St Irenaeus of Lyons: Are You Participating in Incorruptibility?

Feast of Jason & Sosipater the Apostles of the 70 & their Companions

Irenaeus_Square.jpgTHE PROPHETS were sent from God; by the Holy Spirit they admonished the people and returned them to the God of the patriarchs, the Almighty, and were made heralds of the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, announcing that his flesh would blossom from the seed of David (cf. Is. 11.1), that He would be, according to the flesh, son of David, who was the son of Abraham, through a long succession (cf. Mt. 1.1) while, according to the Spirit, Son of God, being at first with the Father, begotten before all creation, and being revealed to all the world at the close of the age as man, “recapitulating all things” in Himself, the Word of God, “things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1.10).

So He united man with God and wrought a communion of God and man, we being unable to have any participation in incorruptibility if it were not for His coming to us, for incorruptibility, whilst being invisible, benefitted us nothing: so He became visible, that we might, in all ways, obtain a participation in incorruptibility. And because all are implicated in the first-formation of Adam, we were bound to death through the disobedience. It was fitting, therefore, by means of the obedience of the One, who on our account became man, to be loosed from death (cf. Rom. 5.12, 19). Since death reigned over the flesh, it was necessary that, abolished through flesh, it release man from its oppression. So, “the Word became flesh” (Jn. 1.14) that by means of the flesh which sin had mastered and seized and dominated, by this, it might be abolished and no longer be in us (cf. Rom. 6.6). And for this reason our Lord received that same embodiment as the first-formed, that He might fight for the fathers and vanquish in Adam that which had struck us in Adam.

—St Irenaeus of Lyons, On the Apostolic Preaching

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