Friday, February 29, 2008

On Romans 8:23

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Comment of St. John Chrysostom

So it is as if any one were to see in the street a vile woman of the baser sort being beaten, and were to say he was her son, when he was the king’s, and so to get her free from those who ill treated her. And this He really did, in that He confessed that He was the Son of Man, and stood by it (i.e. the flesh), and condemned the sin. However … He smote it with the blow of His death, but in this very act it was not the smitten flesh which was condemned and perished, but the sin which had been smiting. And this is the greatest possible marvel. For if it were not in the flesh that the victory took place, it would not be so astonishing, since this the Law also wrought. But the wonder is, that it was with the flesh (μετα σαρκoς) that His trophy was raised, and that what had been overthrown numberless times by sin, did itself get a glorious victory over it. For behold what strange things there were that took place! One was, that sin did not conquer the flesh; another, that sin was conquered, and conquered by it [flesh] too. For it is not the same thing not to get conquered, and to conquer that which was continually overthrowing us. A third is, that it [flesh] not only conquered it [sin], but even chastised it. For by not sinning it [Christ’s flesh] kept from being conquered, but by dying also, He overcame and condemned it [sin], having made the flesh, that before was so readily made a mock of by it, a plain object of fear to it. In this way then, He at once unnerved its power, and abolished the death by it introduced. For so long as it [sin] took hold of sinners, it with justice kept pressing to its end. But after finding a sinless body, when it [sin] had given it [Christ’s body] up to death, it was condemned as having acted unjustly. Do you observe, how many proofs of victory there are? The flesh not being conquered by sin, Its even conquering and condemning it, Its not condemning it [sin] barely, but condemning it as having sinned. For after having convicted it of injustice, he proceeds to condemn it, and that not by power and might barely, but even by the rules of justice. For this is what he means by saying, “for sin condemned sin in the flesh.”

What is lacking in this interpretation? Any mention of vicarious punishment.


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