Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | October 24, 2008

Repentance and Re-Creation

Why couldn’t humanity just say we were sorry for sin and the Father forgive us? Because Adam’s sin had corrupted the image of God in our nature and made us incapable of relating to him as the children we were created to be. Therefore, the Word of God – the Son – had to enter into our human nature and repair the damage we had done to ourselves in the fall. Here is how St. Athanasius described it in On the Incarnation:

Had it been a case of a trespass only, and not of a subsequent corruption, repentance would have been well enough; but when once transgression had begun men came under the power of the corruption proper to their nature and were bereft of the grace which belonged to them as creatures in the Image of God. No, repentance could not meet the case. What -or rather Who- was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? Who, save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning had made all things out of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruptible to incorruption and to maintain for the Father His consistency of character with all. For He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father. On the Incarnation, 2.7

In fact, when you think about it, even if we had not sinned the Word would still have become flesh and made his dwelling among us. How else could creatures be adopted as children and included in the Triune Life? In order for the Father’s plan of adoption to be fulfilled the Son had to become what we are.

So, Jesus is the only possible way by which we could be rescued from sin – but even more importantly he is the only possible way that the purpose for our existence could be fulfilled, the only way by which we could be adopted as children of the Father.

In him humanity has been restored to the image of God and elevated to the highest place, at the right hand of the Father!

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