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Faith and Action

“Saint Paul states that we practice the faith of the apostles when we “have carefully followed my doctrine [and] manner of life” (2 Timothy 3:10). Let us never suppose that we are apostolic witnesses merely because we speak about the faith reasonably well. What Saint Paul means by following involves our manner of living – a consistent day-in, day-out application of the convictions we learn from the apostles. Let us speak apostolic words, but even more so strive to live their form of life.” (Dynamis 2/25/2024)

“Contrary to some of our favorite excuses, the conventional responsibilities of life are in no way incompatible with uniting ourselves to Christ, for they provide opportunities to reorient the desires of our hearts to God as we love and serve Him in our neighbors. Nothing but our own sinfulness keeps us from making our daily responsibilities points of entrance into eternal joy. By mindfully offering them to God every day of our lives, we will gain the strength to obey St. Paul’s instruction to “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Family life, work, and the countless challenges of living faithfully in our culture present opportunities to find healing from “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk,” as well as lying. This is possible not because we have fulfilled a list of legalistic requirements, but because in baptism we have “put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“It is not enough to be convinced in one’s mind of the divinity of Christ…We must make the maximum effort to live according to His word…We are the eyes and ears of God in this world, by which He sees the needs of those who suffer, and we also are his hands and feet, by which succor is given to those in need.” (Archimandrite Sophrony, Fr. John Behr)

“Yes, we must hear the Word. The Greek term is the root of the English word “acoustics,” the science of sound. In our passage, the term means to listen intently…That means paying attention. But attentive listening is still only complete when it puts what we hear into action. What good is hearing how to play a game, drive a car, use a computer program, or learn a new skill, if one doesn’t immediately put the instructions into practice?” (Fr. Basil)

“God requires these three things of every person who has received baptism: correct faith from his soul, truth from his tongue, self-control from his body.” (St. Gregory the Theologian)

“When we separate faith from everything else, we make it into belief. It becomes the assent to the truth of something that cannot be proven by empirical evidence. The Book of James addresses this mistaken thought directly when it says, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” James 2:24). The apostle has been arguing strenuously against circumcision because it binds one to the works of the Mosaic law…Paul agrees with this point [Galatians 4:28-5:10]. But at the same time that he rails against circumcision, Paul speaks of “faith active” in love…Instead of being useless, Paul teaches that true faith is “active.”… But what is “work.” Work is the energy transferred when a force moves something over a distance. This definition goes along with the sense that love activates faith. Love puts faith to work, transferring the energy of conviction into active caring. Thus, in a sense, love actualizes and implements faith so that it does “work.” (Fr. Basil)

“Those who profess to be Christ’s will be recognized by their actions. For what matters is not a momentary act of professing, but being persistently motivated by faith.” (St. Ignatius)

“While it is no longer I who live under the dominion of sinful passions and desires, I do live a crucified life in Christ. As we are not saved by works alone, nowhere does the New Testament say we are saved by faith alone. We are saved by faith, but not faith alone….Love is the criterion of faith and works…Faith and the essence of Christian ethics find their recognition. The criterion for veracity is love.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Galatians 2:20, Georgios Patronos)

“…belief in Jesus must be combined with putting that belief into action—feeding the hungry, ministering to others, etc. Both are essential. We read in the epistles: “Faith without works is dead.” One can indeed “believe” in Christ and yet lead a life that betrays that belief. Hence belief alone is not sufficient. “Not all who say ‘Lord, Lord’ will have a place in my Kingdom.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

“Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy holy churches and who remember the poor.”…“Again we pray for those who bear fruit and do good works in thy holy and all-venerable temple, for those who serve and those who sing.” Some theologians reduce the perfect Christian way of life to pure contemplation (theoria), and some reduce it to pure social action (praxis)…both approaches are wrong. St. Basil and St. John did not differentiate between these two ways of life…They admonished us to be mindful of those who bear fruit, do good works and remember the poor, and also to be mindful of those in the deserts, in the mountains and in the caves….contemplation should lead to action, to the conduct commended in Matthew 25, that is, to feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned and welcome the strangers….social action, that is, being on the streets of New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, feeding the poor, helping drug addicts and clothing the naked, giving hope to the hopeless, will ultimately lead to contemplation.” (St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, Metropolitan Philip)

