Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Salvation as a process


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#21 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:34 AM

Of COURSE it is "conditional". The condition is that we accept it. It is not forced upon us. But "acceptance" means more than merely saying we "want" it. Acceptance requires action. It requires change, metanoia, metamorphosis, because that is what it really is.

Or so it it seems to this bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh

#22 Aidan Kimel

Aidan Kimel

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 440 posts

Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:58 AM

There are conditions and there are conditions ...

What is important is to always keep at the forefront the unconditional love and grace of God: "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

It seems to me that the kind of salvific condition of which we are speaking here cannot be identified by an act or thought, though it is not separable from acts and thoughts. We are talking about the mystery of personal relationship and union. This relationship is never static: we are either moving toward God or away from him. This, I think, lies behind the urgency of the Orthodox call to asceticism. It is intended to keep us moving toward God. We tend to think (and here is the delusion of which Anna speaks) that we can just tread water and remain in a state of friendship with God. But that view dangerously misrepresents the reality of our situation. We live in a world alienated from God, and if we do not strive to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we will find ourselves sinking into this alienation without even realizing it. Damnation is rarely one great momentous decision; it is a long series of inconsequential decisions of great consequence.

But however we conceptualize our synergistic cooperation with God, we must be careful that we do not compromise the unconditionality and absoluteness of God's love. It is this love that energizes us to fight the good fight and gives us hope of victory. God does not need to be persuaded to forgive us. His mercy precedes our response to his mercy and is enveloped in his mercy.

#23 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:55 PM

After reading some of the posts here, I wonder how many people are aware that the more one has a Calvinistic leaning (predestination) the more one will lean towards an unconditional salvation, and the more one has an Arminian (free will) leaning the more one will lean towards a conditional salvation.

Another classic view of this is to use a canoe metaphor. I'll throw it out just in case anyone recognizes this. Do we paddle our own canoe to a certain point and then once we reach a certain point we cannot paddle it anymore, or is it like those who focus on predestination think and that we cannot paddle our canoe to a certain point, but once a certain point is reached then we have to paddle our own canoe. This is probably to vague and may not be recognized my many . . . but, this is all I have time for now.

#24 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:00 AM

Rick, you asked about paddling the canoe. We are never in a place, as Calvinism teaches, that we can do nothing at all. We can always struggle to obey our conscience and do what's right to the best of our ability. Even the smallest child in a totally non-Christian environment has this ability, and God does not fail to notice this, nor help them.

On the other side of the spectrum, while inner prayer and Christian maturity offer a type of freedom from sin that is not available to the Christian who is still immature and carnal, no saint is ever so perfect and full of grace that they are free of the danger of falling into sin without constant vigilance. One sees this warning repeated over and over in the ascetic literature.

In regards to this Fr Aiden says above "We live in a world alienated from God, and if we do not strive to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we will find ourselves sinking into this alienation without even realizing it. " If this is a danger that even the saints fear, how much more should we strive to be vigilant in all things to the best of our ability and trust that God will do all things to help us.

#25 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 October 2011 - 11:52 PM

I was thinking about this whole split between sancitification and salvation, and I think the whole question that the PC doctrine of justification by faith and salvation by faith leaves unaddressed is the realization that transformation is absolutely necessary for us to become citizens of heaven. If angry, or greedy, or pouting, or irritable, or selfish people, etc. were allowed into heaven it would be just as much a hell as we have here on earth.

Entrance into heaven requires perfection. This is not optional. And yet the doctrine of justification by faith teaches that one can enter heaven without any kind of purification from our sinful tendencies. All one needs to do is believe. In this view sanctification is icing on the cake that the already saved Christian now strives for, not the essential element for entrance into heaven.

In Orthodox soteriology, this process of being separated from sin unto God (ie sanctification) is the essence of the process of salvation.

#26 Aidan Kimel

Aidan Kimel

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 440 posts

Posted 30 October 2011 - 11:57 PM

I was thinking about this whole split between sancitification and salvation, and I think the whole question that the PC doctrine of justification by faith and salvation by faith leaves unaddressed is the realization that transformation is absolutely necessary for us to become citizens of heaven. If angry, or greedy, or pouting, or irritable, or selfish people, etc. were allowed into heaven it would be just as much a hell as we have here on earth.

Entrance into heaven requires perfection. This is not optional. And yet the doctrine of justification by faith teaches that one can enter heaven without any kind of purification from our sinful tendencies. All one needs to do is believe. In this view sanctification is icing on the cake that the already saved Christian now strives for, not the essential element for entrance into heaven.


Yes, precisely. This is the Achilles heel of typical Reformation construals of justification. And this is why some Protestants are embracing a transformational understanding of "purgatory": e.g., Jerry Walls, "Purgatory for Everyone."

#27 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:33 AM

It is good to see these questions being addressed, and I found out recently that John Wesley was greatly influenced by Psuedo Marcarius who they think is a desert ascetic from the 4th century. One can see how much of his doctrine of Christian perfection echoes the themes found in Psuedo Marcarius' writing. I have seen Orthodox teaching that the purification can be completed through the process of death itself and the suffering that the soul goes through as it separates from the body, as well as either before or after death.

I have just been reading a series of homilies by St Macarius the Great of Egypt that I think deals with these topics very well. So far I have only read the first 3 homilies and would recommend them (especially the 2nd and 3rd)

I think that even as Protestants start to recognize these issues, the whole process of sanctification involving being prepared to receive the Spirit, having the Spirit working in us to separate us from sin, and then guarding the purity received is something that the Protestants are still speculating about. Without the experience of the Orthodox saints who have actually gone through this process there is likely to be a lot of mistakes made.

And the practice of the necessary crucified life, the ascetic life, apart from the sacramental life of the Church is something whose dangers have historically been noted and warned against.

#28 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 November 2011 - 12:21 PM

I came across this verse today and was thinking how well it fits here in our discussion of how justification ought to be understood.

(Titus 3:1-7)

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users