Salvation: Do We Need It In Our Times? – Part A
The concept of Salvation is as long as the history of human-kind. The word means to be saved or liberated from danger or harm. It assumes great significance in the spiritual realm, particularly since the arrival of Jesus Christ on earth. After all, this was the purpose of His arrival, to liberate man from the bondage of the devil, sin and death. In the Orthodox Church, all aspects of salvation are covered by the following definition: After the fall of original man, communication between man and God was disrupted. Sin, corruption and death, became the dominant powers that controlled the life of man. Jesus Christ (the Son of God) came to earth to abolish these powers through His own sacrifice.
From then on, every man, if he believes in Jesus as his saviour and lives according to the will of God, is liberated from the power of sin, corruption and death, and shall live in the presence of God in His Eternal Kingdom. The Orthodox Church has a unique power that is not found in other religions. If we use today’s criteria, its power can be called a form of medical science – it heals and cures the whole person [Mind (logic), Heart (Nous) and (Body)].
Salvation is attained through an unceasing spiritual effort on the part of him/her, who wishes to attain that state. It consists of three steps: 1. Cleansing of the Soul and Body, of the passions, weakness of character, sinful past and sinful habits – (Katharsis), 2. Illumination of the Nous by the Holy Spirit – (Photisis), and 3. Divine State – (Theosis), where the person has abandoned his whole self to God. This state is usually associated with divine visions, transient divine sentiments, and unusual events (miracles), which confirm the complete healing of the person. This state had been experienced by the Prophets, the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Saints who have fallen asleep, and the Saints who are still alive.
The Orthodox Church, and particularly its Fathers, is concerned with what will happen to the Christian person on earth. Since there is no Repentance in Hades, the person’s salvation will have to be completed here, on earth. It is an edict of Orthodox theology, that the person needs as a minimum both Katharsis of soul and Illumination of mind, so he or she can enter the Kingdom of God. However, entry into the Kingdom has a more concrete significance. In Orthodox theology all people, irrespective of religion, will see the glory of God at the second coming. But there will be a difference. 1. Those who are saved, will see the Glory of God as a Light – sweet, pleasant, and unending, whereas 2. Those who are condemned, will see the same Glory of God, as a light which consumes them, and as a fire burning them.
Since all people will see God in one way or another, it is the task of the Church how people will see Him. The task of the Church is to preach the existence of a True God, that He reveals Himself as light, that we all will see Him in His Second Coming, and to make sure its members see Him as a pleasant and unending light, and not as fire which consumes and burns. In conclusion, those who want to see God as Light have to undergo this therapeutic treatment, which will have to begin and be completed in this life. Let us pray to the Lord daily, to make us worthy to see God as Light wonderful and permanent in His Kingdom. future.
Source: Lychnos June – July 2017