ORTHODOXY – PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
DOING WHAT THE GOSPEL LAW COMMANDS
We have mentioned that the work of faith and that of God are one, the beginning of faith being the recognition of Christ as Son of the Living God, and the end is obedience to His voice. But work cannot be accomplished without food, and no one can do the work of God, which is the law of righteousness, without the food that is bestowed upon them for this purpose by God himself. Work and food in both the ordinary and Christian mode of living are in the same way and depend on the same law. Work is done for the sake of food. Food further strengthens the man for the sake of accomplishing work.
For our food the Lord feeds us with the Body and Blood of Christ as He has instructed, available only in the Divine Eucharist of our precious Orthodox Faith. He who eats the food of God receive strength to execute the Father’s will which is the law of righteousness. Without the divine food performance of the divine work is not possible. However, He who eats the food of God can quite easily perform the task of fulfilling righteousness. This is what Christ says: “He who eats by body and drinks my blood abides in me and I in Him. And he who abides in me and I in Him bears much fruit and “without me you can do nothing”
It is Christ’s desire that we become holy as He is holy and perfect as His Father in heaven is perfect, and He makes this apparent difficult task very possible, for this constitutes the work and Christ supplies himself as the necessary perfect food and drink. As if He has said: I expect all those who believe in me to achieve a great task, and to become righteous and perfect just as my heavenly Father is righteous and perfect; but great is the power also with which I will strengthen them, and make them able to do what is commanded. I will afford them my Body and Blood for him to eat and drink. That when they have been strengthened by the divine power residing therein, they shall be able to perform the will of my Father and fulfill all righteousness just as I have done. I will be in them and they with me, they will be enabled to do all things.
The perfect righteousness and the perfect morality which the Gospel of Christ dictates to Christians are so bound up with the mystery of the Eucharist and the heavenly food, that without the latter no one can fulfill the former. As a sheep that eats grass can [produce nothing but milk. And a bee that feeds on flowers can produce nothing but honey, so he that eats the body and drinks the blood of Christ can produce nothing but righteous work as Christ also produced.
Christians will be held accountable if they eat the food of God and fail to do the works of God, just as they will be held accountable if they fail to eat the divine food and then do no divine work. Eating of the Body and Blood of Christ, the divine food, supplied by the Lord to enable our doing the divine work, must be approached with extreme thoughtfulness. Attending Church and not partaking of the divine gifts (unless under a ban) is also highly improper for the Lord prepares the food, how then can we turn away and shun the divine food? Both things are contrary to God’s will, partaking and doing no divine work, and not partaking and and not doing the divine work. Actually we have no choice and herein is the reason for our being baptized by three immersions. Every person entering the Orthodox faith must be baptized as he cannot be baptized in any other place but the holy Church. Triple immersion baptism in the Church can never be replaced with any foreign baptism. Baptism eliminates the old man and renders the newly baptized into a new and spiritual man who has put on Christ.
We shall do our best by preparing to eat and drink the divine food, through prayer and fasting, and doing the divine work, which is believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and keeping all His commandments. Without eating the divine food and doing the divine work it is not possible that we are on walking on the path of salvation. The Lord has done everything to make us holy and perfect, all that remains is our own decision to cooperate with Him.