who resides in them. By committing sins we are grieving the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. As St. Paul says, (Ephesians 4:30) "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. So if we commit sin the Holy Spirit do not leave us, but we are quenching the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some people feel the absence of Holy Spirit in them, probably because they are quenching the H. Spirit through their sins. St. Paul warns, (1 Thessalonians 5:19) " Quench not the Spirit". The Satan continuously tempt every one as he even did with Jesus (Mathew 4:1). So if someone shows the characters of (A) then they are fallen to the temptation of Satan. You can see similar action of Satan mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Timothy 5:15; 2 Corinthians 11:14. It is our responsibility not to fall to the tricks played by Satan. (Ephesians 4:27) "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold". It should be our goal to remain in the right side of Jesus always; but it is always the goal of the Satan to trick and deviate us from Jesus. Why would Satan do that? This need another whole section to explain and for the time being I avoid that subject here.
The presence of Holy Spirit in us forever do not qualify to avoid punishment for our sins. We all will be judged at the end based on our work in our earthly life. (2 Corinthians 5:10) "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad". Bible teaches us that Jesus will judge each one of us at the end. (Hebrews 10:30) "For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". St. John also says in Revelation that God said " I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds" (Revelation 2:23).
If we sin while we remain in the true faith, we do not have to get baptized again to receive H. Spirit. We believe and recite in the Nicene Creed that baptism, is only for ONCE (Ephesians 4:5). St. Paul also says (Hebrews 10:26) "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God". So for the remission of sins as mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21, what we need is a true repentance and confession. (1 John 1:9) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". The good news is that we do not have to wait until the last judgment to get our sins forgiven if we repent in truth. Jesus has authorized the apostles and their successor (clergy today), with the authority to forgive the sins (John 20:22-23) "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained".
Our church does not re-baptize or re-chrismate those who committed any of the sins (A) mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21. Rarely in a few situations where one is re-chrismated when he is deviated from the true faith and comes back to the true faith (like becoming a muslim, Hindu or other religion or sects rejecting Jesus and the true baptism he once received and comes back to true faith). Read more on this subject in chapter II of the Hudaya Canon for consensus of opinion from early church fathers. In this situation, as St. Paul says, they are crucifying Jesus again and again and putting Jesus on shame when getting re-baptized (Hebrews 6:4-6). True confession and repentance are the remedy for these sins (A), and not a re-baptism. The H. Qurbono we receive after the prayer of absolution also serves as a remedy for our daily sins. In our H. Qurbono we sing:
"O Lord Jesus, Messiah,
Not for vengeance-nor our judgment be for us here
Thy blood and Body taken
But for debts absolving, and for pardon,
And the standing, on Thy right-
Haleluiah-with clear faces"
But neither H.Qurbono, nor confession is a license to commit more sins again thinking they all will be forgiven with these sacraments. True repentance should be like what Prophet Joel mentioned: (Joel 2:12-13) "Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil".
Sinu P. John, PhD
Member ID: 0076
- Dear Brother in Christ ( Dr.Sinu)
Many thanks for the detailed explanation on my query.. God had given
abundance of wisdom to you. Hope you would spread this gospel to all in your possible way to enhance the spiritual need of all of us.
I would prefer to point few aspects on this to all and for self
As you have mentioned, true confession and repentance are the remedy for the sins of (A) followed by H.Qurbono . If in case if there is no true confession and repentance, what will happen to that person if he is taking H.Qurbono. Is he will walk in to the darkness as Judas did after taking last supper. The general view of Christianity all over the world especially in our state (kerala) are drunkards. Shall we claim ourselves as born again status as Jesus Christ advised to Nicodomus. If we are born again as a new person our character would
have been changed. But we can see very few are having the character of
born again with Holy spirit. ( some people prefer to think that this is PENTACOST teachings i/o of listening to Jesus Christ's verses).
