A Saint, Not A Sinner – Features of a Christian (3)
By: House of God’s Love
Translated by: Youstina Naguib
· We hope in Christ that this series will reach the hand of every Christian youth for the least cost.
· You could share in this hope by giving this series to your friends, loved ones and children in church as a gift.
What’s the real meaning of holiness? Am I a saint? Will holiness lead to pride?
These questions may run through our minds, especially after the decision of the Holy Synod of the Coptic church in May 2018: “The concept of holiness: the Holy Bible, the teachings of the church fathers and Liturgy state that all Christians are saints because of the existence of the Holy Spirit in them through baptism, Holy Myroon oil and unity with Christ in the Eucharist.”
In this booklet, you will find the real explanation for the meaning of holiness and the barriers to holiness, as mention in the Holy Bible and the writings of the fathers. We will also discuss why holiness should not lead to pride and the war of the opposite image.
We pray for our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us acceptance, awareness and an ability to live as saints just as God is holy. Through the intercession of our mother the holy Virgin Mary and the prayers of our holy father; his holiness Pope Tawadros II, to God be the glory in his church, forever, Amen.
Suddenly, while I was on my way to meet my spiritual father, I found a voice, as a whisper in my ears asking me where I was going!
I am going to my spiritual father!
Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Look, you have been coming for many months and you are still falling in sin!
I do indeed falling down in sin but I hate it and fight against it!
Hate it! No, you don’t! You are filthy? You are a sinner and you will remain a sinner!
What do you mean?
Forget about your spiritual life and such things. You are young. Enjoy your youth, all of you are sinners and hell is waiting for you!
The demon knows that the real entrance to heaven or hell is thought. With our thoughts, we remember God and His protection. With our thoughts, we fall in love with the world and its lusts that open up the self to the hell of sins and abominations.
Saint Isaac of Nineveh
(The Demon and Our Victory Over Him P.g80 Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty)
Quickly, I realised that these thoughts are wars from the devil to destroy me! O Lord Jesus help me! O Lord Jesus help me!
I met my spiritual father and said to him: Peace, father.
He said: Peace and grace, son. Thank GOD for your safe arrival. What is new with you my son?
I said: Thank GOD, father, everything is fine. But, today on my way here, evil thoughts were fighting me by telling me: “As long as you are falling in sin, you are a sinner. Even if you repent, you will fall in sin again. Enjoy yourself and continue living in sin like everyone else”. These thoughts are terrible my father and I do not know what to do!
He said: This war is called psychological warfare. The enemy tries to convince his opponent that he is more powerful than him to break his moral state and beat him easily.
Whoever believes the enemy’s lies will be defeated before the war begins. Likewise, Satan and his demons come saying to us that we are weak, impure, cannot defeat him, will go to hell and our sins are not forgiven. The most dangerous war with Satan is the war of the mind. If Satan succeeds in controlling our minds, he will control our attitude. If we defeat him in this war, he will never be able to control us anymore. Let us imagine the conversation demons have about fighting us:
Chief demon: Junior demons, pay attention!
Demon 1&2: Yes O great demon.
Chief demon: Today, I am going to tell you about our war with humans. Our top priority war is the mental warfare.
Demon 1: What is the meaning of mental warfare?
Chief demon: It means the war of the brain. The intellectual war! If we gain control of their thoughts, we can control their actions easily and make them our slaves.
Demon 2: What if we don’t control their thoughts?
Chief demon: If we don’t, they will defeat us. It’s very important to try our best. This is our top priority and the most important war with humans.
Demon 2: How can we start this mental warfare?
Chief demon: By making them despise themselves. They will feel useless and weak. We will then be able to control them.
Demon 1: What if they don’t despise themselves?
Chief demon: Be optimistic? If they don’t, then it’s your role to tell them that this is humility! Understood?
Demon 1&2: Understood O Great Demon.
The father added: Satan will try with his all might to defeat us, but GOD encourages us and asks us to encourage ourselves. As it’s written “Let the weak say,’ I am strong’’ (Joel 3:10).
This means the weak one should encourage himself and say, “I am strong”.
