今天使徒書信提到的「稱義」是聖經中最重要的部分，但卻常被人誤解。保羅提到我們是靠著基督耶穌的十架，並藉著基督所賜的信(the faith of Jesus)而得以稱義。稱義這詞說來話長，它即使對於那些不在乎宗教信仰的人，以及對於研究文明文化的人都很重要，因為人們誤解了出自希臘原文的這個字，而卻影響了西方文明的後續發展。而今你若去問一個基督徒或隨便一人，他若不知原文的哲學意涵，就會回答稱義如同人在法庭中，神是大法官，判定人「有罪」、「無罪」。
這是天大的錯誤，完全和聖經意思、教會教導背道而馳。首先，聖經是說我們稱義是藉著「從耶穌而來的信」，這是「耶穌所賜的信」(the faith of Jesus)；而非英文譯本中所說的「相信耶穌」或是「對耶穌的信」(the faith in Jesus)。保羅書信中提到的信與後世的解讀是二件不同的事，其一，是從基督而來的信，也可說為「我有耶穌基督賜給我的信」；其二，指的是律法的行為。何謂律法的行為？我們要記得保羅這裡是對加拉太教會說話，加拉太人因著猶太人要他們遵照舊約的規定行割禮和獻祭，所以教會中存有許多的歧見與紛爭。於是保羅將「基督所賜的信心」與「律法的行為」二者相互對照。律法的行為指的是行割禮、不吃不潔的食物以及其他各種規定等。
稱義是指人得到神賜的信，那來自神的非受造能量(the uncreated energy of God)，使人能夠明白像動物一樣活著不是我們該有的樣子。神道成肉身，賜給我們祂的獨生子。神對你說你所吃的食物並非不好，但這並非是神所要給你的，神要給你的是祂自己，透過領受聖體聖血，神讓自己成為你永恆生命的糧食，這才是稱義。和上法庭是完全不一樣的二件事。我們說「從耶穌而來的信」或「耶穌所賜的信」(the faith of Jesus)，而不是說「我信耶穌」或「我對耶穌的信」(the faith in Jesus)。從聖經的觀點來看，兩者意思不同。因為當我問你：「你信什麼？」的時後，你可能會回答：「我信耶穌」，或者有人會說我什麼都不信，還有人會說我信其他的神，但是這樣的回答，這樣的信，其實只是你自己的心智活動。反觀，當我們說「耶穌所賜給我的信」時，這不是出於我們自己的心智活動而接受主耶穌作我的神；這是聖靈的恩賜，因著聖靈的恩賜和聖靈的恩典，我們才能有「從耶穌而來的信」。
這樣的誤解在西方文明中是如何發生的呢？首先是聖奧古斯丁的觀點，成為西方世界異端的起源。他雖是教會的聖徒，但他在開始撰寫哲學作品時犯了這錯。他欲以「信」(faith)與「律法的行為」(the works of the law)兩相對照。但這裡他指的只是「信」，而非是以「從耶穌而來的信」來相對照。二者大不相同，因為這樣的「信」只是你自己的心智活動。於是聖奧古斯丁說神是一位大法官，要來審判你我，一一判定我們是否需要入監。因此，我在神的面前滿身罪惡。
因著聖奧古斯丁和聖經誤譯等因素，西方文化與後來的馬丁路德都將「信」與立基於罪惡的「律法的行為」兩相對照。但他們只對照「信」與「律法的行為」，而非「從耶穌而來的信」與「律法的行為」。後來至中世紀時，坎特伯里的安瑟倫(Anselm of Canterbury)，他雖有好的態度，但他並不明白教父的著作。他也是位哲學家，他基於律法及當時的風俗習慣建造一套邏輯思想。所以在他的作品“Proslogion”中，因亞當犯罪不遵守神的吩咐，以至於神被人無限地冒犯。由於這種對神的冒犯是無邊無盡的，所以神需要某個無限的人付出無限的代價來償還。但誰能做這事呢？人不能，因為沒有人是無限的。因此神的內在產生了心理衝突，祂給了我們祂的獨生子—無限的神—由聖子來付上無限的死亡。
這樣理論在西方神學中衍生出幾種不同版本，但卻是完完全全違反基督信仰的。首先，因為它表現出的概念是神居然不能控制祂自已的精神和情緒，是一個需要心理醫生來幫助祂不要感到被別人冒犯的神。Anselm在其著作中提及的這種錯誤觀點，並未使用任何一句聖經經文做為論據。如果真如Anselm所言，那麼道成肉身就沒有用了，因為如果耶穌已經付上代價，我們就沒理由要來教會領受聖餐。不只如此，Anselm的錯誤觀點使神變成像怪物一樣，居然為了滿足自己而殺了自己的兒子。如同教父St. Gregory the Theologian提問的：「如果祂不接受以撒的血，又怎會要求祂獨生子的血呢？」(“Why would He who did not accept the blood of Isaac then ask for the blood of His own Son?”)
