Protestantism vs Orthodoxy

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
John 6:40 ESV
For this is the will of my Father,
God wills that everyone is saved, that doesn't mean that they will be. Noah couldn't persuade people outside his family to get into the ark with him, though he wanted people to come aboard.
Nothing about earning Salvation with good works.
First off, @Hermetic Seal shared some of the verses which state exactly what you say they don't. I don't think you will find an Orthodox Christian, even among the saints who claim we can earn salvation simply through works, moreso it is something we can reject through our works. No man deserves eternal paradise, that's an infinite reward for finite actions done here which are interspersed with sins. Faith vs works isn't an either/or thing, it is a both/and, the latter is clear when taking the entirety of scripture into account as opposed to individual verses. There are verses saying faith is essential, and there are verses saying works are essential.

I'm breaking my own rule here of not getting involved in faith/works debates. I think it has been overcomplicated frankly, I genuinely don't understand the sola fide side despite everything you all say, especially given the verses @Hermetic Seal shared above which explicitly refute it.

When I was a young child in vacation bible school, I asked a nice old lady working there what I had to do to be saved, and she asked if I genuinely believed in Jesus. I said yes (without even affirming that Christ was God or anything), then she said nothing I can do can take that from me, I can be assured of salvation. I wasn't even baptized, maybe she didn't know that, but I don't know if that would have mattered to her. I don't think I was ever convinced of that. I think what she told me there may have been one of the most dangerous lies ever told to me, ever. In my opinion it is more dangerous than telling a child to stick a fork in an outlet, because from that point on I could have converted to Buddhism for example and still venerate Christ, I could have apostatized, I could have gone on to be a serial criminal, because like Pastor Steven Anderson says, nothing can take that salvation from me. I consider this lie Satanic deception of well-intentioned people.
 

Liviu

Sparrow
Orthodox
Salvation being an ongoing process is irrelevant; God might choose who he wills, give them faith, and make it a process.

Nope. God indeed choose who he wants but not without any reasoning related to human actions. God gives faith, indeed,

Ephesians 2, 8-9

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.


but not without any reason. God chooses constantly according to human`d pendulum between His grace and human

absolute freedom.

One of the fathers: `Take a step towards God and He will take ten towards you`

Saint Basile the Great: `God balances mercy with justice. With mercy he does justice and in accordance with justice he has mercy`
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
Matthew 7:21 ESV
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.

John 6:40 ESV
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

In addition to what DanielH said above, this is just engaging in scriptural gymnastics and the word equivocation fallacy, taking two verses that aren't even in the same Gospels and conflating two distinct meanings of the "will of the Father." Matthew 7.21 refers to the "will of the Father" in reference to the hearers, hence the preceding "does", in living according to God's will, a dramatic, culminating statement at the climax of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus has been teaching in exhaustive detail in the preceding chapters. In John 6.40 Jesus uses this same phrase to describe the Father's desire/plan for Christ to bring salvation, which is extremely obvious reading from verse 35 onward.

Citing these verses only undermines the case for Sola Fide, and doesn't do anything to prove your tired assertion that the Orthodox "earn Salvation with good works." Christ earned salvation. We can either reject or embrace it, either of those encompassing the entire response of heart and actions, not a dualistic gnostic mental assent disconnected our behavior.
 

mgill0600

Pigeon
I am Protestant, I think the are some great Orthodox/Catholic Church traditions that Protestantism got rid of in the reformation, that while not necessarily scriptural, are useful for living a Godly life.

I have wrestled mightily with the once saved always saved argument. On the one hand, my human reasoning says, how could it be that easy? Just believe and I get to go to heaven? Surely there has to be more to it than that.

But on the other hand, how stressful is it to believe our salvation can be lost at any moment? Is a single moment of weakness in a lifetime of piety enough to condemn us to hell? What about if we come to Christ, fall away and come back again? Are we then saved once more as long as we don't fall away again? How many times can we fall away and come back, is there a limit? What if I decide I want to go have my sinful fun and once I've done that then I'll repent and live a holy life, as long as I don't die before repenting does that mean I've found the loophole to being saved but "getting away with it" at the same time?

