He Took What is Ours and Gave Us What is His

Jeremiah 33:16
‘In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness.’

Jeremiah 23:6
“In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’

Isaiah 53: 4-6, 10-11
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.

Romans 5:19
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Galatians 3:13
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”

1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

St. Augustine -Anti-Pelagian Writings
The very reason, indeed, why he so often declares that righteousness is imputed to us, not out of our works, but our faith, whereas faith rather works through love, is that no man should think that he arrives at faith itself through the merit of his works; for it is faith which is the beginning whence good works first proceed; since (as has already been stated) whatsoever comes not from faith is sin. – St. Augustine

St. Augustine – Enchiridion
He, then, being made sin, just as we are made righteousness (our righteousness being not our own, but God’s, not in ourselves, but in Him); He being made sin, not His own, but ours, not in Himself, but in us, showed, by the likeness of sinful flesh in which He was crucified, that though sin was not in Him, yet that in a certain sense He died to sin, by dying in the flesh which was the likeness of sin; and that although He Himself had never lived the old life of sin, yet by His resurrection He typified our new life springing up out of the old death in sin.

St. Ambrose – LETTER XXI
They read too to-day that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us. Was Christ a curse according to His Divinity? But why He should be called a curse the Apostle teaches thee, alleging the text, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree, that is, He Who in His flesh took upon Him our flesh, in His body carried our griefs and our curses that He might crucify them, for He is cursed, not in Himself, but in thee. Lastly, you have in another place, Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us, for He took upon Him our sins, to do away with them by the Sacrament of His Passion.

Ambrose of Milan (337- 397 AD) – Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons Book II
For Christ died for us, that we might live in His revived Body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in Him, “Who,” it is said, “bare our sins in His own Body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed.

St. Augustine (Sermon LXIV)
He then verily had no sin, yet did He die for our sins, and shed His Blood for the remission of sins. He took upon Him for our sakes what was not His due, that He might deliver us from what was due to us. Death was not due to Him, nor life to us. Why? Because we were sinners. Death was not due to Him, nor life to us; He received what was not due to Him, He gave what was not due to us. But since we are speaking of the remission of sins, lest ye should think it too high a thing to imitate Christ, hear the Apostle saying, “Forgiving one another, even as God in Christ hath forgiven you.”

St. Basil – Letter VIII.1
Again He calls Himself naked, when any one of his brethren is naked. “I was naked,” He says, “and ye clothed me;” and so when another is in prison He speaks of Himself as imprisoned, for He Himself took away our sins and bare our sicknesses. Now one of our infirmities is not being subject, and He bare this.  So all the things which happen to us to our hurt He makes His own, taking upon Him our sufferings in His fellowship with us.

St. Cyril of Alexandria – Letter 41 (To Acacius, the Bishop Conerning the Scapegoat)
Thus Christ became a victim “for our sins according to the Scriptures.” For this reason, we say that he was named sin; wherefore, the all-wise Paul writes, “For our sakes he made him to be sin who knew nothing of sin,” that is to say, God the Father. For we do not say that Christ became a sinner, far from it, but being just, or rather in actuality justice, for he did not know sin, the Father made him a victim for the sins of the world. “He was counted among the wicked,”l having endured a condemnation most suitable for the wicked. And the divinely inspired prophet Isaiah will also vouch for this, saying, “We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way, but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all,” “yet it was on our behalf he suffers,” “and by his stripes we were healed. The all-wise Peter writes, “he bore our sins in his body upon the tree.’“‘Therefore, the lot of the necessary endurance of death hung over those on the earth through the transgression in Adam and through sin reigning from him until us.“ But the Word of God the Father, being generous in clemency and love of men, became flesh, that is, man, in the form of us who are under sin, and he endured our lot. For as the very excellent Paul writes, “By the grace of God he tasted death for all,” and he made his life be an exchange for the life of all. One died for all, in order that we all might live to God sanctified and brought to life through his blood, “justified as a gift by his grace.” For as the blessed evangelist John says, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”

St. Ambrose (LETTER LXXXI)
For the Lord Jesus was made sin that He might take away the sin of the world, and we all might be made the righteousness of God in Him; now no longer subject to the penalty of sin, but sure of the reward of righteousness.

