Tag Archives: works

Why do the Orthodox Need the Gospel… #5

(Note:  Before reading, please understand that I am not attacking the Orthodox Church.  In general, they have an amazing understanding of the majesty of God, a deep appreciation for artwork and beauty in worship, a respect for tradition, a love of history, and many more admirable qualities.  However, many who call themselves “Orthodox” are desperately in the dark.)

Of all the places I’ve lived, Bucuresti is by far the most religious.  Orthodox churches are on almost every block, it’s common to see priests on the streets, and most people believe God exists.  So, in such a religious place, why am I here sharing the Gospel?  Here is reason number five…

Reason #5 – I’ve Already Been Baptized…

Despite the religious observance, the vast majority of those with whom we’ve spoken have had little to no inward religious life.  We have met many who told us flatly, “I have been baptized; I gave an offering,” as if Christianity was simply a matter of doing a few religious things.  But Jesus wants to be first in our hearts.  In fact, he strongly rebuked those who had the right works but the wrong heart:  “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me” (Mark 7:6).  People need to know that Jesus came for their heart, not just for an occasional glance in his direction.

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Why do the Orthodox Need the Gospel… #4

(Note:  Before reading, please understand that I am not attacking the Orthodox Church.  In general, they have an amazing understanding of the majesty of God, a deep appreciation for artwork and beauty in worship, a respect for tradition, a love of history, and many more admirable qualities.  However, many who call themselves “Orthodox” are desperately in the dark.)

I was speaking with someone about Jesus when he bluntly ended our conversation with, “Romania is an Orthodox country.”  It’s true many have heard about Jesus and even believe in God, but there is much work yet to do here.  So, why do we still need to preach the Gospel in Romania?

Reason #4 – Saved by Faith Works…

Orthodox theology says men are saved by grace from God, but people are taught grace is given only after work is done.  The church, for example, teaches that after a man dies, he will not enter heaven until a relative gives an offering.  (What if he has no relatives?)  Also, if a man realizes he is in sin, he is told to give a donation to a priest in order to release forgiveness.  (Didn’t Jesus require simply repenting?)  Romanians, even faithful Orthodox believers, need to know that forgiveness is not given based on religious observance but the kindness of Jesus.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Righteousness Goes Before Him

I love it when I’m reading the Bible and I “discover” a verse that “wasn’t there before.”  This morning, Psalm 85:13 stood out to me:  “Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.”

On the one side, the coming of Jesus into our lives makes us righteous, purifies us.  His feet are like burning bronze, fire (Revelation 1:15), and when he steps in, he burns up all the garbage.

But on the other side, continuing in holiness prepares the way for him to work in us.  When I live a holy life, a separate life, I become a place welcoming to the Spirit.  Paul wrote, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  If I can grieve him, then surely I can be welcoming to him, too.

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