Pay attention my son. Believing in God’s power that is working in you is a Biblical command. It’s not just a suggestion or a word from me, it is the will of GOD. GOD said that the weak should say ” I am strong”. Whoever feels weak and does not say this is disobeying God.
Today, we are going to talk about the features of the real Christian. The real Christian is the one who has these characteristics. The one who hasn’t is a poor Christian who does not know his capabilities.
The first feature of the real Christian is that he is a saint, not a sinner.
I asked: What do you mean by saying a saint not a sinner? Do you mean that if I am a Christian, I am a saint without a sin?!
He said: We may have discussed this part before, but today, we will discuss it in more detail. Be patient and you will know the real meaning of the word saint in the Holy Bible. At the end, I am going to say a cheerful surprise for you.
I said: You always surprise me father. But what is your evidence for me being a saint?!!
He said: The first evidence will be proven by a question. Are you GOD’s son or not?
Demons feel wrath towards him practicing virtues with understanding because demons want to target with their invisible arrows the righteous heart.
Saint John Chrysostom
(The Demon and Our Victory Over Him)
I said: Definitely, I am. Every day, I am praying by saying “Our Father, Who art in Heaven.”
He said: Great! I will prove to you that the word son of GOD is much more important, deeper and stronger than the word saint.
I said: OK father.
He said: If the father is great, the son will be?
I said: Great
He said: And if the father is rich, the son will be…?
I said: Rich of course
He said: And if the father is holy, the son will be ..?!
I said: Holy
He said: Alright. Because you are a son of the holy GOD, you are holy.
And this is written in the First Epistle of Peter “Because it is written, “Be holy for I am holy” (1:16)
Moreover, the word son is much more important and deeper than a saint. Holiness is a single feature of the features of GOD, our Father, but the word son means that you have all the features that GOD has. These include holiness, righteousness and freedom. It is written, “And that you put on the new man which was created according to GOD, in true righteousness and holiness.”(Ephesians 4:24).
We are God’s sons and having GOD’s features of righteousness and holiness.
Whoever believes that he is a son of God, he will believe that he has God’s features, not Satan’s ones.
I said: OK, father, I am persuaded now but what is the second proof?
He said: The second one exists in 1 Corinthians (3:16). The Epistle of Paul says: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you? “
So, is the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in you or not?!
I said: Definitely, He is. I was baptized and anointed with the holy Myroon oil.
He said: When the Holy Spirit of God dwells in a place, will He make this place holy or leave it impure?!
I said: Definitely makes it holy.
He said: Whoever doesn’t believe that he is saint and holy by the spirit of God dwelling in him is like one saying that a filthy spirit dwells in him! So, what do you prefer? To have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in you and being holy or a filthy spirit and being filthy?
I said: Definitely not a filthy spirit!
He said: So, you have the choice, to believe that you are a saint and the spirit of God dwells in you, or that you are filthy and a filthy spirit dwells in you!
I said: Father, this is a very serious matter and each Christian must know it. What is the third proof?!
He said: The third proof exists in the epistle of St Paul to the Galatians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”(3:27)
This means that all who are baptized into Christ took Christ‘s image. Christ is holy and we are His image, so we are holy too.
I said: Why are there many people who believe that they are not saints?!
He said: There are three reasons for this belief: the first one is the wars of demons.
As we said before, all the devil is concerned about is mental warfare. If he succeeds in controlling our minds, he would easily control our attitudes. Let’s imagine a conversation about this between demons.
Chief demon: Let’s gather to begin the mental warfare with mankind.
Demon 2: What are we going to do?
Chief demon: The first step is not fighting them with any sin.
Demon 1: If our priority is not sin, then what is it?
Chief demon: If we fight them by sin and they resist it, then we have lost straightaway. In the beginning, we have to change their thoughts about themselves. We need to convince them that they will remain impure until the very end. If we succeed, they will become under our control. They will be our slaves
Demon 2: Then we can control them and humiliate them as much as we want!
Demon 1: How is it possible for those who are baptized and anointed with they holy Myroon oil to be under our control?
Chief demon: We have to fool and lie to them.
Demon 1&2: We will fool and lie to them O great demon.
