"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have Mercy on me, a sinner."
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation
God’s Love God's love makes salvation possible. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. (Isaiah 63:9) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). + + + + + + + "God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves. " + St. John Chrysostom.
God’s Mercy God's mercy is His undeserved compassion. God’s choice of a people to share His saving love and mercy took place before the world began and He has offered His love to sinners in every age. Of God's Old Covenant people, Deuteronomy 7:6 says, "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." (cf.Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Chronicles 16:13; Psalm 89:3, 135:4; Isaiah 43:10).
Of God's New Covenant people, St. Paul wrote, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" (2 Thessalonians 2:13), and to the saints at Ephesus he wrote, ". . . even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world." (1:4). Because God is love (1 John 4:8), He has sovereignly turned His mercy towards us, unworthy sinners, and thus He gives us grace that we might see Christ and follow Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. + + + + + + + "Human nature is deified for the sake of the boundless compassion of the Son of God; and its sins are purified; the defiled are sanctified. The ailing are healed. Upon those in dishonour are boundless honour and glory bestowed. Those in darkness are enlightened by the Divine light of grace and reason.” + St. John of Kronstadt, Sermon on the Nativity of Jesus Christ
God’s Grace Our loving God, having mercy upon His people, gave them not the punishment they deserve; instead, He gave them the gift of life they don't deserve; the gift of eternal life and salvation which is in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul said to the saints in Rome, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:23-24); and, "For the wages ofsin is death; but thegiftofGodis eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." This is God's amazing grace! + + + + + + + "The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God." + St. John Cassian, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1), “On the Eight Vices: On Pride”
Man's Guilt It is important to understand that mercy and grace are not needed by those who are pure and innocent, but by those who are guilty and thus perishing in sin. Likewise, the living are not in need of life, the dying however, are. St. Mark records our Lord Jesus saying, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." All mankind is guilty before thrice Holy God (1 John 1:8-10). For this reason, ALL of us need God's love, mercy, and grace in order to be saved. St. John records Jesus's words in John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Also in John 6:51, Jesus said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
Understand the Severe Consequences of Sin Unless you recognize your sinful state before Holy God, you will never be persuaded of the need for the Savior, thus, you will justify your sinful condition and live accordingly. Unless you sense your great need to be reconciled to God and redeemed by Him, you will never repent; you will never trust Him, thus, you will remain eternally lost, lifeless, and resistant to our Lord's admonition in Luke chapter 13, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
God Calls His People Through the good news--the Gospel, St. John tells us that God calls His sheep by name; and they hear Him and follow Him (see John 10). The Holy Spirit ensures God's people hear the call; the good news that Christ Messiah has come to redeem sinners from their captivity in sin and death, thus God saves sinners by grace and gives them life eternal through believing in His Name. Romans 9:14 teaches us, How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (See Acts 2:38-41)
God Justifies In Job 25:4, the question is asked, "How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" Justification is God’s sovereign declaration that a guilty sinner is made righteous, having been cleansed by Divine grace through faith in Christ. All who put their undivided faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation are justified by God. When God's mercy and grace gives us faith through the powerful Gospel, the result of that faith is the gracious "gift" of justification that brings us peace. Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." To the Galatians, St. Paul wrote: "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” (Galatians 3:3-8, NKJV).
While justification that saves sinners is God's work alone (for only he can justify), saving justification is never alone as the truly justified man or woman (having been converted by the Holy Spirit) necessarily bears fruit which demonstrates justification (James 2:14-26). St. James explains the relation between justifying faith and justifying works in James 2:22, "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" Protestants teach the erroneous doctrine Sola Fide, by faith alone, even though the then Bishop of Jerusalem clearly taught the first Christians that faith is blessed by God (made perfect) by works of righteousness. King David penned a Psalm in which he began with a question, "Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?" His answer is powerful: "He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, . . ." Another Psalmist wrote in 84:11, "for the Lord God is the sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." + + + + + + + “Let us therefore join with those to whom grace is given by God. Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being humble and self- controlled, keeping ourselves far from all backbiting and slander, being justified by works and not by words….Why was our Father Abraham blessed? Was it not because of his deeds of justice and truth, wrought in faith?…So we, having been called through his will in Christ Jesus, were not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the almighty God justified all men.” (Letter to the Corinthians 30:3, 31:2, 32:3-4). + Clement of Rome
God Sanctifies (Theosis) Sanctification is the Holy Spirit's work and a gift to God's people which sets us apart for God's holy purposes. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime as God faithfully works in us to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Upon those being sanctified by God, the Holy Spirit places His seal (2 Corinthians 1:19-22; Ephesians 1:3-14). Because of the Holy Spirit's work in our sanctification, we are now inclined and motivated to live holy or "sanctified lives" in a world where Christ-like piety is despised (Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 2:10). Salvation leads to creation of sanctified affections which means we love the Lord and desire to serve and obey Him with all our hearts. This is our sanctification, or more properly called, our theosis! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3) + + + + + + + “When we have attained some degree of holiness we should always repeat to ourselves the words of the Apostle: “Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me’ (1 Cor. 15:10), as well as what was said by the Lord: ‘Without Me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5)." + St. John Cassian
God Glorifies Glorification is the final application of all God's graces to the resurrected Christian in the eternal state. Theosis is the process throughout one's life of becoming holy, like God. St. Paul tells us we “will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3) and awaiting us is “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Jesus Himself prays to the Father concerning us, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them” (John 17:22), and perhaps most shocking of all, Peter says we will “. . . become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). + + + + + + + “He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man ... might become the son of God.” + Irenaeus of Lyons
Because God is Merciful, Gracious, and Faithful to us START LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE TODAY!
