Becoming partakers of the Divine Nature
Although our regeneration began with baptism, our repentance opens the gates to grace after grace. Repentance is the second regeneration in that through our repentance, the door to the mercy of God opens wide. In being regenerated by God’s mercy, we are justified before God, but not in the judicial sense of Evangelical Protestant theology, for Orthodox theology holds that justification includes also the actual making of the person righteous. We partake of a “real righteousness” whereby we are in fact made righteous by being “in Christ”.
We become partakers of the Divine Nature by entering the path of theosis or deification. Orthodox theology includes what Evangelical Protestants understand as regeneration and sanctification in the meaning of justification. The Orthodox Church denies justification by faith alone and includes good works as necessary in justification. This is because justification includes the concept of being transformed into the likeness of God. Justification is included in the process of “salvation” or “deification” (being transformed into the likeness of God through union with Christ).
With love in Christ,
Friday September 4, 2020 / August 22, 2020
13th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Martyr Agathonicus of Nicomedia and his companions: Martyrs Zoticus, Theoprepius, Acindynus, Severian, Zeno, and others, who suffered under Maximian (4th c.).
Martyr Gorazd of Prague, Bohemia and Moravo-Cilezsk (1942).
Venerable Isaac I (Antimonov, the “Elder”) of Optina (1894).
New Hieromartyrs Macarius bishop of Orlov, John and Alexis priests (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Theodore bishop of Penza and with him Basil and Gabriel priests (1937).
New Hieromartyrs John bishop of Velikoluk, Alexis archbishop of Omsk, Alexander, Michael and Theodore priests, Hieromartyr Hilarion, John and Hierotheus (1937).
Hieromartyr Athanasius (270-275), bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia, Venerable Anthusa of Syria (298) and Martyrs Charesimus and Neophytus (270-275).
Virgin-martyr Eulalia of Barcelona (303).
Iveron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos at the Monastery of St. Alexis of Moscow (1650).
Venerable Bogolep of St. Paisius of Uglich Monastery (16th c.).
St. Symphorian of Autun (2nd-3rd c.) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Sigfrid, abbot of Wearmouth (England) (688) (Celtic & British).
New Hieromartyr Andrew (Ukhtomsky), bishop of Ufa (1937).
Martyrs Irenaeus, Deakon, Or, and Oropsus (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
2 Corinthians 11:5-21
Paul and False Apostles
5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.
7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!
12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. 17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. 19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. 21 To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.
The Parable of the Sower
4 And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. 2 Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
9 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”