Thursday, February 27, 2014

God's Promise Is Our Anchor

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.  (Heb 6:19-20)

The Lord promised to give the kingdom of heaven to those believing in him.  We hope in those good things, he is saying, we cling to this hope like a sacred anchor.  An anchor hidden in the depths does not allow our souls to be disturbed.  He shows the hope of good things to be proof against failure on other grounds as well.  Becoming incarnate for our sakes,… He gave up His body to death for our sakes, and after destroying death he went up to heaven, being the firstfruits of those who has fallen asleep.  He strengthened their confidence with the name forerunner: if he is our forerunner and has gone up for us, we too must follow and be granted ascent.  The Lord also says as much to the apostles:
In my Father’s house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Here likewise, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Having It All Laid Bare

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  (Heb 4:11-13)

Nothing can escape the incorruptible Judge.  He knows everything precisely, even the movements of our very thoughts.  He knows what is done under cover of darkness.  He knows what is committed in secret, the wicked counsels of the soul did not elude him, what is hidden is laid bare to Him.  He used the phrase “exposed to the eyes of him” as a metaphor from sacrificed beasts, which lie completely mute, the slaughter doing away with their life, and along with their life, their cries.  In similar manner, he is saying, when we also are judged, we behold everything done by us in ungodly and lawless fashion, whereas we receive the sentence of punishment in silence, realizing as we do its justice.

Now, it was not just to them but also to everyone of us that the divine apostle wrote this.  So it behooves us to consider that divine judgment constantly, be afraid and tremble, keep the divine commandments assiduously, and look forward to the promised rest.  May we attain it in Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory and majesty, now and forever, for ages and ages.  Amen.

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Epistle to the Hebrews”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

God's Rest Is Still Available

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.  For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.  (Heb 4:1-2)

After making this digression to scare them, and to cause them to look forward to the hope given them, [the writer] gives attention to the rest bringing out that in times past the inspired David foretold it to us.  David promised us, he is saying, that there is a different rest, so let us be keen to attain it so as not suffer a fate similar to theirs.  Hearing the words does not suffice for salvation.  Accepting it in faith is necessary, and holding it firm.  After all, what benefit was God’s promise to those who received it, but did not receive it faithfully, trust in the power of God, or, as it were, associate closely with God’s words?

Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Letter to the Hebrews”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Biblical Dogmatics by A. G. Voigt – Book Review

Biblical Dogmatics by A. G. Voigt is the third volume in the American Lutheran Classics series edited by Jordan Cooper.  As the title states, this is a dogmatic theology text focusing on the presentation of what is confessed about God and His work by a Church body—in this case the Lutheran church—as opposed to a systematic theology which examines the major theological themes of the Bible, each building upon the preceding.

Voigt’s overriding thesis is the communion of man with God.  Beginning with the environment created in order for this communion to be established, the authors moves through the Fall (broken communion), execution of the redemption plan (restored, imperfect communion), and ending with the consummation (full communion).   I like this format for two reasons.  First, it follows the revelation of scripture from Creation to Revelation giving the reader the general flow of redemptive history.

Second, the chapters can be easily grouped into sections on the working of God, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This grouping establishes a Trinitarian view of redemption as each part may be explained by emphasizing the primary work of the different persons of the Godhead, while demonstrating their interconnectedness in every part.  I do not remember a theology work intentionally using this format since reading Thomas Oden’s Systematic Theology.

I am always pleased when learning something new, and this did not disappoint.  While discussing Christ’s two natures, the author posits the question: Was Christ a human person,  Or was His humanity impersonal? (p. 111)  John of Damascus determined that Christ assumed an impersonal humanity thereby avoiding the possible conflict from the idea of Him being a double person. (ibid.)

Other new information came in the discussion of the communication of human and divine properties, specifically the communication of divine attributes to the human nature.  Because the divine attributes in question are infinite and eternal, he explains this way:
Here the attributes of the divine nature are communicated to the human nature.  It is not a transfusion, by which the divine essence parts with something in it, or the essence of the humanity is changed.  The humanity always remains in itself finite.  The communication of the divine attributes is not such as to produce an infinite expansion of the human nature.  It only imparts to it the ability to concur and participate in the divine works of Christ. (p. 127)
As the author states immediately afterward, this affects the basis of the Lutheran understanding of Christ’s real presence in the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper.  The Lutheran Confessions argued for this position, and Martin Chemnitz individually* noted that anything accomplished by Christ must be done so be the whole person and not just one nature.  John Calvin’s teaching (and those following him) subsequently focused on the finiteness of the human nature—basically a natural law argument—to say that the human nature could not be present.  Based on the arguments presented, the Lutheran Christology has better ground, thus making the real presence possible.  Whether or not it is actually present seems to more depend upon the text and context of what happened in the Upper Room.

