Origen and Striving for Holiness

I have been reading from Origen's "On First Principles" and it has caused me to wonder about holiness, sanctification, and righteousness. As I read, I consider the fact that I have relaxed some in my commitment to strive for holiness and instead find comfort in resting in God's open arms. I wonder if this is a good thing or if I need to change.

After attending an evangelical, conservative Christian college, I found myself wary of anything that tastes of legalism over grace. Yet, as I spend the beginning of my seminary days at an institution that speaks much of original sin yet doesn't set a moral standard, I wonder if perhaps fellow Christians or people claiming to be Christians are our biggest enemy in our journey of faith.

In one school I was confronted with judgment that gave little room for grace, in the other I am faced with judgment that critiques moral absolutes. In both places I moderate myself, listening carefully to the words I speak, while maintaining behaviors that I believe to be right. But as I read Origen's ideas that seam to resemble a Christian form of reincarnation, I wonder if I am really making any effort to grow and if I am too content with my current spiritual condition. And then I ask, "In what direction do I grow?" How does one seek holiness while being full of grace? Is the answer to focus on one's own spiritual condition while being purposely unconcerned about others? But then where does righteousness fit in and remaining your neighbor's brotherly/sisterly keeper? And how does one strive for holiness when one is unsure of what direction that striving needs to take place?


Katie Z. said…
I think this whole post and that question is why I personally love being a methodist. It's the notion that we can't love God without loving other people and holding them accountable and all of that. And we can't do ANY of that without God's continual, sustaining grace. We can only love God and grow as disciples and be a part of christian community if we have that underlying power of grace. Grace to me is a force, a power, much more than the simple offer of forgiveness. It is necessary for growth - they can't be without the other. And therefore, we do begin to measure our holiness by the works we do, only because as we grow in love it is expressed in outer disciplines.

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