Lent 2015, Day Twenty—Hilary of Poitiers (2)

The citations below come from another of Hilary’s works, On the Trinity.  You can access the whole work here.

And you, when ye were dead in sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He hath quickened with Him, having forgiven you all your sins, blotting out the bond which was against us by its ordinances, which was contrary to us; and He hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the Cross; and having put off the flesh He made a show of powers openly, triumphing over them through confidence in Himself. Steadfast faith rejects the vain subtleties of philosophic enquiry; truth refuses to be vanquished by these treacherous devices of human folly, and enslaved by falsehood. It will not confine God within the limits which barred our common reason, nor judge after the rudiments of the world concerning Christ, in Whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in such wise that the utmost efforts of the earthly mind to comprehend Him are baffled by that immeasurable Eternity and Omnipotence. My soul judged of Him as One Who, drawing us upward to partake of His own Divine nature, has loosened henceforth the bond of bodily observances Who, unlike the Symbolic Law, has initiated us into no rites of mutilating the flesh, but Whose purpose is that our spirit, circumcised from vice, should purify all the natural faculties of the body by abstinence from sin, that we being buried with His Death in Baptism may return to the life of eternity (since regeneration to life is death to the former life), and dying to our sins be born again to immortality, that even as He abandoned His immortality to die for us, so should we awaken from death to immortality with Him. For He took upon Him the flesh in which we have sinned that by wearing our flesh He might forgive sins; a flesh which He shares with us by wearing it, not by sinning in it. He blotted out through death the sentence of death, that by a new creation of our race in Himself He might sweep away the penalty appointed by the former Law. He let them nail Him to the cross that He might nail to the curse of the cross and abolish all the curses to which the world is condemned. He suffered as man to the utmost that He might put powers to shame. For Scripture had foretold that He Who is God should die; that the victory and triumph of them that trust in Him lay in the fact that He, Who is immortal and cannot be overcome by death, was to die that mortals might gain eternity. These deeds of God, wrought in a manner beyond our comprehension, cannot, I repeat, be understood by our natural faculties, for the work of the Infinite and Eternal can only be grasped by an infinite intelligence. Hence, just as the truths that God became man, that the Immortal died that the Eternal was buried, do not belong to the rational order but are an unique work of power, so on the other hand it is an effect not of intellect but of omnipotence that He Who is man is also God, that He Who died is immortal, that He Who was buried is eternal. We, then, are raised together by God in Christ through His death. But, since in Christ there is the fulness of the Godhead, we have herein a revelation of God the Father joining to raise us in Him Who died; and we must confess that Christ Jesus is none other than God in all the fulness of the Deity.  (1.13)

He bore our sins, that is, He assumed our body of sin, but was Himself sinless. He was sent in the likeness of the flesh of sin, bearing sin indeed in His flesh but our sin. (10.47)

For the reasons mentioned, He was esteemed “stricken, smitten and afflicted.” He took the form of a servant: and “man born of a Virgin conveys to us the idea of One Whose nature felt pain when He suffered. But though He was wounded it was “for our transgressions.” The wound was not the wound of His own transgressions: the suffering not a suffering for Himself. He was not born man for His own sake, nor did He transgress in His own action. The Apostle explains the principle of the Divine Plan when he says, “We beseech you through Christ to be reconciled to God. Him, Who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf.” To condemn sin through sin in the flesh, He Who knew no sin was Himself made sin; that is, by means of the flesh to condemn sin in the flesh, He became flesh on our behalf , but knew not flesh i.e., flesh in the bad sense, “the flesh of sin”: and therefore was wounded because of our transgressions.  (10.47)

Jerry Shepherd
Lent
March 12, 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.