Salvation is a Process

The road to God’s Kingdom is often bumpy and sometimes hazardous,1 but it leads to the pearl of great price.2 No effort is too great for such a glorious treasure. Our role in the process of salvation consists of four steps:


  • That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the promised Messiah.
  • That He provides for us the only Way to the eternal presence of our Creator,3 as we proclaim each time we recite the Nicene Creed.

In one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages…Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven and was incarnated by the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary and became man … (From the Nicene Creed)

  • We may come to this acknowledgement at any time. As long as we have life, it is never too late to come to faith, if it is sincere.1
  • But we never know when our life will end—death does not always announce itself in advance—so the sooner we address the issue of faith, the better.2
  • The more we delay, the more likely we are to stray so far from God that we may not even realize the need, or know how to “find Him.”3

If the desire of the Heavenly Kingdom burns in your soul like a lighted torch, be sure your soul will quickly become its heir.  — Abba Iperechus 4

1 Mt 20:1-7
2 Mk 9:36-37; 10:13-16
3 Acts 17:27
4 Ancient Fathers of the Desert, Archimandrite Chrysostomos


  • By trying to follow the teachings and example of Jesus throughout our lives to grow in His image and likeness (theosis) to be a fit resident of His Kingdom.
  • By tapping into God’s divine energies through the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church –- which were instituted by Christ Himself.

Perhaps each of you will say to himself: ‘I have believed, I shall be saved’ He speaks what is true if to faith he joins good works. That is indeed true faith which does not deny in work what it professes in word. For this Paul says of certain false faithful: They profess that they know God; but in their works they deny Him (Tit 1:16). For this John also says: He who says that he knows God and keeps not His Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 Jn 2:4). — Gregory the Great1

Every day and every hour, proof is demanded of us of our love of God. For God, every day and every hour, proves His love for us.  –– Isaac the Syrian2

  • Before He returned to His Father, Christ chose twelve Apostles, to whom He gave authority to continue His saving work through the Sacraments.3
  • This authority has been passed on to priests of the Church through the ages through Apostolic Succession.
  • Sacraments are outer symbols of inner grace (energies of God) received by those who submit to them — spiritual tools to help us reach our goal and strengthen us for the journey.
  • Part of the “mystery” of the Sacraments is that in them, Christ is actually the officiator…He is among us!4
  • God sends Christ to act through the Priest, with the power of the Holy Spirit.

1M.F. Toal, Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
2Nikolai Velimirovic, Prologue from Ochrid, Part One, p.296
3John 20:21-22
4Matthew 28:19-20


  • Each of us will be judged by that which we were able to learn and understand about what God expects of us and the extent to which we tried to live accordingly.4
  • Awareness of the fact that we must face judgment is a blessing because it helps us prevent spiritual negligence.

  • To some has been given the privilege and responsibility of insight into the deepest mysteries of God.1 He will expect much from them in terms of Christ-like lives and the resultant souls brought to Him.
  • To others, perhaps only a glimmer of God’s Light has been able to penetrate the barriers erected by Satan. Each will be judged fairly by Christ, Who is All-Knowing, All-Loving, All-Just.
  • In a sense we will judge ourselves: the way in which we judge others will be the standard by which we will be judged.2
  • When the Book of Life is opened,3 we will have total recall of our lives. We will not have to be told where we stand in our relationship with God, we will know. The wicked will understand how great a salvation they rejected, how great a love and mercy they scorned in life…4
  • There will indeed be judgment, but the sincere Christian need not despair. We should not live our lives in doubt and trepidation because we have the hope of salvation.5
  • We know that God keeps His promises. If we truly love Him and really try to be followers of Christ, we shall be saved.6
  • The Day of Judgment will be no problem for true lovers of Christ. They will sail through the process, finding no condemnation but pass from death to life.7
  • This knowledge can serve to fill us with deep, inner joy, no matter what ups and downs our earthly life brings.8
  • The Christian on the road to salvation, the road which leads to personal unity with God, must constantly find himself between fear and hope. Fear restrains us, yet at the same time it pushes us toward God. Hope fills us with power and draws us toward the love of the Father.9

If a Christian kept the judgment which follows death in mind every moment, he would not sin with such ease.  –– Abba Agathon 5

11 Cor 2:6-7
2Mt 7:1-2
3Rev 20:12-13
4Lazar Puhalo, The Soul, the Body and Death, p.45
5Rom 8:24
6Mt 24:13
7Jn 5:24
8“Orthodoxy believes that salvation is not so much a negative reality as it is a positive one: salvation is not so much to be freed from the bondage of the devil and his dominion of sin, death and corruption as it is life in communion with God.” Maximos Aghiorgoussis, “The Theology and Experience of Salvation,” The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Vol. XXII, Winter 1977, No. 4, p.414.
9Arch. Christoforos Stavropoulos, Partakers of Divine Nature, p.54

4. REALIZE THE KINGDOM . . . from within or without

  • Those whose lives have demonstrated faith that Jesus is the Son of the Living God will be invited to enter fully into the Kingdom of eternal joy prepared for them from the foundation of the world.6
  • Those who have not tried to live Christ-like lives (if they were exposed to His saving truths) will join Satan and his followers in the eternal agony of being unable to enjoy the presence of God and the glory of His power.7
  • We are granted that which we have chosen!

  • For those in the fullness of the Kingdom, there will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain.1 God will call each of them by name and give them the crown of life.2
  • The Kingdom begins in this life for those Baptized Christians who commit their lives to Christ because they live with the joy of knowing the certainty of God’s promises.
  • As soon as real faith begins, the believer actually begins to experience God’s Kingdom — while still on earth.
  • To the extent that worldly life is rejected, spiritual life flourishes and its fruit is tasted.3

As wickedness tends to punish those who pursue it even before they arrive at the pit, so also virtue, even before the gift of the Kingdom, provides delights for those who practice it on earth, so they live in company with good hopes and continual pleasure. — St. John Chrysostom4

  • The interminable misery of estrangement from God is the natural consequence of having rejected Him.

We cannot imagine what it will be like to be deprived of that Blessed Glory, to be hated by Christ, to hear ‘I do not know you’ (Mt 25:12). –– St. John Chrysostom5

1Rev 21:4
2Jas 1:12; Rev 3:5
3Gal 5:22
4Homily XL on John
5Homily XXIII on Matthew



1 Mt 11:12
2 Mt 13:46
3 Jn 14:6; 1 Tim 2:4-5
4 Rom 2:1-16
5 Archimandrite Christoforos Stavropoulos, Partakers of Divine Nature, p.35.
6 Mt 16:27; 25:34
7 2 Thess 1:9