This book gives the reader a solid understanding of God’s redemptive plan in a format accessible for the average reader.  There are a few Greek and Latin terms tossed around, but that helps the reader understand what their pastors are writing in blog posts. 

*  Chemnitz states his case in both The Two Natures in Christ and The Lord’s Supper, but I cannot put my finger on the exact references.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Are You Looking For?

[W]e confess and believe in the “one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”  Believing in the Church (as the Creed states) means that we are not looking for a Church that fits our own preferences, but rather a Church that teaches us what our preferences should be.

HT: Larry Peters

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Job Extension

Yesterday, I was happy to receive news that my current position has been extended from the end of February to mid-May.  Those who are close to us know that I have had a permanent position for only seven of the past fourteen years.  (The unstable job market is crazy.)  As you can imagine that can lead to periods of fear, uncertainty, doubt, and stress from lack of income or the looming threat.  Still, by God’s goodness we have weathered the storms as they come.  This extension is just one more case where He has recently come through for us, while I continue to search for something more permanent.  We gratefully accept what the Lord provides.

P.S.: Last week I was joking with someone that all I need is to get 40,000-50,000 friends to pledge one dollar annually through PayPal and no longer worry about it.  That would allow time to study and write more.  Alas! retirement is still some years away.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Endure with Patience—God Continues to Draw Sinners to Himself

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  (Col 1:11-12)

And after all these things, He still receives His murderers, if they will be converted and come to Him; and with a saving patience, He who is gracious to preserve, closes His Church to none.  Those adversaries, those blasphemers, those who were always enemies to His name, if they repent of their sin, if they acknowledge the crime committed, He receives, not only to the pardon of their sin, but to the reward of the heavenly kingdom.  What can be said more patient, what more merciful?  Even he is made alive by Christ’s blood who has shed Christ’s blood.  Such and so great is the patience of Christ.  And had it not been such and so great, the Church would never have possessed Paul as an apostle.*

But if we also, beloved brethren, are in Christ; if we put Him on, if He is the way of our salvation, who follow Christ in the footsteps of salvation, let us walk by the example of Christ, as the Apostle John instructs us, saying, “The one who says he abides in Christ, ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”†  Peter also, upon whom by the Lord’s condescension the Church was founded,‡ lays it down in his epistle, and says, “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you can example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”§

Cyprian, On the Advantage of Patience 8-9

*  1 Timothy 1:3
†  1 John 2:6
‡  I.e., Peter's confession
§  1 Peter 2:21-23

Monday, February 17, 2014

Apply Yourself to the Study of Scripture

My son, diligently apply yourself to the reading of the sacred Scriptures.  Apply yourself, I say.  For we who read the things of God need much application, lest we should say or think anything too rashly about them.  And applying yourself in this way to the study of the things of God, with faithful intentions that are well-pleasing to God, knock at its locked door, and it will be opened to you by the doorkeeper, of whom Jesus says, “To him the doorkeeper opens.”*  And applying yourself to the divine study, seek aright, and with unwavering trust in God, the meaning of the holy Scriptures, which so many have missed.  Do not be satisfied with knocking and seeking; for prayer is of all things indispensable to the knowledge of the things of God.  For to this the Savior exhorted, and said not only, “Knock, and it shall be opened to you; and seek, and you shall find,”† but also, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you.”‡  My fatherly love to you has made me thus bold; but whether my boldness be good, God will know, and His Christ, and all partakers of the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ.  May you also be a partaker, and be ever increasing your inheritance, that you may say not only, “We are partakers of Christ,”§ but also partakers of God.

Origen, Letter to Gregory Thaumaturgus 3

*  An allusion to John 10:3
†  Matthew 7:7
‡  Luke 11:9
§  Hebrews 3:14

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nothing Is Certain But Death and Taxes—and Christ

