My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE DEATH OF CHRIST AND HOW
TO FACE DEATH
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, the holy Apostles, and the holy Fathers understand the tribulation and pain that death causes to "those who remain." Nevertheless, it is appropriate to mention here, that the faithful (Christians) are directed to lament (grieve) in moderation and thought, with patience and faith, with hope and perseverance, to more than is proper. Because the Christians are NOT "as others who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13). For Christ with His death and Resurrection GRANTED IMMORTALITY TO THE MANKIND. Therefore, in order to liberate us from the power of death, the Lord MADE His existence as mortal as ours. Thus He became the same with the entire human generation (EXCEPT IN SIN). God became incarnate–He took on a carnal human body and walked among us, as one of us, because He came TO SAVE HUMANS, not Angels (Hebrews 2:16-18 and Romans 6:1-11). And the punishment that was meant for human sin fell on Him. He TOOK ON OUR SINS IN OUR STEAD. Even though He WAS INNOCENT. He "tasted death" (Hebrews 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Romans 8:34). He became one of us, i.e., MAN, AND WALKED IN OUR MIDST.
Consequently, His death WAS NOT ACCIDENTAL, NOR WAS it AN ORDINARY EVENT. He also foretold it, to His Disciples, obviously in order to forestall any stumbling block that they might perhaps face: "And He began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and is killed, and after three days rise again" (Mark 8:35; John 12:23-33).
The death of Christ IS A LIFE-GIVING DEATH. He dies FOR LOVE OS US (1 Thessalonians 5:10). "HE DIED FOR ALL" (2 Corinthians 5:14), and with the Resurrection, He CONQUERS DEATH, "THE LAST ENEMY OF MAN." This is so because Christ is "THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE" (John 11:25). Christ does not only share all of our human life, but also all of human death: "SURELY HE HAS BORN OUR GRIEF AND CARRIED OUR SORROWS" (Isaiah 53:4). He SHARES ALL OUR TRIBULATIONS AND ALL OUR SORROWS. Our Christ, our Great Physician took upon Himself "THE UNACCEPTABLE AND INCURABLE", EVERYTHING, EVEN DEATH.
After the victory of our Lord against death, then "THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH" (Luke 1:79) ARE ILLUMINATED AND LIBERATED FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH. NOW WE ARE ALIVE "FROM DEATH TO LIFE" (Romans 6:13), BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN DELIVERED "FROM THE DEAD WORKS" (Hebrews 6:1). And when WE HEED his words and strive to practice them, then we pass "FROM DEATH TO LIFE", AS HE Himself said (John 5:24). And at another place, He again says: "IF ANY ONE KEEPS MY WORD, HE WILL NEVER SEE DEATH" (John 8:51). WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR IF WE BELIEVE IN THE Victor OVER SIN AND DEATH, AND IN THE Leader OF LIFE. Because even if we die physically, WE SHALL LIVE (John 11:25). And on the contrary, WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE, SHALL DIE IN HIS SINS (John 8:21-24). And thus the "FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST" SHALL BECOME FOR HIM "THE ODOR OF DEATH."
At our Baptism, we were UNITED SACRAMENTALLY WITH THE DEATH OF CHRIST" "We WERE BURIED THEREFORE WITH HIM BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH" (Romans 6:4). This constitutes our daily struggle: The "MORTIFICATION" OF OUR FLESH AND ITS DESIRES, THE DEATH OF OUR PASSIONS. Then the life of Christ appears in mortal flesh. We pre-taste IMMORTALITY even while in this world. Thus even physical death acquires NEW MEANING FOR THE BELIEVER CHRISTIAN. DEATH now becomes a Christian notion (as to its FEARFUL PAGAN NOTION), AND THE CHRISTIAN DIES "IN THE LORD", AS HE LIVED FOR Him (Romans 14:7; Phil. 1:20). Whether dead or alive, CHRISTIANS BELONG TO CHRIST. And in his tribulation and pain of death, A CHRISTIAN SEEKS REFUGE IN Him: "In the day of my trouble, I SEEK THE LORD; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearing" (Psalm 76:2-4). "For Thou has been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of distress" (Psalm 58:17).
It is necessary that we know that our union with the death of Christ does not only offer us the hope of immortality in the present life, but it also gives us the assurance and confidence that "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also" (Romans 8:11). When this happens then we shall be transferred to another world, the world of the True and Real Life. in that life"DEATH SHALL BE NO MORE" (Revelation 21:4). Then only Divine Light, the Light of Tabor, the Light of Resurrection shall exist. Because Christ with His death and His Resurrection HAS OFFERED SALVATION AND "HAS CHANGED THE (WESTERN) SETTING INTO AN (EASTERN) RISING." And in spite of His explicit words, stubborn heretics still cannot comprehend that His Kingdom is "NOT OF THIS WORLD" (John 17:15, 18:36).
"…Death for the believer begets new life. Saint Ignatius the God-bearer wrote to the Roman faithful when he was being led to his martyrdom" "MY BIRTH (RISE) IS IMPENDING." THUS WITH DEATH, WE SET DOWN IN THIS WORLD, TO RISE BEFORE GOD…In this way death by the believer like a preface to a better and more spiritual life, like a road and beginning the True Life, to Christ our Savior, TO THE LAND OF LIVING". (Source: The Pain. An Orthodox Scriptural and Patristic Approach)
"Glory Be To GOD
— Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George