The demon knows that the real entrance to heaven or hell is thought , with thought we remember God and being protected in his fort , by thought we fell in love of the world and enjoying with appetites ,that make the self opens up to the hell of sins and abominations .
saint Isaac of Nineveh
(The demon and our victory over him P.g80 For the father Tadros Yacoub Malaty)
Chief demon: Make me proud? Change their minds until they believe that they are really impure.
The father added: If Satan succeeds in persuading us that we are not saints and we are sinners, he will make us fall into each sin and filth so easily. It’s written that: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
So, when one believes that he is a sinner, he will do the sin and fall in filth without thinking to repent. He will become used to this life of sin; like the proverb says: “ Don’t blame the Romans for being Romans.”
Many young people believe in Satan’s lies but are desperate to quit sin and filth. The change in behaviour is a natural result of changing the mind, not the opposite. If anyone wants to change his attitude, he must change his mind first. That’s why St Paul the apostle said: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind“ (Romans 12:2).
Satan is very cunning. He starts from the right point, trying to program our minds that we are sinners and this is our nature. If he succeeds, we will be under his control. As Saint Isaac of Nineveh says: “All of Satan’s concern is limited to persuading man that GOD doesn’t care about him “.
Fight the demon and discover his tricks. He hides the bitterness behind the sweet so it will not be discovered. Who looks at it, will find it so beautiful in its appearance. However, its truth is completely different than its appearance. The devil does this to trick us. He cunningly takes the attractive appearance of the truth.
Saint John Chrysostom
( The Demon and Our Victory Over Him) p.g 142
Watch your thoughts. Do not give a chance for the devil to control you. You have to recognize that the voice which tells you that your nature is filth not holiness, is the voice of the devil or one tricked by the devil and is working for him without a conscience.
I said: So, the voice that is telling to me that my nature is filth not holiness, is Satan’s voice? But how can we fight this evil war?
He added: You fight Satan’s wars by God’s word, this is the most powerful weapon. Reply to the devil using God’s words, just as Christ did on the mountain. Never negotiate with Satan’s thoughts. Negotiating with him will end with your fall.
I said: How can I reply to him father? Can you give me a practical example?
He said: When Satan comes to fight with you by saying you are filthy because of falling into many sins everyday, reply to him by saying: “No I am not impure, but you are Satan! I will repent. It is written that the blood of Jesus will purify me from every sin.”
The devil will say: “Even when you repent, you will fall again, there is no way to go away from me. I will trip you again and again!”
Say to him: “Even when I fall, I will arise again and again, even if it is a million times. It’s written: “ Don’t rejoice over me my enemy; when I fall, I will arise.” (Micah 7:8)
The devil might then say: “Alright, but there are sins that you have forgotten to say. This makes you filthy and a member of my kingdom.
Reply by saying: “I am holy because I repented over every sin and Jesus forgave me every sin, even if I forgot it. All is forgiven and I am not impure, you are, Satan. It’s written “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)
I said: Alright then when he comes to fight me, I will use God’s word. But what is the second thing that makes us not believe that we are saints?
He said: The second thing that makes us not to believe that we are saints is: The wrong understanding of holiness.
Many of us think that holiness is performing miracles, healing the sick and casting out demons.
I said: Is holiness something different than these things, father?! Everyone knows that these are holiness!!
He said: Casting out demons, healing patients and performing miracles are gifts that God gave to some people to serve others by. Each part of the body has a special gift to serve the other members of the body by. It is written: “ For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ “ (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Further, someone can have such these gifts and perish by going to hell!!
I said in an astonished tone: Is that possible father?! A person casting out demons and healing patients ending up in hell at the end?
He said: These are not my words, son but God’s Himself. GOD said in (Matthew 7:22): “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” “And then I will declare to them, ’I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”
I said: But how can this happen father?! A person who casts out demons and performs many wonders ending up with sinners at the end?!
He said: As I said before, these are gifts that God gives to some people to serve the rest of their brothers. Some people may use these talents from God for their own glory, collecting money, bullying others and trading with the gifts that God gave them. As is written about them in (1 Timothy 6:5): “Useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” Unfortunately, there are some who are trading with religious manifestations. This behaviour in the church’s history was called Simonian.
I said: What does Simonian mean father?!
