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Author Topic: How do Orthodox view Jesus' crucifixion?  (Read 2539 times) Average Rating: 0
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tariki
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« on: April 23, 2011, 08:44:46 PM »

I'm sorry if the question is worded badly.

I just want to know what the Orthodox take is on Jesus dying for our sins. I know the emphasis is on His resurrection. Orthodox don't talk about the sins bit as much as Protestants.
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David Garner
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2011, 09:42:09 AM »

I just want to know what the Orthodox take is on Jesus dying for our sins. I know the emphasis is on His resurrection. Orthodox don't talk about the sins bit as much as Protestants.

No offense intended, but if you really believe this, you should attend Holy Week services.  All of them.  We talk about sins plenty.  The difference between us and Protestants is not in whether we talk about sins or take our sins seriously.  It is how Christ atones for those sins and what His death on the cross accomplishes.  For most Protestants, Christ "paid the price" to "forgive" their sins (meaning they are given "unmerited favor" from God).  Jesus was "punished" on the cross in the view of most Protestants.  For Orthodox, Jesus voluntarily took on our death in order to destroy it.  He wasn't "punished" for us, but He died to unite Himself to mankind, but God didn't punish Him (for, realistically, that would be Him punishing Himself), nor did simply the Father punish Him (for that would imply a disconnect between the persons of the Trinity).  He died for us and took on the weight and consequence of our sin, but not in order to appease an angry Father.  Rather, to destroy death and reunite Human flesh with the energies of God in His person.
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2011, 12:02:33 PM »

I say bravo to what David has posted above!
I am a convert from Protestantism and can say without a doubt Orthodoxy is MORE focused on sin and ridding it from our lives, than the Protestant churches. And you don't even have to attend Holy Week services to know that. If you use an Orthodox prayer book, especially Jordanville, the prayers are EXTREMELY penitential.
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2011, 12:48:58 PM »

Another Bravo.
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tariki
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2011, 04:15:56 PM »

I just want to know what the Orthodox take is on Jesus dying for our sins. I know the emphasis is on His resurrection. Orthodox don't talk about the sins bit as much as Protestants.

No offense intended, but if you really believe this, you should attend Holy Week services.  All of them.  We talk about sins plenty.  The difference between us and Protestants is not in whether we talk about sins or take our sins seriously.  It is how Christ atones for those sins and what His death on the cross accomplishes.  For most Protestants, Christ "paid the price" to "forgive" their sins (meaning they are given "unmerited favor" from God).  Jesus was "punished" on the cross in the view of most Protestants.  For Orthodox, Jesus voluntarily took on our death in order to destroy it.  He wasn't "punished" for us, but He died to unite Himself to mankind, but God didn't punish Him (for, realistically, that would be Him punishing Himself), nor did simply the Father punish Him (for that would imply a disconnect between the persons of the Trinity).  He died for us and took on the weight and consequence of our sin, but not in order to appease an angry Father.  Rather, to destroy death and reunite Human flesh with the energies of God in His person.

None taken. Thank you for your answer. But I still don't understand how destroying death takes away our sin.
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2011, 06:33:06 PM »

Romans Chapter 6, especially verse 23.
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2011, 10:10:13 PM »

None taken. Thank you for your answer. But I still don't understand how destroying death takes away our sin.

I'm thinking perhaps you're speaking of "takes away our sins" as a washing/cleansing us from them. In Orthodoxy, this is what baptism does. In Orthodoxy, our sinfulness is separation from God, and so Christ uniting us to himself through his death (and thereby providing a way for us to be continually united to him) is the "taking away" of our sin. The separation from God is taken away.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2011, 11:10:48 PM »

None taken. Thank you for your answer. But I still don't understand how destroying death takes away our sin.

How do you think our sin is taken away?

