The Apostles of our Lord were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, a sound came from heaven like a rushing wind, filling the entire house where they were sitting. Then, tongues of fire appeared, and one sat upon each one of Apostles. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as directed by the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
This miraculous event occurred on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. Many people from throughout the Roman Empire were gathered in Jerusalem on this day. When the people in Jerusalem heard the sound, they came together and heard their own languages being spoken by the Apostles (Acts 2:5-6).
“We Believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
How did Christ establish the Church for our benefit?
To help us as we walk the path to salvation He established the Church both here on earth and in heaven.
Beginning of the Church Triumphant
Life of saints in heaven is shown to us in the Book of Revelation. Saint John saw the following:
At the Resurrection there entered into the Kingdom the first who believed in Christ, the Apostles, first martyrs, confessors; and thus until the end of the world the Heavenly Home will be filled until it shall come to its perfect fullness. This is the Heavenly Church or the
Establishment of the
Church of Christ on Earth
The Church is not a social organization but is the presence and life of Christ on earth. The life of the Church is the life in Christ. It is not simply a place where we learn about God. In church we experience and participate in the life of Christ.
Paul referred to the Church as the body of Christ. By joining the Church we are uniting ourselves with the body of Christ. The Church is not a building, but a People who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who share in His life bringing His life into the world. It is through the sacraments of the Church that we are united to Christ. These are the primarily the sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Holy Eurcharist.
Saint Nicholas Cabasilas writes,
Christ is the head of the church
Christ is the Head of the Church (Eph 1:22-23).
He is the founder (Matt 16:18) and the Foundation (1 Cor 3:11).
Christ is the Chief bishop and the eternal High Priest. The Church
is Christ’s Body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Eph
Church is our spiritual
The Church is a Spiritual Hospital
the Orthodox view of Salvation differ from many in the west?
For an evangelical, to be saved means to be declared “not guilty” by God. In other words it means that when God looks at us He sees Christ’s righteousness instead of our sinfulness. It is through His atonement substituted on the Cross that Christ has satisfied the Father’s justice and honor and calmed His wrath. The saved person now stands before God “justified,” cleared of all charges against him and he can now enter heaven and enjoy the blessed life that god has prepared for His elect.
Those who reject Christ as the personal Lord and Savior remain in their sin that was passed down from Adam. When God looks at them He does not see the righteousness of His Son, but the sinful state of the sinner. All sinners are cast into hell as the deserved punishment for all who violate God’s laws.
We can see how they can think that once saved always saved makes sense. It one has accepted Christ then one can be confident that Christ will keep his promise: “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21) Being saved in only a matter of accepting Christ and God changes His view towards you.
For Orthodox is is quite a different story. Salvation is not a matter of how God views man. God is unchangeable and always looks on us with love no matter what our actions are. His love is unconditional. for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust (Mat 5:45) For Orthodox it is our ability to relate to God and not God’s ability to relate to man.
This is why there is a difference from the general salvation of mankind and a personal salvation. For Orthodox salvation means that we attain to a god-like state through which we attain a real union with God. Salvation refers to the spiritual state of the individual so Orthodox Christians are hesitant to make any pronouncement about their own salvation. For to an Orthodox Christian this would be to make a presumption on the judgement of God. But when an Evangelicals make a statement that they are saved they ares not commenting on the state of their soul but on the fact that God no longer sees them as a sinner. For an Orthodox Christians to say that they have been saved implies that they have attained a high level of righteousness before God.
We saw from the story of the fall of man that the fundamental sin that cause sin to enter into the world was pride. For us to be healed we must become humble and embrace the spiritual poverty spoken of by Jesus in the sermon on the Mount “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their is the kingdom of heaven…. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mat 5:3,8). The Scripture does not say that the kingdom of heaven are promised to be not guilty but to those who are humble and pure.
Orthodox reject the satisfaction theory of atonement
because it leaves man unchanged. It is not God’s attitude that must
change but man needs to be changed to be reconciled with God.
Orthodox also do not believe in he notion that once saved we are always saved. Salvation is a continuing task for Orthodox christians. At any time we can make choices that will cause us to fall off the path even after we have been baptized. Baptism is the starting point of our salvation.