Ultimately yes, only God knows who is truly saved and converted in their heart. When I think on this topic however two Biblical stories come to mind:
1. Abram believing God's promise to make a great nation from him - Genesis 15:6 "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
2. The thief on the cross who believed - Luke 23:42-43 "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Are these special cases then that do not apply to the rest of the human race? Or are these examples of God's mercy and grace, and despite his generous offer of no strings attached salvation, still many fail or refuse to believe.

Today I tend to come down on the side of once saved always saved. Believing otherwise has always depressed me, discouraged me and taken away my hope. Because how could I ever really be sure I'm saved, knowing I'm constantly at war with myself just like Paul says in Romans 7:15.

I am humble enough to admit I may not have the right perspective on this topic, but to me, the idea of a God that would snatch away my salvation over some undefined amount of sin seems incredibly capricious and random, and we know that is not God's character.
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
God wills that everyone is saved, that doesn't mean that they will be. Noah couldn't persuade people outside his family to get into the ark with him, though he wanted people to come aboard.
I agree in a sense. Universalism is certainly a heresy. The deeper dive would have us state that those who are appointed to eternal life will come to God (Acts 13:48).

First off, @Hermetic Seal shared some of the verses which state exactly what you say they don't. I don't think you will find an Orthodox Christian, even among the saints who claim we can earn salvation simply through works, moreso it is something we can reject through our works. No man deserves eternal paradise, that's an infinite reward for finite actions done here which are interspersed with sins. Faith vs works isn't an either/or thing, it is a both/and, the latter is clear when taking the entirety of scripture into account as opposed to individual verses. There are verses saying faith is essential, and there are verses saying works are essential.

I'm breaking my own rule here of not getting involved in faith/works debates. I think it has been overcomplicated frankly, I genuinely don't understand the sola fide side despite everything you all say, especially given the verses @Hermetic Seal shared above which explicitly refute it.
The verses don't refute Sola Fide because the Bible teaches Sola Fide. We ought to clarify what Sola Fide is: Salvation by Faith Alone. I agree that faith vs works is a false dichotomy. I am not making this false dichotomy. The Protestant view is that God freely gifts us Salvation and then good works sprout out from that (Sanctification). I do not believe we can accept or reject this gift in the sense that Jesus is only a potential Savior but that the Holy Spirit would cause to believe in God if it be God's will for us. Jesus did not offer Himself to us on the Cross. He offered Himself to the Father for us.

When I was a young child in vacation bible school, I asked a nice old lady working there what I had to do to be saved, and she asked if I genuinely believed in Jesus. I said yes (without even affirming that Christ was God or anything), then she said nothing I can do can take that from me, I can be assured of salvation. I wasn't even baptized, maybe she didn't know that, but I don't know if that would have mattered to her. I don't think I was ever convinced of that. I think what she told me there may have been one of the most dangerous lies ever told to me, ever. In my opinion it is more dangerous than telling a child to stick a fork in an outlet, because from that point on I could have converted to Buddhism for example and still venerate Christ, I could have apostatized, I could have gone on to be a serial criminal, because like Pastor Steven Anderson says, nothing can take that salvation from me. I consider this lie Satanic deception of well-intentioned people.
If you went into apostasy then 1 John tells us that you were never in Christ in the first place. Sola Fide is not saying you are saved by a simple affirmation or belief (because that would still be giving ourselves the decision of who God's Grace is extended to). For our intents and purposes, endure, persevere, live Godly lives, fulfill all righteousness, carry out God's will. But above that, Christ does not lose those who are given to Him by the Father and it is Christ who endures to the end on our behalf because without Him we can do nothing.
Edit: When we look at the thief on the cross, he was not saved so much by something he had said or done but something that Christ had done for him.

