Who is a sinner?

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1). The Pharisees’ dough is the pleasure of showing yourself righteous before men. He did not simply say, “beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees”, but “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy”. Just as the leaven grows and multiplies, so the desire to show oneself righteous knows no bounds, growing up to heaven, reaching to crucify Christ.

The spiritual law shows that all saints think themselves sinners, and sinners think themselves righteous. This is why Christ also said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). The Apostle Paul says: “I am the first among sinners” (1 Timothy 2:15), and all the prayers left to us from the Saints are true confessions, so that to many of our contemporaries, possessed by the spirit of their own righteousness, these prayers seem exaggerated in the chain of sins they present. That is why they do not even read them, for, they say, “they have God in their hearts”.

Look at those who rule the world, these immature ones who fight against the corruption of others to establish justice on earth, themselves beyond suspicion. While the saints and Christ himself teach us to fight the evil in ourselves, guarding against the judgment of our neighbor, the rulers of this world urge us to persecute one another, to pursue the evil in others, for no one persecutes himself, thinking himself righteous.

If saints see their sins, sinners see only their qualities. And whom will the fool love more: the one who reminds him that he is a sinner, or the sinner who praises him? Of course, the flattering sinner. So it is that sinners and wicked men have begun to say proudly that God lives in them and they no longer need the Church, whereas all the saints are in the Church of the Lord. Scripture comes to discourage these imagined “righteous”, first of all when it tells them that Christ did not come for the righteous, but for sinners (who know they are sinners). Then we see that man, from the image of God, can be so darkened as to become the house of unclean spirits, even to identify himself with Satan, in the case of Antichrist, who will be a man born of woman, but who will be altogether like Satan in his wickedness and will do the work of that one.

The apostles of Antichrist have come into the world and you see them sitting on thrones and boldly commanding mocking commands against men and even Christ. They are the masters of the in and out, with them is food and heat, selling and buying. Their “righteousness” has haughtily exalted itself above the righteousness of the Church, commanding the saints when and how they may offer the sacrifice of Christ. Beware of their leaven, for as a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (1 Corinthians 5:6), so the least obedience to these antichrists will make you like them and one with them.

Guard the bond between you, for the devil translates as divider. But the church is gathered around Christ, whose is the power and the kingdom and the glory forever and ever.

– Hieromonk Savatie Bastovoi

About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR.
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