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Sin and Forgiveness

“Sin is fundamentally a kind of demonic force that masters us and makes us demonic slaves when we give in to it (John 8:34)…Being an existential problem rather than merely a legal one, sin therefore is a kind of sickness and even addiction. That means that forgiveness of sins involves changing the human person into someone who is in communion with God and in the process of becoming like Him instead of what results from demonic communion.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“Notice that on the cross Christ didn’t call us sinners, but instead He claimed that we were innocent, even as we crucified Him. “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:24). There is only one “Sinner” in his universe at that point. I think this will help us see in what way “the sinner” of the Jesus Prayer is Christ himself; it isn’t referring only to you because you have done wrong. It is also referring to Christ who, though blameless, was willing to let sinful human beings condemn and punish Him as a sinner, for the life of the world. You call yourself “the sinner” because He is your Bridegroom and you want to be one with Him, especially there on the cross where He poured out his life for all mankind…And incidentally, this is why you can’t be the only referent of “the sinner” in the Jesus Prayer; in that case, the prayer would leave you enclosed within yourself, rather than promoting your ecstatic union with Christ.” (Timothy G. Patitsas)

“The assurance of our forgiveness through the blood of Christ rests on the fact that the Lord’s offering of Himself for the life of the world is non-repeatable. If it were not “once for all,” then more would have had to be accomplished. Sacrifices for sin would have had to continue. But when would these offerings be enough? But through the power of the cross, God’s forgiveness is total and complete. It does not demand anything more than repentance and faith in the grace of God. God no longer remembers our sin and can cleanse it from our hearts so that we can put it behind us.” (Fr. Basil)

“As fellow workers with Christ, we must become neither religious legalists nor those who reduce grace to mere forgiveness for breaking laws. Neither of those perspectives heals the soul and helps us to become more beautiful living icons of Christ. The Savior calls us to become nothing less than true “partakers of the divine nature” who manifest personally His fulfillment of our vocation to become like God in holiness. Like an iron left in the fire until it becomes literally red hot, those united personally to Christ will become radiant with the divine energies such that the holiness of the God-Man permeates every dimension of who we are as embodied persons.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“If you become a hater of evil, free of rancor, not remembering yesterday’s enmity; if you become brother-loving and compassionate, you are like God. If you forgive your enemy from your heart, you are like God. If as God is toward you, the sinner, you become the same toward the brother who has wronged you, by your goodwill from your heart towards your neighbor, you are like God. As you have that which is according to the image through your being rational, you come to be according to the likeness by undertaking kindness. Take on yourself ‘a heart of compassion, kindness,’ that you may put on Christ.” (Nonna Harrison)


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