While thinking on recent events affecting our church family, I was reminded of a saying my mother used in her efforts to keep me grounded in reality: Nothing is certain but death and taxes.  While both are true, both are unnatural.  Why is that so?  They are both results of sin:
Death comes because we each inherited a fatal condition.  Sin came into the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and as a result all have died because all sin (Rom 5:12).
Taxes are paid because we sin daily, and human governments have been set up to maintain a just society.  Without that control, there is chaos.
What was not originally part of creation's design is now unavoidable.  In fact our condition is so deplorable that we desire what leads to death until presented with what brings life.  As an example, when the Hebrews were at the Jordan shortly before crossing into the Promised Land, Moses placed before them a decision they needed to make:
See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil (Deut 30:15).
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse (Deut 30:19).
For the people to live in the land and be blessed, only one requirement was placed on them:
Obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules (Deut 30:16).
That’s it.  Just obey the Lord.  All the benefits for following a few rules.  On the other hand, not doing everything the Lord required meant death and destruction (Deut 30:17-18).  Psalm 119:1-8 helps show this all-or-nothing requirement:
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
      who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
      who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
      but walk in his ways!
These are wonderful words to our ears, but notice the next verse.
You have commanded your precepts
      to be kept diligently.
Concentration and effort are needed to fulfill this requirement.  The psalmist goes on to share his great desire:
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
      in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
      having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
      when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
      do not utterly forsake me!
The last phrase is the most striking.  In spite of best intentions, reality strikes home.  We cannot do any of it satisfactorily.  We still sin.  That was the reason God gave blood sacrifices—to atone for those sins and transgressions.  That is the reason that Christ died.  His was the last sacrifice that fulfilled all that is required to present us holy and blameless before Him.  He took God’s wrath meant for our sin, so that it no longer rests on us who believe.

In taking the bread and cup, we participate in the body and blood of Christ.  And there is comfort—comfort that our Lord Jesus bore all the punishment for sin.  There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).

Thursday, February 13, 2014

God's Love Induces Great Love in the Penitent

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  (1 John 4:9)

He then who is so anxious to be loved by us, and does everything for this end, and did not spare even His only begotten Son on account of His love towards us, and who counts it a desirable thing if at any time we become reconciled to Himself, how shall He not welcome and love us when we repent?  Hear at least what He says by the mouth of the prophet: “Declare first your iniquities that you may be justified.”*  Now this He demands from us in order to intensify our love towards Him.  For when one who loves, after enduring many insults at the hands of those who are beloved, even then does not extinguish his fondness for them, the only reason why he takes pains to make those insults public, is that by displaying the strength of his affection he may induce them to feel a larger and warmer love.

John Chrysostom, To Theodore after His Fall 1.15

*  Isaiah 43:26 LXX

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Revel in the Greatness of Grace

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  (Ps 103:11-12)

And not only is this the wonderful thing that He remits our sins, but that He does not reveal them, nor make them open and obvious, nor compel us to come forward into the midst, and to tell out our errors; but He bids us make our defense to Him alone, and to confess ourselves to Him.  And yet among secular judges, if any tell any of the robbers or grave-diggers, when they are arrested, to tell their errors and be cleared of their punishment, they would agree to this with all readiness, despising the shame through desire of safety.  But in this case there is nothing of this kind, but He remits the sins, not compelling us to organize them in array before any spectators.  But one thing alone He seeks, that he who enjoys this remission should learn the greatness of the gift.

John Chrysostom, Second Instruction to Catechumens, 4

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jesus Endured the Suffering of Death for All

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.  (Heb 2:9)

Of course, he endured the suffering for all: everything in possession of created nature needed this healing.  He said as much, in fact.  Only the divine nature is without need (he is saying); all other things needed the remedy of the Incarnation.  By becoming man God the Word destroyed the power of death.  In destroying it he promised us the resurrection, to resurrection he linked incorruptibility and immortality, and visible things also will share in incorruptibility.… The angels live a life of satisfaction to see the salvation of men.  If they rejoice at one sinner, much more will they be filled with satisfaction to see so many myriads regaled with salvation.  So it was for all that he endured the saving passion.

Theodoret of Cyrus, "The Letter to the Hebrews"

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church by G. H. Gerberding – Book Review

Jordan Cooper has undertaken the task of publishing Lutheran works from the early twentieth century American authors with slightly updated language and scripture references (English Standard Version) at an affordable price.  The series, entitled American Lutheran Classics, was initially announced as having five volumes of which four are available.

The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church by George H. Gerberding is the first volume in the series and is an introduction to the Lutheran doctrine of salvation.  Gerberding desired “to write a basic of basic, practical articles” on the Lutheran doctrine of salvation in order to answer questions that were raised.  This he has accomplished.

