Connect the Dots

What do you think is the relation, if any, between the following passages? 

 2 Cor 5:18-19 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

Eph 1:10-11 “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” 

Acts 10:13ff “And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.”

25 Responses to Connect the Dots

  1. Michael,

    From what I have gathered from the Fathers is that each soul will receive Christ as much as it is able to do so. Each will shine a different brightness depending on how well they have developed the virtues to allow the life of Christ to be all in them. Salvation depends on accepting the life of Christ. There is no pass mark of holiness but only a mind of humility and repentance. Those who refuse to accept Christ in Faith, e.g. heretics, atheists etc or virtue, that is unrepentant of sins, will not be able to receive the life of Christ in joy. The important thing is to be progressing up the ladder of divine ascent and not falling off it or refusing to go higher at the time of our departure. God is looking for those willing to accept Him in all that He is so that He may be all in all. A near perfect man may fall into hell though pride or the worst of sinners may receive the crown of righteousness because of sincere repentance, humility and faith. However, one practised in virtue over many years while remaining in repentance and humility will receive a greater crown than one only little developed in virtue even though both are saved. Some may receive greater talents than others, as God desires, but more is expected from them. God judges and orders all justly and only He knows our hearts.

    I firmly believe that time will end at the Second Coming and that there can be no change of status for a soul. God’s gift is given in an instant and eternally. However, from the perspective of the soul God’s gift being infinite takes an infinite time to be received in our limitedness and we continue to go from glory to glory, while sinners suffer inversely. I liken the idea to the various perspectives of falling into a black hole, from one point it is instantaneous and from another it takes forever.

  2. Michael says:

    I have a question for Perry, Photios, whomever. Granted that all things have been redeemed in Christ. Elsewhere you have written that the cultivation of virtues is necessary for our eternal well-being, so that God’s presence will be for us a joy:

    “God’s glory is for all and will be communicated to all in “ever-being.” Those that have their hypostasis united with the logoi by constantly recapitulating these virtues in this life (by prayer, asceticism, and sacramentally in the Church), God’s glories are “ever-well being.” Likewise, those that choose not to practice these virtues, God’s glories are “ever-ill being.” Because the damned have not integrated or brought back into harmony their hypostasis with their natural virtue, it is God’s presence [as opposed to his absence] that is their misery.”

    Alright, I’m with you I think. But what about most of us who are not so perfect in our cultivation of virtues, but not totally bad either? In other words, what about those who, at the time of death, are not wholly sanctified? What will happen to them upon entering the Glory…or for them will the Glory be delayed until they are sanctified?

  3. Jeremy says:

    I won’t even attempt to add to this incredible conversation. This blog is very enlightening, when I can actually follow the posts and discussions. Thank you so much for that! 🙂 I just wish I could take this blog with me in my real life conversations, sometimes.
    Anywho, I just wanted to let you know (Perry), that I linked to this post on my blog. I wanted to make sure that was okay.

    Thanks again!

    Blessed Lent to all of you!

  4. Eric says:

    Thank you! But initially you simply asked: what’s the connection between the verses. Secondly you simply asked to think about icons. Respectfully, I think that was not being plain. However, I may simply be (probably ‘am’) stupid and slow.

    But now you have been plain, and I thank you for that.

    Blessed Lent to you, and may your continued ministry be fruitful!

  5. acolyte says:

    All Erics,

    I am being plain. The purification of all foods got me thinking some time back. When and how did this happen? And are the food laws then based on something true in the past but not true now? Plugging in recapitulation provides a nice explanation of when and how this purification took place.

    Often Orthodox will say that the veneration of icons is legitimated because there has been a change since the incarnation and so even a strict reading of the Ten Commandments doesn’t apply. I could never take that as a plausible argument since it lacked significant content.

    The major motivation for denying the legitimacy of veneration of icons in both the initial iconoclast controversy in the 4th century and the main one in the 8th was that God was at one end of the metaphysical spectrum and matter at the other. God was one and matter was many, God wa potent, matter was impotent, etc. Consequently to say that the divine could be united to matter cut across this Platonic schema of being.

    The underlying point of the iconodule position was that nothing was left out of Christ’s redemption, including matter. In fact, the exclusion of matter would imply all kinds of heresies like Gnosticism or Nestorianism because it would deny the reality of the Incarnation.

