About Salvation

Salvation is the goal of Christianity, and the purpose of the Church. The Orthodox Church teaches that “God became man (in the person of Jesus Christ), so that man may become like God” (St. Athanasius). This concept of becoming like God is termed “theosis” in Greek, or deification, and it means that salvation is not simply a response to a legalistic question, but is rather a healing process initiated by God and participated in by man.

Orthodoxy views mankind’s inclination to sin as a symptom of an illness that needs treatment, not just a transgression that requires retribution. One of the distinctive characteristics of Orthodox Christian theology is that it sees the Gospel message of Christ not as law, but as an invitation into a restored relationship. It speaks of the mystery of the Holy Trinity in terms of the relationship of love that exists among them. To be joined to that love is the work that will lead to salvation.

Here is a short video detailing how the Orthodox understanding of salvation is different from that of Western confessions of Christianity (ie. Roman Catholicism, Protestantism):

Through the Incarnation (God becoming man), salvation is not just a mental concept or set of commandments. The spiritual has been joined to the physical through the Mystery of the Eucharist. Because the spiritual has become physical, the mystical exchange of our life with God’s that happens in the Divine Liturgy is our primary means of participation in salvation: