- Apr 26, 2012
As a member of the Orthodox Church, it has been an inspiration to see the life of the Church returning to the Russian people. It is also very encouraging to witness Russian President Vladimir Putin's active role in this miracle of God's grace moving in Russia after many centuries of suffering.
In recent years, while visiting an Orthodox Church, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Church, I was also encouraged by the guidance of a priest from Russia. While teaching on the scriptures, my faith was confirmed as he spoke about Nathaniel in saying, "before me stands a man of no deceit."
The morning sun also shone through the Church East window, warming the church, and myself and all present. Having difficulty reading a Bible I have kept from childhood, the morning sun's ray's shone through the window upon the Bible, helping me to read the words as I listened and took part in the Church service, called the Divine Liturgy, and the moving hymns of the Church.
Having questions about the Church, and a book about the "Ladder of Divine Ascent," thinking it appeared we must earn our way to Heaven by good works, step by step, another Church teacher said that, "the first step of the ladder is that it must be received as a free gift.".
Being obsessed with my sins, I was also encouraged by the words of a brother, who is a family member and retired priest and a devoted and stable Orthodox Christian, (unlike his maverick brother at times) who said, our sins are a "drop in the ocean," of God's mercy. And that sanctification accompanies justification (paraphrase). I believe his words were, "if we were not justified, how could we be sanctified?" (paraphrase).
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