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Sin and Grace

“…the grace of our Lord [is] exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 1:14). In other words, there is no sin God will not forgive. If we continue striving to live in Christ, He is faithful to us.” (Dynamis 12/14/2021)


“What, then, is the difference between the flagrant sinners that Paul lists and Paul, who calls himself the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 11:15)? In terms of the law, there is no difference. In itself, without grace, all disobedience stands condemned before God. But in terms of grace, there is a huge difference. Brazen and unrepentant sinners must face God’s judgment. But those who turn to the grace of God for mercy are forgiven by the blood of Christ.” (Fr. Basil)


“There can be no brisk “On with the new man, off with the old!” A long process of growth is required to bring us to perfection. Baptism gives us an “image of perfection” but this has to mature slowly, just as a baby is, in one sense, fully formed, but still has to grow. The immediate result of baptism is that there are now two “personae at work in us. Sin and grace coexist in us. The important thing is that we should side with grace.” (Simon Tugwell)


“If you want to see God and experience His presence you have to present to Him a clean soul. How many times have you picked up a glass at a restaurant and looked at it carefully before you poured in your beverage to drink. You certainly do that because you want to make sure that the glass is clean! Right? And if you see a spot or something else on the glass, you lift up your napkin and wipe it clean, or even call the waiter (the server) and ask for the glass to be replaced. You do not want to drink from a dirty glass! The dirty glass has to go back to the dishwasher! If we look at this from the spiritual perspective, each one of us is a “glass” in the face of the Lord! We offer ourselves to Him in many ways wanting to honor and please Him. We offer ourselves to him so that He may pour His Grace in us. If we are clean, He will be able to fill us with His Grace; if we are spotted or filthy, He will have to reach for the napkin, or send us to the “dishwasher.”… If we have exposed ourselves to actual sin by action, then our mind and heart will be held captive by the passion of that sin until we wash it clean and restore the mind and heart to its original settings.” (Fr. Panayiotis)


“How is it possible for sin and grace to dwell in the same heart, as if there were two different hearts? The illustration of fire may help. If you have a fire below a vessel and you put some wood on it, the fire flares up and the water in the vessel heats up and boils. But if you fail to put more wood on the fire it begins to fade gradually and goes out. In our hearts is the heavenly fire of grace. If we pray and meditate on the love of Christ, we add wood to the fire and our hearts burn with longing for God. If, on the contrary, we are negligent and give our attention to worldly affairs, vice enters the heart, takes it over and torments us. Nevertheless, the heart remembers the peace which it tasted earlier and begins to repent, to direct itself afresh towards God. On the one hand, then, peace is brought nearer, on the other, we are seeking it fervently in prayer. It is like stirring the fire which is warming the heart.” (St. Makarios the Great)


“Paul often saw himself as a great sinner. He never described himself as a sinner, however, without at the same time referring to the grace of God, which forgave his sins, accepted him, and enabled him to be useful in God's kingdom…Paul in other words exemplified the attitude of believers, who without minimizing [their] sins, refuse to be constantly hypnotized by them.” (Anthony A. Hoekema)


“What does my experience tell me when I am the prisoner of sin? I am tormented sometimes the whole day, and cannot turn to God with my whole heart, because sin hardens my heart, making God’s mercy inaccessible to me. I burn in the fire, and willingly remain in it, because sin has bound my powers, and I—like one inwardly chained—am unable to turn to God until He, seeing my helplessness, my humility, and my tears, takes pity on me and bestows His grace upon me.” (St. John of Kronstadt)


“Everything that happens—the bad act as well as the good—has its roots in the being of God. Only because God gives us our being (or rather lends it to us) are we in existence at the very moment when we commit a sin. At that very moment God could withdraw our being from us, could destroy us. But He holds us in the existence we have received from Him, even when that existence turns against Him. Moreover the Lord Love, in his infinite mercy, allows sin to contain certain positive elements…that is opportunities for grace because ‘where sin abounds, grace abounds even more’ (Romans 5:20).” (Fr. Lev Gillet, Father Michael Plekon, Sacramental Living Ministries)


“God, in His infinite love, always provides the means of grace within our sin. We can always make the choice to sincerely repent. When we do, grace abounds because we experience that which is always there and freely given…but …the grace of God can abandon “the unrepentant person because this person has disregarded the wealth of God’s kindness, tolerance, and forbearance....Divine forbearance is transformed into indignation, tolerance into intolerance, and goodness into repulsion. This is why the chief of the Apostles also advises us not to be deceived. We should not regard God’s tolerance and forbearance as slowness, because He is not slow but forbears, not wishing anyone of us to perish, but for all of us to come to repentance.” (Sacramental Living Ministries, Saint Nektarios)


“Often in our spiritual life we experience a strong and at times overwhelming tension between evil and good, temptation and grace…In the Christian understanding, spiritual warfare in our members leaves our free will intact. However powerful the evil spirit may be, it is subject not only to God’s will and intervention into our life; it is also vulnerable to our personal ascetic struggle. The good spirit can always prevail, so long as we recognize the power of sin, acknowledge our incapacity to withstand for long the onslaughts of the evil spirit, and throw ourselves wholly upon the grace and mercy of God, who alone can bring victory out of a conflict that otherwise would plunge us into eternal death and corruption.” (Fr. John Breck)


#AnthonyAHoekema #StJohnofKronstadt #SacramentalLivingMinistries #SaintNektarios #FrJohnBreck #Dynamis #FrBasil #SimonTugwell #FrPanayiotis #StMakariostheGreat

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