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“God’s commandments are not an alien, external authority that enslaves us…they are “natural knowledge given us by God, whether this comes through the Scriptures by human agency, or by means of the angel that is given in divine baptism to guard the soul of every believer, to act as his conscience and to remind him of the divine commandments of Christ… Loving God is not simply “the first and great commandment” (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:36-37). It is the life-giving response of the believing heart, and thus transforms the commandments from burden to grace.” (Dynamis 6/30/2019, Saint Peter of Damascus)

“God's righteousness is actually given to mankind by grace. This righteousness transforms the whole person, internally and externally. Those who say God's righteousness is merely an external declaration or fiat that does not really become ours experientially miss the point and fall short of the truth. God's righteousness is a gift that indeed becomes our own, leading us to godliness.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 4:11-12)

“Our reconciliation with God through Christ is accomplished through Christ becoming “sin for us.” He does not come among us, separating Himself, but unites Himself. This is the character of our salvation at every moment. We are not saved by some external action, nor by anything extrinsic to us. Christ unites Himself to us, taking the whole of our humanity on Himself, and carries that with Him into His death and resurrection.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Christians should mistrust any work that is inspired by formalism or excessive adherence to an external law. Formalism perverts everything it touches. Both science and art die in its presence. Therefore, the formalization and mechanization of culture is contrary to a Christian spirit and is proof of its decadence. A Christian seeks not external form, but form filled with content. He doesn't seek a dead machine, but organic life in all its mystery and in all its sacramentality.” (Ivan Ilyin)

“God measures us at the heart level. Externals are only symptomatic, superficial, and cosmetic.” (Joseph Stowell)

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