IN fact, I think I need to be explicit here:
My understanding is that the Holy Spirit will not descend into the heart of someone outside the church and enable them to partake of the deifying energies of the Trinity, thus transforming them into the image of Christ, not because he is BOUND by us, but because he does not will it. He will offer inspiration, he will offer enlightenment, he will act upon a man so that he may desire to enter into the true church of Christ, but God himself cannot force a free gift.
The gift of his grace is one that must be received freely, but how can those outside receive a gift they do not know exists? What ascesis will they offer that is not a spiritual deception? What commandments will they keep without being empowered by the sacraments? What waters will wash them that are not polluted outside the church?
An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (John of Damascus)
Chapter 10. Concerning Faith.
Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith comes by hearing. (Romans 10:17) For by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ, believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the commands of Him Who restored us. For he that believes not according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, or who has intercourse with the devil through strange works, is an unbeliever.
But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), or undoubting and unambiguous hope alike of what God has promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first, therefore, belongs to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the Spirit.
Further, observe that by baptism we cut off all the covering which we have worn since birth, that is to say, sin, and become spiritual Israelites and God's people.
Chapter 22. Concerning the law of God and the law of sin.
The Deity is good and more than good, and so is His will. For that which God wishes is good. Moreover the precept, which teaches this, is law, that we, holding by it, may walk in light (1 John 1:7) and the transgression of this precept is sin, and this continues to exist on account of the assault of the devil and our unconstrained and voluntary reception of it. (Romans 7:23) And this, too, is called law (Romans 7:25)
And so the law of God, settling in our mind, draws it towards itself and pricks our conscience. And our conscience, too, is called a law of our mind. Further, the assault of the wicked one, that is the law of sin, settling in the members of our flesh, makes its assault upon us through it. For by once voluntarily transgressing the law of God and receiving the assault of the wicked one, we gave entrance to it, being sold by ourselves to sin. Wherefore our body is readily impelled to it. And so the savour and perception of sin that is stored up in our body, that is to say, lust and pleasure of the body, is law in the members of our flesh.
Therefore the law of my mind, that is, the conscience, sympathises with the law of God, that is, the precept, and makes that its will. But the law of sin , that is to say, the assault made through the law that is in our members, or through the lust and inclination and movement of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, is in opposition to the law of my mind, that is to conscience, and takes me captive (even though I make the law of God my will and set my love on it, and make not sin my will), by reason of commixture : and through the softness of pleasure and the lust of the body and of the irrational part of the soul, as I said, it leads me astray and induces me to become the servant of sin. But what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (for He assumed flesh but not sin) condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but in the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4). For the Spirit helps our infirmities and affords power to the law of our mind, against the law that is in our members. For the verse, we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself makes intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered , itself teaches us what to pray for. Hence it is impossible to carry out the precepts of the Lord except by patience and prayer.