June 2008


I have here a series of notes on 1 Peter. I had this ambition to process them into a concise essay, as if a scholar, but this ambition proved to be an error, a mistake, a sin, an impediment to progress in the faith.

The prophets and our fathers before us who presented the Word of God to us through inspiration, did so in the way that they did for a reason; we cannot simply present the Word of God as a packaged product to be consumed and forgotten; it must be studied, absorbed, and lived, poured over, with passion and insight, over and over again, during a period of a lifetime.

So keep studying, keep being a disciple, keep shaping the soul to justice.

Does the human being have a soul? If so, what is it worth? What should we do about it?

What are you doing about the human condition? Salvation of the soul is of supreme importance. Salvation comes through faith in God and in His Word.

Salvation of the soul is of supreme importance. The prophets inquired about it, the angels long to look upon it, we received it through Jesus Christ.

It is your job to know the Λόγος within you. Who is the Λόγος within you? The Son of God is the Word. God sent the Word to help us know the Λόγος within us.

We discover His Word through grace. Suffering and sacrifice are important because they purify and solidify the faith.

Suffering means growing up in the faith; sacrifice means giving up what is inefficient in the process.

Discipline, discernment, sacrifice

First, discipline your own soul. Some men dedicate their whole lives to just that. Some achieve discernment and are able to help others, sacrifice. Know your own soul, help your fellow souls to the extent that you are capable.

Sometimes the role of the good is to willingly sacrifice themselves as examples for those who are ignorant, for those who lack spiritual perception (αγνωσία).

The forgiveness of sin means that, through the grace of God, we can get back on the right path. But doing it seriously requires commitment and hard work, sometimes even to the point of blood. Because it is the suffering that burns the passions white pure, white purity through which the soul glows in glory.

Again, using Christ’s example of suffering (growing up in the faith), bodily suffering, dominate the passions of the body and live by the spirit. In other words, it is worth sacrificing the body for the sake of the soul, for the sake of the spirit.

A huge challenge, then, is to maintain sobriety, in every form, and channel the passions to faith and obedience to God’s Word.

Now, why God created humanity and faced him with this challenge to begin with is a great mystery, though we try to explain by saying that a soul saved is a reflection of His glory and that is simply the way it has to be.

If you do not have faith in the work that you are doing, including your work in the faith, then you will not come into His rest either.

Invest in the energy of faith.

The biggest, most important challenge of all in life is the relationship with Jesus Christ: do you have the will, the courage, and the fortitude to make the big sacrifices, to keep working at the faith?

We cannot restructure our lives, change our minds, without sacrifice, even to the point of blood where human life is concerned.

Dominate yourself and you will not be subject to the laws of men in your soul.

Working against this process is dissipation of the soul through dissolute living, turning away from God and His Word, rejecting His grace.

To the extent that you allow yourself to pursue the works of the flesh, you reject God’s grace and the opportunity to experience His glory.

In other words, it is the nature of the world that we are going to suffer, but you can choose whether you are going to suffer as a wrongdoer, and be glorified or condemned by men and certainly cut yourself off from God, or as a disciplined servant of the laws of God, and be glorified or condemned by men, and have the hope of experiencing the glory of God.

Sometimes doing what is right goes against the social circumstances of the day, and you will suffer for it. But it is better than doing the wrong thing, and God will credit you for it.

We have to have trust in God that doing good is the better deal.

Use energy efficiently or you will die. In a superficial way, this maxim applies to the current moment in the contemporary world in the midst of energy wars, just or unjust as they may be, but an examination of history reveals that this has always been the case, in one way or another, the ability to make iron, for example, and its use.
But much more importantly, this maxim applies to the energy of the soul and its ability to focus on the Word of God. Failure to focus this energy and its dissipation means death, while living up to the challenge, literally, means life.

The word of God is to some a stumbling block, to others it is the capstone on which stands the temple of justice.

In theory, at least, men with social power are supposed to punish the bad and praise the good according to God’s will. Sometimes the whole society is corrupt, or at least is afflicted, with many corrupt elements, and the quality of the rulers reflects that.
Even in the face of these circumstances, we must be like the living stone, for that is the role that God has assigned for us.

The current state of how men govern the world is, ultimately, none of your business, so accept it; it is the way it is for a reason. Do not trouble yourself, then, but use the natural freedom that you have to obey the word of God.

Not only do we have to live by the word of God in all circumstances, we must bear our proportion of the brunt of injustice while doing so, for only God judges justly; we must not follow the example of those who give up and throw their will to the vagaries of this world or uselessly try to uphold their own notion of justice as if they were adolescents, but give ourselves willingly to the just judgment of God and follow the example of Christ.

If it is true, then, that only God judges justly, then our own perception of injustice must be due to an error, a sin, an injustice in our own way of thinking, in our use of soul-power.