上周是舉揚十字聖架節主日，在講道中我們曾提到「神愛世人，甚至將祂的獨生子，賜給他們」。若魔鬼問神為何要在乎人類呢，神是無法回答的，因為這是沒有原因的愛。神對聖者或是惡者也懷有同樣的愛。我們如何接受這樣的愛，也就是我們的回應，將關乎我們會身在天堂或是如入地獄。地獄是活在神的愛中，卻拒絕神的愛；拒絕神的愛也意味你拒絕其他人的愛，這就是地獄。( 關於天堂地獄的解釋，請參看另一篇講道：愛就是天堂，恨就是地獄 ) 。西方文明中錯誤的論點是基於神與人兩者間的審判關係。教父St. John Chrysostom曾說過一些對敬虔的基督徒來說會感到非常訝異的事。他說神也愛妓女，神為了她親自來到世上，成為人類，道成肉身，只為了與她同在。這不是李亮神父所說的，是教父St. John Chrysostom說的。對柏拉圖及哲學邏輯來說，這樣的愛是極為愚蠢的，且毫無道理可言。
但我們再回到使徒書信的經文，保羅何時知道、又是如何知道稱義的真諦呢？在16節一開始時「既知道人稱義不是因行律法，乃是因來自耶穌基督所賜的信」(“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ”)(KJV,原文直譯)。而保羅何時明白這道理呢？首先，因保羅已是個基督徒，他明白稱義不是智性的知識，而是經歷，是活出基督所賜的生命。保羅受了洗，他看到了神的光，他領受了耶穌基督在他裡面(註：透過聖餐禮)，所以他知道何謂稱義。若你沒有類似的經歷，你無法明白稱義。這也是為何在我們今天讀經文內容最後一節，他問道他如何知道這些事情，他說：「我已經與基督同釘十字架，現在活著的不再是我，乃是基督在我裡面活著」。
2014. 09. 21 聖十字架節後一主日
Photo : Ali Nishan
2014.09.21 – Justification and Faith – Sunday after Holy Cross
St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 2:16-20 BRETHREN, you know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The Gospel of Mark 8:34-38; 9:1 The Lord said: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
Fr. Jonah’s Sermon
The Epistle today is one of the most important and misunderstood parts of the Bible because it speaks about justification. Paul says that we can know that we are justified by the Cross of Jesus Christ, by the faith of Jesus. Now, it is this word justification has a long story and it is very important also for those who do not care about religion and who study civilization and culture because the misunderstanding of this word from the original Greek text, affected Western Civilization. If you ask a typical Christi tanoday or somebody who does not understand the context and philosophy of the original text, he will say that justification is like your going into court and God is like a big judge, who will say, “Guilty,” or “Not guilty.”
This is a very, very big mistake, and it is totally opposite to the meaning of the Bible and the teaching of the Church. What the Bible says, first of all, that we are justified by the faith of Jesus Christ, NOT in Jesus Christ, as it is translated in English. [difficulty in translating the difference between these two into Chinese.] My meaning here is that the apostle took two different things: one is the faith of Jesus Christ: we can say “I have the faith of Jesus Christ.” And the second thing is the works of the law. What are the works of the law? We should not forget that Paul here is speaking to the Galatians, and the Galatians were having many divisions and quarrels because the Jewish Christians wanted them to keep the circumcisions and sacrifices that are determined in the Old Testament. So what Paul is contrasting is the faith of Jesus and the other is the works of the law, which is to be circumcised and not to eat unclean foods and other things.
Let me make it more clear what does the word justification means in the context of the Fathers of the Church and the original text of the Bible in Greek. It does not mean that you go to a court, where god says, “Guilty,” or “Not guilty.” I will give you an example to help you understand what justification means in the Bible. Suppose God sees that one of us is going to the bars to drink at night and in the morning he is outside in the street like this [sways around like a drunk] and without money and without a job. Then God takes him and says, “Come on, my child, and I will cure you. I will give you an injection and this passion you have for drugs and all kinds of bad things will go away. And come here, I have a good job and will give you a life that is proper for you. Because it is not just for you to live like a beggar and a drunk. This is not justified, this is not good for you.“ I think this gives you the Orthodox idea of justification.
Justification is to participate, it is the uncreated energy of God that comes to us and says that it is not good to live like an animal. God is coming to me and to you and He makes each of us His Son. And He says to you that this food, like that which you have prepared here for one another is not bad, but it is not really what I wanted for you. You can let Me be the real food of eternity, which is God. So this is justification, it is not as if you go to court. And when we say the faith of Jesus – and I don’t say the faith in Jesus because if I ask you what you believe in you may say that you believe in Jesus, some may say they believe in nothing, and others may believe in some other god. This is different [from what the Gospel means] since it is an act of your mind if you answer me like this. But when I say the faith of Jesus, it is not an intellectual act in which I accept Jesus as my God, it is not this. It’s a gift of the Holy Spirit because by the gift of the Holy Spirit and by the grace of the Holy Spirit we have the faith of Jesus.