Also in Jordan river, there were two baptism happened to Jesus Christ, one by water and the other by Holy Spirit by God the father. Since Jesus Christ born to the world as son of God ,there would be some purpose with another babtizm with Holy Spirit. It reflects that it is the plan and project of God the father and as such it may happen to anybody during the life span as and when God wish to do so.
My perception, is even though Holy Spirit is present in us , God the
father may shower the love thru Jesus Christ as grace and will be
fulfilled by Holy Spirit. It can be like a flow of water.
Let us see our celebrations, Liquor is one of the main thing. Now
days, in all occasions of wedding day or funeral day ... are completed with serving liquor.
We try to keep the TREE OF LIFE in the boundary and keeping our money, share, power, etc as the center of life.
Nobody is having time to spread gospel and all are very much fond of
materialistic earthly things including me. Some of us are part of real estate mafias thinks that God had given wealth to them. Thus our center of life would be Real estate business by keeping God, the Tree of life in the boundary. In simple term , we are not ready for true confessions or repentence.
As per Holy Bible, Holy spirit will teach us everything including SIN, JUDGEMENT, RIGHTOUSNESS, but the question is whether are we ready to listen to that.
Once the angry of God arouse, then that fire may ignite in our soul
which nobody can put off. The fire of Hell.
I may be wrong, but I am expressing my view .
- Dear Mathew G M
Read your notes . let us review what Holy Bible teach us on the quoted text from yr message�
But if by 'free will' , if we dont want 'forgiveness' and dont want to be 'like' God.. our God respects that decision of ours.
First let us see Psalms 7. 11-13, Here we can see what will happen to a person if he is not relent.
God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.
12 If he does not relent,
he[e] will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows
Second study is from Mathew 7. 21, This is the point we need to think of ourselves in order to identify where we are.( Self identification)
Not everyone who says to me, �Lord, Lord,� will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
(What will happen to those who are not fulfilling the will of God,.. in the end of the verses ) ie,. I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!�
Third, John 3 - 5
Jesus answered ( to Nicodomus), �Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. ( some of us try to think that this is a pentacost teaching, basically we need to listen to Jesus Christ� verses not on anybody else)
Definition of verdict as per John 3.19.
19 This is the verdict: Light) has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.( Here we need to think whether we like darkness or light. If we are fully in clutches of the world, money , power, etc�then we can consider ourselves in Darkness.)
In short , If we live 0-100 years in any of Sabha ( Jacobite, Orthodox, Catholics, Marthoma, CSI ..etc ) and if we fail to understand what is the will of the God from Gospels then the fate of the person will be in the hands of God.
Jesus Christ is the only high priest FOR EVER sitting in the right side of God the father.
God is always merciful.
May God bless.
- <<<<< Shall we claim ourselves as born again status as Jesus Christ advised to Nicodomus. If we are born again as a new person our character would have been changed. But we can see very few are having the character of born again with Holy Spirit. (Some people prefer to think that this is PENTACOST teachings i/o of listening to Jesus Christ's verses). >>>>
Dear Brother in Jesus Christ,
We do not disagree with all the Pentecostal teachings but disagree to several of their misinterpretation of Bible, such as their call for re-baptism through their pastors for rebirth. We do not agree with this because we are already baptized through water and spirit with valid authority and do not have to get baptized through someone else who has no authority to do so. Also, if someone shows bad characters while in the Syriac Orthodox Church after baptism, there is no guarantee that he will not show the same character even after the so called re-baptism in the Pentecostal church. I have personally seen some of our folks getting re-baptized to receive what they believe as the H. Spirit which they think didn't receive when in SOC. But even after their so called rebirth, they still live in the same old life style as they were once in the Syriac Orthodox Church! What difference they make when going through another baptism, other than bringing shame to Jesus Christ? If they wanted to change their bad characters, which everyone has to, they could have done when they were in the Syriac Orthodox Church itself. Receiving H. Spirit is a spiritual phenomena and not a Physical Phenomena to visualize. In rarely some cases we see the H. Spirit in physical phenomena such as the dove appeared on Jesus, or the miraculous bright lights appearing at different places where theologians interpret as `uncreated light'. A Sacrament, such as baptism, is defined as the `invisible' blessings or presence of God through a `visible' act.
