Mar 28 2020

Redemption Theology Part 2

Published by at 6:47 pm under Orthodox Redemption Theology Print This Post Print This Post

Chapter 6

Of “Saint Paul the Apostle: His Life, Theology, and Works”

(By Fr. Matthew the Poor)

Theology of Redemption

Part Two

First – The Theory of Ransom by Paying the Price (Contd.)

The incorrect meaning of redemption: Was the ransom paid to Satan?  

It was clarified earlier that “Sin” was the reason for the need for redemption. Man became a slave to sin, lust and evil desires. Sin caused man to stand guilty in front of the Lord.

+ Rom. 6:6, Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

+ Rom. 6:17, But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

+ Rom. 6:19, I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

+ Rom. 7:14, For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnalsold under sin.

+ Rom. 7:23, But I see another law in my members (instinct), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

+ Tit. 3:3, For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

Redemption here is directed towards specific and personal sin:

+ Tit. 2:14, Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Is it right then to believe that the price, which is the blood of the Son of God, was paid to sin, evil, lust and corporal desires? Or even, as many fell to the grave error and reasoned that the blood of the Son of God was paid to Satan?1 We must understand here that Christ’s action as a Redeemer was not limited to the man in his sin but extends to fulfill His role as an Intercessor with His blood also. Does He then, intercede to sin and Satan?

The real meaning of redemption: The price was paid to us:

Clearly, Redemption was accomplished on God’s account. The blood that Christ paid as a ransom and price was paid to none other than us. The blood of the Son of God was bestowed by Christ onto His church and us. We now have Christ’s blood; we drink His blood, but for free, as our medicine against death – a price added to our account to cancel all our debts; it is our treasure and richness, and has become part of our blood and our life.

Christ died for us and for our sakeHe gave us His death as a gift to be our deathHe gave us His blood to be our blood, “Drink of it all”, (Mat. 26:27). Furthermore, Saint Paul clearly proclaims that, “we died with Him”, (Rom. 6:8). He did not die apart from us, but He died with our body; flesh and blood. We are, and we continue to be, partners in that Flesh and that Blood. It is the living body and the living blood of the risen Christ. Even so we are partners of His resurrection and His life. His blood in us carries the power of death, resurrection and the life.

He bestowed unto us His resurrection and His life through His redemption by His blood. His resurrection became our resurrection and His life became our life. His Redemption has two sides; the negative side, death, is our death – we are partners of His death, His blood and His passion. The positive side is also in His blood. In His blood there is an eternal Spirit, through whom we received His resurrection and His life so that they have become our resurrection and our life. So, through our partnership in His redeeming death we possessed the death and possessed the redemption and possessed the blood whereby we tread over death and overcome sin. And through our partnership in His shed blood we were absolved and cleansed from our sins. And through our partnership in His passion, His sorrows and the curse of His crucifix we received power to bear our own pains, sufferings, persecution and all types of sorrows because all of these have become a participation in His redeeming suffering. So, we have come to be participants in His redemption.

So, dear reader, look and discern: All our pains and sufferings which we endure throughout our life, whether imposed by others or self-imposed to keep our life as required by our existence in – and union with – Christ, these sufferings are shared with His redemptive passion. They are a partaking in in His redemption that He accomplished in our humanity and for us. So, when St. Paul the Apostle said, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection…” (1Cor. 9:27), he was in a state of union with Christ, and he spoke in the depth of his feeling and experience of the power of the redemption that liberated him and liberates him every day from the passions of his bodily instincts which work in him trying to bring him back to the dominion of sin on his body that had died to it (sin). (see Rom. 6:6-12) … …

Therefore, redemption is not a mental theory of belief, but it is the power which Christ accomplished in our nature (by His incarnation) to overcome and live by it and through it to glorify God. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”, (1 Cor. 6:20). Here, the first part of this verse reflects redemption and the second part reflects our life of redemption in asceticism and struggle, “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin”, (Heb. 12:4).

The pains and sorrows of our life are inseparable from His redemption in that it is a victory over the world, therefore Saint Paul declares:

+ Col. 1:24, I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in the flesh what is lacking

+ Heb. 10:34, … and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods …

+ 2 Cor. 6:10, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich, ….

+ 2 Cor. 12:9, therefore, most gladly I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

+ 2 Cor. 12:10, Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ’s sake. For when I am week, then I am strong.

+ Rom. 8:35-37, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword … Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.

+ Rom. 8:18, … the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

+ 2 Cor. 1:5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.

+ 2 Cor. 1:7, And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.

+ 2 Cor. 1:8-9, For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life; But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead.

+ 2 Cor. 4:8-10, We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

+ 2 Cor. 4:17, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

+  2 Cor. 6:4-5, But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings;

No human being, no matter how strong, canbear all these types of pains and sufferings and not only have joy in them, but also be proud of them and hope for more! Thus, they are indeed “Christ’s sufferings” in all certainty and truth, and they are the redemptive sufferings that were given to us in Christ. Pains accepted in this manner are really salvific and in them there is the victory of salvation, the victory over sin which is the source of all pain and sufferings. And in them there is also victory over death which is the power of sin. Whosoever, receives this gift2 of Christ’s sufferings shall live in Christ’s victory with all its rewards of joy, happiness and pride. St. Paul clearly associates his sufferings with Christ’s sufferings and he is truly comforted by them, “For as the sufferings of Christ abounds in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ,” (2 Cor. 1:5). It is impossible for pain to produce consolation except if it was Christ’s redeeming pains since the sufferings on the cross has led to resurrection, victory, glory and eternal comfort. The apostle Paul lived through these redemptive sufferings, welcoming them and even desiring for more.

(To be contd.)

+++++++++++++++++++

Saint Mark’s Orthodox Fellowship

Urges you to study the Bible and Orthodoxy, and to encourage others to do the same. You may write the names and mailing addresses of whom you think may benefit from these studies in the comment section of the Response Card. The Fellowship will send them this newsletter immediately by the method they would like, by regular mail or e-mail. The fellowship welcomes any questions or comments. Write to us (PO. Box 6192, Columbia, MD 21045)or blog/e-mail on SMOF websites.

Footnotes:

  1. Saints Ambrose and Gregory of Nyssa fell in this error (See: F. Prat, op. cit., II, p. 194f)
  2. Phil. 1:29, For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

*