Orthodoxy and Salvation

Luna Novem

Woodpecker
Woman
Can someone explain to me, in layman's terms, the theology of salvation in Orthodoxy?

I am familiar with the evangelical Protestant "sinner's prayer", and I am familiar with the need to confess mortal sins in Catholicism, but have no idea how it "works" in Orthodoxy.

Thanks.
 

byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
There are different tendencies within mainstream layman's circles of Orthodoxy and Catholicism, but fundamentally both have the same theory of justification: one that occurs gradually by ontologically uniting your life to Christ, rather than an imputation of Christ's obedient record onto the faithful.

Protestants believe that justification refers to the moment where God declares the individual righteous based on the imputation of the obedient record of Christ to the account of the believer. This sets up justification to be entirely extrinsic; it has nothing to do with one’s inner nature even though such a change takes place prior to justification. For traditional Christianity, justification is the renewal of the Divine Image of man. Hence, all justification takes place within the context of the family of Abraham, which is a truly human family (people who rediscovered what Adam had lost). If justification is a legal imputation that takes place in a single moment, then it must be about that moment of faith. If it is a progressive renewal of the Divine Image (as Catholics and Orthodox believe), then it must be a process that involves the free cooperation of good works done by the power of the Spirit.

There are three levels to justification. Justification is founded upon grace, and grace alone. It is only by the power and mercy of God that man can be saved. The sin of Adam was wishing to be ‘like God’ without God, whereas we seek to be conformed to God’s likeness through God’s power.

The second level is the attitude or orientation the Christian has towards God. One may relate to God in faith or law. The former seeks a familial rather than a legal relationship. The latter is one where the Christian attempts to obligate God to pay man with salvation. The issue with this latter view is that no man can share in the age to come on the standards of God’s justice, for we cannot match God’s properties. In a sense, this is still like trying to be like God without God. Hence, justification by faith alone describes an attitude by which we relate to God and the sole power behind every good work done in Christian life.

The third level of justification is the way that faith plays out in the life of the Christian. One must choose to use one's faith to produce works of love; if not, the faith is dead. Dead doesn’t mean non-existent, but rather unable to accomplish the intended purpose. This distinction is often issued by Protestants.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
While the Orthodox would argue that there is some truth in other Christian sects' soteriological views, ultimately it is impossible for us to comprehend fully.

I am no expert, but the Orthodox view of salvation is best summarized in St. Athanasius's On the Incarnation of Christ. Since the Creation, God has been working to save mankind from sin and destruction, but man rejected him, and nature was corrupted. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in taking human nature, becoming a human being, dying on the cross, and being resurrected on the third day, is the ultimate sacrifice, since Christ unites our human nature to God's eternal nature.

In summary, "God became man so that men might become gods."

This does not mean that we literally become gods, since there is only one God. Rather, it means that we can now unite ourselves in mystical union with Christ, through our own struggle on earth to be more Christlike. Thus, we can partake of God's energies, but not His essence.

This is impossible to express in so many words, and can only be fully understood through divine revelation.
 

messaggera

Kingfisher
Woman
I am no expert, but the Orthodox view of salvation is best summarized in St. Athanasius's On the Incarnation of Christ. Since the Creation, God has been working to save mankind from sin and destruction, but man rejected him, and nature was corrupted. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in taking human nature, becoming a human being, dying on the cross, and being resurrected on the third day, is the ultimate sacrifice, since Christ unites our human nature to God's eternal nature.

Christianity
Orthodox - Normal view: Salvation through Christ. Begotten Son of God; begotten not created.

Correct understanding of statement Eusebius?
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
Christianity
Orthodox - Normal view: Salvation through Christ. Begotten Son of God; begotten not created.

Correct understanding of statement Eusebius?
I suppose so, but I think there might be more to it -- Orthodox soteriology is quite complex, and I struggle to understand it. I guess we'll never understand it fully, being human.
 

Genevieve

Pigeon
Woman
Orthodox
Salvation is not solutions to problems that don't exist such as found in the ransom, debt satisfaction, penal substitution and moral exemplar theories that are prevalent in modern forms of Christianity.