We all are looking forward for the resurrection of our soul with a new glorified body-in another life to come-in the Kingdom of God. Both good and bad people will resurrect but God will separate those good ones from bad ones and let the good ones enter the Kingdom of God (Mathew 25:31-42). In our baptism we are baptized both by water and H. Spirit and thus are born again already. However, we all have to resurrect with another `glorified body' to enter the kingdom of God. By baptism, we regained the once lost glory of Adam and Eve. But it does not guarantee the Kingdom of God. Now what is needed for salvation is the spiritual growth. Baptism alone is not sufficient for salvation as some protestant churches teaches.
Salvation is a continuous process in our life. It is like the life of a fetus in the womb where the fetus has to continuously get nourished from the womb to grow into a full born baby to be born to the outside world. Here the fetus is all of us, the womb is the church, and outside world is the kingdom of God. Church nourishes us spiritually so that we will grow spiritually into eternal salvation. The good news is that Jesus has given all the nutrients and the necessary organ (womb) for us to grow and mature perfectly-the church. As a fetus could develop into a defective person or even get aborted, a person who lives here could develop either spiritually defective or perfect. Church has everything needed for one to grow spiritually perfect, but it is the duty of each one to seek that properly (Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7). This is exemplified by the life of our saints. They did not become `saints' by their baptism alone, but through proper spiritual growth on earth. Only those who perfectly grow spiritually will enter into the kingdom of God at resurrection. The continuous spiritual growth (after baptism) involves,several actions from our part, such as true repentance of our sins (Rom 2:4; Acts 17:30), fasting (Acts 14:23; Matthew 6:16), prayer (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4: 2; Matthew 26: 41), love to others (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:35; John 13:35), doing good things to others (Hebrews 13:16) forgiving others (Matthew 6:14-15), obeying all the laws of God (Romans 2:13; John 14:21), partaking the H. Qurbono (1 Corinthians 11:23-27; Luke 22:19) etc. This is what Syriac Orthodox Church teaches and stands for. We can't achieve salvation by just faith alone (or baptism alone) but need action, which is obeying all the commandments (James 2:14) and living accordingly.
As you know, our only enemy is the Satan (and his army of devils) and unfortunately he is very powerful and continuously tries to defect us during our spiritual growth. If we don't see the good characters of H. Spirit on those baptized, it is not because H. Spirit do not live on them, but rather they let Satan influence on them. Jesus is God but we see Satan trying to tempt even Jesus Christ (Luke 4:2). However, Jesus showed us that by fasting and prayers we can win against any such evil influence. It is our responsibility, during the entire life here on earth, not to fall under the temptation from Satan. To show good characters, a person has to change himself. God never leaves us, but we try to separate from him through our action. So our prayers to God should always be to give us strength to win the evil temptations and to have mercy on us in, both in this world and in the other world to come. Like our prayer (After priest starts with Shubaho...) "Balaheenarum papikalum aya njangaludemel thante karunayun and manogunavum randu lokangalilum (two worlds) ennumennekkum choriyapedumarakaname"
Mor Ephrem in his homilies on Admonition and Repentance:
"If thou wouldst heed the word of life, cut thyself off from evil things; the hearing of the word profits nothing to the man that is busied with sins. If thou willest to be good, love not dissolute customs. First of all, trust in God, and then hearken thou to his law. Thou canst not hear his words, while thou dost not know thyself, and if thou keepest His judgments while thy understanding is aloof from Him, who will give thee thy reward? Who will keep for thee thy recompense? Thou was baptized in His Name; confess His Name! In the persons and in the naming, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, three names and persons, these three shall be a wall to thee, against divisions and wrangling. Doubt not thou of the truth, lest thou perish through the truth. Thou was baptized from the water; thou hast put on Christ in his naming; the seat of the Lord is on thy person and His stamp on thy forehead. See that thou become not another's, for other Lord hast thou none. One is He who formed us in his mercy; one is He who has power our feebleness; He it is Who brings to pass our resurrection. He rewards us according to our works. Blessed is he that confesses Him, and hears and keeps his commandments! Thou, O man, art a son of God Who is high over all. See that thou vex not by thy works the Father Who is good and gracious".