St. John Chrysostom – Homilies on Second Corinthians
And what hath He done? “Him that knew no sin He made to be sin, for you.” For had He achieved nothing but done only this, think how great a thing it were to give His Son for those that had outraged Him. But now He hath both well achieved mighty things, and besides, hath suffered Him that did no wrong to be punished for those who had done wrong. But he did not say this: but mentioned that which is far greater than this. What then is this? “Him that knew no sin,” he says, Him that was righteousness itself, “He made sin,” that is suffered as a sinner to be condemned, as one cursed to die. “For cursed is he that hangeth on a tree.” (Gal. iii. 13.) For to die thus was far greater than to die; and this he also elsewhere implying, saith, “Becoming obedient unto death, yea the death of the cross.” (Philip. ii. 8.) For this thing carried with it not only punishment, but also disgrace. Reflect therefore how great things He bestowed on thee. For a great thing indeed it were for even a sinner to die for any one whatever; but when He who undergoes this both is righteous and dieth for sinners; and not dieth only, but even as one cursed; and not as cursed [dieth] only, but thereby freely bestoweth upon us those great goods which we never looked for; (for he says, that “we might become the righteousness of God in Him;”) what words, what thought shall be adequate to realize these things? ‘For the righteous,’ saith he, ‘He made a sinner; that He might make the sinners righteous.’  Yea rather, he said not even so, but what was greater far; for the word he employed is not the habit, but the quality itself. For he said not “made” [Him] a sinner, but “sin;” not, ‘Him that had not sinned’ only, but “that had not even known sin; that we” also “might become,” he did not say ‘righteous,’ but, “righteousness,” and, “the righteousness of God.” For this is [the righteousness] “of God” when we are justified not by works, (in which case it were necessary that not a spot even should be found,) but by grace, in which case all sin is done away. And this at the same time that it suffers us not to be lifted up, (seeing the whole is the free gift of God,) teaches us also the greatness of that which is given. For that which was before was a righteousness of the Law and of works, but this is “the righteousness of God.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 – 444 AD) – Exposition of Old Testament Law
…inasmuch as we have paid in Christ himself the penalties for the charges of sin against us: ‘For he bore our sins, and was wounded because of us’, according to the voice of the prophet.

St. Augustine (Exposition on the Book of Psalms)
“We are the righteousness of God in Him.”
For what more powerful than that He should reign forever, with all His enemies put under His feet? Why should not they also be “the multitude of His greatness”? not that whereby He is great, but whereby He hath made them great, many as they are, that is, thousands of thousands. Just as righteousness too is understood in two ways, that whereby He is righteous, and that which He worketh in us, so as to make us His righteousness. These same saints are signified by all the musical instruments in succession, to praise God in. For what the Psalmist began with, saying, “Praise the Lord in His saints,” that he carrieth out, signifying in various ways these same saints of His.

Pope Leo I (Sermon LXIII. On the Passion, XII.)
“The glory, dearly-beloved, of the Lord’s Passion, on which we promised to speak again today, is chiefly wonderful for its mystery of humility, which has both ransomed and in structed us all, that He, Who paid the price, might also impart His righteousness to us.  For the Omnipotence of the Son of God, whereby He is by the same Essence equal to the Father, might have rescued mankind from the dominion of the devil by the mere exercise of Its will, had it not better suited the Divine working to conquer the opposition of the foe’s wickedness by that which had been conquered, and to restore our nature’s liberty by that very nature by which bondage had come upon the whole race.

St. Ambrose – On the Holy Spirit
“Therefore do you also crucify sin, that you may die to sin; he who dies to sin lives to God; do you live to Him Who spared not His own Son, that in His body He might crucify our passions. For Christ died for us, that we might live in His revived Body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in Him, “Who,” it is said, “bare our sins in His own Body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria – Glaphyra on the Pentateuch Vol 2
“But when he, in a certain manner, took leave of his own place, becoming man, he took to himself our infirmities, in accordance with what the prophet says, and to him was attributed our character, and he came in our impurity. For the nature of man is impure to God, since what the prophet Isaiah says is true, that “all our righteousness is as a filthy rag.”  So then, as touching his human nature, the one who is all-pure and who dwells in unapproachable light came with the appearance of impurity.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria – Glaphyra on the Pentateuch Vol 1
“So now for us who believe, Christ has become our righteousness,
and in truth our rest also. For “he was bruised because of our iniquities, and was delivered up on account of our sins; and by his wounds we are healed,” and also, “the Lord delivered him up for our sins,” as the prophet says. –

