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WE MUST BE WISE TO BE SAVED (2 Tim. 3:14, 4:2)

To attain salvation, we must be wise; and this wisdom is found in Sacred Scriptures and "from us, your teachers, whom you know are true." Paul preached a way of life. This way of life must be learned and believed (i.e. put into practice) for us to be "perfect and competent to perform good works".

If we do not learn and believe, we will have no wisdom to understand the ways of God. Deprived of this wisdom at present, be humble and do not be troubled with the ways of God. Abraham knew that Isaac would bear a nation yet, when commanded to sacrifice Isaac, he was not troubled; he merely obeyed.

So, firstly, let us be humble before the strange ways of God that surpasses our understanding; then learn from Sacred Scriptures and known Orthodox teachers the way of life Paul was referring to.

St. John Chrysostom states that Sacred Scriptures and St. Paul taught only four things which we must learn and put into practice that we may deserve the gift of wisdom and, eventually, salvation.
Firstly, that sinners are always punished; and as long as they remain sinners, they "wax from worse to worst", i.e. their progress is for the worst. Secondly, that the righteous cannot always be rejoicing. No one is equal to Paul in holiness yet he passed all his life in affliction, in tears, in groaning.

God punishes the sinners even here on earth so that no one may suppose their sins go unavenged. Seeing someone punished arouses more fear in us than the thought of hell. If no wicked man is punished no one would believe that God presides over the affairs of man. But if all are punished here on earth, one may doubt the life after. So, God punishes some sinners here and other sinners He forbears, reserving their punishments in the life after.

The good, more often, suffer tribulations here on earth; they rarely experience prosperity because God wishes to emphasize their status as sojourners and pilgrims and strangers on this earth wherewith their rewards are reserved for the life after. 

The sinners suffer tribulations as punishment for their sins. The good suffer tribulation for the development of virtue. In both cases, suffering is beneficial.

The sinner must be grateful he is punished here because, if his punishment is  reserved for the after-life, that means he is lost. The good are grateful when they are in prosperity; but they are also grateful when they suffer because their reward is reserved for the life after.

Thirdly, we must do good, and fourthly, we must avoid evil. Sacred Scriptures tells us what is to be done and what is to be avoided. 

Learning the four things mentioned above and believing, i.e. acting upon them, shall "make thee wise;  that is, it will remove all foolish feelings and thoughts from you. And you will endure all things with faith, referring all to the incomprehensible nature of Divine Dispensation.







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