“Christ shares His grace with each one of us as a person, and each receives forgiveness of his sins from Him”

Before Christ we all shared the same ancestral curse and condemnation poured out on all of us from our single Forefather, as if it had sprung from the root of the human race and was the common lot of our nature. Each person’s individual action attracted either reproof or praise from God, but no one could do anything about the shared curse and condemnation, or the evil inheritance that has been passed down to him and through him would pass to his descendants.

But Christ came, setting human nature free and changing the common curse into a shared blessing. He took upon Himself our guilty nature from the most pure Virgin and united it, new and unmixed with the old seed, to His Divine Person. He rendered it guiltless and righteous, so that all His spiritual descendants would remain outside the ancestral curse and condemnation. How so? He shares His grace with each one of us as a person, and each receives forgiveness of his sins from Him. For He did not receive from us a human person, but assumed our human nature and renewed it by uniting it with His own person. His wish was to save us all completely and for our sake He bowed the Heavens and came down. When by His deeds, words and sufferings He had pointed out all the ways of salvation, He went up to heaven again, drawing after Him those who trusted in Him. His aim was to grant perfect redemption not just to the nature which He had assumed from us in inseparable union, but to each one of those who believed in Him. This He has done and continues to do, reconciling each of us through Himself to the Father, bringing each one back to obedience and thoroughly healing our disobedience.

To this end, He established holy baptism and gave us saving laws. He preached repentance and shared His own body and blood with us. For it is not only human nature in general, but each believer as a person who receives baptism, governs his life by the holy commandments and becomes a partaker of the Bread that makes divine and of the Cup. By these means Christ justified each one of us personally and restored us to obedience to the heavenly Father. He renewed the human nature He took from us and by what He did and suffered in His person united with our nature, He revealed it as sanctified, justified and completely obedient to the Father. …

As all human nature was in Adam, so it is in Christ. All who received their being from the earthly Adam have returned to the earth and been brought down, alas, to Hades. But according to the apostle, through the heavenly Adam we have all been called up to heaven and made worthy of its glory and grace. Secretly for the present, for it says “your life is hid with Christ in God.” But, “when Christ shall appear,” at His second manifestation and coming, “then shall ye all appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:3). What does it mean by “all”? All those who have received the adoption of sons in Christ by the Spirit, and have proved by their deeds that they are His spiritual children.

St. Gregory Palamas

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6 Responses to “Christ shares His grace with each one of us as a person, and each receives forgiveness of his sins from Him”

  1. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    Homily 5.

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  2. john says:

    one question why do so many priests in the Russian church seem to feel they have the power to forgive sins

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      I suspect we feel that way because we do have the power to forgive sins, bestowed upon us by ordination. 😉 But to be accurate, it is Christ who forgives—he is the real minister of the sacrament of penance, just as he is the minister of holy baptism. The priest is ordained to hear the confession and offer the prayer of absolution. For a brief discussion, see Met Hilarion’s Catechism.

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    • For Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, and the Assyrian Church of the East, (one can also include many Lutherans and many Anglicans into this mix as well) the priests and the bishops are in Apostolic Succession. Meaning that whatever Christ gave to his Twelve Apostles, he also gave to the priests and the bishops. John 20:23 reads: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”. So Russian Orthodox priests, due to their view on Apostolic Succession, believe they have power to forgive sins. But as Fr. Kimel said, it is power derived from Christ.

      I wanted to make that a little bit more clear as neither Fr. Kimel nor Met. Hilarion mention this link to Apostolic Succession.

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