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Our Vocation in Christ, Part 3


Ephesians 2:1-10

Readings from the Fathers

St. Maximos the Confessor, 7th Century

“Many human activities, good in themselves, are not good because of the motive for which they are done. For example, fasting, vigils, prayer, psalmody, acts of charity and hospitality are by nature good. But when performed for the sake of self-esteem (vainglory, self-glorification) they are not good. In everything we do, God searches out our purpose to see whether we do it for Him or for some other motive… quite clearly He bestows blessings only when something is done for the right purpose. For God’s judgment looks not at the actions, but at the purpose behind them.”


  • Kosmokrator: Ruler of the kosmos, of worldly things (v. 2), entices man to live for his own pleasure, individualistic, enslaves man to the basest part of his fallen nature (v.3); temporal kingdom (v.2), keeps man in tyrannical servitude to sin and the flesh; characterized by the ‘lust of the flesh,’ jealousy, selfishness, vainglory, ‘children of wrath,’ the way of death; willed by Satan (v.3).
  • Pantokrator: the Almighty, ‘Ruler of All,’ calls all men to fellowship with Him and participate in His glory; out of love for us, He gives life and freedom from the tyranny to sin and death (v. 4, 5); He has power over death (v. 5); characterized by forgiveness and mercy (v. 4), patience with our sinfulness and rebelliousness, offers life in community (through His Body, the Church), truth, love, a new way—the way of life; willed by the Spirit, as co-heirs with Christ (v. 6).


  1. This passage from Ephesians describes two kingdoms that are at war with one another. What are the characteristics of each* (see descriptions on second page for help)?
  2. The action verbs of vv. 5-7 in the original Greek are: suzoopoieo, sunegeiro, sunkathidzo (God co-quickened us (made us alive with Christ), co-raised us with Christ, co-seated us with Christ. Hoe does this relate to what we have learned about our vocation in Christ thus far?
  3. What 3 aspects of our salvation are at work in verses 8-10? How do they relate to one another?
  4. In the military, you are sometimes commanded to do things for what may appear to be no particular reason, but because you are under command, you do them. If you know why you are doing something and are in agreement with that motivation, what difference can that make?
  5. Refer to the quote from St. Maximos the Confessor. What place does motivation (the reasoning behind what we do) play in our ‘good works’ as they relate to our salvation?


  • What successes have you had these past three weeks in striving to apply what you have been learning about your vocation in Christ?
  • Name one thing you have learned in this lesson that helps you to live out your vocation in Christ!
  • What, if anything, is holding you back from deepening your communion with Christ and growing as an Orthodox Christian?