“…he [St. James] makes a startling statement: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble” (James 2:19). The devil and his accomplices, the demons, are not atheists. Nor are they sceptics. In the Gospels, we find that the demons confess who Jesus is. They say that they know that He is the “Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). Again, the man possessed of a demon shouted, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me” (Mark 5:7).” (Fr. Basil)

“But for the historic Christian…holding to a list of correct beliefs without actual obedience to God’s commandments is in fact the “faith” of demons (James 2:19). Historic Christianity places its emphasis on what one does far more than what one says or thinks.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“…the apostle [St. James] writes that the demons believe that “God is one” (James 2:22). The demons not only believe that God exists. They believe the founding principle of our faith, the “Oneness” of God the Holy Trinity. Moreover, they believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. James says that these beliefs are “well and good.” By this irony, the apostle shows that beliefs, that is “certainties” or “convictions”…of things that are known about God, have no saving power. Beliefs that this or that is true about God and the Lord Jesus Christ cannot justify anyone even if they are true.” (Fr. Basil)

“The truth about faithfulness is that it’s about what you do. And if what you do doesn’t line up with the commandments of Christ, then you’re not Christ’s servant. You’re serving another master. May God help us to true devotion, to be proved through struggle and love, to be shown good and faithful through our loyalty in worship, in repentance, in self-sacrifice, in humility, in almsgiving, in fasting and in prayer. Because in the end, what the faithful welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven will hear is not “Well said, thou good and faithful servant,” but rather “Well done.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“In contrast to belief, faith [i.e., faithfulness] brings us into relationship with this Almighty, All-Powerful, and All-Holy God. Like Abraham (James 2:- 23), by faith we become a “friend of God” not His enemy (Romans 5:10). Faith, therefore, is living trust in the One, True, and Merciful God. In this relationship, our desire is to do the will of God. By faith we are saved, and by faith we do works that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father. Our belief becomes trust and trust becomes loving obedience to God.” (Fr. Basil)

“God’s being and actions are one. This is essentially the teaching of the Church on the topic of the Divine Energies… Another simple term for “energies” is “actions” or “doings.” The root of the Greek word simply means “doing.” Indeed, it is most often translated as “deed” or “work.” “Workings” would be another accurate way of rendering “energies.” Understanding this points us towards the heart of the Church’s proclamation. Who God is, and what God does, are not two separate things. “God acting” is God.”…When our actions are in true agreement with that which we are created to be, there is a wholeness and a harmony in our existence. We are transformed, for our being and our actions are themselves in agreement with the very actions (Energies) of God. It is in this transformation that we come to see ourselves as we truly are and to know God as He truly is.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“God the Father would have us believe in Him and honor Him. As with hearing, the true mode of believing in God requires obedient action. Believing in God is a commitment of our heart and soul to Christ. As a result, we seek actions pleasing to Him, ensuring that our behavior is in harmony with the loving work of the Father and the Son. When we cross the line into proactive hearing and obedient belief in God, we have “passed from death into life” (John 17:24). Such a transition is possible even in this mortal life, as the apostles and Church Fathers teach us. God gives us the grace to hear, to believe in Him, and to act upon these gifts.” (Dynamis 4/29/2020)

“…faith is more than a mere belief that something is true.  Faith is the profound trust that is proven by action.” (Fr. Basil)

“Being a Christian requires activity. One cannot be a Christian and have no action as a result. Receiving the Grace of the Holy Spirit is supposed to move us to action. Grace completes what is infirm and heals what is lacking in us so that we can go and do something. If the grace of the Holy Spirit looses and forgives sins, then the person who has been forgiven is supposed to go and radiate the light of Christ, with his or her newfound spiritual freedom.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“…worship is the action by which human beings freely submit and dedicate their lives and the life of the world to God. The perfection of our humanity is holiness, the holiness of God…” (Vigen Guroian)


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