The topics are presented in a logical order beginning with Original Sin and the necessity of salvation.  From there Geberding takes up the means of grace.  There will be disagreement over the use and efficacy of baptism, however I do commend the author for being thorough and discussing its use both for infants and adults.  Especially, in regards to the former, there are concerns about the parent’s upbringing of the child in the “fear and admonition of the Lord” to ensure they understand their covenant responsibility.  He also addresses the use of Sunday School in supporting catechetical and other biblical instruction at home and church.  Following these chapters are those addressing the Lord's Supper, Confession, and the Word of God as means of grace delivering faith.  These points are presented in logical fashion, one building on the preceding, so that the progression is integrated from new birth to adulthood.  Any reading the book will appreciate the multifaceted obligation of parents, pastor, and the church at large for the care of each person so that they might be built up and taught rightly in Christ.

Following the above subjects are chapters dealing specifically with conversion, justification, and sanctification, ending with a biblical look at revival.  Gerberding wants to lay a foundation of the necessity of regeneration or newness of life and that it is all of Christ.  However, he also looks forward to when faith wanes, swerves, or is upset.  As a complete picture, he understands that revival (or restoration) follows the same source and path as that faith first came: it is not through programmed measures or new excitements, but is built up by returning to the fount of blessing—Christ and his eternal word.

Overall, the material is quite readable and easy to understand.  As Cooper states from his own introduction:
This book was not written primarily for pastors or theologians…. It is exceptionally readable, so that it might be used in Bible studies, Sunday school, or just read by those interested in Lutheranism or in defending their own Lutheran faith. (12)
I have read Lutheran books that dealt with this subject in part, but as they were more academic in nature, points were made without connecting the points to my satisfaction.  This simple book fills in those gaps.  Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the passion the author exuded in his desire to build up the Christian and encourage the sharing of the gospel.  Not all Lutherans are reserved.

I recommend this to be read for no other reason than to understand that discipleship does not happen in a vacuum, but in a community of like-minded believers.  On the other hand, Gerberding is persuasive in his simple, reverent style, so that you may come away saying to yourself: Almost thou persuadest me to be a Lutheran.

This book and others in the series can be purchased directly at and

Friday, February 7, 2014

Praying for Revival? Begin with Yourself

[L]et there be a revival in each individual heart.  Let there be an earnest and prayerful return to the neglected Word.  Let there be a devout reading and meditation of the Law of God, an earnest, persevering searching of the heart and life in the light of that law, until there is a feeling of guilt and shame.  Then let there be a prayerful reading and rereading of the Penitential Psalms, the seventh chapter of Romans, the fifty-third of Isaiah, the fifteenth of Luke, the fifth and eighth of Romans, and the epistles of John.  Along with this private us of the divine Word, let there be a like prayerful public use.  In case of perplexity and doubt, let there be an unburdening before the pastor, with a request for instruction and prayer.  This process will bring about penitence for sin and faith in Christ.  Let it continue to be a daily dying unto sin, a daily living unto righteousness, a daily putting off the old man, a daily putting on the new man—a daily repentance for sin, and a daily turning to and laying hold of Christ.  Such a revival is Scriptural and efficacious.

George H. Gerberding, “True Revivals”

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Incorruptible One Took on Flesh to Defeat Sin

[To the temple] were the prophets sent by God through the Holy Spirit; and they instructed the people and turned them to the God of their fathers, the Almighty.  And they became heralds of the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, declaring that from the posterity of David His flesh should blossom forth; that after the flesh He might be the son of David, who was the son of Abraham by a long succession; but according to the spirit Son of God, pre-existing with the Father, begotten before all the creation of the world, and at the end of the times appearing to all the world as man, the Word of God gathering up in Himself all things that are in heaven and that are on earth.*

So then He united man with God, and established a community of union between God and man; since we could not in any other way participate in incorruption, save by His coming among us.  For so long as incorruption was invisible and unrevealed, it helped us not at all: therefore it became visible, that in all respects we might participate in the reception of incorruption.  And, because in the original formation of Adam all of us were tied and bound up with death through his disobedience, it was right that through the obedience of Him who was made man for us we should be released from death: and because death reigned over the flesh, it was right that through the flesh it should lose its force and let man go free from its oppression.  So the Word was made flesh,† that, through that very flesh which sin had ruled and dominated, it should lose its force and be no longer in us.  And therefore our Lord took that same original formation as entry into flesh, so that He might draw near and contend on behalf of the fathers, and conquer by Adam that which by Adam had stricken us down.