How has this come to be misunderstood in Western civilization? First it is from St. Augustine, who from one point of view is the beginning of heresy in the Western world. He is a saint of the Church, but he started writing philosophy, he made this mistake. He compared faith – not faith of Jesus, but just faith – and the works of the law. There is a very big difference here because faith is something intellectual that you have in your mind. So then Augustine says that there is God, who is a big judge, who wants to judge me and judge you and decide to put each of us in prison or let us go. So, I appear in front of God full of guilt.
Western Civilization, because of Augustine and this mistranslation and later Luther, who contrasted faith – just faith, not the faith of Jesus Christ – and the actions of the law are based on guilt. Later in the Middle Ages, there was Anselm of Canterbury, who had a good attitude but he did not know the Fathers of the Church or these things. He was also a philosopher, and so he created a logical idea based on the law and the cultural habits of his period. So, what he writes in the Proslogion is that God is offended infinitely because Adam sinned and did not obey Him. And then because this offense to God is infinite, so He requires an infinite repayment by someone who is infinite. And then, who could do this? No human being could do this because no human is infinite. So God had a conflict, and so he gave His own son, who was God and therefore infinite and the Son paid the infinite death.
This theory, which accepted in different versions in the West is totally unchristian. First of all because it shows a concept of a God who cannot control his nervous system, a God who needs a psychologist to help him not to be offended. In this book where Anselm wrote about this, he does not use a single verse from the Bible to support it. And then the incarnation [that takes place here in the Liturgy] would be useless, practically, because why should we come here to receive the Holy Communion if Jesus has already paid. Not only this, but Anselm’s view makes God into a monster because he kills his own son just for His satisfaction. As Gregory the Theology asks, “Why would He who did not accept the blood of Isaac then ask for the blood of His own Son?”[In terms of the Gospel for today,] we saw in the previous Sundays, when we had the sermons about the Holy Cross, that “God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten son.”And I remind you that if the Devil asked God, “Why do you care for these people?” God could not answer him; there is no reason. God has the same love for the saint and the devil. It is our response – how we accept this love – that makes us be in Paradise or Hell. And what is Hell? Hell is to live in the love of God and to reject it. And in rejecting the love of God you reject the love of others, and this is Hell. So this wrong theory is in Western Civilization. And it is based on a judicial relationship, like a court, between human beings and God. John Chrysostom says something that is a little bit shocking to the very pious Christians. He says that God loved the prostitute and for her He came Himself and became human, and he took the flesh just to be with her. It is not Father Jonah who says this, it is John Chrysostom. According to Plato and philosophical logic, this is insane and it does not make sense.
So [this is the idea of] justice, and from the Orthodox point of view, Byzantine justice is influenced by this. This is why in the Byzantine Empire, the philosophy of law and punishment were different; the death penalty and prison was not as they are today.
But we come back again to the text of the Epistle. When did Paul know and how did he know what is the meaning of justification. Ihe beginning, in verse 16, he says that “Having known,” he says, “that the human being is justified by the faith of Jesus Christ,” (not in). How did he know this? First, because he had become Christian. So this knowledge of the real justification is not an intellectual knowledge, but it is the experience, living the life of Jesus Christ. Because Paul was baptized, he saw the light of God, and he received Jesus Christ inside himself. This is why he knew it. So if you don’t have this state, this condition, you don’t know what is justification. And this is why at the end of what we read today, where he asks how he knows all these things, he says, “Because I died, I participated in the death of Jesus Christ.
It is very important, when I ask people, especially Protestants, why are they baptized and they say it is because they want to be able to tell their friends that they are Christian. And then I say, “Why don’t you put this on Facebook, so more people will know. And then then they stop and look at me like this [expressing bewilderment]. This because they don’t know what is the meaning of baptism. The meaning is, well it is not a meaning actually, it is an act, a death and a resurrection. Before your baptism you are a daughter or a son of your father or mother. After the baptism you are no longer that. God the Father is your father. You are a brother of Jesus Christ and a member of the body of Jesus Christ, and a relative of all the others who are members of the body of Jesus Christ. And we enter into the life of the Trinity because Jesus has flesh forever, and he will never stop having it.
This is the meaning of the Cross, the opening to the other. Because we close the celebration of the Cross today, one week after the Sunday of the Cross, which is why the Gospel today is about the Cross. So to take my cross, it means that I have Jesus inside me and I am not alone. Individuality is hell, so having Jesus, who opened first fir us to enter to him, we open to everybody. We open to our beloved people and we put the other before us. So once more I say to you, when Jesus says to you, “Take your cross,” He does not mean this cross [holding up his pectoral cross]. But it means opening and thinking first of the other. And even this seems to be difficult. But if you do this, you will feel the real happiness forever. And this shows if we are real Orthodox Christians. To have Jesus living inside us and to open to the world, to everybody.
Before I finish I want to thank you all because even though there is a typhoon today you still came to the church, and also to bless from here the people who are watching us, Johanna and all the others who could not come, and everybody else, who really see that here is the presence of God. May the Holy Trinity protect all of us.
Recorder: Professor Timothy Baker