||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

 

†ďFor the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.Ē

Titus 2: 11, 12

 

Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)


 

THE LORD JESUS CHRISTíS revelation as a messenger from God to redeem us, His fulfillment of death and resurrection for us and in us was tantamount to the appearance of the Grace of God publicly, following God having been hidden throughout the Old Testament1. The Old Testament appeared as if it was an introduction and beginning of God coming close to man. But the appearance of His Son as a messenger on His behalf to bear for our sakes death and fulfill resurrection from death became equal to a declaration to the whole world of the time for the free salvation of man and the manifestation of grace in the person of Jesus Christ. A matter that astonished all the heavenly creatures man having departed from Godís presence and having been refused it, living for as long as he had to a stranger to God, without knowing any of Godís grace. Suddenly there appeared the light and glory of God on earth which amazed those in heaven, because the earth had been sold to the devil who became its head offering it to whoever he desired.

Godís grace and salvation which appeared with Jesus Christ was totally incompatible with manís conduct and way of life. Sin had swept him away so he indulged in it and sold himself to carnal appetites under the provocation of the devil who had become the owner of the human body making it his abode, till more than one devil lived in one manís house; as when once Christ ordered the devil to leave Godís creation, the devil answered that he was ďLegionĒ i.e. that many devils had resorted to living in the body of man2. Many other events proved that more than one devil lives in the body of man.3 Thus Godís creation was disgraced in front of the angels and the residents of heaven.

When the angels consequently heard that the Son of God had descended from heaven and become incarnate in the Virginís womb through the Holy Spirit they hailed the wonderful glory and there appeared in heaven the heavenly hosts appointed to speak in the name of God saying with great brevity: ďGlory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!Ē4 They announced that the descent of the Son of God on earth did not make Him depart from His glory but His glory still remained filling the heavens. His descent to earth was equal to the removal of the everlasting curse from it. So they shouted that peace had descended upon the earth after a curse. The angels considered that eternal joy had descended upon man who was created below the creation of angels due to the punishment of death he had acquired following Godís anger and banishment from before His face.

Grace inspired man to improve his situation for him to become suitable to obtain salvation and fellowship in the glory of the Only Son. It warned him not to go back to works of debauchery and sin, and to deny his passions that had taken a hold on him, so as to become fit for fellowship in the body of Christ and gain heavenly glory.

Man, who had become aided by grace and having gained free salvation, had to consequently live with piety given by grace to every one who adhered to Jesus Christ and has become with Him one body. Through this membership in the body of Christ in death and resurrection he will have gained the Godís righteousness which He gave Christ and every one who has faith in Christ.5

Righteousness is among the attributes of Christ when He rose from among the dead victorious over sin and death. Christ offered it to man to live in the righteousness of God after having been the object of His anger.

Man following debauchery and sin, falling into the devilís embrace and that of all his comrades was thus called to live in righteousness and piety through the grace of God and to be reckoned among ďmembers of the household of GodĒ6.

Knowing it we must therefore turn to God who calls us through the grace of His Son to come to Him, an inevitability that cannot be escaped. We will become witnesses of His love, selection and great gift of love and forgiving grace for all manís ignorance, ready to give us our renewed creation so as to be in the image of our Creator in glory7. How great are Godís unquestionable riches!

30 June, 2005

†1 Cf. Is 45:15.

2 Mk 5:9.

3 Mk 16:9.

4 Lk 2:14.

5 Cf. Rom 3:22.

6 Eph 2:19.

7 Col 3:10; 2Cor 3:18.

 

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