Irenaeus on the purpose of Christ’s passion

Irenaeus on the purpose of Christ’s passion April 19, 2014

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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