†ďFor to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Ē
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
MANY ARE THOSE WHO FIND that living is an opportunity to satisfy the body, gratify the eyes, witness everything new, watch and listen to news and events, or pass time with newspapers, and sitting at the television for long hours, nay maybe the whole night and day if it were possible.
But Christ coming to the world brought a new truth filled with the new knowledge that is neither of this age nor of use to it. It is the knowledge that God created in all, through Christ Jesus, a renewed creation that is not in any way of the first creation. Nay it is a creation that is not parallel to the new earthly creation but is in fact a spiritual creation that is more exalted than the first creation, exceeding it by revealing everything that is heavenly. The earth was at the level of the first creation accepted by many people and distracted by it as if it were all in all, or as if it were created for mankind and man was created for it.
But God suddenly revealed that He was not pleased nor at peace with mankind, the end of life on earth being death. Due to Godís love to the world He had created, and man in which He blew the breath of life to live, He speaks of his future that has become the opposite to his first earthly life. God to show His utmost love and mercy to mankind sent His Son to become incarnate among mankind bearing His filial relation to God. Godís and Christís plan was to redeem man even if it required pain and death on the cross. Due to the love of God for His Son, He raised Him from death alive and through His power strongly lifted Him towards Him. Christ became alive through God and alive for man. Christ conquered both death and pain accepting the life of Godís righteousness for manís sake if he believed in Him as Savior and Redeemer. The new gift to man was that Christ became his life in God. Thus the Bible mentions through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the Epistle to the Philippians: ďTo me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Ē But why should death be gain? Because death to him who believed in Christ was an obstacle to his continual and happy life with God.
If you are alive in God and God is alive in you, then death becomes a stranger and conquered enemy. This was Godís supreme purpose which He had planned for us since the beginning, before the foundation of the world; to love the Lord and accept Him.
Now you must pay close attention wisely to that which God accomplished for our sakes, having been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Nay, he adopted you in the Being of His Son before you were born to become a son of God living through Him and in Him. How can this supreme grace befit a man who ignores what God did for his sake since the beginning of times. Were it fit to say, we find that that which was accomplished for Godís children is their good fortune planned since the beginning for them to enjoy at the end of times. In short it was planned for man since ages that God should be his life. If God is our life and our renewed creation, a heavenly one, then we are not of this world as Christ said because he knows that we have become a new creation in Him only waiting for the revelation: ďThey are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.Ē1 Having accepted not to be of this world the Spirit sealed us with the heavenly filial seal.
Who would accept to sell his eternal kingdom and inheritance in Christ, nay Christís life in him, to please the soul attracted by childish games?
If the earthly nature of man drives him towards acquiring the earths preoccupations and diversions, spiritual manís nature is appointed and elected to be with the chosen saints. The Holy spirit continues to drive man towards his divine share if he has ears that listen.
27 June, 2005
The Spirit of God and the Church
The gift of God (the Spirit) has been entrusted to the Church, as breath was to the first created man, for this purpose, that all the members receiving it may be vivified; and the [means of] communion with Christ has been distributed throughout it, that is, the Holy Spirit, the earnest of incorruption, the means of confirming our faith, and the ladder of ascent to God.... For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. Those, therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life from the motherís breasts, nor do they enjoy that most limpid fountain which issues from the body of Christ.
St Irenaeus Against Heresies, III, 24, 1; ANF I, 458.
1 John 17:16.
|| The Orthodox Faith (Dogma) || Family and Youth || Sermons || Bible Study || Devotional || Spirituals || Fasts & Feasts || Coptics || Religious Education || Monasticism || Seasons || Missiology || Ethics || Ecumenical Relations || Church Music || Pentecost || Miscellaneous || Saints || Church History || Pope Shenouda || Patrology || Canon Law || Lent || Pastoral Theology || Father Matta || Bibles || Iconography || Liturgics || Orthodox Biblical topics || Orthodox articles || St Chrysostom |||| Bible Study || Biblical topics || Bibles || Orthodox Bible Study || Coptic Bible Study || King James Version || New King James Version || Scripture Nuggets || Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus || Index of the Miracles of Jesus || Index of Doctrines || Index of Charts || Index of Maps || Index of Topical Essays || Index of Word Studies || Colored Maps || Index of Biblical names Notes || Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids || New Testament activities for Sunday School kids || Bible Illustrations || Bible short notes
|| Prayer of the First Hour || Third Hour || Sixth Hour || Ninth Hour || Vespers (Eleventh Hour) || Compline (Twelfth Hour) || The First Watch of the midnight prayers || The Second Watch of the midnight prayers || The Third Watch of the midnight prayers || The Prayer of the Veil || Various Prayers from the Agbia || Synaxarium