In addition to what DanielH said above, this is just engaging in scriptural gymnastics and the word equivocation fallacy, taking two verses that aren't even in the same Gospels and conflating two distinct meanings of the "will of the Father." Matthew 7.21 refers to the "will of the Father" in reference to the hearers, hence the preceding "does", in living according to God's will, a dramatic, culminating statement at the climax of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus has been teaching in exhaustive detail in the preceding chapters. In John 6.40 Jesus uses this same phrase to describe the Father's desire/plan for Christ to bring salvation, which is extremely obvious reading from verse 35 onward.
Hermetic, you quote Scripture and when I quote it back you call it scriptural gymnastics? This is why we believe not only Sola Scriptura but Tota Scriptura, that all of Scripture is inspired and no book is any more or less inspired than the other. The reason I called you out on this is because your interpretation in your usage of Scripture was to suggest that Scripture teaches a conditional, works-based Salvation opportunity to everybody and not an unconditional, freely-gifted Salvation to God's Elect.

Citing these verses only undermines the case for Sola Fide, and doesn't do anything to prove your tired assertion that the Orthodox "earn Salvation with good works." Christ earned salvation. We can either reject or embrace it, either of those encompassing the entire response of heart and actions, not a dualistic gnostic mental assent disconnected our behavior.
Your style is to make assertions but I'm curious in your how. How does John 6 undermine Salvation by Faith Alone?
John 6:29 ESV: "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom he has sent."
Hmm, so my belief in Christ is a work of God and not my own. Nothing about a morally neutral ground to stand on so that I may accept or reject it. Not sure what you've been getting at with the gnostic thing but at the end of the day, it's not about winning an argument but to come to a knowledge of the Truth.
 
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Elipe

Pelican
I have wrestled mightily with the once saved always saved argument. On the one hand, my human reasoning says, how could it be that easy? Just believe and I get to go to heaven? Surely there has to be more to it than that.

But on the other hand, how stressful is it to believe our salvation can be lost at any moment? Is a single moment of weakness in a lifetime of piety enough to condemn us to hell? What about if we come to Christ, fall away and come back again? Are we then saved once more as long as we don't fall away again? How many times can we fall away and come back, is there a limit? What if I decide I want to go have my sinful fun and once I've done that then I'll repent and live a holy life, as long as I don't die before repenting does that mean I've found the loophole to being saved but "getting away with it" at the same time?
It also raises the question: if salvation can be lost, is there a threshold of sin which causes salvation to be lost? Are you supposed to be in a state of repentance every second of your life? No man is perfect, and even as Christians, we continue to struggle against the flesh. Do you go to hell if you just happened to sin in exactly the last second of your life despite otherwise being pretty faithful?

With OSAS, all it takes is that confession that Jesus Christ is Lord and that you hold in your heart a true belief in the Resurrection. According to Romans 10:9, that is the starting point of salvation. But it is also written that faith produces works as proof of its genuineness. Just as we are grafted into the vine of the Lord, the fruits we produce is the evidence, the effect and not the cause of the fact that we have become spiritually grafted. Therefore, it is our new nature in Christ which should give us confidence that we are saved; a man who makes the Romans 10:9 confession but continues to behave unrepentantly and degenerately (which is different from the concept of struggling with a sin) is failing to demonstrate a true belief in the Resurrection, and therefore most likely lacks the faith that brings salvation.

I could have apostatized, I could have gone on to be a serial criminal, because like Pastor Steven Anderson says, nothing can take that salvation from me. I consider this lie Satanic deception of well-intentioned people.
Except the argument is that if you had genuine faith, then you wouldn't become a serial criminal (by which I assume you mean something like a murderer, as opposed to the modern notion of a serial thought-criminal) or an apostate. It is not in the nature of a fig tree to produce thorns and thistles. If you became a serial murderer, what does that say about your faith and what lies in your heart? A smart Protestant would question that you were saved to begin with if you're murdering people. The Protestant statement of faith is that the faith of Jesus Christ is transformative, and therefore there ought to be evidence of that transformation into a new creation. If you miraculously transformed a thornbush into a fig tree, you would expect it to produce figs, not thorns. Granted, continuing to exist in our flesh means that there is a little bit of thornbush in us, but repentance is part of the package deal; we are fig trees that desire the transformation to be complete, that we no longer produce thorns. It is thus, extremely unlikely that such a transformed person would engage in serial murder.
 

