How do we, Eastern Christians from our different traditions understand the latin concept of State of Grace? Without going so far as to say it’s wrong (which is another debate) how should we discuss this amongst our brothers and sisters?
I ran across this old thread which seems unanswered. The poster quotes from a priest whose advice sounds similar to what I’ve been mulling around in my head. God does not spurn a contrite heart, and a sacrifice unto God is a repentant spirit. I think this is what the Jesus Prayer helps for all Christians to do. To remember they are always under his mercy but to take heart in God’s compassion and not become despondent.
If we say Grace is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and lived through our actions and words, what then when we “Fall out of a state of Grace”? Do we lose the Holy Spirit? Certainly when we turn away from God, we confess as Saint Maximos says, not the Father of Love, but the Father of deceit the Devil. Now granted our ability to comprehend the exact actions of the Spirit are probably all in vain, but can we ever completely lose the Holy Spirit if we were baptized into Christ? And when we give over to the Fleshless foes, what becomes of the Holy Spirit within us? And what of Saint Seraphim words that anyone who speaks of the love of Christ is “in the spirit” in conversation to Molotov. Did that mean only when we turn to God, we have the Holy Spirit in us?
So then what is a State of Grace? It seems to imply more of a connection of being pardoned or absolved of sin than any action of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps is means, having been reconciled with the church which seems possible. Since one can be reconciled after his repentance and reconciliation to the Church of Christ and still fall into sin again. But does he “Fall out of a state of Grace”? Was he ever “In a state of grace” ? Or did he sin, and miss the mark, but then repent. Does that still mean he is not in a state of grace? Does that mean because he reads the holy scriptures that night and repents that he is without the Holy Spirit?
Sorry if that was sort of a train of thought, But I would love some help clearing through this all my fellow Eastern Brothers. Thanks!