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Does the Eastern Orthodox Church believe fasting is required for salvation?
False spiritualism rejects or ignores the body, viewing man solely in terms of his reasoning brain and therefore neglect the positive role played by the body in the Christian spiritual life. Saint Paul’s affirmation: “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit… glorify God with your body” (Cor 6: 19-20).
Does an athlete need to exercise to become stronger and develop an endurance to “run the good race?” Much the same way, the spiritual, athletic needs to incorporate spiritual discipline. Fasting prepares and aids the person to fight the good fight, by strengthening their will through self-denial.
When the body is harnessed by fasting, it brings sobriety, strength, freedom, refinement and purity to the human soul. Only when our spirit is in such a healthy state can it withstand the unseen enemies.
True fasting is to control the tongue, to abstain from lust, slander, falsehood and perjury, to resist anger. The fast is not only abstinence from food, but aids in controlling bodily passions that keep us from loving God and one another.
If you see those who are poor, show them mercy. If you see an enemy, reconcile with him. If you see a friend who is receiving accolades, share in his joy and do not envy him! Should you see a beautiful woman, pass her by.
Let the hands remain clean from stealing and greediness. Let the legs fast, avoiding roads that lead to sinful engagement, avoid the hearing of evil things or defamations of others. Strive to change one’s life for the better. I am saved, I am being saved, I will be saved is a process, a journey, and a path of transformation and healing (theosis).
1 Corinthians 9:27 “ But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Mark 9:29 The Lord said to His Apostles about the evil spirits “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
Matthew 17: 21 “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
2 Timothy 4: 7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
In St. Paul’s Second Letter to the 2Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by “word” (spoken word) or our “epistle (written word).”
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.