Today I have two more citations from Augustine. They both come from his treatise, On the Trinity.
What, then, is the righteousness by which the devil was conquered? What, except the righteousness of Jesus Christ? And how was he conquered? Because, when he found in Him nothing worthy of death, yet he slew Him. And certainly it is just, that we whom he held as debtors, should be dismissed free by believing in Him whom he slew without any debt. In this way it is that we are said to be justified in the blood of Christ. For so that innocent blood was shed for the remission of our sins. . . . Hence He proceeds to His passion, that He might pay for us debtors that which He Himself did not owe. . . we are justified in the blood of Christ, when we are rescued from the power of the devil through the remission of sins. (13.14.18)
It is not then difficult to see that the devil was conquered, when he who was slain by Him rose again. It is something more, and more profound of comprehension, to see that the devil was conquered when he thought himself to have conquered, that is, when Christ was slain. For then that blood, since it was His who had no sin at all, was poured out for the remission of our sins; that, because the devil deservedly held those whom, as guilty of sin, he bound by the condition of death, he might deservedly loose them through Him, whom, as guilty of no sin, the punishment of death undeservedly affected. . . . In this redemption, the blood of Christ was given, as it were, as a price for us, by accepting which the devil was not enriched, but bound: that we might be loosened from his bonds, and that he might not with himself involve in the meshes of sins, and so deliver to the destruction of the second and eternal death, any one of those whom Christ, free from all debt, had redeemed by pouring out His own blood unindebtedly; but that they who belong to the grace of Christ, foreknown, and predestinated, and elected before the foundation of the world, should only so far die as Christ Himself died for them, i.e. only by the death of the flesh, not of the spirit. (13.15.19)
March 24, 2015