Today we focus on listener questions related to salvation, both what it means and what it is we are being saved from. Father Aaron explained that salvation is comprised of the Final Judgement, where we will receive either a guilty or not guilty verdict (while discussing the important distinction between being "not guilty" and "innocent"). The other component of salvation is that we are continually being spiritually healed. This healing is a process and not a one-time event. We then discussed the relationship between baptism and salvation. We concluded our discussion with a question regarding the assurance of our salvation.
This is the first of two episodes answering listener-submitted questions. We begin by discussing the topic of forgiveness, specifically if a crime is committed against us and our participation in the trial of the accused. We also discussed that by not forgiving others, we are allowing them to remain in control of our lives. We further explored the biblical concept that the only reason we have to forgive others is because God first forgave us. Finally, on this topic, we discussed if "forgetting" is part of the process of forgiveness. We then concluded the episode by turning to questions regarding pride.
We begin by addressing the significance of the threefold repetition of Jesus’ question to Peter, “Do you love me?” This repetition restores Peter from his previous threefold denial of Christ. We then turned to Jesus’ referral to Peter as, “Son of Jonah,” which Father Aaron explained as a deliberate comparison of Peter to Jonah the Prophet. Like Jonah, who resisted taking God’s message to his enemies, Peter also was resistant to Jesus’ command to reconcile with his Roman enemies and to accept the Gentiles. In both cases, Jonah and Peter were compelled by God to be obedient. We then closed our discussion of this passage from John by addressing the beloved disciples conclusion to his Gospel. Father stressed that John is not providing us with an invitation to speculate on those things which are not written in the Gospels. Rather, John is setting a seal on the four Gospels. As John writes in Chapter 20, “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
We discuss the tempting of Jesus in the wilderness. Unlike the first Adam who was tempted and failed the test, Jesus, the new Adam, shows us that God has empowered us with the ability to say “no;” to show us that we can resist and overcome the tempter. We also discussed the use of Scripture by the devil to ensnare Jesus. Fr Aaron explained that knowing Scriptural verses does not necessarily mean that Scripture is being accurately represented. We were reminded of the importance of understanding Scripture as a whole. Unlike the devil, Jesus responds with a correct understanding of Scripture in his rebuttal. Finally, we were given an understanding of the significance of the wilderness in this passage. While most people used the walls of the city for protection, in the wilderness they were not provided for naturally, but by God alone. And through a correct understanding of Scripture, we are to understand that we are eternally protected only by God’s Law and by His Providence.