Be Baptized with Water Baptism, which is called the introductory Sacrament, is the means of grace by which we are initiated into church life. Baptism is a physical, outward testimony of a spiritual, inward transformation wrought by God (by grace) and it is also a symbol of fellowship with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism depicts believers being grafted into Him, the remission of sins, and the willingness to submit to God through Jesus Christ and to live and walk in newness of life. The word ‘baptism’ itself means plunging into water. In the Christian tradition going down into the water depicts symbolically going down into the tomb with Christ, that is participation in his death, while emerging from the water expresses the overcoming of death, that is resurrection together with the Lord, which is the birth of a new man. “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). The Mystery of Baptism was established by our Lord Jesus Christ himself with his command to the Disciples to baptise ". . . in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). Christ himself was baptised and his Baptism became the type and model of our own Baptism. Baptism is not a divine pass that will get us into Heaven automatically. The sacrament must be followed by a personal awareness or awakening to the many gifts of God’s love bestowed upon us through this great sacrament.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16 “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him...” Colossians 2:12
Attend Church Regularly In one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church . . . "Church," in the strict sense of the word, ekklēsía, means the "called out ones." The church is comprised of the whole number of the elect called by God from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation; chosen by God and purchased for Him with Christ's blood. The church is the one holy, spiritual body of Christ (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 10, 12); a living Temple (Ephesians 2; 1 Peter 2:1-5) of which Christ is the head over a diverse multitude who unite in reverent, orderly worship in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The church is a new covenant community made holy by the Holy Spirit and is the “. . . pillar and bulwark of Truth” (1 Timothy 3.15). The Holy Spirit empowers qualified men to oversee Christ's church, its worship, the solemn administration of religious rites, the teaching of Scripture, protection its doctrines, the defense of the faith against heresies, the enforcement of Christian integrity, and the spiritual and practical care of God's people. The church is catholic or "universal," because it is present in heaven (Revelation) and on earth (across the globe) and exists wherever the truth and power of the Gospel has conquered souls for Christ. The unified, sanctified church of Christ is also"Apostolic" when it honors time-honored sacred traditions that find their echo in sacred Scripture. The Christian Church is the unified assembly called out of the world for sanctification through the Sacraments and sent back into the world to share the good news of forgiveness, peace, love, and eternal life in Jesus' Name.
If any Christian hopes to grow in faith, hope, and love; thus, becoming more like Christ, it is essential that we disciple ourselves to assemble with God's people for worship regularly; preferably, every time the church meets. In the church, connect with fellow believers who read and practice the truth for the glory of God. Don’t try to make it on your own. + + + + + + + “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
Read and Obey God’s Word God’s Word is the source of faith and hope. Read it often, believe it and obey it. The Church Fathers, too, are a great source of inspiration and encouragement. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10). Pray Often Prayer is childlike conversation with God where He listens to all that's on your heart. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” I John 5:14-15 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6
Resist the Devil Temptation is not sin but yielding to temptation is sin. In spite of the fierce attacks from Satan and his workers, we are called and empowered to overcome of sin by dawning God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil (Ephesians 6:13-18). “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Be Separated from the Sins of the World As God instructed his chosen people, Israel, to remain separate from the godless ways of the world, He also instructed His church in the New Testament to “come out from among them, and be ye separate.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) The Bible knows nothing of salvation apart from obedience. A superficial decision to “accept the Lord” while retaining a love for the pleasures of the sin of the world will not yield the power that transforms the soul and consistently overcomes sin. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13). And, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? …Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18
Be Transformed A born again believer considers self-denial and self-discipline a privilege. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Practice Holiness By the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit, seek to live an overcoming, pure life in all your thoughts, motives, conversation and actions. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16). “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.