As souls, we are temporarily subject to this world, and rulers are sometimes good and sometimes bad, depending on the state of grace of the body social and of the individual rulers. In this context, a good person may experience grief unjustly. But what is it to the soul? A man with insight to God is patient and continues to do good – just like a small plant that grows in the cracks in the asphalt – as is our calling: we have Christ as our example of how to pursue the soul, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, even in the midst of a corrupt body social; in extreme cases, the extreme sacrifice is necessary, but freedom of the soul is worth it in all circumstances.
As for the individual soul, the judgment of men does not matter insofar as they may be products of a corrupt body social, and there may be no reasoning with them, no Λόγος within them; only the judgment of God matters, and let the body social judge itself.

It is a bad investment, then, to think that the world is unjust; it is the way it is for a reason. It is always a good investment, however, to shape your soul to justice.

The crisis of our day in our corner of the world may be more subtle than in the time of the prophets and in the time of Jesus and the Pharisees of Jerusalem, but we must be like Noah, bringing faithful souls across time, purified by water, until the day that we can return to baptism by fire.

Men will judge you according to how you live by the body, God according to how you live by the spirit. Dominate the body, exercise control over the body and the base passions, and you will transcend the laws of men, regardless of the state of the body social, and be free to focus on the will of God.

Realize, then, the temporariness of the things by which men judge you, be wise and sober in prayer. Above all, have extensive love for one another, for love makes up for a multitude of sins. Love, if extensive enough, covers the gap between what is right and what is wrong, while perfection is focus on love of God and love of mankind with all your energy, in the way that God gave it to you, thus being good economists of God’s multifaceted grace, reflecting eternally the proportion of God’s glory within you, to the glory of God.

You are saved through good conduct, not because of some philosophy that you have learned, but because of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

Being pure in heart is the key to being pure in soul, for purity of soul allows you to be obedient to the truth to pursue everlasting love.

It begins by being determined, bound up, tight, stable, in the loins of your mind, remaining perfectly sober, maintaining physical and mental discipline. On this basis can we hope to better receive God’s grace.

The living stone: the bedrock, the cornerstone of a worthy life in the Word, studying the Word, maintaining discipline in the Word, while the inside of this bedrock, this foundation, this house framed in rock, is the pureness of the finer fruits of the Holy Spirit such as humility, mercy, goodness, joy, peace, and love.

Studying the Word is a path to purity and growth in salvation: the Lord is kind and merciful.

physical/mental discipline (εγκράτεια)
gentleness, humility, kindness, mercy (πραύτης, χρηστότης)
goodness (αγαθωσύνη)
faith (πίστις)
patience (μακροθυμία)
joy, peace, love (χαρά, ειρήνη, αγάπη)

You grow in salvation through feeling and study and practice of the pure and straight Word. The several negatives – and by now we know what they are – lead us astray, throw off our focus, and lead us to misery. Instead, imbibe yourself in the pure and straight Word, for there is kindness and mercy.

In the same way that we can throw off one bodily vice, one bodily impurity, such as smoking – simply because it makes no sense, it is harmful and impure –, so we need to make the constant effort to throw off all bodily vices, and psychological vices as well. And so even as Saint Paul illustrated on several occasions, like the athlete must train and practice, through drill and exercises, so we too must practice staying focused on the pure and straight Word also through daily exercises.

Exercise your personal freedom under all circumstances. But what does this mean?

Realize, as souls, that this world, in which the body purses its course, is a temporary home, a temporary state in constant flux, tending towards corruption and decay. The soul is of paramount importance. Stay away, then, from the passions of the body, flee from the works of the flesh, which war against the soul . Be a stranger to the world, in this sense, then, but do not be a stranger to souls, rather let your life, your temporary stay here, be an example to other souls, and that also for the glory of God.

You see, this is not about scholarship, this is about salvation.

There is error, deception, and wandering in the soul’s relationship with itself, with the body that hosts it, and with the body social. Jesus, the shepherd of souls, sacrificed His body so that we could have an example of setting right not only those relationships from the point of view of the soul, but also the soul’s relationship with God.

In other words, we are easily swayed in mind and body by the distractions of this world, to the damage of the soul and we lose focus. The example of Christ is the example of spiritual life.

The soul reflects the glory of God when it is put to the fiery test of temptation, for the same reason that Christ was put to the cross, and overcomes it.
The soul is capable of facing any ordeal and coming out of it God-like, no matter what happens to the body.
No matter what the circumstances, we must continue to do good as a sign that we entrust our souls to the faithful Creator.

We assign the highest value to the experience that awaits us at death. This is the meaning of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Be humble in obedience to God. Be sober, be vigilant, avoid sin.

The God of all grace calls you into His eternal glory in Jesus Christ.

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For as long as you dwell in this earthly vessel, you will never be a sinless person, for to be such would mean to have perfect insight into the mysteries and riches of God, to have perfect command over all the energies of the creation.

But what you can do is to pursue the fruits of the Holy Spirit in all sincerity and at the top level of energy that the state of personhood that you have already achieved actually allows, with the hope that , through persistent, ongoing effort, God – through faith in Him, through love – will forgive your shortcomings and provide you will the energy that you need to bring your faith, and so your personhood, to a higher level and, eventually, the highest level.

In short, the essence of personhood is energetic faith.