Re: Question on Baptism of John the Baptist
- --- 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