‘’…if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor’’ (Gal 2:17-18).
We destroy our sins via confession to our spiritual father, and yet we find ourselves building again those same sins, either consciously or unconsciously.
The phrase of the Apostle Paul also refers to those people who have seen and have known the light of truth and suddenly, as if trapped in a terrible pit, have been drawn back down the slope of sin or forgetfulness of God, blind and deaf to the tears and supplications of their families and sincere friends.
These are the people who begin to rebuild their old way of life which they lived before they knew the light of Christ, and in so doing, say: “We acknowledge that the difficult battle that we have fought, in order to see the light, was because of our mistakes and spiritual ignorance. Now we prefer to return to our old way of life and to rebuild that, which we painstakingly demolished.”
So, what does that mean? Back in prison, again!
Until now, one would look at them and admire them. Enlightened, they lived the life of peace, considerate and dynamic in their good works.
And today! In a short period of time, they have totally changed. Their virtue and decency is lost. They have chosen the way of darkness over light. They decided to choose the chains of the devil over the ‘gentle yoke ‘ of Christ. They decided to exchange the freedom of their Christian life, with the prison of the sinful life. Rather than following the will of God, they choose to follow their own fallen will.
These types of mistakes are due to our weak human nature, and God forgives them when He sees sincere repentance, because the powers of evil exist and can influence us to sin. The devil is our enemy who tempts us and plans and rejoices at our downfall.
We all sin, we all make mistakes. A Christian is not one who does not succumb to sin. A Christian is one who having sinned, lifts themselves up, and does not lie fallen in the mud forever.
Even the Apostle Peter fell into the clutches of sin and denied Christ. But, when he heard the cock crow, he remembered the word of Christ, he repented and ‘wept bitterly’ and he therefore received forgiveness.
In his statement, the Apostle Paul does not refer to those who have fallen into sin, but those who insist on living the life of sin, by not constantly examining themselves and realising their wickedness, or simply denying their calling and gift of baptism. These are the people who willingly become slaves of the devil, who consciously exchange the love of the light of Christ, for the love of spiritual ignorance and sin.
For example, there are people who desire the destruction, the torment in hell-fire of their enemies, or the enemies of the Church. They think like this because they have not learnt divine love from the Holy Spirit. If one has learned the love of God, one will shed tears for the world.
St Silouan the Athonite spoke of the Christian path when he said: ‘One who will not love their enemies cannot come to know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies, so that the soul pities them as if they were her own children’ (p. 275). How difficult is this?
For this reason, many are not able to escape from the clutches of sin and repent.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, the Christian life is one of safety, of joy, of true productivity, a labour of love.
In contrast, the life of sin, which is often opted for over the life of faith, is similar to certain pits of quicksand, where, if one steps into it, it is difficult to be saved from it, because first, the sand swallows the person until the knees, and no matter how much one tries to escape and save themselves, they sink further down, with the result that the sand becomes their frightful grave.
Christ said: ‘’…whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it’’ (Mk 8: 35).
The way towards knowledge of God goes above all via faith, the love of Christ, and repentance.
May God give us all the spirit of repentance, to weep over our own faults. We must learn to weep, so that our heart may not dry up.