Servants and Debtors

by Scott D. Hendricks

20. If ‘Christ died on our account in accordance with the Scriptures’ (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3), and we do not ‘live for ourselves’, but ‘for Him who died and rose’ on our account (2 Cor. 5:15), it is clear that we are debtors to Christ to serve Him till our death. How then can we regard sonship as something which is our due?

21. Christ is Master by virtue of His own essence and Master by virtue of His incarnate life. For He creates man from nothing, and through His own Blood redeems him when dead in sin; and to those who believe in Him He has given His grace.

22. When Scripture says ‘He will reward every man according to his works’ (Matt. 16:27), do not imagine that works in themselves merit either hell or the kingdom. On the contrary, Christ rewards each man according to whether his works are down with faith or without faith in Himself; and He is not a dealer bound by contract, but God our Creator and Redeemer.

23. We who have received baptism offer good works, not by way of repayment, but to preserve the purity given to us.

~ St. Mark the Ascetic

G.E.H. Palmer and Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware trans., The Philokalia: the complete text, vol. 1 (New York: Faber and Faber, 1979), 126-127.