Stricken with Death

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” John 14:15.

A true Christian is one who is striving to abide in the commandments of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

For the one tasting of the goodness of God, even just a little bit, the commandments become “good and light” (cf. Matt. 11:30).

Through conforming our life, our way, to that of the Lord, to His Word, our spiritual eye is enlightened and purified, “The statutes of the Lord are right, gladdening the heart; the commandment of the Lord is bright, giving light unto our eyes” (Ps. 18:9/19:8)

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Thus, the only manner in which the way, the path, of a person is directed aright, made light, is through conforming to the Word of God. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my paths” (Ps. 118/119:105).

For a true Christian the Word, the Commandment, of God has its origin not in anything of this world, not in mere man, but in the God-Man Jesus Christ Who has revealed Himself to us. It is received through the revelation of Jesus Christ (cf. Gal. 1:12).

Those who actively reject the luminous Word of God gradually have the eyes of their heart darkened. Their “reason” becomes madness.

St. Macarius the Great says, “The Word of God is God. And the word of the world is the world. There is a great difference between the Word of God and the word of the world and between the children of God and the children of the world. For every begotten offspring resembles its proper parents. If, therefore, the offspring of the Spirit gives itself over the word of the world and to earthly matters and to the glory of this age, it is stricken with death and perishes, whence it came into existence” (Fifty Spiritual Homilies, Homily 46).

Our Lord commanded us, as those who follow after Him, to be watchful and to take heed. He says this numerous times in the Gospels, see Matt. 7:15; Lk. 21:8; Mk. 13:5 as just a few examples. The Apostle Peter warns Christians, “Therefore, beloved, knowing this (the Word of God) beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability” (2 Pet. 3:17).

Darkness will consume us only if we leave the light.

There are those even who seem to be in the Orthodox Church who have stopped listening to the Word of God and begun to preach the word of the world. Their eyes have been darkened and they now think that their darkness is light. As St. Macarius said, they are stricken with death and thus can only offer death.

To avoid ambiguity I will gladly name a few of the wolves and sheep’s clothing, the bearers of the word of the world, those delighting in death and actively spreading it as if it were the truth: orthodoxy in dialogue, public orthodoxy, orthodox christian studies at Fordham. The Wheel also seems to enjoy dabbling in the word of the world. They feel liberated on the “broad way” of fallen reasoning and they disdain the “narrowness of the straight path” of the Commandments of God.

The false church in Ukraine under the EP is also an example of the attempt to cloth the word of the world in Orthodox garments.

It may be that those who are to be Shepherds of Christ flock bear more culpability, for some refuse to clearly speak against these preachers of the word of the world in the name of the Orthodox Church. Some of the above-mentioned groups are covered and encouraged by those who are to be shepherds of Christ’s flock.

It would be good for us to hear these words of the Lord, “’Woe to the shepherds of who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!’, declares the Lord … ‘You have scattered My flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you and your evil deeds’” (Jer. 23:1-2). And again the Lord speaks with fierceness to the shepherds of Israel, “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not sought … so they were scattered because there were no shepherds … Therefore, hear the word of the Lord you shepherds, As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because My sheep have become a prey, and My sheep have become food for all the wild beasts … Behold, I am against the shepherds, I will require My sheep at their hand …” (Eze. 34:4, 7-8, 10).

Let us trust only the pure light of the Word, the Commandment, of God. Let us follow only those shepherds who “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” Let us cast aside all those false ones who desire to pervert the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They are, as the Scriptures testify, “Hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by the wind; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved” (Jude 12-13).

As Christians, we are called to the “foolishness” of the Gospel which smells of death to those who are steeped in the word of the world (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18ff; 2 Cor. 2:14ff).

5 thoughts on “Stricken with Death

  1. John

    The Enemy of humanity makes every effort and uses all means to confound it. Aid comes to him through the total co-operation of all the secret and invisible heterodox, especially those priests and bishops who betray their high calling and oath, the true faith and the true Church.
    … The sure path to perdition is indifference and the lack of principles which is euphemistically called “the larger view.” In opposition to this “larger view” we put the “rigor of ideas” which, in modernity, it is fashionable to label “narrow” and “fanatical.” To be sure, if one adopts the “modern mentality,” one must consider the holy martyrs—whose blood is “the cement of the Church”—and the Church Fathers—who struggled all their lives against heretics—as nothing less than “narrow” and “fanatical.” In truth, there is little difference between “the broadway” against which the Lord warned and the modern “larger view.” He condemned the “broadway” as the way to “Gehenna.”
    In other words, the way of these “progressivists” is not our way. Their way is deceptive, and it is unfortunate that it is not evident to everyone. The “broader” or “larger view” alienates us from the Lord and His true Church. It is the road away from Orthodoxy. This view is sinister, maliciously invented by the Devil in order to deny us salvation. For us, however, we accept no innovations, but choose the ancient, proven way, the way in which true Christians have chosen to serve God for 2,000 years.
    We choose the way of fidelity to the true Faith and not the “modern way.” We choose faithfulness to the true Church with all Her canons and dogmas which have been received and confirmed by the local and universal Councils. We choose the holy customs and traditions, the spiritual riches of that faith transmitted complete and entire to us from the Holy Apostles, the Holy Fathers of the Church, and the Christian heritage of our venerable ancestors. This alone is the faith of the true Orthodox, distinct from the counterfeit “orthodoxy” invented by the Adversary. We receive only the Apostolic Faith, the Faith of the Fathers, the Orthodox Faith. – Originally published in: The Orthodox Christian Witness, wherein it appeared translated from the French in La Foi Transmise “Faith Transmitted” by Archbishop Averky Tuashev (Nov. 1968), pp. 19-22.

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  2. John

    Father bless.
    Fr. Lynch- and readers – see also this site that confirms your warning of “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
    Doxa to Theo. John
    Father bless.

    Warning to Orthodox Church: False Teachers and Deceitful Venues That Contradict and Distort Church Teaching by Fr. Ioannes Apiarius @https://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2019/07/warning-to-orthodox-church-false-teachers-and-deceitful-venues-that-contradict-and-distort-church-teaching/

    “With help from the Orthodox editors, I have compiled a list of articles, essays, and petitions written by Orthodox Christian priests, deacons, professors, and writers warning the Church about false teachers and deceitful venues (especially Public Orthodoxy, The Wheel Journal, Orthodoxy in Dialogue, Fordham University’s Orthodox Center, Lazar Puhalo, Sister Vassa) that question, challenge, mock, deconstruct, contradict, and distort Church teaching, practices, and theology.”

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  3. John

    Father bless.
    Fr. Lynch and readers-
    I forgot to mention the above “Warning” page is updated frequently, so check it out periodically.
    Doxa to Theo. john
    Father bless.

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