SimpleMan

Sparrow
Sometimes I have to ask what would God/Jesus want. Would he want a bunch of people debating and talking like this, or just 'doing' and getting on with things. This in some respects is the world of the mind, and our mind and thoughts are not always our friend.
Our heart however, is what matters remember.

In God there is no time as we all see it, so I can understand the multi-layered aspect of unsaved, being saved and saved. He see's us at all levels because he sees it ALL. We were not there at the beginning so we should be careful speaking for God, as we learnt in the book of Job

In the end, as I said to a friend, I'll find out when the time comes for Judgement. I'm an idiot, born in Sin, who found Truth, in a world full of nonsense. All we can do is our best, and keep trying to do our best, and follow Jesus as best we can in this very moment, and in turn God.
 

GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
It also raises the question: if salvation can be lost, is there a threshold of sin which causes salvation to be lost? Are you supposed to be in a state of repentance every second of your life? No man is perfect, and even as Christians, we continue to struggle against the flesh. Do you go to hell if you just happened to sin in exactly the last second of your life despite otherwise being pretty faithful?

With OSAS, all it takes is that confession that Jesus Christ is Lord and that you hold in your heart a true belief in the Resurrection. According to Romans 10:9, that is the starting point of salvation. But it is also written that faith produces works as proof of its genuineness. Just as we are grafted into the vine of the Lord, the fruits we produce is the evidence, the effect and not the cause of the fact that we have become spiritually grafted. Therefore, it is our new nature in Christ which should give us confidence that we are saved; a man who makes the Romans 10:9 confession but continues to behave unrepentantly and degenerately (which is different from the concept of struggling with a sin) is failing to demonstrate a true belief in the Resurrection, and therefore most likely lacks the faith that brings salvation.


Except the argument is that if you had genuine faith, then you wouldn't become a serial criminal (by which I assume you mean something like a murderer, as opposed to the modern notion of a serial thought-criminal) or an apostate. It is not in the nature of a fig tree to produce thorns and thistles. If you became a serial murderer, what does that say about your faith and what lies in your heart? A smart Protestant would question that you were saved to begin with if you're murdering people. The Protestant statement of faith is that the faith of Jesus Christ is transformative, and therefore there ought to be evidence of that transformation into a new creation. If you miraculously transformed a thornbush into a fig tree, you would expect it to produce figs, not thorns. Granted, continuing to exist in our flesh means that there is a little bit of thornbush in us, but repentance is part of the package deal; we are fig trees that desire the transformation to be complete, that we no longer produce thorns. It is thus, extremely unlikely that such a transformed person would engage in serial murder.

Once Saved Always Saved seemed to have come out of the Baptist tradition. I believe in it in the sense that God does not revoke our Salvation because we sinned (we sin daily). However, it has the connotation of being "here's your ticket punch to go to Heaven so now you can do whatever you want/go about as you were." Which is not Biblical, obviously.

I would rather point to the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints. Which is that once God saves you, He sanctifies you and carries you over the finish line. Once the Elect man is saved, he must now be transformed into the image of Christ through Sanctification and by the power of the Holy Ghost. His sinful nature still tries to resist God's Grace but no one can ultimately resist God's Will.

Philippians 1:6
English Standard Version

6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
 
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Elipe

Pelican
Once Saved Always Saved seemed to have come out of the Baptist tradition. I believe in it in the sense that God does not revoke our Salvation because we sinned (we sin daily). However, it has the connotation of being "here's your ticket punch to go to Heaven so now you can do whatever you want/go about as you were." Which is not Biblical, obviously.

I would rather point to the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints. Which is that once God saves you, He sanctifies you and carries you over the finish line. Once the Elect man is saved, he must now be transformed into the image of Christ through Sanctification and by the power of the Holy Ghost. His sinful nature still tries to resist God's Grace but no one can ultimately resist God's Will.

