St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 39 (Part 2)

Eclectic Orthodoxy

Midway through his discourse, having spoken at length on the importance and necessity of purification and conversion—indeed, having purified his congregation by his preaching—St Gregory turns his attention to the feast itself, the manifestation of the eternal Son in his baptism by St John the Forerunner.

Who is the God they are remembering in this celebration? Who is the God to whom they are offering hymns and glory? Gregory immediately excludes two heretical positions—the position of Sabellius, for whom the three persons revealed in the biblical story are simply temporal manifestations of the transcendent Deity, and Arius, who divides the three persons, reducing the Son and Spirit to creatures made by the God the Father. As already noted, the latter is the real problem in the church of Constantinople. For several decades various forms of Arianism have dominated religious life in the capital. Between these two evils, declares Gregory, lies…

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One Response to St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 39 (Part 2)

  1. Julian Stroh says:

    I agree that Satan was tricked, but disagree on how he was tricked. He and all the demons recognized that Jesus was the Son of God. And Satan demonstrates in the story of the temptations in the wilderness that he is familiar with Scripture. Thus, he would know Deuteronomy 21:23, “…a hanged man is accursed by God….” I think Satan’s goal was to crucify Jesus and make the Father keep his word and curse the Son.

    But Satan forgot the curse was for a man guilty of a captial crime (Deut. 21:22). What if the man is completely innocent? What sort of curse does God lay on such a Man? The Man becomes the “sponge” of the universe, absorbing all of our sins into Himself (2 Corinthinians 5:21), thus freeing us from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13).

    The Man then returns all of our sins to their original owner, Azazel (Leviticus 16:10). And since death cannot hold the Author of Life in its grasp, He leaves the sins behind and rises into new life, taking redeemed humanity with Him.

    If the rulers of this age had known this would happen, they never would have crucified the Lord of Glory.


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