Lent 2015, Day Eighteen—Irenaeus (4)

Today, I provide my last citations from Irenaeus.  First, here are some more quotations from his Against Heresies.

For Abraham, according to his faith, followed the command of the Word of God, and with a ready mind delivered up, as a sacrifice to God, his only-begotten and beloved son, in order that God also might be pleased to offer up for all his seed His own beloved and only-begotten Son, as a sacrifice for our redemption.  (4.5.4)

Since the Lord thus has redeemed us through His own blood, giving His soul for our souls, and His flesh for our flesh, and has also poured out the Spirit of the Father for the union and communion of God and man, imparting indeed God to men by means of the Spirit, and, on the other hand, attaching man to God by His own incarnation, and bestowing upon us at His coming immortality durably and truly, by means of communion with God,—all the doctrines of the heretics fall to ruin.  (5.1.1)

Therefore, by remitting sins, He did indeed heal man, while He also manifested Himself who He was. For if no one can forgive sins but God alone, while the Lord remitted them and healed men, it is plain that He was Himself the Word of God made the Son of man, receiving from the Father the power of remission of sins; since He was man, and since He was God, in order that since as man He suffered for us, so as God He might have compassion on us, and forgive us our debts, in which we were made debtors to God our Creator. And therefore David said beforehand, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD has not imputed sin;” pointing out thus that remission of sins which follows upon His advent, by which “He has destroyed the handwriting” of our debt, and “fastened it to the cross;” so that as by means of a tree we were made debtors to God, [so also] by means of a tree we may obtain the remission of our debt.  (5.17.3)

Finally, here are a few brief citations from another of Irenaeus’s writings, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching.

And the sin that was wrought through the tree was undone by the obedience of the tree, obedience to God whereby the Son of Man was nailed to the tree . . .  So by the obedience, whereby he obeyed unto death, hanging on the tree, he undid the old disobedience wrought in the tree.  (34)

Great, then, was the mercy of God the Father:  He sent the creative Word, who, when he came to save us, put Himself in our position, and in the same situation in which we lost life . . .   (38)

[We] are those who believe in Him, and whom he has cleansed, redeeming us with his blood.”  (57)

And the taking of judgement [i.e., Christ’s taking judment in Isaiah 53] is for some unto salvation, and for others unto torments of perdition; for there is a taking to a person, and taking from a person.  So too the judgement has been taken on some, and they have it in the torments of their perdition; but off others, and they are thereby saved. . . .   And judgement has been taken off those who believe in Him, and they are no more subject to it . . .  (69)

. . . for He who underwent all these things has a generation that cannot be declared . . .   Recognise, therefore, even this as the lineage of Him who underwent all these sufferings, and despise Him not for the sufferings which He deliberately underwent for thy sake; but fear Him for His lineage.”  (70)

And who else is ‘the just man’ to perfection, but the Son of God, who perfects by justifying those who believe in Him . . . He died for the sake of our salvation . . .   (72)

Jerry Shepherd
March 10, 2015

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