“For by grace you have been saved through faith.”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
GRACE is a free gift from Christ through the Holy spirit. According to the text it does not depend on works “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”1
Yes, grace is a definite spiritual law that does not depend on works, but the opposite is true, it is works that depend on grace. Grace is a free gift ruled by the Holy Spirit, but its source is Christ Himself as it is among the attributes of His nature, which he donates to every one who believes in Him and loves Him. The salvation offered by Christ is the greatest gift He gives to whoever believes in Him and loves Him. Christ while living with His disciples had love as a precept, which led them to a great faith in Him. It was the best they could offer to the Lord which made Him ask His Father for their sake: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me.” “That the love with which You loved me may be in them, and I in them.”2 The sacred way of living led them to a great love and deeply rooted faith. They thus accepted free salvation and the permanent life with Christ in His glory. It is that which the Church handed over to us as a wonderful example of Christ’s life, and of His love and faith in Him. They received it through the power that is preserved in Christ. We receive it through grace as a gift when we behave as the disciples did in the faithfulness, honesty and adherence to Him.
That which astonishes us about Christ’s free grace is that He reserved it for us in Him since the beginning and planned that our acceptance would be legal in order to shut up the enemy. Paul the Apostle says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”3
How can we not but depend on Christ and take Him as example and source of inspiration, love and sanctification. If we know that we are loved, cherished and chosen in Him, it becomes a truth for us to say of Him: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is non upon earth that I desire besides You.”4 Moreover we are proud at the hope for the revelation of His work in us and for us. The Apostle Paul informs us about the mystery that is beyond our imagination when he says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”5 This astonishes us because it means that our creation is not of dust yet, nor is it a period that happened in the past, but we are now an existing and permanent creation in Christ. He is working in us and with us good works for us to resemble Him in everything.
After all that, can it be possible that man should boast: “I am an Orthodox,” or despise and condemn whoever says: “I am a Catholic,” or “I am a protestant” as the Apostle Paul says: “Now, I say this, that each of you says: “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ”? Is Christ divided?”6 Because the “I” in all of us has become Christ. We all are created in Him and have one good work the Lord prepared us to follow together.
Isn’t it that we all “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory”7? “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”8 We will also see ourselves as one in Christ in His full stature in faith as one man.
As a consequence dear friends, if we forsake unity in Christ now and in this age it will be difficult for us to get to know it up above.
13 June, 2005
1 Eph 2:8,9.
2 John 17:24, 26.
3 Eph 2:10.
4 Ps 73:25.
5 Eph 2:10.
6 1 Cor 1:12, 13.
7 Col 3:4.
8 1 John 3:2.
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