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June 1, 2016 + "Condemned" to Be Immortal: Part 4

by St. Justin Popovich
(...continued from Part 3)

In our mundane world, death is the greatest torment and the most hideously cruel thing. Freedom from this torment and cruelty is precisely what salvation is. Such salvation was given to the generation of man only by the Conqueror of Death, the Resurrected God-Man. Through His Resurrection, He revealed to us the whole mystery of our salvation. Salvation means to be guaranteed immortality and eternal life for the body and for the soul. But how do we succeed in this? Only in the life of the God-Man, in the life of the Resurrection, through the Resurrected Christ.

For us Christians, life on this earth is a school in which we learn how to secure for ourselves immortality and eternal life. For of what benefit is this life, if we cannot attain to eternity within it? But for a man to be resurrected with Christ, a man must first die with Him and live the life of Christ as his own. If he does this, then on the Day of Resurrection he may say, along with St. Gregory the Theologian: "Yesterday I was crucified with Christ, today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him, today I am given life with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him, today I rise with Him."

And in a few single words we may summarize the four Gospels of Christ: "Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!" In each of these words one can find the Gospel of Christ, as in the four Gospels one may find all of the knowledge of the whole of God's world, both known and unknown. And when the feelings of man, along with all of his thoughts, are centered on the thundering din of the Paschal greeting, "Christ is Risen!," then the joy of immortality moves all things, and all things in rejoicing proclaim the Paschal miracle: "Indeed He is Risen."

Yes, Christ is indeed risen! and a witness of this is you; I am a witness; every Christian is a witness of this, beginning with the Apostles and reaching up through the Second Coming. Because only the power of the Resurrected God-Man Christ can give —and continually gives now and will continually give in the future — the power to each Christian, from the first to the last, to conquer all that is mortal, and by this death itself; all that is sinful, and by this sin itself; and all that is demonic, and by this the devil himself. For simply by His Resurrection, the Lord, in the most convincing way, showed and proved that His life is Eternal Life; His love, Eternal Love; His good, Eternal Good; His truth, Eternal Truth; and His joy, Eternal Joy. He also showed and demonstrated that all of these things He gives, in His incomparable love of mankind, to every Christian in every age.

With regard to these things, there is not a single event, not only in the Gospels, but in the entire history of the human race, to which greater testimony has been given, in a manner so forceful, so unimpeachable, and so undisputed, than the Resurrection of Christ. Without doubt, Christianity, in all of its historical reality, in all of its historical force and omnipotence, has been established on the fact of the Resurrection of Christ, that is, on the Hypostasis of the God-Man Christ in Eternal Life. And to this all of the long and ever-miraculous history of Christianity bears witness.

Translated from the Greek by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna. From a series of theological essays, Anthropos kai Theanthropos (Athens, 1970). The Greek text is a translation of the Serbian original. Translation appeared in Orthodox Tradition, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1987), pp. 38-42. Accessed at http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/condemned.aspx.

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St. Justin Martyr the Philosopher

Troparion, Tone 4

O Justin, teacher of divine knowledge, you shone with the radiance of true philosophy. You were wisely armed against the enemy. Confessing the truth you contended alongside the martyrs. With them, ever entreat Christ our God to save our souls!

Kontakion, Tone 2

The whole Church of God is adorned with the wisdom of your divine words, O Justin; the world is enlightened by the radiance of your life. By the shedding of your blood, you have received a crown. As you stand before Christ with the angels, pray unceasingly for us all!


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