O Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tent? Who shall dwell on Thy holy hill? He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right, and speaks truth from his heart; who does not slander with his tongue, and does no evil to his friend, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; in whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest, and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.  Psalm 15

How do we know we’re on the path to salvation? Can we really know?

At many points in life, Christians will ask themselves these questions. Part of what makes the journey to salvation unlike the other journeys we make in life is that there are not quantifiable mileposts. For instance, when one takes a trip from Tampa to Atlanta on the highway, progress can be measured with each mile. At any point in time, one would know how many miles have been traveled and how many are left to go. It’s the same with going to college. There are a certain number of credits needed to graduate. And a student at any time knows how many credits he or she has and how many more are needed.

The journey to salvation is not measured this way. One can begin the journey at any time. A person who finds Christ at age 50 can be just as likely to attain salvation as the person who found Christ at age 15. We have no idea how long the journey will last for each of us. I’m presently 48. And I have no idea if my life is half-over or whether I’m in my last year of life. In our Bible study the other day, one of the questions we discussed was “what are your questions about eternal life?” And when it was my turn to answer, I said “Am I on the right path to get there?”

Psalm 15 does not quantify for us how much “good” we need to do in order to be with God. However, it gives some very practical and easy to understand advice for how we should live. Psalm 15 tells us that one who follows God “speaks truth from his heart,” (v. 2) “does not slander with his tongue,” (v. 3) “does no evil to his friend,” (v. 3) and “honors those who fear the Lord,” (v.4). He “does not put out his money at interest,” (v. 5) in other words, he is generous. He “does not take a bribe against the innocent,” (v. 5) in other words, he does not purposely hurt others.

Psalm 15:1 asks the questions that we all wonder, “O Lord who shall sojourn in Thy tent? Who shall dwell on Thy holy hill?” And the answer comes at the end of the Psalm, the one “who does these things (all the things listed in v. 2-5) shall never be moved,” in other words, shall not be expelled or sent away from God.

I keep coming back to the unit of a day, in my own personal life and in these Prayer Team reflections. From a salvation standpoint, we can’t look at life as a big picture. Perhaps from a financial standpoint, or a progress at work standpoint, or other perspectives, we need to think beyond today. From a salvation standpoint, we look at life today because today is what we’ve been given. Yesterday might have been a bad day, from a Christian perspective, but in God’s eyes, that is not as important as what we do with today. And so today, if we focus on speaking truth, not slandering, not doing evil, honoring those who feat the Lord, being generous and not hurting others, and doing these things under the umbrella of a desire to sojourn with God (because if we don’t have that in mind, we are moralists and not Christians), then we are on the path to salvation.

Going back to a practical example, if all signs and mileposts were removed from the highway and the odometer in the car was not working, and I was to drive from Tampa to Atlanta, how would I know where I am? The answer is if I get on I-75 and am driving north (the right direction), even if I don’t know exactly where I am relative to Tampa and Atlanta, I can still know that I am going the right way and eventually I’ll get there. Our lives generally don’t have mileposts that tell us we’ve got ten years left or twenty years left or where we are exactly in the continuum between the beginning of our life and it’s end. But we have a destination, heaven, and a highway by which to get there, Christianity. If we are making progress forward as a Christian on a daily basis, we can feel confident in our desire to arrive at our desired destination.

Prayer of Protection from the Coronavirus
(Prayer by Grace Bishop Alexis (Trader) of Bethesda)
O God Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth, and of all creation visible and invisible, in Your ineffable goodness, look down upon Your people gathered in Your name. Be our helper and defender in this day of affliction. You know our weakness. You hear our cry in repentance and contrition of heart. O Lord who loves mankind deliver us from the impending threat of the corona virus. Send Your Angel to watch over us and protect us. Grant health and recovery to those suffering from this virus. Guide the hands of physicians, and preserve those who are healthy that we may continue to serve You in peace and glorify Your most honorable and majestic Name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Do the things that point us to God on a daily basis!


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


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