Monday, Dec. 5:
AM Psalm 25; PM Psalm 9, 15; Amos 7:1-9;
Rev. 1:1-8; Matt. 22:23-33
Against the Heresies, “The Redeeming Incarnation”
“God is man’s glory, but it is man who receives the effect of God’s activity, who
is the recipient of all God’s wisdom and power.
Just as a doctor proves himself in his patients, so God reveals himself in men.
That is why Paul states: “God has imprisoned all in unbelief that he may have
mercy on all.” He is speaking here of man, who was excluded from immortality
as a result of his disobedience to God, but then obtained mercy through the Son
of God by receiving adoption in him.
Without pride or boastfulness, man should have a true evaluation of created
things and of their creator, that is, of God, the supremely powerful, who gave
existence to all things. He should abide in love of God, in submission, in
thanksgiving. If he does, he will receive a greater glory from God and will go on
until he becomes like the one who died for him.
He too was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, in order to condemn sin and, as
something now condemned, to expel it from the flesh. He came to invite man
to become like himself, commissioning him to imitate God, placing him under
obedience to the Father so as to see God, giving him the power to apprehend
the Father. He who did this is the Word of God, who dwelt in man and became
Son of man in order to accustom man to receive God and accustom God to
dwell in man, in accordance with the Father’s will.
That is why he is a sign of our salvation, Immanuel, born of the Virgin, a sign
given us by the Lord himself. It was the Lord who saved men, because they were
incapable of saving themselves. When Paul says: “I know that nothing good
dwells in my flesh,” he is affirming this weakness of man, and he is indicating
that the “good” which is our salvation comes not from ourselves but from God.
In another passage he says: “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from
this body of death?”, and then he introduces the rescuer: “the grace of our Lord
Isaiah too makes the same point: “Be strong, weak hands and feeble knees;
pluck up your courage, faint-hearted. Be strong, do not be afraid. See, our God
is coming with justice and with retribution; he is coming himself to save us’—it
is not by ourselves but by the help of God that we are saved.”