Philippians 1:6​

English Standard Version​

6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
My background is Baptist, but this sounds closer to the doctrine I was taught by my church, which admittedly was a bit unusual for a Baptist church (I would describe it as more serious). OSAS is more of a catchy slogan for it, but yes, basically, I was taught it is not a license to sin but the consequence of a transformative faith in Christ. That Christ would not allow us to slip out of His grip once He has us. At that church, great emphasis was placed on the state of one's heart and what master one serves, and on demonstrating fruits of the Holy Spirit as proof of one's faith. That pastor really threw gut punches with his sermons, it was definitely not the weak license to sin stuff people say OSAS is.
 
My background is Baptist, but this sounds closer to the doctrine I was taught by my church, which admittedly was a bit unusual for a Baptist church (I would describe it as more serious). OSAS is more of a catchy slogan for it, but yes, basically, I was taught it is not a license to sin but the consequence of a transformative faith in Christ. That Christ would not allow us to slip out of His grip once He has us. At that church, great emphasis was placed on the state of one's heart and what master one serves, and on demonstrating fruits of the Holy Spirit as proof of one's faith. That pastor really threw gut punches with his sermons, it was definitely not the weak license to sin stuff people say OSAS is.
Did your Baptist Church have a confession of faith?
There are Calvinist Baptists, 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
If you went into apostasy then 1 John tells us that you were never in Christ in the first place.

So in other words, you have no way of being sure you're actually saved either because at any point in the future you might apostatize, and your apparent faith was just an illusion. This puts you in no better position concerning assurance of salvation than the Orthodox, and arguably worse.

Hermetic, you quote Scripture and when I quote it back you call it scriptural gymnastics?

Yes, because your usage was wrong, and I explained how you made a clear mistake of conflating a phrase that means two different things in two different contexts, which is extremely obvious on actually reading the passages.

Your interpretation in your usage of Scripture was to suggest that Scripture teaches a conditional, works-based Salvation opportunity to everybody and not an unconditional, freely-gifted Salvation to God's Elect.

It's conditional based on you accepting it rather than rejecting it, to which your actual behavior (or "works" as the Calvinist calls it, hijacking Paul's language in reference to adherence to the rites of the Mosaic law and applying it in a sense never understood before the Reformation to mean "any moral behavior at all") is inexorably tied. As I've pointed out before, the rhetorical language protestants apply to this subject would seem quite bizarre and ad hoc in any real world situation, such as being offered a gift from somebody.

The Orthodox Christian is not saying that we have impressed God with our resume (the mistake of the Pharisees), therefore He has given us the "job offer" of salvation. Rather, our resume sucked, and out of grace and love Christ extends us an offer we didn't earn or deserve, and we can either take the offer, or leave it; and once made an "employee" through Baptism, we can either show up for the "job," or bail on it. (Disclaimer: this is a fresh analogy I came up with off the top of my head and there may be some glaring problem with it that misrepresents some aspect of Orthodox theology, but I thought readers might find it illustrative.)

How does John 6 undermine Salvation by Faith Alone?
John 6:29 ESV: "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom he has sent."

First, it's worth pointing out that you originally brought up John 6.40. I explained above how that verse undermines your case because it's not using "the will of my Father" in the same sense as Matthew 7.21. Now you're pivoting to a completely different verse. (Yes, it's in the same chapter, but that's just semantics.)

"Belief" doesn't mean "abstract mental assent disconnected from one's behavior," as Jesus' voluminous moral teaching makes extremely clear. And Jesus' listeners would have understood that quite clearly. There is no contradiction between this verse and Matthew 7.21-27, John 8.51, Philippians 2.12, or Hebrews 4.1, to name just a few examples. As you recognize, we must interpret Scripture holistically, and with this in mind, I think it's clear that "belief" encompasses a total mind/body/behavioral response (See also the link above for cultural context research lending further credence to this notion.)

Hmm, so my belief in Christ is a work of God and not my own. Nothing about a morally neutral ground to stand on so that I may accept or reject it.

Of course one's belief in Christ is a work of God. I couldn't believe at all if God didn't draw me toward Him. But it's also a matter of one's response. To believe otherwise is to turn vast parts of Scripture, where God tells Israel or X individual to obey him, or do this or that, and they disobey him, into nonsense, and at best makes God into a play-actor. It makes Christ's parable of the sower into nonsense as well, for that matter (an implication that deserves further treatment.) The implications of Sola Fide reveal that it can't hold up to scrutiny and is an interpretative presupposition originating in the 16th century and subsequently imposed upon Scripture.
 

