Obtaining The Divine Life


From Death to Life: the Process of Salvation


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JUSTIFICATION



For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)

Along with restoring the breach between mankind and God, Christ's death and resurrection also made supernatural life available again to each person. How are we able to receive supernatural life? By entering into his redeeming death and resurrection. This happens at Baptism- "We were therefore buried
Baptism infuses the baptized with supernatural life that truly transforms who we are.
with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
(Romans 6:4). Baptism infuses the baptized with the supernatural life that was lost by Adam. This supernatural life is a gift. "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:3-7). This gift is initiated by God, and is freely given by Him, even though we do not deserve it. We must have faith to receive this gift - faith in the giver (God), and faith in the gift (supernatural life through Christ).

This supernatural life within us truly transforms who we are- we are actually being made in the likeness of Christ. Christ is not just "covering up" our selfish nature so that we can sneak by the judgment of God. He is actually remaking us into a new creation so that we are able to withstand this judgment: "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Now that we are a new creation, what does this mean for us?

Instead of living for our self-centered motives, all of our actions can now be in union with Christ. At baptism, we die with Christ, and then are raised with him. In other words, we are to imitate Christ in our own lives. Jesus explained how this is done: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). Taking up the cross means following God's Will above our own selfish will. There is a battle going on inside us: our supernatural life wants to live as Christ, but our selfish tendencies still exist and attempt to destroy that supernatural life. Imitating Christ was not possible before justification, but now that we possess the supernatural life we are able to receive grace to give us the strength to follow Christ, and abandon our selfish life. By cooperating with this grace, we are able to grow in the spiritual life. This process is called sanctification.


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