St. Augustine – Enchiridion 77
“He, then, being made sin, just as we are made righteousness (our righteousness being not our own, but God’s, not in ourselves, but in Him); He being made sin, not His own, but ours, not in Himself, but in us, showed, by the likeness of sinful flesh in which He was crucified
, that though sin was not in Him, yet that in a certain sense He died to sin, by dying in the flesh which was the likeness of sin; and that although He Himself had never lived the old life of sin, yet by His resurrection He typified our new life springing up out of the old death in sin.

Pope Leo I – To the Monks of Palestine.
Who is He “who gave Himself for us an offering and a victim to God for a sweet smell:” or what sacrifice was ever more hallowed than that which the true High priest placed upon the altar of the cross by the immolation of His own flesh? For although in the sight of the Lord the death of many of His saints has been precious, yet no innocent’s death was the propitiation of the world.  The righteous have received, not given, crowns:  and from the endurance of the faithful have arisen examples of patience, not the gift of justification. For their deaths affected themselves alone, and no one has paid off another’s debt by his own death:  one alone  among the sons of men, our Lord Jesus Christ, stands out as One in whom all are crucified, all dead, all buried, all raised again.  Of them He Himself said “when I am lifted from the earth, I will draw all (things) unto Me.”  True faith also, that justifies the transgressors and makes them just, is drawn to Him who shared their human natures and wins salvation in Him, in whom alone man finds himself not guilty; and thus is free to glory in the power of Him who in the humiliation of our flesh engaged in conflict with the haughty foe, and shared His victory with those in whose body He had triumphed.

St. Athanasius (Against the Arians)
For as He for our sake became man, so we for His sake are exalted. It is no absurdity then, if, as for our sake He humbled Himself, so also for our sake He is said to be highly exalted. So ‘He gave to Him,’ that is, ‘to us for His sake;’ ‘and He highly exalted Him,’ that is, ‘us in Him.’ And the Word Himself, when we are exalted, and receive, and are succoured, as if He Himself were exalted and received and were succoured, gives thanks to the Father, referring what is ours to Himself, and saying, ‘All things, whatsoever Thou hast given Me, I have given unto them –

St. Cyril of Alexandria (Festal Letters, Letter 28)
But now the truth has shone forth in its purity. He, that is, who is above all creation has become as we are, that he might make the divine light flash upon us, and, having taught us how to make straight toward every virtue, might render us God’s sons. For he lowered himself, as I said, unto what is ours, that we might gain what is his, since we have been enriched in a certain way by his poverty. For if he had not shared our poverty, lowering himself into our condition, neither would we have had his wealth, gaining through him and from him that sonship which properly befits him, and him alone.

St. Augustine (Reply to FAUSTUS THE MANICHÆAN)
Death is the effect of the curse; and all sin is cursed, whether it means the action which merits punishment, or the punishment which follows. Christ, though guiltless, took our punishment, that He might cancel our guilt, and do away with our punishment.

St. Athanasius (296 – 373 AD) – Discourses Against the Arians
For no longer according to that former generation in Adam do we die; but henceforward, our generation and all infirmity of flesh being transferred to the Word, we rise from the earth, the curse by reason of sin being removed, because of Him who is in us and who has become a curse for us. And with reason; for as we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened…

St. John Chrysostom (349 – 407 AD) – Homilies on Second Corinthians
If one that was himself a king, beholding a robber and malefactor under punishment, gave his well-beloved son, his only-begotten and true, to be slain; and transferred the death and the guilt as well, from him to his son, (who was himself of no such character,) that he might both save the condemned man and clear him from his evil reputation and then if, having subsequently promoted him to great dignity…

St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 – 444 AD) – Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Luke, Sermon LIII
The Word, though He was God, was in our likeness, and took the form of us sinners, as for as the nature of the flesh was concerned. The goat, then, male or female, was sacrificed for sins. But the death was our desert, inasmuch as by sin we had fallen under the divine curse. But when the Savior of all Himself, so to speak, undertook the charge, He transferred to Himself what was our due, and laid down His life, that we might be sent away from death and destruction.

