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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

64- Repentance and the work of Grace

 

St-Takla.org Image: Coptic Confession, a priest and a man confessing his sins, artwork by Sis. Sawsan صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: سر التوبة والاعتراف، كاهن قبطي و رجل يعترف بخطاياه، رسم تاسوني سوسن

St-Takla.org Image: Coptic Confession, a priest and a man confessing his sins, artwork by Sis. Sawsan

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: سر التوبة والاعتراف، كاهن قبطي و رجل يعترف بخطاياه، رسم تاسوني سوسن

(5) Repentance and the work of Grace

Many Protestant groups hold that repentance is one of the works of Grace and all man's strivings are void. It is sufficient that man casts himself at the feet of Christ to save him from his sins. The Orthodox doctrine holds that the whole spiritual life of man is a fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit supports but man should strive. If man does not strive the Apostle will reproach him, saying: “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Heb. 12: 4).

The Holy Bible portrays the spiritual life as a struggle which needs the whole armour of God: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph.6: 12). This war undoubtedly needs man to struggle and win.

This fight is what the Lord Jesus Christ meant in His message to the angels of the seven churches when He said: “To him who overcomes I will give...” (Rev.2: 17). Grace does not do all the work, otherwise God would not have said: “Return to Me... and I will return to you” (Zech.1: 3).

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