I'll go ahead and give my answer -- I'm not trying to be cute or play word games.  I just wanted to put the question out there because I think knowing your point of view might make it easier to address the issue.  Being united to Christ is what takes away our sin.  Christ destroying death makes it possible for us to be united to Him.  He united Himself to us in the incarnation, in His entering our death and (being the author of life) death could not contain Him.  This is at the level of nature.  We are personally united to Christ in the Sacramental life.  In Baptism, the Eucharist, Chrismation, Confession, etc.  It is through the Sacraments that we are given the Holy Spirit, receive the Divine and Life-giving energies of God and are healed.  This doesn't occur "once for all," though at each step one can say they are "clean" (meaning, when you confess and receive absolution, you are in fact forgiven, and likewise when you are baptized all your sins are forgiven and you are united to Christ, etc.).  But then we sin again, and receive forgiveness again, and sin again, and receive forgiveness again, etc.  By entering the Sacramental life of the Church we are continuously being united to Christ, being made by Grace what He is by nature.  I've found it helpful to look at the Sacraments not merely as granting "forgiveness" in the sense that God is overlooking our bad acts, but as the Fathers and the Scriptures say, "remission" of sin.  When a physician tells you your cancer is in "remission," he doesn't mean he has declared the cancer to be abating.  He means the cancer is ACTUALLY abating.  You are being healed.  Likewise, when we receive baptism or the Eucharist or another Sacrament for the "remission" of our sins, it isn't just God saying "it's okay, you're off the hook."  It is God giving you His energies, uniting you to Him, giving you the "medicine" if you will to allow you to continue living in Him.

And if you are inclined to think that is a weak view of sin, consider this -- would you rather your doctor tell you he is offended by something you did, or is going to sue you over your bill, or pick any legal, juridical metaphor you choose?  Or would you rather him tell you that you have a disease that might kill you and you require immediate lifesaving treatment?  I think viewing sin in a more ontological way is by far the more serious view of human sin.

I also find it helpful to view our part in this as like a child learning to walk.  At first the child cannot walk.  The parents carry him everywhere, provide his ambulation for him.  When the child begins to learn to walk, he falls, gets back up, falls again, etc.  Eventually, the child will learn to walk without falling with ever other step, but then, we all fall, don't we?  I'm 41 years old and I still trip and fall on occasion.  The idea is to "mature" in the faith to the point where your stumbles are less frequent, but some people are more clumsy than others.  When I trip and fall, whether as a kid or now as an adult, my father doesn't punish me, nor does he forgive me.  He asks if I am okay and helps me.  Likewise, when we "fall" by sinning, whether we are "clumsy" or "graceful" (good word choice there), God forgives us, certainly, but He also helps us so that we may get up and keep walking.  This is true no matter how frequently or infrequently we stumble.  It is true whether we have a little stumble and regain our balance or (as is typical for me when I "fall" into sin) fall down and break something and require rehabilitation and aggressive treatment.  God is there, always, healing us, helping us, sustaining us.  And He is there regardless of how much Grace we require -- even when He must carry us along Himself.  Again, this happens through the Sacramental life.

I could say more -- I think we probably have a different view of "sin" as well as "Grace" -- Thankful's post addresses that aptly.  But think over the above for a bit.  If it doesn't help, lets talk about your view of how sins are "taken away" and what that means and see if we can distinguish that from what the Church teaches.
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2011, 11:40:17 PM »

Romans 5:12-15
Quote
 12Therefore, just as through (X)one man sin entered into the world, and (Y)death through sin, and (Z)so death spread to all men, because all sinned--

 13for until the Law sin was in the world, but (AA)sin is not imputed when there is no law.

 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned (AB)in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a [a](AC)type of Him who was to come.

 15But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of (AD)the one (AE)the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by (AF)the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 10:23:22 AM »

I'm going to give another "bravo" to the above post.

Orthodoxy is VERY focused on sin.  Much more than I have ever seen in any protestant churches.

That's even including Anabaptist or Messianic Jews.
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2011, 10:55:42 AM »

None taken. Thank you for your answer. But I still don't understand how destroying death takes away our sin.

How do you think our sin is taken away?

