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Forgiving Sins

[I Cor. 15:58-16:3; Luke 5:17-26] But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, He said to the para­ lytic, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up they couch, and go into thine house. Remission of sins is an inner, spiritual miracle; healing from pa­ ralysis is an outer miracle — the natural acting of God in the world, a physical miracle. The flowing in of God’s power is justified and con­ firmed by this event in the moral realm, and in the movement of phe­ nomena in the physical world. The latter is in view of the former, for in the former lies the goal of every­ thing. The Lord does not coerce one’s freedom, but gives under­ standing, inspires, and amazes. One of the best means for this is an out­ er miracle. This came to be when man became a rational creature, ruled by freedom. This connection is so essential, that those who reject the supernatural action of God in the world also reject the freedom of man, along with the recognition that the latter must necessarily call forth the former. On the other hand, those who confess the truth of God’s influence in the world beyond a natural flow of events can say boldly: we can feel that we are free. The recognition of freedom is as strong and irresistible as the recog­ nition of one’s existence. Freedom urgently demands direct providen­ tial actions of God: consequently the acknowledgement of these actions stands as firmly as the recognition of freedom.

Saint Theophan the Recluse

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