One of the pleasures of having you here is that you move us to think about what it is we are doing; to make our Faith literally a lively one.
Perhaps I think I have Faith and believe that I am 'saved', but still the Tempter comes, and as St. James warns us (1:15):
Quote:1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
As St. Augustine wrote:
Quote:Because we are human, we live a most dangerous life among the snares of temptation[Letters, 250]
Almost the most difficult thing at times is to obey the injunction in St. James 1:6 to 'ask in faith, with no doubting'. Yet if we have not Faith, we have nothing:
Quote:1:7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
1:8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. [St. James 1:8-9)
Bede told us that the person who doubts that he will receive the heavenly gifts
Quote:will easily abandon his faith when he is tempted and be carried away into various sins as easily as if he were blown about by the winds
Any 'system' that is not rooted in the Risen Lord is, itself, double-minded in the sense which St. James writes about. That is one of the reasons why the Church, as the living embodiment of the Tradition is not just a 'system' or a spiritual museum. At its best it offers us the support we need to nourish that Faith through the trials of this life; but how often does it fall short of that itself?
As you have said in a previous post, He commands us to love one another; yet how easily Christians have left themselves open to the rebuke that they spend most of their time doing the opposite? Not long ago I remember reading a proclamation from some of the Athonite Monks laying into the EP for receiving Pope Benedict; whatever provocation they thought they had received, their language was deeply shocking; almost as much as the defence of it by some on the grounds that it was 'tough love'. Where is the line between 'tough love' and sheer human willfulness and love of one's own point of view? There never was a tyranny that did not defend itself with the argument that what others thought was wrong was done for the highest motives; that does not automatically make it right.
One reason I am attracted to a generous Orthodoxy is that it seems to embody that injunction to love even our enemies. It is not empty of doctrine, it knows the importance of right belief and right worship; but it knows that part of both is that we should love each other as He loved us. Here is both a beginning - and an end.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)