Eusebius of Caesarea (263 -339 AD) – Proof of the Gospel
And He speaks thus, since He shares our sins. So it is said: “And the Lord hath laid on him our iniquities, and he bears our sins.” Thus the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world, became a curse on our behalf: “Whom, though he knew no sin, God made sin for our sake, giving him as redemption for all, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”…And in that He made our sins His own from His love and benevolence towards us, He says these words, adding further on in the same Psalm: “Thou hast protected me because of my innocence,” clearly shewing the impeccability of the Lamb of God. And how can He make our sins His own, and be said to bear our iniquities, except by our being regarded as His body, according to the apostle, who says: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members?”…And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonor, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? And so the oracle says in our person: “By his stripes we were healed,” and ” The Lord delivered him for our sins,” with the result that uniting Himself to us and us to Himself, and appropriating our sufferings, He can say, ” I said, Lord, Lord mercy on me, heal my soul,  for I have sinned against thee”…

Fr. Tadros Malaty – Christ in the Eucharist
“We return to the rite of choosing the Lamb. The presbyter lays his hand on the oblations and crosses them in the shape of the cross; this action reminds us of the priest in the Old Testament, who laid his hands upon both the sacrifice and the sinner announcing that the sin had been transferred from the sinner to the sacrifice.”

St. Gregory Nazianzen (329 – 390 AD) – Oration 30.5
But look at it in this manner: that as for my sake He was called a curse, Who destroyed my curse; and sin, who taketh away the sin of the world; and became a new Adam to take the place of the old, just so He makes my disobedience His own as Head of the whole body. As long then as I am disobedient and rebellious, both by denial of God and by my passions, so long Christ also is called disobedient on my account...Of the same kind, it appears to me, is the expression, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” It was not He who was forsaken either by the FatherBut as I said, He was in His own Person representing us. For we were the forsaken and despised before, but now by the Sufferings of Him Who could not suffer, we were taken up and saved. Similarly, He makes His own our folly and our transgressions; and says what follows in the Psalm, for it is very evident that the Twenty-first Psalm refers to Christ.

St. Ambrose of Milan (337- 397 AD) – LETTER XLI
Shall we deem servitude to be a state of greater weakness than that of being made sin, of being a curse, a reproach, than the infirmities which He bore for our sakes that we might be saved from them? For He was made all of these that He might relieve the world from themHe bore our sins, that He might take away the sin of the world. He was made a servant, He was made sin and a curse, that thou mightest cease to be a servant of sin, and that He might absolve thee from the curse of the Divine judgment. He therefore took upon Him thy curse, for Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. He was made a curse upon the cross, that thou mightest be blessed in the kingdom of God.

St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 – 444 AD) – Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke
He in our stead paid our debts: He bore our sins; and as it is written, “in our stead He was stricken.” “He took them up in His own body on the tree:” for it is true that “by His bruises we are healed.”

St. Gregory the Great (540 AD –  604 AD) – Morals on the Book of Job 
For it is hence that speaking by the Prophet He says, Then I restored that which I took not away…But we must consider how He is righteous and ordereth all things righteously, if He condemns Him that deserveth not to be punished. For our Mediator deserved not to be punished for Himself, because He never was guilty of any defilement of sin. But if He had not Himself undertaken a death not due to Him, He would never have freed us from one that was justly due to us. And so whereas ‘ The Father is righteous,’ in punishing a righteous man, ‘ He ordereth all things righteously,’ in that by these means He justifies all things, viz. that for the sake of sinners He condemns Him Who is without sin; that all the might rise up to the height  of righteousness, in proportion as He Who is above all underwent the penalties of our unrighteousness.

St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 – 444 AD) – Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Book XI
For He was dishonoured for our sake, in that He took our sins upon Him, as the prophet says, and was afflicted on our account. For as He wrought out our deliverance from death, giving up His own Body to death, so likewise, I think, the blow with which Christ was smitten, in fulfilling the dishonour that He bore, carried with it our deliverance from the dishonour by which we were burthened through the transgression and original sin of our forefather.

