†ďThanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.Ē
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians 2:14
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
GOD HAD MANY ENEMIES and for that reason sent us His Son Christ Jesus to destroy the enemy hosts1 since the beginning. When he was crucified He conquered the enemy and the remainder of enemies, because He killed and destroyed sin by His death on the cross. Thus all the enemyís power and that of his followers came to an end, having assailed and roamed all the earth possessing manís will and humiliating him till he became a slave to the devil and to all his followers, disfiguring Godís image drawn in Jesus Christ. The devil and all his followers were obstinate with God snatching away His children from the fold in broad daylight. For that reason manís sin and his disobedience to God required someone to raise him from it and free him from the devilís power and that of all his followers. The crucifixion of Christ, the Son of God, pure and Holy, according to the pretenses of the high priests and all the Jews considering Him as a sinner deserving death was thus a false pretense; because He is the One beloved of God, the pure and Holy. The death sentence was consequently annulled and fell instead on the heads of the high priests and all the Jews. It was removed forever from man and he became justified from the sentence of death thus overcoming sin, the devil and all the enemies.
The Apostle Paul depicted, through the inspiration of Godís grace in him, Christ resurrected, victorious over death and the power of death i.e. sin, like a victorious general dragging behind him the devil and all the hosts of enemies, row after row, in a frightening procession, trampling sin and breaking its thorn, while driving before Him redeemed humanity ready to rise with Him to heaven to sit with Christ before God. The picture of humanity which He raised from among the dead for their sake praising Christís power and Godís glory appeared as a redeemed army filling heaven and earth.
What sorrow do I feel over some people who forsake and flee from Christís victorious procession for the sake of a woman, glass of wine or dead cheap pleasure. Thus renouncing Christís cross and triumphant message in favor of Godís, Christís, and all humanityís enemy, in preference for the worldís pleasures, riches and prevarications. They thus lose the glory God prepared for them, being content with that which the devil offers them of his false deceptive glory.
There are the fortunate who have heard Godís call and obeyed, incorporating themselves in the army of salvation. Yes, we say army because they are true soldiers armed with the two edged weapons of salvation, i.e. the powerful word of God, that is able to demolish the enemyís fortifications and destroy its strongholds exposing to shame darkness and all its arguments2 crushing underfoot this false worldís pleasures and the power of sin ruling over flesh. Thus they raise the cross in the face of the enemy crying out Christís name with joy, singing the hymn of victory and salvation. For these Christ prepared a share and inheritance in His eternal kingdom so that their days have become feasts and their works praise. Those are beloved and justified for the Sonís inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled and does not fade away, reserved for them in heaven. Now they suffer slightly and are tempted by the enemy in resemblance to gold that is melted in fire3 and purified to be inserted into the kingís crown.
You who suffer nowadays be joyful, I repeat be happy, because the glory of salvation is near. Christ has prepared Himself to appear coming in His glory to snatch His children from the fire surrounding us and to enter with Him into eternal joy.
16 June, 2005
1 I.e. army, or soldiers. 2
2 Cor 10:4, 5.
3 1 Pet 1:4-7.
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