I'll go ahead and give my answer -- I'm not trying to be cute or play word games.  I just wanted to put the question out there because I think knowing your point of view might make it easier to address the issue.  Being united to Christ is what takes away our sin.  Christ destroying death makes it possible for us to be united to Him.  He united Himself to us in the incarnation, in His entering our death and (being the author of life) death could not contain Him.  This is at the level of nature.  We are personally united to Christ in the Sacramental life.  In Baptism, the Eucharist, Chrismation, Confession, etc.  It is through the Sacraments that we are given the Holy Spirit, receive the Divine and Life-giving energies of God and are healed.  This doesn't occur "once for all," though at each step one can say they are "clean" (meaning, when you confess and receive absolution, you are in fact forgiven, and likewise when you are baptized all your sins are forgiven and you are united to Christ, etc.).  But then we sin again, and receive forgiveness again, and sin again, and receive forgiveness again, etc.  By entering the Sacramental life of the Church we are continuously being united to Christ, being made by Grace what He is by nature.  I've found it helpful to look at the Sacraments not merely as granting "forgiveness" in the sense that God is overlooking our bad acts, but as the Fathers and the Scriptures say, "remission" of sin.  When a physician tells you your cancer is in "remission," he doesn't mean he has declared the cancer to be abating.  He means the cancer is ACTUALLY abating.  You are being healed.  Likewise, when we receive baptism or the Eucharist or another Sacrament for the "remission" of our sins, it isn't just God saying "it's okay, you're off the hook."  It is God giving you His energies, uniting you to Him, giving you the "medicine" if you will to allow you to continue living in Him.

And if you are inclined to think that is a weak view of sin, consider this -- would you rather your doctor tell you he is offended by something you did, or is going to sue you over your bill, or pick any legal, juridical metaphor you choose?  Or would you rather him tell you that you have a disease that might kill you and you require immediate lifesaving treatment?  I think viewing sin in a more ontological way is by far the more serious view of human sin.

I also find it helpful to view our part in this as like a child learning to walk.  At first the child cannot walk.  The parents carry him everywhere, provide his ambulation for him.  When the child begins to learn to walk, he falls, gets back up, falls again, etc.  Eventually, the child will learn to walk without falling with ever other step, but then, we all fall, don't we?  I'm 41 years old and I still trip and fall on occasion.  The idea is to "mature" in the faith to the point where your stumbles are less frequent, but some people are more clumsy than others.  When I trip and fall, whether as a kid or now as an adult, my father doesn't punish me, nor does he forgive me.  He asks if I am okay and helps me.  Likewise, when we "fall" by sinning, whether we are "clumsy" or "graceful" (good word choice there), God forgives us, certainly, but He also helps us so that we may get up and keep walking.  This is true no matter how frequently or infrequently we stumble.  It is true whether we have a little stumble and regain our balance or (as is typical for me when I "fall" into sin) fall down and break something and require rehabilitation and aggressive treatment.  God is there, always, healing us, helping us, sustaining us.  And He is there regardless of how much Grace we require -- even when He must carry us along Himself.  Again, this happens through the Sacramental life.

I could say more -- I think we probably have a different view of "sin" as well as "Grace" -- Thankful's post addresses that aptly.  But think over the above for a bit.  If it doesn't help, lets talk about your view of how sins are "taken away" and what that means and see if we can distinguish that from what the Church teaches.


I also think it's important to point out that sin is in reality far more dangerous and insidious than the juridical metaphor gives it credit for. If God's forgiveness was all we had to be worried about then we would have nothing to fear. God always forgives, is long suffering, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and mercy. God is love and we have nothing to fear from love. The frightening thing is that sin is a total negation of love and such, it separates us from God and destroys us totally independent of His love.

God can and does forgive anyone. He didn't require that Jesus be killed in order to free His hand to forgive us. Our danger is not God, our danger is us. That is why Christ came to free us from slavery to death and sin, so that through the life of the Church we may be united to Him and be healed of our self inflicted wounds and self imposed separation from God.


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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2011, 11:05:26 AM »

Great posts.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 11:06:12 AM by Sleeper » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 12:03:23 PM »

Another way to look at it is that the power of sin is now unable to cause any harm to us. Prior to Christ's death, all who died (except those who were spared death) resided in Hades for eternity, for them there was no hope of achieving Heaven (in a practical sense). Now, because of the Crucifixion of Christ, we do not have to suffer that consequence of our disposition towards sinning, those who have died who are righteous are able to break free from everlasting torment and receive the gift of ever lasting life. If death is the ultimate result of our sinful nature, Christ's crucifixion is the destruction of that ultimate result.

-Nick
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sainthieu
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 12:07:42 PM »

As a victory.
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