He said: Its name is derived from Simon Magus. Let’s imagine his conversation with St Peter :
Simon (with a mischievous look): Our teacher Peter. I have a request.
The Apostle Peter: Please go on Simon.
Simon (with malice): I have a lot of money, so much money. I also have a lot of gold and silver and I want to serve God.
The Apostle Peter: So what is your question, Simon? Simon: I want to have the Holy Spirit, but not like others.
The Apostle Peter: What do you mean exactly Simon?
Simon: I want to be like the apostles. Meaning that whomever I lay my hand on will receive the Holy Spirit, just as the apostles do. I will pay a lot of gold and silver which you can use for the service and give to the poor.
The Apostle Peter (aggressively): No, never Simon! Keep your gold and silver with you for destruction. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not bought by money, gold or silver. Repent Simon because you are walking in the way of hell and you are still living as Satan’s slave and for false glory.
I said: So this is the story of Simon, but what about Simonian?
He said: The same happened in the church’s history when there were some people who buy priesthood with their money. Whomever desires to buy such holy things does not have the purpose of serving Jesus, but rather that of false glory and controlling others.
I said: The fate of such people will definitely be the same as the fate Simon Magus, even if they are performing wonders!
He said: Absolutely! Every person who has a gift and uses it for false glory or controlling people instead of for the glory of Christ will have the same fate as Simon Magus.
I said: But these people will make others stumble and become far away from Christ?
He said : As we have discussed before, we should not put our peace in someone so we are not led astray by people who are falsely spiritual like Simon.
Whoever is lost should get lost alone. Our peace is in Christ, not in humans. The Apostle Peter spoke about these deceiving people saying: “ By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2 Peter 2:3)
Whoever cause someone else to sin will be in a terrible position. Christ said about him: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7).
Gifts are not holiness. There are those who have the gift of speech. They may speak with great words and convince a lot of people to believe in applying what they listen to. However, if the speaker, including priests, do not practice what they are preaching, they will perish.
I said: Are there really many people living like this father?
He said: A deacon may have the gift of a nice voice, chanting psalms and moving many people to repent. But he may be proud and in love with his own voice, leading him to perish by focusing on his ego instead of his salvation.
I said: This is scary and dangerous my father. So what is the real meaning of holiness?!
He said: The word saint or holy means consecrated. For example, when we say the holy church, we mean that it is a place that is consecrated for praying, not for playing football.
The utensils of the holy altar are consecrated for the Eucharist, not for eating normal food.
So you are holy and a saint, meaning consecrated for the dwelling of God in you. Every Christian is a saint because the spirit of God dwells in him. Holiness is not just for monks and nuns, of course not. There are laymen such as the Egyptian martyrs of Libya who had love for Jesus maybe more than many monks and priests. Holiness is not determined by your appearance or spiritual level but by the love for Christ in your heart.
I said : I now understand that every Christian is a saint because the Holy Spirit of God dwells in him. But what if I always fall in sin, father, am I still a saint?!
He said: Sinning constantly is the third thing that persuades us that we are not saints.
Demons will try to convince you that if you want to be a saint, you have to be without any sin. Let’s imagine their conversation.
Demon 1: We want to complete our plan so we can impress the great demon.
Demon 2: We have to use the last card we have to persuade him that he is not a saint.
Demon 1: What is this card? I have forgotten. His awareness is very strong, he always frustrates me!
Demon 2: We must never feel frustrated.
The last card is that we have to persuade him that if he wants to be a saint, he has to be without sin.
Demon 1: Is there anyone without sin except God alone? He will be so silly if he is persuaded by this.
Demon 2: Our focus is always on people’s foolishness. When they are ignorant with Bible, we can fool them and make them lost easily .
Demon 1: So what we are going to do? Please explain as it seems that I have learnt stupidity from humans?
Demon 2: After we persuade him that a saint has to be without sin, we will start fighting him with one sin and focus on it. Every time he falls in it , we say to him that sin is his nature. We will keep saying this until he gets frustrated, quits and forgets about being a saint forever?
Demon 1: That’s my specialty? I know what I am going to focus on. I will be after him until he hates his life?
Demon 2: That’s perfect, let’s start.
Demon 1: Let’s go?
