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Ask an EOC: Does Baptism Clear All Sin, Even Blasphemy?


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Ask an EOC: Does Baptism Clear All Sin, Even Blasphemy?

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Commentary by Nicholas Damascus | FāVS News

ask an eastern orthodox Christian

The Sacrament of Baptism can be said to be an outward sign of an inward belief, a profession of faith, a rite of passage, the beginning of eternal life and the gateway to enter the Kingdom of God. The event presupposes that a transformation takes place within the individual who chooses to become more like Christ (Romans 12:2). This struggle is a commitment and process to die to the worldly passions (Colossians 3:5) and be resurrected as a newly illumined child of God (Romans 6:4-6).

Being saved in the Eastern Orthodox faith by the sacrament of baptism is not a one-day event but a lifetime process with an emphasis on developing a repentant attitude and behavior (Luke 3:3). Raised in a newly illumined life, the participant establishes an intimate communion and union with Christ.

Participation in this event should not be about conformity but rather a genuine effort to change (transform) one’s heart and mind, becoming more like Christ through His grace and mercy.

An Example

The following example compares the difference between conformity and transformation. A thief caught stealing and faces a judge who sentences him to a year of probation may only conform to the guidelines of his probation and then may resume stealing as a way of life. In this example, there is no change or transformation in the thief’s life to acknowledge that stealing is wrong and sinful.

Christ became man (through the Incarnation), wanting to renew all of his creation by offering the gift of salvation to man through repentance and baptism. If any man should choose to accept this gift of redemption, he will share in all that God wants to give us for eternity and not just a one-time shot.

Concerning the Sin of Blasphemy 

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit occurs when a person actively pursues a conscious, continuous, deliberate and malicious attitude of rejecting the Holy Spirit of God, calling God who is good, evil. This sin is unforgivable if that person continues in this intentional, continuous, declarative state, leaving no hope of salvation in this life or the next.

Many Christian fathers, including St. John Chrysostom, said blasphemy against the Holy Spirit “Would be forgiven to those who sincerely repent.” They say there are no unforgivable sins if a blasphemer turns toward God with a true contrite spirit and repents of this sin.

You can read more about this topic in a previous Ask an Eastern Orthodox column, “Will God Forgive the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit of God?”

The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.

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Nicholas Damascus
Nicholas Damascus
As an infant, I was baptized as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. However, I would say that becoming a Christian is a work in progress, and I often wonder would there be enough evidence to convict me of becoming a Christian. The Orthodox Church is the ancient Church that Christ and the Apostles established. It is not a religion but rather a way of life. It is not about rules and regulations but rather guide posts to make choices to transition to what we were designed to become. Becoming Orthodox is not a conversion but more so a transformation of self. It’s not about being right: it is about “right being.” In John 14:6, Christ says I am the Way (to love and serve one another), the Truth (there is only one reality), and the Life (that life source is love). I invite you to submit any topics or questions to “Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian” on the website. Join me in finding our way back home to the original teachings of the Church. When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look.

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Chuck McGlocklin
Chuck McGlocklin
4 months ago

I struggled with “being” a Christian until I learned the truth of transformation that could not happen until I gave all to God.
Before that, I chose and made the rules (I was god) and which ones I would obey (I was lord), even though I claimed to be a Christian.

Nicholas Michael Damascus
Nicholas Michael Damascus
4 months ago

Beautifully stated and insightful.
Eve was deceived by the serpent when he said to her eat of this fruit and you can be like God. Mankind continues to perpetuate the Fall relying on only on his own wisdom and as a result suffering from the consequences his choices.

The Holy Spirit of God imputes directly into our hearts the knowledge of our Father in Heaven (Gen 3:22). Since Adam and Eve stole the knowledge of good and evil mankind “knows” what is good or evil in their hearts. However, we often override what we “know” to be the truth in our hearts and with our rational cognitive reasoning pervert that truth. This is when we truly suffer from not acting on the truth, but ignoring it.

A good parent will always impart what a child needs and not necessarily what they want. A good parent will sacrifice for the benefit of their children with unending love for them even if they rebel against their parents. A good parent (as our Father in Heaven) will never cease chasing after their children to bring them home and back into the fold.

Blessings to you and yours.

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