    Consequently the redemption of matter was the basis for veneration since God could be legitimately present in icons via his energies and so could his saints. This is why I think that the veneration of icons grew up with the veneration of relics since the deification of the body, specifically matter underwrote both.

    Consequently we have biblical grounds for the veneration of icons in the purification of foods.

  6. Eric says:

    Perry:

    First – to be clear I am not Eric W above . . .

    While I see that there is a logical inference one can make on a number of lines – the reconciliation of all creation in Christ; the hallowing of all creation by the death of Christ (e.g., when Christ died, all died); or that what the Church has, as the Body of Christ, hallowed, is hallowed (“And He [the Father] put all things under His [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:22-23)

    perhaps I, like Eric W, am missing the thrust of your argument – could you be more plain? Perhaps it is too subtle for guys with the name ‘Eric.’

    St. John Chrysostom’s homily on the passage in Acts indicates the reconciliation of the Gentiles and Jews (i.e., all mankind) is indicated by St. Peter’s vision, and this is ultimately the thrust of the great passage in Ephesians which I read as a coherent argument building in power from Ch. 1 into Chapter 2 (where he discusses reconciliation, in concert with the same theme in 2 Cor 5) and on into Chs. 3 and 4.

    St. John Chrysostom’s homily on 2 Cor 5 v. 11 & ff. (Homily XI) says some interesting things about this one passage:

    Ver. 17. “Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.”
    For seeing he had exhorted unto virtue from His love, he now leads them on to this from what has been actually done for them; wherefore also he added, “If any man is in Christ,” he is “a new creature.” “If any,” saith he, “have believed in Him, he has come to another creation, for he hath been born again by the Spirit.” So that for this cause also, he says, we ought to live unto Him, not because we are not our own only, nor because He died for us only, nor because He raised up our First-fruits only, but because we have also come unto another life. See how many just grounds he urges for a life of virtue. For on this account he also calls the reformation by a grosser name, in order to show the transition and the change to be great. Then following out farther what he had said, and showing how it is “a new creation,” he adds, “The old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.”

    What old things? He means either sins and impieties, or else all the Judaical observances. Yea rather, he means both the one and the other. “Behold, all things are become new.”

    Ver. 18. “But all things are of God.”
    Nothing of ourselves. For remission of sins and adoption and unspeakable glory are given to us by Him. For he exhorts them no longer from the things to come only, but even from those now present. For consider. He said, that we shall be raised again, and go on unto incorruption, and have an eternal house; but since present things have more force to persuade than things to come, with those who believe not in these as they ought to believe, he shows how great things they have even already received, and being themselves what. What then being, received they them? Dead all; (for he saith, “all died;” and, “He died for all;” so loved He all alike;) inveterate all, and grown old in their vices. But behold, both a new soul, (for it was cleansed,) and a new body, and a new worship, and promises new, and covenant, and life, and table, and dress, and all things new absolutely . . For instead of the Jerusalem below we have received that mother city which is above (Gal. iv. 26.); and instead of a material temple have seen a spiritual temple; instead of tables of stone, fleshy ones; instead of circumcision, baptism; instead of the manna, the Lord’s body; instead of water from a rock, blood from His side; instead of Moses’ or Aaron’s rod, the Cross; instead of the promised [land] , the kingdom of heaven; instead of a thousand priests, One High Priest; instead of a lamb without reason . . , a Spiritual Lamb. With these and such like things in his thought he said, “all things are new.” But “all” these “things are of God,” by Christ, and His free gift.

  7. Just found this Dismissal Hymn for this Sunday (of Orthodoxy).:

    We worship Thine immaculate icon, O God One, asking forgiveness of our failings, O Christ our God; for Thine own will Thou wast well-pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, that Thou mighest deliver from slavery to the enemy those whom Thou hadst fashioned. Wherefore we cry to Thee thankfully: Thou didst fill all things with joy, O our Saviour, when Thou camest to save the world.

  8. Perry Robinson says:

    Eric,

    Think about this, when were foods made clean? How?

  9. Eric W says:

    “Here is what I want people to think about. What is the relation to icons?”

