Irenaeus on the purpose of Christ’s passion

As we reflect today on the events of Great and Holy Friday, observe Christ’s descent into Hades, and look forward to his paschal triumph, here’s a passage adapted from Irenaeus’ Against Heresies worth considering:

The Lord suffered that he might bring those who have wandered from the Father back to knowledge and to his fellowship. Having thus suffered and bestowing the knowledge of the Father, the Lord conferred salvation upon us. His passion gave rise to strength and power.

For the Lord by his suffering “ascending into the lofty place, led captivity captive, gave gifts to men” (Ps. 78.18; Eph. 4.8), and conferred on those that believe in him the power “to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10.19; Mark 16.17, 18), that is, of the leader of apostasy.

Our Lord also by his passion destroyed death, and dispersed error, and ended corruption, and destroyed ignorance, while he manifested life and revealed truth, and bestowed the gift of incorruption. (A.H. 2.20.3)

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About Joel J. Miller

I'm the author of Lifted by Angels, a look at angels through the eyes of the early church. Click here for more about me or subscribe to my RSS here.

  • JL99

    Good Joel. The early church fathers had a different view of Christianity than what we see today – in many respects. The idea of predestination did not exist as it does now. Christ went to hell to rescue the captive and preach to those who had no chance to hear His message while they lived on earth. They could and would be redeemed just as the living have that chance.


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