4 On Prayer and sin

As I see it, being practical, and listening closely to Paul's letters, and trying to understand what being released from sin means. And understanding that the great revolution brought about by Christ relates specifically to redemption of the individual life from sin, then I see Chist as that one who was entirely without blame or guilt. And that the rest of us are always in a state of guilt and sinfulness.

And yet, it is commonly held that belief in Christ washes the confusion and sin of life away. It is typical to read on websites, to see on TV shows, or reports from the US, and in some interpretations of the Gospels that 'belief' in Christ does everything. But this is just not the case, of course. You can't benefit from telling yourself that something is true, that is, simply by affirming something. Telling yourself that Christ is God has, in anyone's estimate, not much result at all in your life, and is likely to strain the mind - as if making yourself believe something (something which is not even likely to be true when considered by the layman) somehow changes anything else than the condition of your commonplace faculty of knwoledge of facts... That is all very active, extreme, full of sweat and tears, and the opposite of a relationship to the eternal life.

The simplest, the most 'elegant' interpretation of what Christ means to us, and what sinfulness is in itself, is as follows: when we are not directly related to God and Christ, and when we do not share the eternal life in a conscious way, then we are sinners. We do not have the eternal existence which Christ had while on Earth, and which he promised to us. It would be necessary to spend an entire life close to God, near to God, speaking with the Father and the Son in order not to be in sin. This is clearly impossible, which is why we are never free from sin.

And so it is needful to be closer to God. As we know, you can't do this with 'faith', nor with works, nor by efforts of the mind. What Paul suggests, and the only practical way in which we can be close to Christ, is by a certain kind of prayer. When we do not pray, then we are in sin: we have no connection to God, and none to our eternal self. Prayer and meditation of a certain kind is what puts you near to God. Orthodox Christianity has established, since the Hesychast controversy, that in this way we share the existence of God. And sharing that, and only then, are we temporarily free of sin, and fulfil the mission which Christ set out to carry out for us.

Design Jason Powell, 2020.