“Those who are Christ’s
have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
WHEN WE ARE RELATED TO CHRIST, i.e. we say we are Christians, it immediately implies we accepted the cross as our share. The core of faith in Christ is to accept the cross as a gauge of life, i.e. the Christian is the person who lives crucified according to his will. The will of the cross is a type of life that is not of the life we live in this world. Life according to the cross derives its being from the Cross, more exactly it obtains its life from Christ’s death on the cross.
It is known that Christ died in weakness, i.e. total weakness1 as He gave up His hands to those who crucified Him without argument, accepting all accusations against Him, to the extent which astonished the judge. When the judge threatened Christ to defend Himself and if He did not He risked death, Christ did not answer him as if He had accepted to be crucified without defending Himself. Except when the judge bragged with temerity asking Jesus whether He knew that he had the power to sentence Him to death, and so to speak up for Himself. Christ here answered the well known words being that the judge could not sentence Him to death “unless it had been given you from above”2 alluding to that whatever is fulfilled is God’s will and is not people’s will. For that reason it is considered that he who judged that Christ should die crucified is not Pilate but God, and therefore the death penalty of crucifixion is actually considered the will of the Heavenly Father to which Christ answered saying: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”3 But at the same time He accepted that the Father should leave Him to fulfill death on the cross in atonement for the whole world as He did not deserve death. The Apostle Paul consequently says about Christ that He: “became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”4 The truth of the cross was hidden from all people as they reckoned, according to the apparent words, that the High Priests were those who presented Him to judgment and those who judged Him were the Romans. But the truth is that the Father allowed the Son to be crucified according to the will and knowledge of God His Father, with the intent that Christ’s death will be a sacrifice of atonement for the world that had crucified Him, and for every person who believes that Christ was crucified according to His will to atone for the sins of all humankind. The will of the Father in the crucifixion of His Son is the essence of the Cross because with this will the sins of man were actually forgiven.
We who thus believe in the sacrifice that was fulfilled on the cross have our sins forgiven on the basis that we are fellows in the death of the cross. Because the body of Christ that bore the cross and resurrected from death is considered the body of all of mankind as it was a unique body. The truth is that it is the body of the Son of God which He donned for all humankind, and donned it especially to die the sacrificial death for all and every one who believes in His death and resurrection.
As the body of Christ is considered the body of all mankind and of every individual consequently the crucifixion of Christ is considered as having been fulfilled indiscriminately in every body of man, whoever believes. This truth is not words or mere faith by mouth, for this truth requires every person in Jesus Christ to live crucified to the world, a truly separated life from the passions of the flesh. This means that a Christian, as true believer, crucifies his body according to his will, not on wood with nails, but crucifies it to every sin and resemblance of sin, and all passions that those indulged in the world enjoy. This means to break away from sinners and mockers and all those indulged in the world who live in depravity and licentiousness. Another mysterious meaning is to make the body fast to all worldly pleasures, the desire of the eyes, indulgences of the body and grandeur of living. If those who crucify the flesh with passions are few but God will be pleased with them and Christ will be happy, and the world will be exempted from disasters and afflictions and its years and days will increase.
Those who live having crucified the body and passions are akin to a new spirit that revives the world, a testimony to God and Christ. Without them the world will pass away and come to an end.
July 1, 2005
1 2Cor 13:4.
2 John 19:11.
3 Matt 27:46.
4 Phil 2:8.
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