Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week 3: The Assurance of Salvation in the Church

Last week at our weekly fellowship meeting we had the blessing of hearing about the Assurance of Salvation in the Church by Theophan, one of our fellowship members, who has recently converted to the Orthodox Faith. 
Theophan began his talk by asking us a question: Since we are university students, why are we studying the courses that we are doing? 

He then asked another question.  What do we do with the money that we make?

So when we look at the Church and its role, we can see it as our university degree or as the money we put in the bank, but instead of it being for this life, the church helps us reach  eternal life, a life close to Christ. 
Like a university degree the church provides us with the knowledge, the support and the stepping stones to form a close relationship with God and ultimately eternal life. 
Like the money we place in the bank we too use the church to cultivate our spiritual lives and by investing time in this our spiritual life we aim to receive an eternal reward. 
We as Orthodox Christians know that the Church is something that supports us and helps us to grow spiritually; why then do we insist on taking risks and moving away from the Church? Theophan used the example of the recent disasters which have occurred in Japan, in particular the nuclear disaster following the earthquakes and tsunami. Before building the nuclear power plants, there were other options that the Japanese authorities could have taken to supply power to the country, however they went with the risky option and built the nuclear plants to facilitate for the economic growth of the country. This risk that was taken has now resulted in a potentially devastating event that will have many consequences. 
Like the Japanese, we too take risks, we move away from God even though we know that it may mean that we will lose our opportunity to gain eternal life. 
Theophan concluded  by talking about the Sacraments of our Church, Holy Communion and Confession, and how it is vital to  participate in them.  If you want to defeat death, you can only go to Christ.

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