Monday, January 24, 2011

How Spirit Works in Us for our Salvation

When we are Baptized and Chrismated in the Orthodox Faith we receive the seal of the Holy Spirit.  We are reborn and become a new person  We now have the force of God living within our heart.  How does this Sprit then act in us?

We are told that it remains active as long as we continue to be repentive, being honest about our shortcomings in our relationship with God, and continue to do our part to control our passions and give priority to the work of the soul.

The Holy Spirit works secretly within us.
Saint Theophan says,
Our spirit, set in motion, recollects within itself its natural Divine knowledge that God exists, maintains everything, and is the rewarder. The consciousness of this gives rise to a feeling of complete dependence on God, and enkindles the fear (awe, respect) of God. These and other things are stirred up by the conscience, that witness and judge of our affairs and feelings, among which is rarely to be found anything which God would look upon with kindness... The goodness of God makes it so that the true awakening of the spirit is brought about and accompanied by the Gospel. To the person who inwardly asks as a result of awakening of the spirit “Where shall I go? Where shall I run to?” The Gospel proclaims, “Why run anywhere? Come beneath the protection of the Cross and be saved. The Son of God, Who was incarnate, died on the Cross to cleanse our sins. Believe this, and you will receive remission of sins and encounter the grace of God.
The soul is nourished by the reading and contemplation of the Gospel. As we begin to internalize the lessons taught in the Gospel our spirit becomes alive. And from its action we begin to have spiritual zeal, a strong desire to be with God and to do his will.

Saint Theophan says, 
The Spirit, which, once it has heeded the good news of salvation and the Lord, undertakes with all its strength to do everything with good cheer and willingness, if only it may become a partaker of Gospel blessings. Such a disposition of our soul makes it ready for Divine communion, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, which has acted hitherto from the outside by arousing us, establishing itself within, not directly but through the means of a sacrament.     ....
The Divine Spirit arouses, the good news indicates where to begin. This is from God. But, having done this, God stops and waits for our consent.
The door of our heart has been opened in this way. We must also do our part. God wants us to love Him like He loves us. But to have true love it has to be a voluntary choice made on our part. So, God presents us with a choice, and only those of us who choose salvation, and follow His way, are saved.

St. Theophan says,
Repent, desire salvation in the Lord, and acquire good cheer in it. These actions are calming; they occur inwardly and give contentment through their local manifestation. The final action––the willingness to do everything which is required––is the real active force in salvation, insofar as it depends on us; it is the source of saving activity and the life that is saved...  It is the unquenchable zeal for pleasing God and complete sincerity in fulfillment of the Divine will, in the presence of complete faith in the Lord and trust in salvation in Him Alone.... When there is no zeal, then there is nothing at all; he who is not zealous for salvation is a non--participant in salvation.
Take heed, "When there is no zeal, then there is nothing at all." If you have this zeal, then work hard to maintain it. 

Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 110-115

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