Demons are getting wrath of whom practicing virtues with comprehension. because demons want to target with their invisible arrows towards the heart righteousness
Saint John Chrysostom
( the demon and our victory on him)
The father added: Unfortunately, a lot of people are tricked by this and think that to being a saint, you have to be without sin.
I said: Forgive me father. That is what I thought of as holiness and I think many are like me too.
He said: I have a question son. Is there someone on any day who can say that he is completely without sin?
I said: Definitely not. But a saint may be doing a limited type or number of sins.
He said: What is the standard of that? Does this mean that if someone does over a certain number of sins, he says that he is not a saint?
The Holy Bible says: “Whoever says to his brother, you fool shall be in danger of hell fire”
I said: It’s a difficult and confusing subject. What is the concept of holiness?
He said: Holiness is not being pure without any sin.
I said: Definitely , no one without sin.
He said: Holiness is hating sin and not being able to live with it. Saint Isaac says: “God doesn’t accept the virtuous self because of the acts but rather for the virtuous will that is directed towards Him and the heart that is full of repentance”.
It is like a man walking in a dirty street. When dirty things touch him, he becomes angry and returns home to change his clothes with clean ones.
As soon as one falls in sin, he should get away from it by repenting quickly. This is the indicator that he is progressing in the life of holiness. This is why the Holy Bible says: “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.” (Proverbs 24:16)
Although he may fall seven times, the Bible says that he is a righteous man.
I said: These misunderstandings of holiness have pushed many young people away. They thought that because of their constant falling, they are unclean and have lost their holiness. They surrender to sin and live in it.
He said: We are all weak and fall in sin. The important thing is that we hate the sin and run away from it. If we fall, we repent. Tell me, why do we offer a repentance?
I said: Why father?
He said: Holiness is our nature and sin is against our nature. That’s why when we fall, we repent by saying: “Forgive me my Lord, I fall into sin.” We must believe in God’s forgiveness and purging of our sins, and not focus on our sins and feel guilty about them all day and night.
When we fall in a specific sin, we can say “ God, have mercy on me from this sin. We need to focus on God’s forgiveness. Otherwise if we are constantly crying to God with our guilt, He will say: “Dear son, I really have forgiven you. Believe that I have forgiven you. Whenever you ask for something I give it to you. Why don’t you ask for grace, for Holy Spirit or for My power with you in your service?”
He continued : It’s necessary to believe that God forgives us and shows us mercy when we ask. Do not repeat words in prayer without understanding. This is why we believe that we are sinners and we will forever be lost because of it.
There is a great trick that the devil uses to make people exhausted and confused about accepting the gift of holiness that Christ gave them for free.
I asked: What is this trick father?
He said: The trick is: the reverse picture
I said: The reverse picture? What does that mean father?
He said: It is the belief that we have to do good and respectable deeds to deserve to be saints.
But we try and fail. That’s why we become tired and feel that holiness is impossible.
I said: So what is the right thing father?
He said: The right thing is to first believe that God gave us the Holy Spirit. We are saints by His Holy Spirit that dwells in us and our nature is holiness. That’s what makes us live as saints.
I said: But shouldn’t I have to be good and not commit sin to deserve to be saint?
He said: Can a monkey become human by wearing a suit, eating with a fork and knife and wearing perfume?!
I said: Of course not. He will remain a monkey.
He said: That’s why it’s impossible to be saint with your acts and spiritual striving without God’s grace, no matter what you do.
I said: Honestly, it’s really impossible father. I have tried many tines and failed. That’s why I feel frustrated and surrendered to sin for too many years. What is the solution father?
Fight the demon and struggling to know his tricks . he used to hide the bitterness behind the smooth for not being discovered . who looks at it, will find it so beautiful in it’s appearance unless it’s truth is completely different of it’s appearance . the demon do all of this to cheat the hearts with his cunning that taking the appearance of the truth and has it’s attractive
Saint John Chrysostom
( the demon and our victory on him) p.g 142
He said: The solution is to believe that you become a saint by the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in you. Believing this will help you in striving spiritually and doing saints’ deeds. Without believing this, it will be impossible. And here, the demons will fight you.
Demon 1&2: Help us O Great Demon.
Chief demon: Why are you scared like this demons? You are making me worried.
