- What is necessary for salvation?
- What is the meaning of this sentence at the top of page 298 in The Book of Common Prayer: “The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble”?
- Are there certain behaviors or sins which, if committed without repentance, can condemn a baptized Christian to hell? If so, what are those behaviors/sins?
In reply to a comment I left on a posting entitled "But how are we saved?" over at The Conciliar Anglican, Fr. Jonathan recently offered the following response to my questions:
To briefly, and thus probably inadequately, answer the questions you pose:
1. What is necessary for salvation?
Simple answer: Jesus Christ. Slightly longer answer: God choosing to take the corruption of our sin onto Himself so that we might be freed from it. This is accomplished through Christ’s incarnation and death on the cross. The grace of God is then given to us to the extent that we trust in Jesus and allow Him to save us.
In any event, I would always want to put the stress on God’s action, rather than on ours. Theories of salvation usually start to fall apart at precisely the point when we start to get too specific about what we have to do with the whole thing.
2. What is the meaning of this sentence at the top of page 298 in The Book of Common Prayer: “The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble”?
The grace that comes to us in Baptism is irrevocable. Through Baptism, we are brought into Christ’s Body and made one with Him. That cannot be undone, any more than two who are made one flesh in marriage can be separated. This does not imply that it’s impossible for a baptized person to apostatize, but rather that grace is given freely to each baptized person, whether they accept it or not.
3. Are there certain behaviors or sins which, if committed without repentance, can condemn a baptized Christian to hell? If so, what are those behaviors/sins?
Yes. All of them.
One finds some small degree of variation amongst classical Anglicans on this point, but in general the classical Anglican position rejects the Roman Catholic Tridentine notion that sin can be categorized mortal or venial. Sin is sin. It is that which separates us from God. I would be willing to grant that there is a difference between sins, in that some separate us faster and more deeply than others. But even a small separation from God is still a separation. If a thirsty man dies five feet away from a bottle of water, is that really any better than dying five miles from it? Hence, the need for grace is great. Fortunately for us, so is the love of God.
In addition to one Orthodox Christian's answer to the question "Are you saved?", I deeply appreciate Fr. Jonathan's response to my questions.