Thursday, September 22, 2016

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one 
God and Father of all who is above all and through 
all and in you all” (Eph. 4: 5-6).

     There is an enormous reason for us Orthodox Christians to struggle to maintain our unity of the spirit in the bond of peace and thus become one body and one spirit, who is our Lord Jesus Christ, our Head, our Creator, our Redeemer and our Resurrection.

      St. Paul reminds us that we all must have the exact same faith are baptized into the same  one and only Orthodox baptism, and that we worship one God and Father of all, for bring in perfect unity is the only way to follow Christ. Just as there cannot be two Christs so there should be complete unity as one with no divisions among the faithful. Christ shed His one blood while on the Cross and with His one mouth He offered prayer for all of us in the garden of Gethsemane.

     The oneness in faith indicates that the many faithful followers of Jesus Christ follow the same course, the same teaching and keep the same commandments, and thus they become like one person.
The oneness of baptism is today not observed by many hierarchs and priests. Whether a person never went to a church or went to a false non–Orthodox church, everyone with no exceptions that has not been baptized in Orthodox triune immersion has the need to be baptized into the one baptism for remission of sins and life everlasting. Orthodox Baptism performed only in Orthodox churches, as St Paul teaches above, is most necessary for all who desire to be saved.

     The one God is also a single united Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit  and we are baptized into each of the persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit being immersed into each by the three immersions. The unity of the Church must be as the unity of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, as the unity of Christ who as God and man is the Godman, We know that unity is critically important.

     Everyone must be alert and be certain that the triune Baptism is always performed by the priest or bishop and that each immersion is completed properly, for this is the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He sent His apostles forth telling them to “preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit.” Properly done, baptism represents our triune descent into the death of Christ and rising from beneath the water is rising into third day glorious resurrection of  Christ.

     A portion of this quote speaks of God being “above all and in you all.”  If we reflect on these all important words they ought to cause us to tremble and jump as we  rejoice! For God is the greatest and the Cause and Creator of everything that exists and yet He chooses to humble himself and dwell within each one of us. What a marvelous and delightful thing to ponder! God dwells in me and seeks to make me into a god like himself. But the marvel is that He is also helpless in that He can do nothing without our cooperation and free choice with a deep desire to return His love for man with our love. 

     With this knowledge comes a great responsibility to speak to God and delight in the fact that we are able to do this, for he will never reject anyone who comes to him in sincerity, and rejoices with those who approach Him in love.