Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, August 28, 2011


"Through the power of death and the devil, sin that reigns in men gives rise to fear and anxiety and to the general instinct of self-preservation or survival. Thus, Satan manipulates man's fear and his desire for self-satisfaction, raising up sin in him...Because of death, man must first attend to the necessities of life in order to stay alive. In this struggle, self-interests are unavoidable. Thus, man is unable to live in accordance with his original destiny of unselfish love. This state of subjection under the reign of death is the root of man's weakness in which he becomes entangled in sin at the urging of the demons and by his own consent.
Resting in the hands of the devil, the power of the fear of death is the root from which self-aggrandizement, egotism, hatred, envy, and other similar passions spring up. In addition to the fact that man, [as John Chrysostom has written,] "subjects himself to anything in order to avoid dying," he constantly fears that his life is without meaning. Thus, he strives to demonstrate to himself and to others that it has worth. He loves flatterers and hates his detractors. He seeks his own and envies the success of others. He loves those who love him and hates those who hate him. He seeks security and happiness and wealth, glory, bodily pleasures, and he may even imagine that his destiny is a self-seeking eudaemonistic and passionless enjoyment of the presence of God regardless of whether or not he has true active, unselfish love for others. Fear and anxiety render man an individual."  Romanides

Hebrews 2.14-15:

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

"[H]e who fears death is a slave and subjects himself to everything in order to avoid dying...[But] he who does not fear death is outside the tyranny of the devil. For indeed 'man would give skin for skin, and all things for [the sake of] his life,' [Job 2.4] and if a man should decide to disregard this, whose slave is he then? He fears no one, is in terror of no one, is higher than everyone, and is freer than everyone. For he who disregards his own life disregards more so all other things. And when the devil finds such a soul, he can accomplish in it none of his works. Tell me, though, what can he threaten? The loss of money or honor? Or exile from one's country? For these are small things to him 'who counteth not even his life dear,' says blessed Paul [Acts 20.24].

Do you see that in casting out the tyranny of death, He has dissolved the strength of the devil?" John Chrysostom

Romans 6. 1-9

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him."

"There is a distinction "between those who live according to Satan and death and those who struggle in Christ to attain to unselfish love that is free of self-interest and necessity."

The salvation of man is dependent upon how much, under the guidance of God, he is capable of exercising himself in the cultivation of a genuine, unselfish, and unconstrained love for God and his fellow man.
The will of God, like the purpose of the Church's existence, is the salvation of men through perfection in love for God and one another. 
It is clear that any denial of Christ out of fear was regarded by the ancient Church as a real lack of unselfish faith and as a fall into the hands of him who has the power of fear and death...The Lord did not hesitate to speak to man's instinct of survival or self-preservation. (Matt. 16.26; Mark 8.36-37; Luke 9.25)
Love that is free of self-interest and necessity fears nothing...All human unrest is rooted in inherited psychological and bodily infirmities, that is, in the soul's separation from grace and in the body's corruptibility, from which springs all selfishness. Any perceived threat automatically triggers fear and uneasiness. Fear does not allow a man to be perfected in love...Being under the sway of death and not having real and correct faith in God, man is anxious over everything and is ruled by selfish bodily and psychological motives and, thus, he is unable to love unselfishly and freely. He loves and has faith according to what he perceives to be to his own advantage...Thus, he is deprived of his original destiny and is off the mark spiritually. In biblical language, these failures and deviations are called sins. The fountain of man's personal sin is the power of death that is in the hands of the devil and in man's own willing submission to him.
Just as God, above all, is free of every need and self-interest, the spiritual man who has the Spirit struggles and becomes perfected in the love according to Christ, love that is delivered of all need and self-interest. "If the Son, then, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." [John 8.36] Romanides

"The battle of the Christian life, then, is the battle between fear and love. Between self-interest and self-giving. Between Incurvatus in se and Excurvatus ex se, from being "curved inward" on ourselves to being "curved outward" toward others. This is the moral nexus of the Christian life, the struggle between fear and love."

"to free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."

No comments: