Intro: We are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27)
I. What is Salvation?
"To the Eastern Christian, the literal reunion of man and creation in God through Christ." (Bajis, Jordan, Common Ground, Light & Life, p. 230)
The Orthodox see salvation as an ongoing continual process that is summed up as:
- I am saved - through the death and resurrection of Christ
- I am in the process of being saved - everyday I am challenged to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ to be a Christian.
- I hope to be saved- at the second coming of Christ I will stand before His judgment seat and be judged by my actions in this life.
What Christ did to save us:
I.) The Incarnation: God becomes man so that man can become gods again.
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. (Heb 2:14-15; also, Phil. 2:7,8)
“The Word of God came in his own Person, because it was He alone, the image of the Father, Who could re-create man made after the Image. In order to effect this re-creation, however, He had first to do away with death and corruption. Therefore He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image [of God]” (St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation, SVS, 1962,41)
Summery of the Incarnation:
1.) Jesus is one of the Holy Trinity - the Son and Word of God
- When he became man he did not cease being God
- In Christ is the fullness of God.
“For in Him dwelling all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Col 2:9)
2.) Christ became a real man - human body and a rational soul
- He assumed all aspects of human nature
3.) By Christ uniting Himself with our nature - He became one with us in our humanity.
- He is also united fully in his divinity with the Holy Trinity
4.) The divine and human natures in Christ remain distinct
- God’s divinity perfected our humanity by being joined to it.
- Now the “human nature” exists in a divine way - holiness
5.) What is Jesus? - Jesus is both God and man.
-Who is Jesus? - He is the eternal Son of God, One of the Holy Trinity.
2. What is Sin?
In Greek the word "armartia" means, "to miss the mark, to fail, or to go wrong".
a.) The Fall is a portrayal of sin: Adam disobeyed God's command not to eat of "one tree" this was in effect a refusal of God's sovereignty and rule over his life.
3. The Consequences of the Fall:
"We die because after the Fall it is our created nature which gives existence to our hypostasis or ego; we draw existence from the possibilities or energies of our nature which are not able by themselves to sustain self-existence and the principle of Life, because they wear out and end at some point. But the hypostasis of Christ draws existence and life not from the human and the created, but from His divine and un-created nature, which exists as the freedom of the Father's will and the response of the Son's love to this will." (Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith, T & T Clark, 1991, p.109)
1. Death results because "true and real life" comes from God not us.
a.) Our created nature is mortal, finite and limited
2. In Christ, we discover "true and real life" because of His relationship with the Father. [Baptism]
a.) Christ is obedient in all things to His Father's will - (The wills are "one.")
b.) Obedience to God's will results in our adoption by God [ Eph 1:5; Gal. 4:5]
"All" that is the Father's becomes ours - immortality, holiness, beauty, gentleness, honesty, obedience out of love.
3. Fallen human Nature exhibits the following
a.) A weakened will & desire to be with God (Why? Because the "power of the soul" [Incensive power: 'Thimikon'] is being led by human nature and not divine nature)
b.) Reason is blurred (Why? Because the "power of the soul" to reason [Intellegent power: 'loyistikon'] is being led by human nature and not divine nature)
c.) Discernment for what is truly good and moral becomes darkened (Why? Becasue, the "power of the soul" to desire the good [Appettitive power: Epithimitikon] is being led by human nature and not divine nature.
d.) A Distortion of the Passions
The Eastern Orthodox Teaching on Original Sin:
“The ‘Original Sin’ passed on mortality and death - not total depravity of God’s Image. ‘Death is the consequence of sin’, and each individual’s personal sin is the consequence of that death. Man’s natural state, however, is not sin itself.” (Common Ground, p. 232)