To Find True Healing

First the bad news: We're all sick.

Every one of us is sick with the deadliest disease known to man. It's not AIDS, hepatitis, or diabetes. It's not malaria, typhoid or yellow fever. It's worse than all of these.

The disease we all suffer from is called sin.

What is sin?
Contrary to a popular misunderstanding, sin is not the violation of an arbitrary set of rules imposed by an angry, tyrannical God, who is intent on spoiling our fun. In fact, it really would not even be accurate to say that sin is merely the failure to live up to a particular moral standard.

Sin is simply our separation from God.

"Enter into the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law."
St John Chrysostom

The Greek word for sin—hamartia—used in the original text of the New Testament literally means "to miss the mark," like an archer shooting for a bullseye. In our case, the bullseye is perfection. Christ told us to be perfect,[1] but that can only happen when we draw nearer to God, Who is perfection. Anything that distracts us from that goal—that causes us to "miss the mark"—is sin. Even things that are otherwise morally neutral can be sinful when they draw us away from God. In fact, one can live an apparently moral life and still be separated from God.[2]

Sin is like a disease that affects us all: no one is immune from the effects of sin. Left untreated, sin will spread and fester like an infection or a cancer. We cannot heal or treat this disease through our efforts alone.

Now the good news: There is a cure.

That cure is salvation.

What is salvation?
Modern western Christianity tends to equate "salvation" with a one-time conversion experience. According to this belief, when one has made a decision to follow Christ, that person is "saved." While this is certainly a necessary beginning, the biblical understanding of salvation is far deeper and all-encompassing.

 

The Greek word sozo, which is translated into English as "save," means more than simply the act of conversion: it literally means to heal, to restore, to make whole. That is, to be healed from the disease of sin or separation from God. This process of healing may begin at one's initial conversion, but it can—and does—take a lifetime, not just an instant, to be healed of sin. That healing is salvation.

How can I be saved?


"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10.9)

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16.31)

"Jesus saith unto him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.'" (John 14.6)
 

The Bible is very clear that salvation only comes through faith in Christ. We can live morally upright lives, but we cannot be saved—healed, made whole, reconciled to God—without faith in Christ.

What does that faith look like? Is it sufficient merely to make a mental assertion, to express intellectual assent to the theological proposition of salvation in Christ? Absolutely not![3] Faith is much more than just a mental exercise.

We are to be transformed,[4] to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily,[5] to consider ourselves dead to the world.[6] We must decrease so that Christ may increase.[7] This does not happen overnight. And it is not easy, but takes dedication and hard work. We must remember that all the work in the world will never earn our salvation. But becoming perfect, denying ourselves, being transformed does require work.

But how does this happen?

For two-thousand years, the Church has provided the tools necessary for our transformation and healing. It is the hospital placed on this earth by Christ for the purpose of healing people of the disease of sin. Christ did not establish his Church in order to entertain us, or make us feel good, or to teach us how to be prosperous; He established His Church in order to heal us. It is within and through the life of the Church—not on our own—that Christ intended to bring healing to the world.

Does it matter which church?

There are certainly many Christian bodies out there to choose from. But like hospitals, not all of them produce desirable results. And, unfortunately, not all of them are even the Church. Placing a sign out in front of a building that says "church" does not make it the Church any more than hanging a medical school diploma on the wall makes someone a doctor.

When someone is seeking treatment for cancer, they do not choose hospitals haphazardly. Nor should we, when the healing of our souls is at stake, be careless in the selection of a church. We should choose one that is well established, has consistently produced positive results, has the most reputable doctors, uses the most effective methods, has the proper credentials.

In fact, knowing that Jesus Christ Himself established a hospital for the healing of our souls, and that that hospital is still in the business of healing souls, why would we seek treatment anywhere else?

Christ's hospital—the Church—is not simply a random gathering of people, or an institution, or a bureaucracy. It is the very Body of Christ,[8] the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth,[9] the Fullness of Him Who fills everything in every way.[10] It has confessed, taught, and lived out the Christian Faith in unbroken continuity for two-thousand years. That Church is known today as the Eastern Orthodox Church, and is the only Christian body that has maintained the Faith of the Apostles since the day of Pentecost. No other Christian body…


…can better or more clearly demonstrate continuity between its present self and the Church of the New Testament,
…can be shown to have adhered to and taught more steadfastly the "faith which was once for all delivered to the saints,"[11]
…more consistently and accurately reflects the teaching of the Scriptures,
…gives more appropriate respect and honor to “the mother of my Lord,”[12]
…has a fuller and more active and robust prayer life,
…can prescribe more effective means of denying ourselves and taking up our cross,
…worships in a manner more consistent with Biblical worship,
…can make a better case to being the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

 

You can find salvation through this Church. You can be healed of the deadly disease of sin.

Come worship with us at

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

Sundays 10am

3810 Gilbert St, Detroit, MI 48210

Notes

1. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Mt 5.48)

2. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Mt 7.22-23)
3. "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2.19)
4. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12.2)
5. "And [Jesus] said to them all, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.'" (Luke 9.23)
6. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6.11); "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:3-4)
7. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3.30)
8. "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1.18)
9. "If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3.15, NIV)
10. "God placed all things under [Christ's] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him, who fills everything in every way." (Ephesians 1.22-23, NIV)
11. "I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 1.3, RSV)
12. "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1.41-43)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Saints Peter & Paul
Orthodox Christian
Cathedral

313-897-3308

ssppdetroit.org

3810 Gilbert St.

Detroit, MI 48210

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