|An Orthodox View of Salvation|
SALVATION to Orthodox Christians involves the following:
1. Accept the redeeming work that Christ accomplished on our behalf. Christ died for our sins so we must respond to this greatest of gifts wholeheartedly and with the utmost gratitude.
2. Show our gratitude, accept this gift, and retain it, by living a life of devotion in faith to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
3. Receive this gift of redemption, which made Christ mount the Cross for our sake, to give His life for us. This gift of life should excite and move us to live in total devotion to the Savior, keeping us from moral degradation and iniquity.
4. Understand that Christ paid the price for our sins. We should remind ourselves that we were sentenced to alienation from Almighty God, yet Christ took our place upon the Cross to regain the gift of eternal life for us.
5. Know that Christ gave everything for us, His spotless life, His obedience, His blood. As stated in 2 Peter 1:3-4, "All that pertain to life and godliness has been given to us."
6. Believe that God offers this redemption to all men and women. However, we must understand that it is impossible to appropriate the work of Christ's redemption unless we respond in faith to God's reaching-out and offering salvation to us! "Without me you can do nothing," says the Lord in St. John 15:5.
7. Realize that everyone is offered the gift of redemption. Yet, we are not forced or coerced by Almighty God to accept it. We are free to refuse the gift. That is why some are saved with ardent faith, while others reject the gift and condemn themselves to eternal separation from a loving Father.
8. Understand that sinful mankind needs Divine enlightenment, and help, to accept the redemption offered us. This is what is meant by Divine grace, which rests within Christ's Church and is transmitted through the Holy Mysteries or Sacraments.
9. Believe that Christ is in the Church and His grace abides in her. That is why the Church became necessary for salvation and outside the Church there is no remission of sins, no redemption, no justification (being made right with God), and no hope for eternal life.
10. Live in faith that we are called to Divine enlightenment which, as St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite tells us is the equivalent of "Theosis", or union with God. Since Christ became man so that man might become God-like by grace, the Mysteries of the Church serve to deify us and to unite us with Christ Himself.
Scriptural references: St. John 3, Rom. 5:1-5, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:16, 5:17, 1 Peter 2:4-10, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 2:12-13, James 2:14-26
From The Orthodox Church A to Z by Fr. George Grube, Pages 10-11.