Demon 1&2: It’s Michael… we will lose him, we will lose him?
Chief demon: How come, what has happened?
Demon 2: Michael has started to believe that he is a saint and that God’s spirit dwells in him. He is ignoring us and walking in a holy way.
Chief demon (astonished) : What happened to him? Where are all his old thoughts of being a sinner and filthy that we made his family and servants say to him for many years?
Demon 1 (sadly) : Unfortunately, Michael started to believe the words of the Bible and forgot all about these things. Help us O Great Demon?
Demon 2: We are feeling weak, we will lose him a great demon?
Chief demon: I will tell you what to do.
Demon 1 &2: We are all ears great demon.
Chief demon: Reverse the picture demons.
Demon 2: How can we reverse it?
Chief demon: Instead of him believing that he is a saint so he has to do saints’ deeds, we reverse this and persuade him that he has to do saints’ deed first in order to become a saint!
Demon 1: But what is the difference O Great One?
Chief demon: Will you remain stupid forever, demon? Focus with me? If he believes that he is a saint, he will strive to do saints’ deeds and tire us with him. We have to persuade him that he has to achieve saints’ deeds first in order to become a saint.
Demon 1: Persuade him to do saints’ deeds? Really?
Chief demon: Focus! That’s just at the beginning, but however much he tries, he won’t be able to do it alone. With time, he will become frustrated and feel that he doesn’t deserve to be a saint! Later on, he will forget that he is saint and we will be able control him. Do you understand now?
Young demons (laughing): We understand O Great One – perfect evil plan!
I said: These are such evil traps. They appear good from the outside but in fact they are destructive? They made me lost for many years, and unfortunately, many are still lost!
He said: No matter how much a person strives with his deeds to be saint, he can never do this.
I said: It’s truly impossible!
He said: To live as a saint, you have to, first of all, to believe that you are a saint by the dwelling of God’s spirit in you, reject sin and be aware of the reverse picture!
I said: This reverse picture made so many people get lost!
He said: There is another destructive thought for the life of holiness, be careful of it son?
I said: What more is there father?
He said: Delaying, whether this is delaying repentance or when you repent, not believing in being forgiven immediately. For example, you may believe you are a saint only on the day of confession or Eucharist and spend the rest of the month thinking you are unclean.
I said: It is as if you reading my thoughts? I really think like that?
He said: No son, take care? This thought destroyed many people. We are holy all days, not a single day of a week or a month. If we feel weak, we have to repent and be purified with Christ’s blood, trusting in His full and immediate forgiveness, not at the end of a week or a month.
The moment that you say you are a sinner, God will hug you and say: “All your sins are forgiven, my beloved, all your sins are forgiven, my beloved.”
I said: Forgive me father but may I ask why you always focus on forgiveness each time we meet?
He said: The main war of the devil against us is sin. Our main weapon that we use against this war is forgiveness.
I said: That’s true that the most important weapon is forgiveness. It helps me to feel free.
He said: The thought that makes you doubt forgiveness is from Satan, not God.
It is like a soldier fighting in an army and the commander takes the weapon from him.
Commander (arrogantly): The weapon will be with me and at the end of each month or week, come and take it, depending upon the circumstances?
Soldier 1 (begging): Sir, the enemy is fighting me every hour, no, actually every minute. How am I going to fight without a weapon?
Commander (shouting aggressively): Are you objecting? The weapon will be with me and it’s enough to use it once a month. I am the commander?
Soldier 1: You are the commander and you have my respect, but I can’t fight without a weapon. I will lose and die!
Commander (shouting angrily): You think you know best and this is not good for you. Don’t argue with me or I will remove you from the army. Fight and at the end of the month, come to take the weapon. Understood?
Soldier 1: OK, as long as the weapon stays with you and you stay with me all the time. Please don’t leave me ever.
Commander: I am busy. I can’t be with everyone at once, I am the commander.
Soldier 1 (thinking to himself): How strange, what happened to the commander? It seems that he is suffering from megalomania.
Soldier 2: What happened Mina? Why you are sad?
Soldier 1: Did you hear what the commander said to me?
Soldier 2: What?
