leo1As it cannot be denied that “the Word became flesh and dwelt in us” (John 1:14), so it cannot be denied that “God was in Christ , reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).

But what reconciliation can there be, whereby God might look favourably on the human race, unless the mediator between God and man took up the cause of all?

And in what way could He properly fulfil His mediation, unless He who in the form of God was equal to the Father, were a sharer of our nature also in the form of a slave?

This was necessary so that the one new Man might effect a renewal of the old,  and the bond of death fastened on us by one man’s wrongdoing might be loosened by the death of the one Man who alone owed nothing to death.

For the pouring out of the blood of the righteous on behalf of the unrighteous was so powerful in its effect, and so rich a ransom, that, if the whole body of us prisoners only believed in their Redeemer, not one would be held in the tyrant’s bonds.

As the Apostle says, “where sin abounded, grace also did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). And since we, who were born under the imputation of sin, have received the power of a new birth unto righteousness, the gift of liberty has become stronger than the debt of slavery.

What hope then do they, who deny the reality of the human person in our Saviour’s body, leave for themselves in the efficacy of this mystery?  Let them say by what sacrifice they have been reconciled, by what blood-shedding brought back.

Who is He “who gave Himself for us an offering and a victim to God for a sweet smell” (Eph. 5:2); 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?

[…] 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” (John 12:32).

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.

Thus true faith 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.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Letter 124, 3-4.

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