St. Basil of Caesarea – Letter to the Caesareans (Letter VIII)
For it is written “But when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him.” Are you not afraid, sir, of God called unsubjected?  For He makes thy subjection His own; and because of thy struggling against goodness He calls himself unsubjected.  In this sense too He once spoke of Himself as persecuted—“Saul, Saul,” He says, “why persecutest thou me?”on the occasion when Saul was hurrying to Damascus with a desire to imprison the disciples. Again He calls Himself naked, when any one of  is brethren is naked. “I was naked,” He says, “and ye clothed me;” and so when another is in prison He speaks of Himself as imprisoned, for He Himself took away our sins and bare our sicknesses.  Now one of our infirmities is not being subject, and He bare this. So all the things which happen to us to our hurt He makes His own, taking upon Him our sufferings in His fellowship with us.

St. Cyril of Alexandria – Against Julian
“He gives to the nature of man what is His, permitting it to call God Father: Himself taketh the properties of the human nature calling the Father His God.
Yet neither do WE deny our bondage that is by nature when we call God Father nor will the SON lose His Natural Dignity by likening Himself to us for our good.” Thes. cap. 15 p 160 e. “Commixing therefore in a way and commingling us in Himself and Himself again in us, Himself descends into what is ours, catches us up into what is His. Thus, we are men by nature, He hastening down for His love’s sake into what is beside Nature was made man: God’s bondmen by nature we as things made, He too is called bondman, borne unto what is beside Nature when He was made man. Yea and on the other hand, He GOD by Essence, we too gods mounting up unto what is beside nature for grace’s sake (for we are men): He SON by Nature, we too sons by adoption called unto brotherhood with Him.” Thes cap. 32 p. 330 fin.

5 thoughts on “He Took What is Ours and Gave Us What is His”

  1. Hi Maged,
    Thank you so much for all your service. This will be very useful against the new age heresies which we are living in.

    I have 2 questions:

    1) How did you find all these quotes from all these church fathers? Did you have to read all of them and then remember each excerpt?

    2) Do you have a quote that’s talks about the unlimited sin against and unlimited God requiring and unlimited sacrifice? I want something that specifically says this because I want to refute those who speak against the teachings of Baba Shenouda.

    The Lord reward you

  2. Hi Mark,

    As I read through the writings of the fathers, if I like a specific excerpts, I collect them and organize them into topics. Sometimes I do this immediately. Other times, I collect first and organize later. When it comes to atonement, I have researched and written much. The principle that an offense’s magnitude is magnified by the status of the person against whom the offense is committed can be found in St. John Chrysostom. It is likely the Anselm took it from St. John Chrysostom:

    “The offenses against us here are a hundred pence, but those from us against God are ten thousand talents. But you know that offenses are also judged by the quality of the persons: for instance, he who has insulted a private person has done wrong, but not so much as he who has insulted a magistrate, and he who has offended a greater magistrate offends in a higher degree, and he who offends an inferior one in a lower degree; but he who insults the king offends much more. The injury indeed is the same, but it becomes greater by the excellence of the person. And if he who insults a king receives intolerable punishment, on account of the superiority of the person; for how many talents will he be answerable who insults God? So that even if we should commit the same offenses against God, that we do against men, even so it is not an equal thing: but as great as is the difference between God and men, so great is that between the offenses against Him and them.” – St. John Chrysostom – Homily 1 On Philemon (i. 1-3)

    You will find a huge amount of evidence to refute attacks on H.H. Pope Shenouda and the Coptic Orthodox of view of Atonement here: http://myagpeya.com/blog/soteriology/

    Additional readings:

    Also feel free to add me on Facebook (Maged M) if you have any more questions and/or need more info

    God bless, and remember me in your prayers

  3. Thank you so much Maged

    One last thing… is there a way I can get my hands on the writings of the holy fathers?

    Btw check your FB messenger I sent you a message

  4. Which fathers are you interested in? There is a lot of free downloadable material. There is the Pre and Post Nicene Fathers collection. But unfortunately that doesn’t include St. Cyril of Alexandria. You can download him separately though.

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