Again: "If thou lovest derision, thou art altogether as Satan; and if thou mockest at thy fellow, thou art the mouth of the devil; if against defects and flaws, in (injurious) names thou delightest, Satan is not in creation but his place thou hast seized by force. Get thee far, O man, from this; for it is altogether hurtful; and if thou desirest to live well, sit not with the scorner, lest thou become the partner of his sin and of his punishment. Hate mockery which is altogether (the cause of weeping), and mirth which is (the cause of) cleansing. And if thou shouldst hear a mocker by chance, when thou art not desiring it, sign thyself with the cross of light, and hasten from thence like an antelope. A spacious dwelling for Satan is the man that mocks at his neighbor; a palace of the enemy is the heart of the mocker".
<<<< Let us see our celebrations, Liquor is one of the main thing. Now days, in all occasions of wedding day or funeral day ... are completed with serving liquor. We try to keep the TREE OF LIFE in the boundary and keeping our money, share, power, etc as the center of life. >>>>>>
I agree that a lot of our functions and celebrations have now oriented towards showing off of money and/or power and also getting drunk with alcohol. It is a very unfortunate trend and we should try our best to rectify it. However it is difficult to rectify everyone around us, but will be easier to rectify our self first. Seeing all bad things among our members of the church should not be a reason for us to leave the Orthodox Church (I have heard this excuses from some of those who recently joined Pentecostal church!). Remember our church does not belong just to them (of bad characters) but also to those who lived in sanctity preserving the true faith for thousands of years. All will be judged irrespective of their position in the church today, whether it is laity or clergy. But we need the Orthodox Church and its valid sacraments for growing and continuously nurturing spiritually in the true faith and laws commanded by Jesus. We should pray for having more saints in the church, so that we can point to their life as living role models. Meanwhile let us also remember that we had a lot of saints in the church whose life we can point as role models.
Sinu P. John, PhD
Member ID: 0076
- --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Benny wrote:
> Dear Mathew G M
> Read your notes . let us review what Holy Bible teach us on the quoted text from yr message
> Quote :
> But if by 'free will' , if we dont want 'forgiveness' and dont want to be 'like' God.. our God respects that decision of ours.
> Unquote :
> First let us see Psalms 7. 11-13, Here we can see what will happen to a person if he is not relent.
> In short , If we live 0-100 years in any of Sabha ( Jacobite, Orthodox, Catholics, Marthoma, CSI ..etc ) and if we fail to understand what is the will of the God from Gospels then the fate of the person will be in the hands of God.
Dear Brother Benny,
I believe what you and I are saying is the same thing. If we out of our "free will" reject forgiveness and doesnot become "like" God, the consequences are really bad. We end up in a place with an unquenchable fire.. Gehenna. The following article gives a good understanding of Gehenna.
The whole article can be summarized in the words of St Isaac the Syrian (this is the father whom we commemorate in the 5th Thubden..Mor Apremum, Mor Yakkobum, MOR ISAHAKKUM, Mor Balai-yum'
"I say, that those who are suffering in Gehenna, are suffering in being scourged by love.... It is totally false to think that the sinners in Gehenna are deprived of God's love. Love is a child of the knowledge of truth, and is unquestionably given commonly to all. But love's power acts in two ways: it torments sinners, while at the same time it delights those who have lived in accord with it" (Homily 84)
St. Isaac the Syrian, our father among the saints further gives us the following quote on how to interpret words like 'wrath of God'.