Soldier 1: He told me that the weapons will be with him. He won’t give them to us till the end of the month. How we are going to fight?
Soldier 2: He said that to all the soldiers. I don’t know what has happened to him.
Soldier 1: He seems to be affected by megalomania. He wants us to lose?
The father added: Do you think that this is a real commander who cares about his soldiers?
I said: With this behaviour, he is not a commander at all, or a mad commander, nothing else. A real commander encourages his soldiers and tells them that the weapons will be with them all the time. He gives the soldiers advice and support whenever needed.
He said: What do you think the soldiers will do?
I said: Surrender or kill the commander?
He said: That’s the main reason that makes many young people surrender to sin and living in it. They are not sure if when they repent and say “God, forgive me” God will forgive them. They say: “ I’m a hopeless case and will end up in hell so I might as well enjoy my life.”
Your weapon to keep your holiness is continuous repentance and trust in God’s complete and immediate forgiveness.
“Lord Jesus, we have spent so much time deprived of your love and grace. We have spent so much time in guilt, thinking sin is our nature instead of holiness.
All of this is because we are ignorant of the Holy Bible, Your love and Your forgiveness. You taught Your sons, Lord, that You gave us holiness for free and that we should take it and grow in it.
Holiness is not performing wonders like having hands that light up. Holiness is that Your spirit dwells in us. Make us believe that we are saints each day, not a single day of the month but all the time.
If we fall into sin, make us return to Your bosom to purify us from each sin and heal us from each weakness. My Lord Jesus, You are the kindest and greatest Father.”
He said: Are you with me son?
I said: Sorry father, I am a little distracted. These matters are new and serious. Forgive me father, I have a question. Will not thinking that I’m a saint cause me to fought by pride and ego?
He said: There is a big difference between being fought by sin and falling into it. When you are fought by adultery, it doesn’t mean that you have fallen into it. When you are fought by thoughts of atheism, that doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in God.
In the same way, if you are being fought by pride, it doesn’t mean that you have become arrogant.
I said: When does a thought become a sin?
He said: As St Mark said: “When you accept an evil thought and live in it, it’s a sin then. But if you fight against it and reject it, then you are a fighter and you will receive a crown.” Do not be afraid of the saint, it will not automatically cause you to fall into pride.
I said: OK father. I will reject the thought, but I want to know how the word saint will not cause me pride?
He said: Because of three reasons:
Firstly: You have received holiness freely, as a gift.
It’s written: “ For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8+9)
You did not achieve holiness by your works but rather by the dwelling of the Gods’ spirit in you. This is a gift and a grace from our God to us. Whoever has something which he knows he does not deserve can never be arrogant.
I said: Definitely
He said: St Paul the apostle received great grace. Imagine if we were to have a conversation with him :
Us: O our teacher, Paul, you are a great saint. You have great grace.
St Paul: I am weak. Grace is a gift from God’s to me.
Us: Weak?! How come? You have preached in many countries brought so many people and nations to Christ.
St Paul : I destroyed so many churches, persecuted many Christians and tortured them. God visited me and changed me. Who I am right now is due to grace from God. I don’t deserve it.
Us: But right now you are the great St Paul.
St Paul: That’s grace, son. Grace which I don’t deserve.
The father said: The more God gives grace, the more humble the person becomes.
The second reason that saves you from arrogance is knowing that you are not the only saint. All Christians are saints by the dwelling of God’s spirit in them.
I said: Can the unbelievers be saints?
He said: They have the potential to be if they believe and accept for God’s spirit to dwell in them. There is no need to be proud of being a saint. All of us are equal in the possibility of accepting grace. Is it logic that a brother is arrogant towards brothers because of being from a great family?
Brother 1 : I am from a great family. I am the best in the country.
Brother 2 : But we are all from the same family.
Brother 1 : (arrogantly) Yes, you are right, but there is a difference. I was educated at the best university and have made great wealth, more than my worthless brothers.
Brother 2: But those are your brothers. How can you say that about them?
Brother 1: This is not arrogance, I’m just stating facts. There is a great difference between me and them.
The father said: If someone said this, what would you say about him son?
I said: That he is nasty. But father, isn’t it possible if someone has changed for the better to fall into pride?
