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Redemption of God

People of God Mother of God Flesh of God Word of God
Redemption Ascension

New Life in Christ

Pascha

Christ is Risen!

Key Facts and Ideas  lb

The Meaning of the Death and Resurrection of Christ

In this section what God does is in purple, what we do is in blue.  The division is a bit artificial because in the Orthodox understanding  of synergeia when we do something God does it and when God does something we do it as well.  The distinction here though is useful for understanding the respective parts.

W 

Christ died on the Cross for all people and indeed the whole Cosmos.  He did this not for the "good" but for all.  He did this because Love must surrender itself, even unto death, to defeat sin and evil. 

"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." 
[1 John 2:2]

There can be no victory over sin without sacrifice and forgiveness.  Sacrifice is necessary because sin works death and death must be destroyed.  Forgiveness is necessary in order to disable the power of sin. 

The sacrifice and the forgiveness of God are shown to us in the death and the resurrection of Christ.  His Body was broken and His Blood was shed so that all those who came to Him in repentance and faith might be forgiven and receive newness of life, eternal life.  We make that forgiveness our own by forgiving others.  We receive newness of life by sacrificing ourselves for others.  This is the significance of the petition in the Lord's Prayer: "forgive us our sins as we forgive others."

Christ's voluntary sacrifice also won victory over death, opening up the resurrection of the dead, not just for Himself but for all those who learn humility and the indwelling presence of the Lord.  As St. Paul said:-

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  [Galatians 2:20]

Being "crucified with Christ" - taking up our own cross and following Christ is the way not only of loving God and our neighbour as ourselves, it is the means by which God can make us more loving.  As we learn to surrender ourselves to God and deny the incessant demands of the ego, the life we live starts to become more and more filled and energised by the Holy Spirit.  We become less and less full of ourselves and more and more full of Him.  This is the "new birth" or birth "from above" of which the Scriptures speak:-

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  [John 1:12-13]

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  [John 3:3]

St. John the Baptist said of Christ:-

30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 

[John 3:30]

More on Redemption ...

As we deepen our walk with God in the Christian life we find that we want to understand more about the death and the resurrection of Christ.  This is good and beneficial to the soul.  We would do well to remember though that the redemption of Christ, his saving of the world from sin and death, is something over which the Church has never formally pronounced one central and exclusive dogma.  The stage of our redemption is so vast and God's actions so comprehensive and diverse that we can only glimpse part of this totality. 

Our preaching is of Christ crucified and risen, not particular 'atonement theories.'  Nonetheless, it is vital to be acquainted with the many many metaphors that jostle in the New Testament to describe what is essentially an experience and a calling ... "being saved."  The Orthodox Church includes all these metaphors in her preaching, teaching and life.  However it would be fair to say that there is a headline around which all these truths cluster and it is nowhere better expressed than the Paschal Troparion (Easter Hymn) of the Orthodox Church:-

Pascha 2 

"Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life."

Key Principle  cool

Without the death and resurrection of Christ, Christianity becomes just another interesting religious philosophy.  With the death and resurrection of Christ, Christianity becomes a life giving gospel, good news!

Key Question  ask

What things in my life need to be surrendered to God?  Am I going to do anything about these?

Resources  browse

  1. The Death and Resurrection of Christ by Fr. Gregory Hallam

  2. Salvation as a Process in Time by Fr. Gregory Hallam

  3. The Meaning of Christ's Cross by Bishop Alexander Mileant

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