Monday, August 6, 2012

God Became Man

The Father exclaimed: This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; heed Him.  Thus He spoke of the Son, Who is undivided from the glory of the Divinity.  For the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit are one nature, one force, one essence and one kingdom.

And Mary was called the Mother of God by His Son in the flesh, Who was undivided from the glory of His Divinity.  For one is God, Who has appeared to the world in the flesh.

His glory proclaimed His divine nature which is from the Father, and His body proclaimed His human nature which was from Mary; both of His natures converged and were united in a single hypostasis. 

He was the Only-Begotten of the Father and also the Only-Begotten of Mary.  And he who divides the hypostasis in Him will also be separated from His kingdom, and he who conjoins His natures will be deprived of the life that is of Him.

He who denies that Mary gave birth to God will not see the glory of His Divinity, and he who denies that He was clothed in sinless flesh will receive neither salvation nor the life which was granted through His body.

His very deeds give witness and His divine strength teach the contemptuous that He is true God.  And His sufferings give proof that He is true man.

~ Ephraim the Syrian (c. 306 - c. 373), A Spiritual Psalter

3 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

" he who denies that He was clothed in sinless flesh will receive neither salvation nor the life which was granted through His body."
- Ephraim The Syrian -

How does this equate with the fact that Jesus 'took upon Himself our sinful human nature' in order to redeem it - as per Hebrews 2:14-18

Just asking

Bryan Owen said...

Hi Fr. Ron. I think Ephraim the Syrian is affirming the orthodox insight that while it is true that Jesus "bore our sins in his body on the cross" (1 Peter 2:24) and that he was "tempted in every way as we are," at the same time he was himself "without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

Dan said...

I have lots of thoughts on this because of a teacher I had in the Word of Faith Bible school I went to when I was just 18. I'm 51 now. He taught the heresy that Ephraim the Syrian was speaking against and it sabotaged my faith to an extent, and for a time, in a way that's difficult to describe.

I'm an Episcopalian now. I attended the Chapel of the Cross in MS before moving to Atlanta to find work in my field. I'd like to share my thoughts on Christ's sinlessness and the cross.

Christ's life was sinless. Then came the chapter of the cross. God requires sacrifice. That's ancient doctrine we no longer think about but have to accept to accept Christ's work for us on the cross. Christ's divinity and his sinless life qualified him to be that sacrifice, and so off to the cross he went, in obedience to His Father and his love for us.

There, he bore our sin and not his own. The Father looked on and said (maybe even creatively defined it in a way) that we died with Christ. He looked on again and said we rose with him in triumph. See Romans 6. Christ maintained his essential character of love for us and the Father on the cross despite our sin that was laid upon him.

Some people separated in their minds (and you will split your brain trying to do so) the physical and divine nature of Christ to preserve a palatable human definition of Christ's sinlessness.

However, that splits up Christ's sacrifice. Christ didn't have a serrogate die on the cross for us. His whole self went to the cross because He loved us with his whole self. It was our sin and not his and it didn't penetrate the essence of his divine character which is love.

Just as Christ did not become unclean when he touched the leper, he did not become unclean even when he came in contact with, and bore, our sin on the cross.

That's what the cross means to me and how I believe that the sinless Christ bore our sins.