Cleotis

Pigeon
Once Saved Always Saved seemed to have come out of the Baptist tradition.
It comes straight from the five points of Calvinism, namely, the “Perseverance of the saints”, which later on morphed into OSAS as we know it. Most of the early Baptists were strongly Calvinistic, as were most Protestants in general. As a result of American tent revivalism in the 19th & 20th centuries, the invention of altar calls, Sinner’s Prayer, etc. Baptists began to focus much more heavily on free will and human instrumentality in the salvation experience (e.g. making a personal decision for Christ) and naturally became less Calvinistic for the most part but they all retained their belief in “eternal security”/OSAS.
 
If you have received true faith (saving faith, living faith), you are saved for eternity. We are not talking about a faith that you imagine, but about the true faith given to you as a gift by God. This understanding of OSAS comes straight from the Bible.

The living faith justifies and causes good works, that do not justify, but are the fruits of faith - Ephesians 2:8-10.

John 6:37
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

John 10:29
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

We are given to Christ, we do not choose to follow Him, it is not a synergistic enterprise, but God's decision and only God's, and no one can snatch us out of His hand, neither we nor the devil can do that, no one. When God says "no one", He means "no one".

Being given to Christ means the eternal unconditional election and the faith in Christ Crucified that we receive in our lifetime. Election is always in Christ.

Acts 13:48
Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

They have been appointed to eternal life (in eternal past) and therefore they believed.

2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began

Romans 9:10-13
And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

The objection is: "No, Paul does not talk about uncondtional election, that would be unjust..."

Listen to what Paul has to say to such objections: What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. Romans 9:14-16

The Word of God could not be clearer and it comforts heart and soul.

God bless you all.
 
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GodfatherPartTwo

Kingfisher
So in other words, you have no way of being sure you're actually saved either because at any point in the future you might apostatize, and your apparent faith was just an illusion. This puts you in no better position concerning assurance of salvation than the Orthodox, and arguably worse.
If the Orthodox say that we don't know for sure then I would agree in a minute sense. Only God knows for sure because He's the One who elects. That said, Paul and John do write of knowing you have eternal salvation. The call is to confirm your election, not redeem.

It's conditional based on you accepting it rather than rejecting it, to which your actual behavior (or "works" as the Calvinist calls it, hijacking Paul's language in reference to adherence to the rites of the Mosaic law and applying it in a sense never understood before the Reformation to mean "any moral behavior at all") is inexorably tied. As I've pointed out before, the rhetorical language protestants apply to this subject would seem quite bizarre and ad hoc in any real world situation, such as being offered a gift from somebody.
Compare it to the sacrifices in the OT rather than me sending a gift to somebody's house. The atoning sacrifice in the OT was not something the people could accept or reject. They were commanded to do it and they did it. It was for Israel (the Elect), not Egypt, Syria, Greece, (non-elect) etc. Christ offered Himself to the Father for us, not to us.

The Orthodox Christian is not saying that we have impressed God with our resume (the mistake of the Pharisees), therefore He has given us the "job offer" of salvation. Rather, our resume sucked, and out of grace and love Christ extends us an offer we didn't earn or deserve, and we can either take the offer, or leave it; and once made an "employee" through Baptism, we can either show up for the "job," or bail on it. (Disclaimer: this is a fresh analogy I came up with off the top of my head and there may be some glaring problem with it that misrepresents some aspect of Orthodox theology, but I thought readers might find it illustrative.)
It's a good analogy defending your position but I reject the notion that God makes an offer to us. The way Paul says it, we are adopted into the family of Christ and were formerly sons of perdition. We would always reject Christ were it not for the Holy Ghost causing us to be born-again.

