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I have some more questions. I read James today about grace/faith versus works. It does say there that faith without works is dead, and I read some postings about this on our church website. I do want to know what YOU think why the Protestant church would kind of close her eyes on this gospel, and still sustain that only by believing in Jesus you are saved. On the other hand, if as an Orthodox I do not do those things that James mentions, but I do believe that Jesus is my savior, does that mean that I am not saved? Does our church support the idea that because of your works you are saved, or that because you have faith that you will be saved by Jesus as an act of worship to Him you do good works? The Protestant church gives Paul's example in Romans about how we are saved by grace, and also of the thief on the cross who because he believed in Jesus and asked Him to save him, he entered the kingdom of heaven with Jesus on that very day.
Also, the Protestants believe that once you die, you go straight to Jesus. They say, why pray for the dead then? Do we think that our dead do not go to Jesus then, they wonder? What do YOU say, Father? Why do we pray for the dead?
Also, they say that even if you do not take communion on that particular Sunday, that doesn't mean that you do not have Jesus, because He lives in your heart. I know they do it as a remembrance, but doesn't the Bible say that? "Do this in remembrance of me, " says Jesus, right? Plus if you don't take communion for a time, does that mean that you are not saved? Or if you die, like my former late husband, Larry, without taking communion, does that mean that you are not saved, and you do not go to Jesus? When are we saved according to our church doctrine? And how do we know we are saved? How do Protestants know they are saved? What's the importance of works in the balance of salvation? How many works should we do before we are saved, and how do we know when we did enough to be saved? It sounds like they have the assurance that they are saved through grace, and we Orthodox Christians don't, and that's not a strong position to be in, don't you think?
Personally, I need to know that God, and Jesus Christ, my savior, love me just as I am, even at my worst. I need the assurance of His unconditional love for me, otherwise I will always wonder whether He loves me or not, whether He will spare my soul and save it or not. If I truly consider Him as my savior, then He is that, forvever and ever, right, regardless of my works? As far as my works go, I guess He will still have to judge me on that, but I need to believe that even after that judgement, I will still be saved, and be with Him, because otherwise I cannot exist. I know also that my faith shows in my works, but how much of my salvation depends on that I guess is the bottom line for me. I can't live a life here in the fear that because I didn't do certain things, or didn't do enough I would not be with the Lord. Do YOU, Father know that you are saved? And by what are YOU saved, by grace, or by your works?
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. I came to you for help, so please read this email as such. I'm looking for answers, as you well know.