Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Aneede Sunday, Salvation
Volume 6 No. 328 January 29, 2016
This is the last weekend before the Great Lent. Next Sunday is Kothne Sunday. The Great Lent officially starts on Monday, February 8.

But before we go into Great Lent, there is one unfinished feast from the Christmas. It is called Mayaltho. It celebrates the presentation of Jesus to the temple as required by Mosaic laws. Also, the purification of St. Mary after the delivery of the first born. This happens 40 days after Christmas and, hence, falls on February 2. Malankara World Journal will publish a special issue to celebrate this important feast. We will meet Simeon and Anna, two holy people who were waiting to see Messiah before they die and, sure, they were rewarded.

This Sunday, being the second Sunday after Nineveh Lent, we honor all the departed. This includes both departed laity and departed clergy. (Last Sunday we honored the departed clergy.) We recognize all the departed three times in a year. First, on Aneede Sunday, the second Sunday after Nineveh Lent. Second, on the Saturday falling between Good Friday and Easter Sunday when Jesus Christ went to Hades to preach the Gospel to all departed. Third, we remember the departed on the day of their death anniversary.

Our church gives great importance in recognizing departed faithful. The Holy church consist of the living, departed and future members. We believe that the spirit of the departed are present during our qurbano. The aisle in the center of the church is where the spirits are supposed to be occupying during our service.

Of course, our belief is that our departed will be going to their eternal rest at the time of their death and their spirit will go to heaven, if they are saved. In this issue, we will examine the criteria for Christian Salvation. How can we be saved? What takes it for us to be saved? Let us take a look at what Bible says about this.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' "
- Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
- 1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
- Ephesians 2:8 ESV

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
- Galatians 2:20 ESV

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
- Romans 2:6-8 ESV

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
- Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. ...
- Romans 6:1-23 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
- James 2:14 ESV

There is a perpetual debate between Evangelical/Reformed Church and Catholic/Orthodox Churches about what is required for salvation. The reformed church teaches that the salvation is purely from Grace of God. Christ has paid for our salvation with his death on the cross. Our church and Catholic Church teach that salvation comes from the Grace of God; but we also are required to produce good fruits - or theologically saying - works. The church points out the book of James to support this.

Technically, there is no disagreement. If you are truly saved, then you will reflect the light of Jesus Christ in your face as well as in all you do. So, you will produce good fruits. The requirement then simply boils down to what Jesus told us, we can go to the father only through Him - he is the door and the way. Since we are sinners, we need the grace of god to inherit the Kingdom of God.

This is a simplified, short description of the theology of salvation.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World


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