Friday, April 15, 2016

The Resurrection (IOCC Newsletter)

I've been thinking a lot lately about the various ways that theologians speak of what "salvation" even is.  The differences between legal/forensic and ontological views of salvation are huge. Terms like "forgiveness" and "faith" are frequently described in fundamentally different ways. I found the view below to be a beautiful illustration of the “ontology” of salvation and the inherent participatory nature of it.

The following is just a quick blurb from the Spring 2016 International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Newsletter.  It's so rich that I thought it worth posting here.


In the image of the crucified Christ who “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), the Church also receives the tragic and sinful experiences and failures of man, for it is the Body of the Crucified Lord.  In order to save the world, the Church must pass through the reality of death.  As St. Paul says, death takes place within us (the Apostles), so that life can begin inside you (i.e., the Corinthians and members of the Church) (cf. 2 Cor 4:6-12).  This is what the real saints do.  Without this identification with the tragic destiny of the world, there is no salvation of the world.

The great truth that modern ignominious treatments of death ignore is that fear of death is conquered by taking upon oneself the death of others, so they might live.  To live truly means to die and then to live.  Fearless with regard to death are those who die daily by sacrificing for others.  If the spiritual fathers do not die, everlasting life cannot be born in their beloved ones (for example, spiritual children).  The Lord said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).  It is out of the Eucharistic perspective that St. John the Theologian proclaims: “He who does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14).  Sanctity cannot exist outside of the “other” because the other serves as the “terminal” or “reference” of holiness.  This ontology of love leading to communion justifies the centrality of the Resurrection in the economy of salvation.

Bishop Maxim
Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America
Diocese of Western America

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