He said: That’s the third point which is the important sign that proves that holiness is real and not fake.
I said: What is this sign?
He said: Humility. The proof that one growing in holiness is growing in humility. Whoever feels proud is not living the real holiness. The more we grow in holiness, the more we will resemble God. Our Lord Jesus was full of humility. He even said: “ Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29) .
The proof of genuine holiness is growing in humility, not in arrogance.
I said: Words are easy father. But what are the steps to live real holiness instead of just words?
He said: To live the life of holiness, you need three things:
Firstly, it’s really important to believe that you are a saint.
Like what we said before, the beginning of change is rooted in mind. If the mind is changed, the attitude will too.
Whoever does not believe that he is a saint because of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in him will never able to do saints’ works, no matter how much he tries.
I said: Alright. The beginning of doing the saints’ works is to believe that I am a saint. What is the second step?
He said: The second thing is: the joy of being a saint
What is the reaction of a person who wins a million dollars?
I said: Maximum level of happiness?
He said: But what if this person, after winning that prize, is depressed. What would you say about him?
I said: Either that the prize is fake or that he is mad!
He said: Whoever does not feel joyful with the great grace that was given, that it is the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in him (priceless gift), will be either mad or doubtful for not believing. Either way, he won’t take advantage of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in him.
I said: He does not deserve it.
He said: The evidence of being saints is to be joyful. This will give you power to face the wars of sin. It is written: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
He who lives sorrowfully, frustrated and not in glory will fall into the devil’s traps so easily.
I said: Forgive me, father, but you are saying glory? Can I live in glory?
He said: These are not my words but the Bible’s: “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).
We are not glorifying in our works or our fight but in God and His dwelling in us. His fatherhood to us is the reason for our glory. We cannot exalt ourselves over our brothers because we all have the same Father Who is God. The Holy Spirit dwells in all of us.
I said: Thank you for your words father. But is this enough to live as a saint?
He said: This is the third point. To be a saint, you have to: Do saints’ works.
You have to keep feeding on the saints’ food which is the word of God. Keep your senses holy and your body pure. Have righteous friends and be in holy places. Preach so that your brothers all over the world accept redemption and become saints.
I said: Preach father? This word is really heavy for us.
He said: This word is not just heavy, but maybe even impossible to whoever does not believe that he is saint. How can someone who does not believe that he is a saint and has many confusing thoughts in his mind preach?! What he is going to say to people? Telling them to pray, fight and fast but at the end we are all sinners and will perish?
I said: I know understand why we feel preaching is not our role. Again, it’s because of our misunderstanding of holiness.
He said: That’s true my son. Christ commanded us to preach about redemption to all nations. If anyone believes that God made him holy through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in him, he will have a passion for the redemption of other souls. He will be zealous to deliver the word of God to all people and will feel that he is responsible for all his brothers in humanity.
I said: It’s not as easy as it sounds father.
He said: It’s easy if you believe that you are saint. Even when you face obstacles, they won’t knock you. The noble objective that you live for will make you joyful because of the Holy Spirit in you.
I said: You promised me a surprise, what is it, father?!
He said: The surprise is that the words we shared today were also discussed in the Holy Synod in 2018. The Holy Synod defined the concept of holiness: “The Bible, the tradition of the church fathers and the liturgy proclaim that all Christians are saints because of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in them by Baptism, confirmation and union with Christ in the Eucharist.
I said: Wow father. I didn’t know about this.
How to live a holiness life?
He said: Let’s summarize what we said today. We mentioned that we are saints because of three things. What are they?
I said: We are the sons of the Holy God, the Holy Spirit dwells in us and we resemble Christ.
He said: There are three obstacles which stop us from believing that we are saints. What are they?
I said: Satan’s wars, thinking holiness is all about performing miracles and believing holiness means being without sin.
He said: There are three things which help us to live as saints, what are they?
I said: Firstly, believe that we are saints. Secondly to always be joyful and thirdly, to do saints’ works.
He said: And remember to be careful son of the reverse picture, from delaying repentance and from doubting God’s forgiveness.
I said: God protect us father from the reverse picture. Pray for me father.
He said: May the intercessions of our mother, the holy Virgin Mary and all the saints be with you. God bless you, my son.