Irenaeus of Lyon, The Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, 30-31

*  Ephesians 1:10
†  John 1:14

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

He Came in Perfect Gentleness to Conquer the Greatest Foe

After [Jesus’] circumcision, [Mary] next waits for the time of her purification.  And when the days were fulfilled—and the fortieth was the full time—God the Word, who sits by the Father's side, is carried up to Jerusalem, and brought into the Father's presence in human nature like unto us, and by the shadow of the law is numbered among the firstborn.  For even before the incarnation the firstborn were holy, and consecrated to God, being sacrificed to him according to the law.  O, how great and wonderful is the plan of salvation!  “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”*  He who is in the bosom of the Father, the Son who shares his throne, and is co-eternal with him: by whom all things are divinely brought into existence, submitted nevertheless to the measure of human nature, and even offered a sacrifice to his own Father, although adored by all, and glorified with him.  And what did he offer?  As the firstborn and a male a pair of turtles, or two young doves, according to what the law prescribed.  But what does the turtle signify?  And what too the other, the dove?  Come, then, and let us examine this.  The one, then, is the most noisy of the birds of the field, but the other is a mild and gentle creature.  And such did the Savior of all become towards us, showing the most perfect gentleness, and like a turtle moreover soothing the world, and filling his own vineyard, even us who believe in him, with the sweet sound of his voice.  For it is written in the Song of Songs, “The voice of the turtle has been heard in our land.”†  For Christ has spoken to us the divine message of the Gospel, which is for the salvation of the whole world.

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Sermon 3, (2:21-24)

*  Romans 11:33
†  Song of Solomon 2:12

Monday, February 3, 2014

Eusebius of Caesarea: Gospel Problems and Solutions - Book Review

Roger Pearse is the editor of a translation work, Eusebius of Caesarea: Gospel Problems and Solutions, comprising letters to both Stephanus and Marinus on various subjects from the gospel texts.  Complete letters and fragments have been compiled from the Greek, along with fragments from Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Arabic translations.  The entire book is typeset with the original language from which the accounts are taken on the left and English on the right, allowing the reader to view the original with the translation.  Readers of volumes in the Loeb Classical Library will be familiar with this format.

Although Eusebius may be more commonly known for his Ecclesiastical History, these letters are evidence of a student of scripture as he gives logical explanations for Matthew’s genealogy, among them the precedence of David, missing generations, and differences from Luke.  Along with these are apparent inconsistencies in the Gospel accounts of the resurrection: the timing, women present, Jesus’ interaction with Mary Magdalene, and so on.  Some of the explanations are familiar and can be found in any commentary, however some are unique and worthy of notation.  Bible students having a conservative view of the gospel texts will appreciate what is presented.

This work is intended to be the first in a series from Chieftain Publishing.  Origen’s homilies on Ezekiel had been in progress, but more material surfaced adding time and effort to the project.  I look forward to its arrival.

Roger Pearse has been advocating the translation of the early church materials, as well as availability of texts in the original languages, for several years.  His online presence includes The Tertullian Project, which deals primarily with the North African apologist but extends to other patristic authors as well (see here for a complete collection.)  In addition, his blog gives incites and updates to ongoing and prospective projects, as well as miscellaneous reflections.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

We Have Now Been Justified by His Blood

Let us then return from that table like lions breathing fire, having become terrible to the devil; thinking on our Head, and on the love which He has shown for us.…  Our Lord says: “But I feed you with My own flesh, desiring that you all be nobly born, and holding forth to you good hopes for the future.…  I have willed to become your Brother, for your sake I shared in flesh and blood, and in turn I give out to you the flesh and the blood by which I became your kinsman.”  This blood causes the image of our King to be fresh within us, produces beauty unspeakable, permits not the nobleness of our souls to waste away, watering it continually, and nourishing it.…  This blood, if rightly taken, drives away devils, and keeps them afar off from us, while it calls to us angels and the Lord of angels.  For wherever they see the Lord’s blood, devils flee, and angels run together.  This blood poured forth washed clean all the world.…  This blood cleansed the secret place, and the Holy of Holies.  And if the type of it had such great power in the temple of the Hebrews, and in the midst of Egypt, when smeared on the door-posts, much more the reality.  This blood sanctified the golden altar; without it the high priest dared not enter into the secret place.  This blood consecrated priests, this in type cleansed sins.  But if it had such power in the types, if death so shuddered at the shadow, tell me how would it not have dreaded the very reality?  This blood [of Christ] is the salvation of our souls, by this the soul is washed, by this is beautiful, by this is inflamed, this causes our understanding to be more bright than fire, and our soul more beaming than gold.  This blood was poured forth, and made heaven accessible.
John Chrysostom, Homilies on John 46.3