Orthodox tend to use the word "expiation" in regards to what is accomplished in the sacrificial act. Expiation is an act of offering that seeks to change the one making the offering as was the purpose in OT sacrifices. Christ's sacrifice is intended to change us when we accept Him in faith, and only this leads to salvation. Salvation is therapeutic to the soul. Atonement heals us, and restores us to wholeness.

As far as how it "works", when you are baptized you are united to Christ in a death like his and an inheritor of a resurrection like his. When you receive the eucharist, you become a partaker in the Divine nature.

From my spiritual father: Christ unites us all. Christ heals the rift between God and man, because he IS the healing of that rift. His crucifixion destroyed sin. His death destroys death. Uniting ourselves to him heals us of every infirmity and makes up whatever weakness is weak and lacking. Christ heals. That is atonement. That is salvation.
 

Luna Novem

Woodpecker
Woman
Salvation is not solutions to problems that don't exist such as found in the ransom, debt satisfaction, penal substitution and moral exemplar theories that are prevalent in modern forms of Christianity.

Orthodox tend to use the word "expiation" in regards to what is accomplished in the sacrificial act. Expiation is an act of offering that seeks to change the one making the offering as was the purpose in OT sacrifices. Christ's sacrifice is intended to change us when we accept Him in faith, and only this leads to salvation. Salvation is therapeutic to the soul. Atonement heals us, and restores us to wholeness.

As far as how it "works", when you are baptized you are united to Christ in a death like his and an inheritor of a resurrection like his. When you receive the eucharist, you become a partaker in the Divine nature.

From my spiritual father: Christ unites us all. Christ heals the rift between God and man, because he IS the healing of that rift. His crucifixion destroyed sin. His death destroys death. Uniting ourselves to him heals us of every infirmity and makes up whatever weakness is weak and lacking. Christ heals. That is atonement. That is salvation.
Do Orthodox accept Catholic and/or Protestant baptisms?
 

Starlight

Woodpecker
Woman
Do Orthodox accept Catholic and/or Protestant baptisms?
As far as I know (a non-orthodox), it depends. My husband’s priest (Orthodox) told me (while we were in the process of getting married) that my baptism was “sufficient” given that it was a Trinitarian baptism (i.e., “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”). Catholics and most conservative Lutheran denominations baptize in the Name of the Trinity. A baptism “in the name of Jesus” or “in His name” only or some other such way would probably not be sufficient. If someone had a Trinitarian baptism, there is no need to “re-baptize” from what I understand.
 

christie2

Sparrow
Woman
Page 1426 of the Orthodox Study Bible (2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology)has a good explanation in lay terms.



'THE NEW BIRTH

Early in His ministry, Jesus revealed the way to enter God's eternal Kingdom. We must be "born again" ((John))(3:3), a birth from above realized by water and the Spirit.
In His conversation with Nicodemus, Christ states, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" ((John))(3:5). From the beginning, the Church has recognized the "water" to be the water of baptism, "the Spirit" to be the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the new birth consists of being joined to Christ in the water of baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit through anointing or "chrismation".

Salvation, then, is more than forgiveness of sins, more than a mental acceptance of Christ and His teachings. For in salvation we are given union with God through Christ, a right and full relationship with the Holy Trinity, and the restoration of our full humanity. All these things are accomplished through the Incarnation, the union of God and man in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Salvation, then, is founded on a substantial union of the believer with Christ in His full humanity, a flesh-to-flesh relationship. Paul likens it to the joining of husband and wife (Eph 5:23-32)

Throughout their epistles, the apostles remind us the new birth is necessary for salvation. We die to sin; then, buried with Christ and risen with Him, we are united to Christ and to His body, the Church. We are cleansed, justified, and sanctified---all in baptism, "the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Tts 3:5) Without our repentance and faith, however, immersion in water would be of no effect.'
End of quote




Then, Luna, the explanation from page 1426 goes on a little further on baptism.

So as I understand salvation in Orthodox Christianity, I must not only repent and have faith but I must baptise/chrismate and ideally, marry, so that I might be saved.

Ever since I read your post question a few days ago I was thinking of this. Great question!

I hope I gave you the right idea.
 
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