Seraphim_SarovskyIf we were never to sin after our baptism, we should remain forever saints of God, holy, blameless, and free from all impurity of body and spirit.

But the trouble is that we increase in stature, but do not increase in grace and in the knowledge of God as our Lord Jesus Christ increased.

On the contrary, we gradually become more and more depraved and lose the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God and become sinful in various degrees, and very sinful people.

But if a man is stirred by the wisdom of God, which seeks our salvation and embraces everything, and if he is resolved for its sake to devote the early hours of the day to God and to watch in order to find His eternal salvation, then, in obedience to its voice, he must hasten to offer true repentance for all his sins and must practice the virtues which are opposite to the sins committed.

Then through the virtues practiced for Christ’s sake, he will acquire the Holy Spirit Who acts within us and establishes in us the Kingdom of God.

The word of God does not say in vain: “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), and it “suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12)….

People who – in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and which by their violence and by inciting them to new sins prevent them from coming to…our Savior – …force themselves to break their bonds, despising all the strength of the fetters of sin…at last actually appear before the face of God made whiter than snow by His grace.

“Come, says the Lord: Though your sins be as purple, I will make you white as snow” (Is. 1:18).

Such people were once seen by the holy Seer John the Divine clothed in white robes (that is, in robes of justification) and with palms in their hands (as a sign of victory), and they were singing to God a wonderful song: Alleluia.

And no one could imitate the beauty of their song. Of them an Angel of God said: “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9-14).

They were washed with their sufferings and made white in the communion of the immaculate and life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the most pure and spotless Lamb – Christ – Who was slain before all ages by His own will for the salvation of the world (Rev..13:8), and Who is continually being slain and divided until now, but is never exhausted (in the Sacrament of Communion).

Seraphim of Sarov (Orthodox Church; 1759-1833): On the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit.

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