Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hold On! and be saved by grace

Bishop Nikolai

From The Prologue of Ohrid, by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, for today's date:

on saving grace -- By grace ye are saved (Ephesians 2:5, 8).
Who can comprehend and acknowledge that we are saved by grace -- that we are saved by God's grace, and not by our merits and works? Who can comprehend and acknowledge that?
Only he who has comprehended and seen the bottomless pit of death and corruption in which man is engulfed by sin, and has also comprehended and seen the height of honor and glory to which man is raised in the Heavenly Kingdom, in the realm of immortality, in the house of the Living God -- only such a one can comprehend and acknowledge that we are saved by grace.
A child was traveling by night. He stumbled and fell into hole after hole and pit after pit, until he finally fell into a very deep pit from which he could in no way escape by his own power. When the child gave himself over to the hands of fate and thought his end was near, there was suddenly someone standing over the pit, lowering a rope to him and telling him to grab the rope and hold firmly to it. This was the king's son, who then took the child home, bathed him, clothed him and brought him to his court and set him beside himself.
Was this child saved by his own deed? By no means. All he did was to grab the end of the rope, and hold on. By what, then, was the child saved? By the mercy of the king's son. In God's relationship with men, this mercy is called grace. By grace ye are saved. The Apostle Paul repeats these words twice in a short span, that the faithful might recognize and remember them.

Brethren, let us comprehend and remember that we are saved through grace by the Lord Jesus Christ. We were in the jaws of death, but have been given life in the courts of our God.

O Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, by Thee are we saved. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


Gumbo Lily said...

Yes and Amen! I hold out my hand to His rope and let Him haul me up. Thank you, Jesus!

Jeannette said...

Such a simple and memorable image to remind us...thank you for sharing this homily.

Pom Pom said...

This jives with what Bill and I have been talking about lately. Thank you.

Cranberry Morning said...

God's grace. What an unlikely thing that He should reach down to sinful mankind and rescue us!

I saw on your profile that one of your favorite books is 'The Everlasting Man.' It is one of my favorites, along with 'God in the Dock' by C.S. Lewis and 'True Spirituality' by Francis Schaeffer.

debbie bailey said...

If I may be so bold as to add something to your analogy: Instead of the boy reaching out and grabbing the rope, he is knocked out cold when he fell into the pit. The kind man jumps down into the pit, throws the boy over his shoulder, and then climbs out.

If we're truly DEAD in our trespasses and sins, we can't even reach out our hand to get the rope. God does it all; even gives us the ability to come to him.

GretchenJoanna said...

Debbie, I appreciate your comments. I know the Reformed understanding of total depravity and did hold to it for a time, but now I am Orthodox, and find the Church's teaching on salvation to be more sensible and true to my own experience. The fact is, we are not unconscious of our predicament, nor completely unable to do anything. Yes, it is of God's grace that we have strength to make a move toward Him by taking hold of the rope, but He asks us to do it, when He says "Come unto Me," and all the many other such exhortations and commandments in Scripture.

How and when He gives us grace, and what being dead in sin means, we may disagree on, but I think we are like-minded in giving our Lord all the credit for our salvation, Praise His holy Name!