First, it's worth pointing out that you originally brought up John 6.40. I explained above how that verse undermines your case because it's not using "the will of my Father" in the same sense as Matthew 7.21. Now you're pivoting to a completely different verse. (Yes, it's in the same chapter, but that's just semantics.)
Yes, because your usage was wrong, and I explained how you made a clear mistake of conflating a phrase that means two different things in two different contexts, which is extremely obvious on actually reading the passages.
First, it's worth pointing out that you originally brought up John 6.40. I explained above how that verse undermines your case because it's not using "the will of my Father" in the same sense as Matthew 7.21. Now you're pivoting to a completely different verse. (Yes, it's in the same chapter, but that's just semantics.)

"Belief" doesn't mean "abstract mental assent disconnected from one's behavior," as Jesus' voluminous moral teaching makes extremely clear. And Jesus' listeners would have understood that quite clearly. There is no contradiction between this verse and Matthew 7.21-27, John 8.51, Philippians 2.12, or Hebrews 4.1, to name just a few examples. As you recognize, we must interpret Scripture holistically, and with this in mind, I think it's clear that "belief" encompasses a total mind/body/behavioral response (See also the link above for cultural context research lending further credence to this notion.)
I agree 100% with reading Scripture holistically which is why I find it odd that you're angry at me for comparing a verse from John to a verse from Matthew. There is no contradiction between John and Matthew. The Will of the Father is that we (the Elect) believe in the Son and be Sanctified as the result. If you're saying that saving faith is transformative then I agree 100%.

Of course one's belief in Christ is a work of God. I couldn't believe at all if God didn't draw me toward Him. But it's also a matter of one's response. To believe otherwise is to turn vast parts of Scripture, where God tells Israel or X individual to obey him, or do this or that, and they disobey him, into nonsense, and at best makes God into a play-actor. It makes Christ's parable of the sower into nonsense as well, for that matter (an implication that deserves further treatment.) The implications of Sola Fide reveal that it can't hold up to scrutiny and is an interpretative presupposition originating in the 16th century and subsequently imposed upon Scripture.
I'm not discounting the response. Our response is always No. The only time it's ever Yes is when the Holy Spirit makes us born again. As for Israel's disobedience, they were always disobedient unless God interceded for them. If you would like to take a deep dive into the parables I would love to go there with you.
 

MichaelWitcoff

Hummingbird
Orthodox
It is strange to me that those who reject the Bible's teaching on Election always identify with the non-elect rather than the Elect but I guess it's no wonder.
It’s called “humility.” When we read the Scriptures, it is always healthier for us to identify with the transgressors, the Pharisees, and the sinners rather than with the pure and the perfect. It results in a more accurate view of oneself and keeps us in repentance rather than pride. We ought to read about the sinners and ask ourselves in what ways we are like them, to keep us in remembrance of how far from God we truly are. This is the sort of humility that bears fruit, rather than reading the Scriptures from a place of triumphalism and condescension towards “those sinners who aren’t Elect like me.”
 

Aboulia

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi.

What is prayed, is what is believed, is what is lived. That's why Christ said you will know them by their fruits.

We are given to Christ, we do not choose to follow Him, it is not a synergistic enterprise, but God's decision and only God's, and no one can snatch us out of His hand, neither we nor the devil can do that, no one. When God says "no one", He means "no one".

It's a good analogy defending your position but I reject the notion that God makes an offer to us. The way Paul says it, we are adopted into the family of Christ and were formerly sons of perdition. We would always reject Christ were it not for the Holy Ghost causing us to be born-again.


Then you are a mindless puppet, and your god must be a mindless puppet too, for the Scripture says that man was made in the image of God. This sort of conception of God is false, and it leads to a Pharisaism where one feels better than the other due to group inclusivity. "God picked and chose me to be saved, out of everyone because he loves me" from this belief follows that if he didn't save someone else, it's because he doesn't love him the same way. It makes God the cause of damnation.

No. God is not like that at all. God is good, and respects our autonomy, he respects our decision either way. The only person whom can snatch you out of the hand of God is ourselves, and no-one else, it is by the exercise of your own free will, by co-operating with the Holy Spirit that saves us, granted that if we ever do something right for once in our life, it's something that we should have been doing all along, and since we are only servants doing what were supposed to, it's not to our own credit, since we willingly became God's slaves. God will not force someone to accept him, as God does not want us to force others to accept us.
 
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