Today's reading: Psalms 81-87 (82-88)
"I said, 'You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you." Psalms 81/82:6
This verse is one of the most clear examples in Scripture of the Orthodox understanding of salvation. While other Christian traditions may understand salvation as a judicial reality, a once and done transaction that allows us to evade the wrath of God, we understand salvation as the process by which we partake of the divine nature of God. This process is usually referred to as theosis or deification.
Lest we think that this is some oddity of the Old Testament, Jesus Himself quoted this Psalm in response to the Pharisees. Creating the possibility for this restored union is the primary reason for the coming of God in the flesh. As St. Athanasius says in his famous work, On the Incarnation, "He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God." It is important that we not understand this perfect union with God as a loss of our identity, or a merging of our essences with God's. St. Maximos the Confessor explains, "All that God is, except for an identity in being, one becomes when one is deified by grace."
C.S. Lewis, commented on this understanding of salvation in his book, Mere Christianity. "He said that we were 'gods' and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him - for we can prevent Him, if we choose - He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creatures, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to Him perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said." (Macmillan, 1952, p. 174)