    Well, I’m stumped. What is the relation to icons of these three verses/passages?

  10. William B says:

    I just got it too!

  11. Ah, I see it now. Good post Perry.

  12. Perry Robinson says:

    Here is what I want people to think about. What is the relation to icons?

  13. Michael says:

    Dear Perry,

    This may be slightly off topic — or maybe not since it deals with the restoration of all things in Christ — you mentioned long ago that the doctrines of the Trinity and Christology were real for you, that they helped you cope with evil. How do they do this for you? I would love to sit at your feet and learn on this topic.

  14. Eric says:

    I am not sure what the questioner seeks, as there seem many parallels we could make. However, inasmuch as the specific situation with respect to St. Peter was not food as such, but rather fellowship with Gentiles, I offer humbly that the answer is contained, in part, in Ephesians Chapter 2. I posted a brief meditation on this in November on my little site . . . it is hardly worthy of the minds here, but feel free to take at look at it and consider whatever is worthwhile from it

    http://forty-days-in-the-desert.blogspot.com/2006/11/church-and-reconciliation-to-god-in.html

    May God richly bless you all.

  15. Benjamin says:

    Jack,

    Succinctly put.

  16. Jack says:

    With regard to imputation, it is saying that Christ alone is saved, which is why we want to become memberrs of his Body. This is not reformed theology.

  17. MG says:

    To clarify/complete what both Michael and Christopher said: all 3 quotations have to do with the universal reconciliation of natures, and the need for there to be a reconciliation of persons by free will.

    2 Cor 5:18-19 is saying that God has in fact reconciled all created natures to Christ. Then it says that we have the ministry of reconciliation, a duty to reconcile persons. All persons in principle are forgiven/reconciled, but they must freely choose to respond and actualize that reconciliation.

    Ephesians 1:10-11 is saying similarly that all created natures have been reconciled to Christ. Then it talks about the particular created things that are human, and distinguished them as uniquely predestined because of their personal wills that sets them apart in a special category of being prepared for salvation.

    Acts 10:13 Is similarly saying that Christ has cleansed all created natures, and thus it is acceptable to eat the foods. However, Peter must be personally reconciled by an act of will where he consents to eat.

    And by the way Photios, are you aware of the distinction between imputation of sin to Christ and imputation of righteousness to us? Many non-Reformed theologians seem to affirm the former but deny the latter.

  18. Christopher says:

    There is a phrase of St. Maximus Confessor: Christ saved our nature, we must save our persons. Now, and not yet. Was, am, will be saved. We are raised because “one of us”, Jesus, has already been raised. This kept hitting me as I read the new translations of Loeb’s Apostolic Fathers. We truly are one human nature with one will, we just don’t realize it.

    Though not a big fan of sports, this seems to be the anthropological underpinning of the fanaticism people have for ‘one of their own’ or ‘their team’ when they have nothing to do with playing the game.

  19. Yeah, I’m jumpin over to the nearest Reformed church as soon as possible.

  20. Eric Weiss says:

    So … are you now going to be a Reformed Christian? How does this impact your Orthodox theology?

  21. It makes me think that a big part of the Reformed view of imputation is in fact true. God has reconciled the world through Christ and in fact CONSIDERS it holy and righteous even though it is falling apart.

  22. Michael says:

    All people and things “have been” (past tense) and are reconciled in Christ. The whole world *is* forgiven, *is* reconciled. Of course, it goes without saying that all are called to accept that fact and walk in the newness of life that Christ has given them so lavishly.

    Example: if I put a million dollars into a bank account for an infant, it belongs to that child — but will do them little good later unless someone tells them about it and helps them access those riches.

  23. Jeff Lee says:

    Our Priest this morning, after the Liturgy of the Presanctified, gave us a brief homily on the fast. His thoughts were that, although keeping the “physical” fast is quite important, keeping the spiritual fast is more so. If a piece of meat accidentally enters our mouth, that is okay as God has reconciled all things, but if an evil word escapes our lips, that is soul-killing.

    Of course he was referring back to these thoughts, that stand in opposition to all flavors of the dualistic heresies. Fasting is not done because there is something inherently evil about food, as the Church is oft accused of teaching, but is to help us control our passions, lead the life in the Spirit, and too become united with Christ.

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