Sunday, April 14, 2013

Baptism: Symbol of Death, Resurrection, and the Life to Come

Because it was necessary that we who were born later should receive faith concerning the above future good things and that we should believe that our Savior, our head and the cause of all of them for us, was Christ our Lord, it was imperative that He should also arrange as much as possible our mode of life in this world according to the hope of the future.  It is with justice, therefore, that in this also He became our head.  He was baptized so that He might give a symbol to our own baptism.  In it He was freed from all the obligations of the law.  He performed also all the economy of the Gospel: He chose disciples to Himself, established the teaching of a new law and a new doctrine, promulgated ways of acting congruous to His teaching and different from the teaching of the Law, and taught that the ways of acting of us who believe should be in harmony with those.*

We also when we are baptized show the symbol of that world to come; we die with Him in baptism, and we rise symbolically with Him, and we endeavor to live according to His law in the hope of the future good things which we expect to share with Him at the resurrection from the dead.  If Christ our Lord had immediately after His rising from the dead, raised also all men who had previously died, and had bestowed upon them new life fully and immediately, we should have been in no need of doing anything; as, however, He actually performed only on Himself the renewal which is to come and through which He rose from the dead and His body became immortal and His soul immutable, it became necessary that this decrepit and mortal world should last further in order that mankind might believe in Him and receive the hope of communion and future life.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on the Nicene Creed, 6

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