33rd =Week After Pentecost v MONDAY

Today-s readings, followed by a few pastoral & personal thoughts.

Today-s reading from St James is one of my favorites. It is also one of
the least understood parts of the NT, because of a misunderstanding
about what ?justification¦ is. Some Orthodox Christians may not see what
the ?big deal¦ is here, but this is a ?big deal¦, and a huge stumbling
block for many Western believers. 

To be ?justified¦ is to become righteous. This is not imputed unto us by
fiat from God, but comes about because of our struggle to be righteous,
and the grace of God helping us. Before the incarnation, no struggle for
righteousness could be wholly successful. God became man, and changed
fundamental human nature, making it capable of total righteousness v
total ?justification¦. 

The great chasm in understanding comes from considering ?justification¦
to be a legal process, where Jesus Christ offered a perfect sacrifice to
His Father by proxy. Orthodox understand justification to be the gradual
change of the inner man to holiness. All this is made possible because
of the incarnation. ?Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see

In all things in life, we learn by doing. Justification is no different.
The Christian must ?hear¦ the Gospel (whether by mouth, written word,
and always by the inner groanings Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also
helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we
ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings
which cannot be uttered of the Holy Spirit) and act upon it to know God.
Knowledge in the scriptural sense always involves action. One could also
say: faith always involves works. 

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only
(James 2:25)

If we do not emulate Christ in our works, we cannot know Him v we cannot
be justified. The works are part of ?knowing¦ God. Without them, we do
not change. 

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

There is a righteous recent Greek nun, who recommended that the
Christian would read St James EVERY DAY. This is how important it is
that we understand faith and works. 


James 2:14-26 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he
hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or
sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto
them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give
them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it
profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith
without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou
believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also
believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith
without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works,
when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how
faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and
it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend
of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by
faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by
works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out
another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also.

Mark 10:46-52 46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho
with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the
son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard
that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou
son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should
hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David,
have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be
called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good
comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment,
rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What
wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord,
that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way;
thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight,
and followed Jesus in the way.


The Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St Mark, by Blessed
Theophylact, published by Chrysostom Press -
http://www.chrysostompress.org/. ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Priest Seraphim Jan 13/26 2009 						St Nicholas Russian Orthodox
Church, McKinney, Texas 




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