He says and I quote:
"God loves equally the righteous and sinners, making no distinction between them. To say that the love of God diminishes or vanishes because of a created being's fall means `to reduce the glorious Nature of the Creator to weakness and change'. For we know that `there is no change or any earlier or later intentions, with the Creator: there is no hatred or resentment in His nature, no greater or lesser place in His love, no before or after in His knowledge.
Even when God chastises one, He does this out of love and for the sake of one's salvation rather than for the sake of retribution. God respects human free will and does not want to do anything against it: `God chastises with love, not for the sake of revenge - far be it! - but seeking to make whole His image. And He does not harbour wrath until a time when correction is no longer possible, for He does not seek vengeance for Himself. This is the aim of love. Love's chastisement is for correction, but it does not aim at retribution... The man who chooses to consider God as avenger, presuming that in this manner he bears witness to His justice, the same accuses Him as being bereft of goodness. Far be it, that vengeance could ever be found in that Fountain of love and Ocean brimming with goodness!'
One should not interpret literally those Old Testament texts where the terms wrath, anger, hatred and others are used of the Creator. If such anthropomorphic terms occur in Scripture, they are used in a figurative sense, for God never does anything out of wrath, anger or hatred: everything of that sort is far removed from His Nature. We should not read everything literally as it is written, but rather see within the bodily exterior of the Old Testament narratives the hidden providence and eternal knowledge of God. `Fear God out of love for Him, and not for the reputation of austerity that has been attributed to Him'.
With God, there in no hatred towards anyone, but all-embracing love, which does not distinguish between righteous and sinner, between a friend of truth and an enemy of truth, between angel and demon. Every created being is precious in God's eyes, He cares for every creature, and everyone finds in Him a loving Father. If we turn away from God, He does not turn away from us: `If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful, for He cannot deny Himself'. Whatever may happen to humankind and to the whole of creation, however far it may be removed from God, He remains faithful to it in His love, which He cannot and will not deny. "
The above are not my words, but that of our father among the saints, St. Isaac the Syrian (Mor Isahak).
Mathew G M
- Dear Brother in Jesus Christ,
<<<<<<<<<The whole article can be summarized in the words of St Isaac the Syrian (this is the father whom we commemorate in the 5th Thubden..Mor Apremum, Mor Yakkobum, MOR ISAHAKKUM, Mor Balai-yum'>>>>>>>>
St. Isaac the Syrian, popularly known among the Byzantine Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church, is not the same as the St. Ishaq (Isaac) we remember in the 5th Thubden (Diptych). The St. Ishaq we remember in 5th thubden lived in the 5th century (I believe, died around AD 460-490?). A lot of his writings are lost but some are preserved. Whereas St. Isaac the Syrian, who is more popular among the Byzantine Orthodox church and Roman Catholic Church, whose homilies (a lot of them) were translated into Greek, Latin and now into English and published from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline near Boston, lived in the 7th century. I am not sure where you quoted the homilies from, but it sounds more similar to the writings of St. Isaac the Syrian who lived in the 7th century (Also known as St. Isaac of Nineveh). If that is the case, this is not the same St. Isaac we remember in the 5th Thubden. Dr. Sebastian Brock has also translated, from Syriac to English, some of the writings of St. Isaac the Syrian (7th century). V.Rev. Dr. Kuriakose Moolayil corepiscopa had written an interpretation on H. Qurbono and V. Rev. Dr. Mani Rajan corepiscopa had written on the life history of most of the fathers of the church and they will be able to verify this.
Sinu P. John, PhD
Member ID: 0076
- --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Dr. Sinu P. John wrote:
>I am not sure where you quoted the homilies from, but it sounds more similar to the writings of St. Isaac the Syrian.
The quotations that I have given is from St. Isaac of Nineveh who lived in the 7th Century.
I was not aware that Mor Isahaq commemorate in the 5th Thubden is a different St. Isaac the Syrian. I know that we Oriental Orthodox (Copts for sure) venerate St. Isaac of Nineveh as a saint, along with the 'Assyrian Church of the East', Byzantine Orthodox and Roman Catholics.
Thanks you very much for pointing it out.
Mathew G M