Sunday, August 16, 2015

Part Four

The Basic or Fundamental Law of the Church

     What is a law?  Usually it is the will of a ruler or rulers to those under them. Laws are usually sanctioned with rewards or penalties. This gives force to the law and good reason for its observance. It is impossible to begin conceive the human race without necessary laws. The first law to be made by a ruler or a state is called the basic or fundamental law, without which the state could not exist. Thus the will of God for those ruled by Him for the edification of the Church, and sanctioning a reward or penalty, is called a law. The first law made by God for His Church is called its fundamental law. With this law the Church continues to exist, without it would be reduced to nothing. The fundamental law of the holy Orthodox Church is this: “It is the duty of every human being to recognize Christ the crucified as His beloved Son, as the right and perfect Logos or Word of the perfect Mind, and to listen to what He says." 

     Everyone who accepts and submits to this law is set on the path to salvation and eternal life and can be saved, while those who reject this law are on the road leading to perdition and eternal death. This cannot be taken lightly as the law is real, the reward is exceedingly great and the punishment is exceedingly torment.

     This fundamental law of the Church was made effective at the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River, for after His baptism and at the same time as the Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove, the Father cried out from heaven: “This is my beloved Son in whom I have well decided; listen to Him.” John the Baptist believed by the people to be a prophet, preached and showed this same fact to them. Also on Mt Tabor at the Transfiguration of Christ, the same voice spoke from within the cloud, saying: “This is my beloved Son in whom I have well decided; listen to Him.”

     And this voice says Peter in his second epistle: “which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.” That is the reason why after the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, he reminded the Jews: “For Moses truly said unto the fathers:  A prophet shall the Lord your God raise you of your brethren like unto me, Him shall you hear in all things whatever he shall say unto you. And it shall happen, that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22-23).

     As we would say among the Jewish people: Know that the law which Moses prophetically announced is now in force; and everyone who behaves contrary to it has hell everlasting as a punishment. This is the fundamental law of the Church, signified by Moses, and now it is sent by the Father in His own divine voice.  This law establishes the Church and maintains it, and if it be abolished the Church will also be completely destroyed. This law makes it clear that whoever fails to recognize Christ as the Son of the Living God cannot become a member of the Church and is destined to perdition.  If no men on earth act in accordance with the will of the Father we cannot conceive that there exists a Church of Christ. If it is admitted that there are men behaving with the will of God and this law, the Church is constituted by them and will be seen as well.

     A heathen becomes a Christian when he behaves according to the will of the Father God, when he recognizes Christ as His Son and begins listening to what He says. A Christian falls from the Church and becomes a heathen as soon as he disregards this law and fails to adhere to it until the end. Thus, when all men disregard the voice of the heavenly Father, the Church of Christ is abolished ceasing to exist, being constituted and subsisting as the totality of those behaving in accordance therewith Since a heathen becomes a Christian by conforming to this voice; and since a Christian who fails to adhere becomes a heathen, the voice of the heavenly Father that said: This is my beloved Son in whom I have well decided; listen to Him, is the fundamental law upon which the Church has been built, and upon which all evil and contrary powers which attack it are crushed to pieces. 

     As the Church rests upon this law as a base, so all its laws and ordinances are grounded upon this law as their support and principal, flowing out of it as a spring, being all of them summed up in it, as are their parts in their whole. No voice that is opposed to Christ and alien, has any place in the Church. Wherever alien voices have the sanction of the law and dominate the voices of Christ, there is Babel, and not the Church and city of the living God. That is why Christ says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him; for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:27,5).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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