Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting a return from an investment requires making an investment

Forgive the market terminology, but that's essentially another way to read Luther's famous dictum of "A faith that costs nothing and demands nothing is worth nothing."

Unlike our fellow Christians who use the advent season to celebrate rather than to prepare, we Orthodox prepare for the major feasts through fasting, almsgiving and increased prayer. At least, that's what we are supposed to be doing. That doesn't mean we should be dour or down or depressed; we should do these things with joy. However, even with many of our Orthodox priests, we are being increasingly taught that the fasts and prayers are not really necessary for today's Christian, let alone Orthodox Christian. If our faith has been reduced to a mere intellectual assent, and I remind you that even the demons intellectually assent that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, then our faith is nothing and as such, we should rightfully expect nothing. Of course, as modern people, we demand entitlements for simply saying "I believe" but do nothing to help the poor, the meek, the otherwise cast out people of our society. Our Lord said, in his parable, that on the last day that those who have such a faith will be turned away while he says that He never knew us. Truly, we exist and are saved only by the mercy and grace of God, but to remain unchanged (and that is why God came, to change us from our sinful state to become truly human; true humanity is NOT to be sinful) is to cheapen the Gospel and God's grace to us. We would rightfully laugh at St. Matthew if he said to our Lord when our Lord told him to come and follow Him, "No thanks. I'm waiting to be saved by grace alone." As much as we associate with Luther the doctrine of sola gratia, his little saying indicates that even he believed that to do nothing was to cheapen God.

Props and shout-out to my fellow blogger Christopher Orr who pointed this out on his blog, Orrologion. I suggest you read it.

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