Orthodoxy on Justification

November 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

“In Western theology we often see a distinction being made between justification and sanctification.  And one feels that we are dealing here with two separate stages which are clearly distinguished from each other.  Justification is considered the first stage, the starting point, after which follows the second stage, sanctification.  I maintain that in Orthodox theology the matter is placed on a different basis.  What is stressed in not the distinction between justification and sanctification, but the dynamic character of justification.  It is this very dynamism of justification which constitutes sanctification.  Thus, man can become an infinite being with immense potentialities opening before him.  Through baptism he puts on Christ; that is to say, he participate in the justification which Christ himself created, while finding the way open for him to raise himself ‘unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:23).  Justification is a given fact, but at the same time it is a reality towards which man continuously advances.  It is, in the final analysis, the process towards the unending end of perfection” (69, Constantine B. Scouteris; “Church and Justification” found in Ecclesial Being: Contributions to Theological Dialogue).

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