Tuesday, November 19, 2013

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1.6

I wonder if you knew that the human gestation period (the time needed for complete development of the human body) is longer than nine months. I wonder if you knew that human babies, if they were in the womb for the entire gestation period, would be more than double their birth size? I KNOW you know that a human baby cannot survive without assistance immediately upon birth. Now you know why…For more information on this topic, please check out this article by Orthodox professor, Dr Daniel Buxhoveden, in which he compares the human gestation to that of the cosmic development.

But I’m pretty sure this wasn’t what Saint Paul had in mind when he wrote these words to the Church in Philipi. Yet, we ARE still a work in progress, spiritually speaking that is. As I point out at almost every Baptism I am blessed to celebrate, we begin our spiritual journey in Christ at our Baptism, rather than complete our journey. I find too many who consider Baptism the “end of our faith journey” that brings to conclusion a period of study and evaluation (as if we have any right to evaluate the Truth), or at least that completes, for those “born into the Faith” the parents’ responsibilities of bringing the Children to Church. If you don’t believe me, consider the many, too many, after whose baptism takes place, do not allow their new life in Christ to have any affect in their daily life choices.

And yet, we are a work in progress. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4.16) This process of becoming like God, which we call Theosis, BEGINS at our baptism and is perfected by God at His Return.

If we could just remember that, while we are not quite finished becoming like God, that does not mean that we have any power to actually accomplish the work of perfection. St John Chrysostom makes a beautiful point in describing Saint Paul’s words. “See how he also teaches them to be unassuming. For since he had witnessed a great thing in them, that they may not feel as men are apt to do, he presently teaches them to refer both the past and the future to Christ.” (Homily 1 on Philippians)

Remember the process, and remember WHO IT IS who is accomplishing the great task in your perfection….and them let Him accomplish it. Then you can Live a New Life in Christ.

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