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With Osipov on salvation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 8:00 am on Friday, May 2, 2008

What does it mean to live a spiritual life? How can we be saved? These are the topics that Prof. Osipov discusses in his talk “Foundations of Spiritual Life”.

Here are the key signs of true spiritual life, according to Osipov.

1) We need to understand our sinfulness. Yet the phrase `I am a sinner’ has lost its true meaning in the modern language; too many people say it without understanding. Osipov suggests a different way – we must understand how ill we all are. Only then we can understand our absolute need for a doctor. Who feels this way? Almost nobody. Many Christians prefer to think of themselves as basically good people who try to live according to God’s commands. Wrong, says Osipov! As long as you see yourself this way, you don’t need Christ. Healthy don’t need doctor and will never accept Jesus for who he truly is. Until we can see how envy tortures us, how much we depend on approval of others, how money exercise the power over us – until we can see and feel this we cannot claim to be Christians.

Mark 2:17

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

So many say “We don’t feel God’s presence in our life”. Very simple, says Osipov, this is because you don’t need him. Or you need him for something else (blessings, help, encouragement) rather than for the most important thing – to heal you from your sin. How often do we pray, asking “Father, help me to get rid of my envy!”?

2) We must obey God’s commands. No, Osipov does not say we can fully do so. But believing in Jesus and not living according to his commands is self-deceit. In Osipov’s opinion, oh so many problems in Christianity (heresies, wrong teaching, deviations from correct practice) stem from people claiming to be Christians but practicing disobedience.

But the main reason behind obedience is not to achieve perfection, it is to get a better view of your imperfections. To the one who obeys will be open a new world, the world of his own sinful passions, this incurable corruption that penetrates deep inside our soul. Why was I happy today when I learned about my bonus but suddenly became unhappy after realizing a colleague’s bonus was even larger? Why, when trying to help somebody financially I wanted others to notice this? Why? Osipov says that they only way we can notice this dirt inside our souls is by simple obedience to God’s commands.

3) Prayer. It is remarkable what people in the history of the church have been able to achieve by praying. Teresa of Avila reached the deepest stages of intimacy with Jesus. Francis of Assisi, a first person to experience stigmata, prayed all his life to experience the sufferings of Christ. `Nonsense’ says Osipov to all of these examples. That is the wrong emphasis of prayer! Jesus never intended for us to re-live his sufferings or treat him literally as a husband. He wants our obedience! We need to pray to God to heal us from our sinfulness!

I will mention a few of my own thoughts on the topic in my next post. Meanwhile, please share you thoughts on these points!



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May 2, 2008 @ 8:05 am

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May 9, 2008 @ 8:00 am

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Comment by Carmen

May 22, 2008 @ 6:12 am

Few thoughts from “My Utmost for His Highest’, by Oswald Chambers on prayer:
The purpose of God is not to answer our prayers, but by our prayers we come to discern the mind of God, and this is revealed in John 17. There is one prayer God must answer, and that is the prayer of Jesus – “that they may be one, even as We are One.” Are we as close to Jesus Christ as that?

God is not concerned about our plans; He does not say – Do you want to go through this bereavement; this upset? He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter,better, nobler men and women; or they are making us more captious and fault-finding, more insistent upon our own way. The things that happen
either make us fiends, or they make us saints; it depends entirely upon the relationship we are in to God. If we say – “Thy will be done,” we get the consolation of John 17, the consolation of knowing that our Father is working according to His own wisdom. When we understand what God is after
we will not get mean and cynical. Jesus has prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself as He was one with the Father. Some of us are far off it, and yet God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him, because Jesus has prayed that we may be.


Comment by John Feltman

July 28, 2008 @ 11:48 am

Sin is more than wrong doing. It is allowing evil thoughts to enter our souls without totally resisting such entry. A thought of some evil act such as lying with another man’s wife or watching pornography;these are just two of many other evils. We sin when we are accomplices in supporting such things as abortion on the pretext of abortion being a human right,beyond a medical necessity.Catholics address this in Canon Law 1329 as it being an offense punishable by Latae Sententiae(automatic excommunication).Tolerating sin is as bad as committing sin. It is when we learn to resist the entry of evil thoughts from entering our soul that we reach the threshold of accomplisng what
Christ told his deciples on the Mount when He presented them with the 6th Beatitude: Blessed are they who are pure of Spirit for they shall see God.
It is the only Beatitude that speaks of “seeing God”
beyond entering His Kingdom. And reveals the essense of what we must attain as humans to be as close to Christ like as possible. It is my belief that Christ was talking about more than impure sexual thoughts and deeds, It was more about being righteous in all matters dealing with our earthly existence with other humans. It took me 70 years(I am a slow learner} to understand and appreciate what Christ was telling us that day of His Sermon on the Mount,especially the 6th Beatitude which is now the beacon in my life. And although I probably will never attain that purity of which Christ spoke, I feel that I am getting closer to that state of purity of which He spoke.. When I pray now and that is often, I tell God I love Him and feel a rush of pure joy because I not only mean it but I feel it too. And never before in my life have I had a better ability to discern right from wrong and what Christ was telling us in the 6th Beatitude. I am seeing Him more clearly now because my soul is now purer and stronger and I am not ashamed of who and what I am,just a man trying to prove to God that I really love Him and appreciate His creating me to share in his Kingdom for all enternity through the crusifixion of Jesus Christ,his only son. And for creating me to share in the human experience which enables me to experience life in preparation of His Kingdom.And amazingly,had He not created me,neither the earth,the universe or His Kingdom would exist. So we are all part of God’s plans for mankind and each of us equally important as witnesses to His creations. And I now know that no sin is worth demeaning our worth to Him who has created us.

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