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Self examination

Glory be to God, we are all called Christians. We all confess the one Tri-hypostatic God, the living and immortal God. We were all baptized in the name of the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We all believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God, crucified and risen from the dead, and showing His sign, we sign ourselves with the cross. We all go to the holy church and we pray, beseech, hymn, and glorify the holy name of God. We listen to the holy word of God. We all partake of the holy and life-creating Mysteries of Christ. We are all called to eternal life and the Kingdom of Heaven, and we say in the holy Symbol of Faith, "I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come" (Nicene Creed, articles 11 and 12).

Glory to God for all that and more! Truly most glorious and magnificent are the mysteries of Christianity, O listeners! It is a great and glorious thing to be a Christian!

But let us examine ourselves and test whether we are truly Christians. According to the apostolic injunction, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5), for without faith it is not possible to be a Christian. We show the outward signs of Christianity, as we said above, but do we have true Christianity within us? For everything outward is nothing without the inward, and outward signs apart from very truth are a lie and hypocrisy.

We pride ourselves in our faith, but do we do works in conformity with this faith? As the Apostle says to all, "Shew me thy faith without thy works" (Jas. 2:18). We are called Christians after Christ, but do we crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts as befits Christians that believe in Christ crucified? As the Apostle says, "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24).

And do we feel within us the anointing of gladness of the oil of the Spirit? We believe in the Gospel, but do we live worthily of the Gospel? We confess and call upon the true God, but do we please Him with the faith and the clean conscience that He demands of us? We hear the holy word of God, but do we heed it and correct ourselves according to its rule? We partake of the holy and life-creating Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ, but are we renewed by Holy Communion and do we progress in the new, spiritual man?

Let us consider these and other things, and examine ourselves as to how we live, how we behave, how we think, how we speak, how we act, with what heart we address others before God, Who sees all things, and how we treat each other. And having so considered, let us correct ourselves that we may be Christians not only in name but also in truth.

We became Christians by the grace of God; let us take care to have true Christianity within ourselves. We were baptized in the one Tri-hypostatic God and have received the gift of holiness and justification; let us take care to guard this heavenly treasure to the end. We believe in Jesus Christ crucified; let us take care to follow Him with faith, and having each one taken up his cross let us go after Him. We confess and call upon the heavenly God; let us take care to please Him with a heavenly character. We hear the word of God; let us take care and live just as it teaches us. "We await the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come;" let us take care to conduct ourselves in this world worthily of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come; and having turned away from the vanities of this world, let us strive only for everlasting blessedness. We approach the holy and heavenly table of the Mysteries of Christ; let us take care that this heavenly and life-creating Bread brings life, sanctification, illumination, renewal, joy and spiritual consolation.

Thus shall we show our faith from our works. Thus shall we be Christians not only in name but in very fact. "God be gracious unto us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us and have mercy on us, that we may know upon the earth Thy way, among all the nations Thy salvation" (LXX-Ps. 66:2-3 [KJV-Ps. 67:1-2]).

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