“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:10, 11
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
BROTHERS, WE HAVE ALL KNOWN CHRIST, but the Apostle Paul strives to know Christ. How can we explain that? The Apostle Paul says: “not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”1 Consequently, if man’s dependence is merely on faith in Christ, he cannot know Christ as truly as through the Divine faith that is from God.
What do we do to obtain the righteousness of Christ that is from God which will qualify us to know Christ in His Being, not the mere knowledge, but through the revelation of the truth that is in the knowledge? The revelation of Christ through the truth is an entry with Him into the Mystery of His death, by our death to the world and its deadly desires, as man abstains from all worldly pleasures and the distractions which the devil transmits through the recent satanic instruments he invented to attract the ignorant and amuse them, stealing away the time of salvation from man. Even when man wakes up to check himself he finds that time has escaped him and gone by with old age and its invading weakness to the point that Christ, the Gospel, and prayer have become odd acts and matters, consequently saying: “I have no pleasure in them.”2
Man’s knowledge of Christ is truly the portion of the lad or youth who does not find joy in worldly pleasures, the Gospel having become the meaning of his life for which he accepts no substitute. He thus begins to abstain from the amusements of the world and bit by bit the pleasures of this age die out within his soul, or actually it is his soul that becomes dead to the world. Then, and only then, the power of Christ’s death is revealed that has made him die to the whole world with his sins, amusements and corruption. Paul names it “being conformed to Christ’s death” as it is counted to him a true fellowship in Christ’s death that alone strongly qualifies for a victorious resurrection with Christ. The fellowship of death with Christ gives him a share in the solid strength of His resurrection, so that he feels that he has victoriously left the darkness of this age, and is saved from the clutches of death, which is a denial and scorn for the works of Christ. Here the revelation of Christ’s death enters within the revelation of the truth of this world’s falsehood and of all its temptations.
The Apostle Paul underwent a resemblance to Christ’s death when he lost the world and with it lost everything. He did not regret either and thus truly resembling Christ’s death who trod on the world and everything in it and stepped over sin, and holding high His head said to the Jews: “Which of you convicts Me of sin?”3
Sure, this is the true death to the world that gave Christ the testimony when He said: “I am not of this world.”4
We are all bid to say that we are not of this world because it is Christ Himself who gave us this testimony: “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”5
He who attains that level is he who can truthfully, and victoriously say through experience: I have risen with Christ, because whoever shares in the death of Christ inevitably shares in his resurrection.
Therefore the person who applies his daily death to the world with the bitterness of death in his throat, while suffering, and is beaten and despised for his faith in Christ, will have his eyes focused on the prepared forthcoming power of the resurrection being tasted here for him to live there. He accepts the taste of death to attain the taste of the mystery of the resurrection from the dead. For that reason we note that all those who faced severe persecution here, their souls were aloft with the mystery of the resurrection.
I know a person who held on to the testimony of Christ striving before those who had arrested him without fear nor reneging, walking with them on the way to prison and torture. But the enemy moved the hearts of the arresters against him to severely harm him. Every few steps they would strike his knees with the butt of the gun with the intent of breaking them. He would scream out every time, but confessed to me that he had not felt the strike at all, so that the arrestors increased the strength of the strikes. He would shout in advance although he never felt the butt. What does it mean? It means that he applied the condition of resurrection to the strikes of death.
24 June, 2005
1 Phil 3:9.
2 Eccl 12:1.
3 John 8:46.
4 John 8:23.
5 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