Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Do you have a personal relationship with Christ?
This question from Jesus prompted a series of responses. Whom did the people think He was? Some thought John the Baptist, some Elijah and yet others claimed He was one of the Prophets. But all this led Our Lord to go deeper with His Apostles and first disciples by pointedly asking them: "But who do you say that I am?" (Mark 8: 29). St. Peter the Apostle responded with absolute conviction: "You are the Christ!" (Mark 8: 29).
This profession of faith rendered by the first bishop of Rome is the profession we make as Old Roman Catholics in our Orthodox Faith about the divinity of Jesus Christ. "We believe, O Lord, and profess that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who came into the world to save sinners..." (taken from the prayer before Holy Communion, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom).
Yes, we believe and profess that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Word that assumed human nature and dwelt among us. The Old Roman Catholic Church professes the same creed of St. Peter the Apostle and all the other holy Apostles who gave their lives for this same belief in the divinity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Deliverer of our souls.
Jesus, the Son of God, the Only Begotten before all ages by the Father without a mother, was begotten in time by the Virgin Mary, Theotokos, without an earthly father. Jesus is the the Word of God, the Logos, Who became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1). Jesus is God Who came to us in the flesh. This is what all Orthodox believers profess about the doctrine of the Incarnation. In Greek we say that Jesus is the Theanthropos, the God-man. Jesus is fully God and fully human, true God from true God. He is fully divine and fully human. Our Lord has two natures, united in the Incarnation, but remains a Divine Person from all eternity, the Word, the Logos. Once again this is what we refer to in theology as the hypostasis, that Christ God remains one Person with two natures (divine and human) and therefore two wills (divine and human). Yet, as a Divine Person, Christ's human nature is submitted to His Divinity.
Jesus is the I AM revealed to Moses ages ago (Exodus 3: 14). Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life as He revealed Himself to us (John 14: 6). Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Christ is God in the flesh, the Son of God and the Son of the Theotokos by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. He is the son of the Carpenter of Nazareth, St. Joseph. The Word came to us as a child, growing in grace and wisdom (Luke 2: 52); He suffered, died and was buried. On the third day He Gloriously rose from the dead and forty day later He Ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.
Christ, the New Adam, came among us to save us and deliver us from our sins; He is the one and only Saviour of mankind. He reconciled man to God by His redemptive death on the Cross. Every action of Christ was for the sake of our salvation. All that He said and did was for us, submitting to the Baptism of John the Forerunner, His sacred teaching, His miracles, His temptations, His suffering, His death, His Glorious Resurrection and Ascension, all were for us because He is the Lover of Mankind. Because of Him, because of all He did for us, we have been given the grace to become what He is by nature; we have the opportunity to become partakers in His divine nature, He who humbled Himself to share in our human nature.
This is our Orthodox Faith, the Faith of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Christ our God, shared by all Orthodox believers throughout the world.