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#68 Salvation in Christ

Summary:

We can summarize salvation in three words: Christ is Risen!  Salvation, our participation in God's true and eternal life, only happens in the divine-human person of Christ.  He took on all that is ours so we could have all that is His.

Questions:

As you watch the episode, consider:

1. What was death before Christ? What happened to our bodies and our souls?

2. Hades could not contain Christ. Why was His death so different? 

3. Christ raises all humanity with Him. How did Christ change everything with His Resurrection? 

Check out these model lesson plans / retreat sessions for JOY and GOYA!

Links:

And here are some articles you may find to be helpful:

1. Bible Gateway, Luke 24:2-3

2. Bible Gateway, 1 Corinthians 15:16-17

3. Orthodox Church in America, The Paschal Sermon of Saint John Chrysostom

4. Synaxis Study, Father George Florovsky "I am the Resurrection and the Life"

Script:

Hey everybody this is Steve and Salvation is summarized in three words, Christ is Risen! Because the most important to realize about Salvation is that it happens in Christ. Every year during Holy Week on Great Friday we observe the Crucifixion of Christ. He died just like everybody eventually dies. His body and soul were separated from each other. His body ended up in the tomb and His soul ended up in Hades. Hades is the literal dead end that awaited every human being from Adam and Eve down to Christ. Everyone, rich and poor, holy and not so holy, ended up trapped in this terrible state. It was a consequence of the Fall. By separating themselves from God, the source of life, Adam and Eve sentenced themselves to death.

Normally we think of death as the separation of soul and body, but in reality, death is a lot worse. Death is annihilation the descent into non-existence from which we were created. We can see this when a person dies, as the body begins to break down and decompose. The same kind of thing happens to the soul too. As apart from God it begins to fade away and return to nothingness. This is what we see in the bottom of the Resurrection icon, a vision of death, the darkness, and loneliness, and despair of Hades. As Father George Florovsky says "Hades is just the darkness and shadow of death... a dark 'sheol,' a place of hopeless disembodiment and disincarnation... a kind of ontological infirmity of the soul... the helplessness of a fallen and wounded nature." Though as Father George clarifies just a few sentences later, Hades isn't a place at all, it's a state. Hades isn't a place souls will go, it's the state of disconnection and disappearance, a bottomless pit of annihilation of which nothing can return.

At least it was such a state until Christ entered Hades and destroyed it. This is why, as we talked about a few weeks ago, it's so important that the one person of Christ is both fully human and fully divine. Since Christ is fully human, He joined us in death. He joined us in our terrifying slide towards non-existence; in our lowest and weakest and most lowly state. Yet when Christ died Hades wasn't claiming just another human soul. Hades was claiming the human soul of the Son of God. And since God is the source of life, death had no power over Christ. Death couldn't contain the Son of God. Hades couldn't contain His human soul. The tomb couldn't contain His human body.

So when Christ who was fully human and fully divine rises we rise with Him. That's why icons of the Resurrection don't simply show a triumphant Christ all by Himself, they always show Christ pulling Adam and Eve, who represent all of humanity, out of death with Him. The Fall and our separation from God left us with a sick and broken human nature, one we couldn't heal on our own. Our bodies were powerless to escape decay and the grave. And our souls were powerless to escape the descent into nothingness in Hades.

So God chose to fix that in an intimate and loving way; by inviting us into His life. And this happens specifically in the divine human person of Christ. As saint Cyril of Alexandria puts it "In short, He took what was ours to be His very own so that we might have all that was His." Christ shared in our death so we could share in His life. He died with us so we could rise with Him; so we could rise to true life, authentic life, life with Him without end. No longer helpless creatures, trapped by sin and death but rather transformed into the children of God. Resurrected into the life and joy of Christ. So let's be the bee, and celebrate our Resurrection and Salvation in Christ. Be the bee and live Orthodoxy. Remember to like and subscribe. I'll see you all, next week.

 

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