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573Homily for 1/12/14 - afternat - God revealed in us

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  • David
    Jan 12, 2014
      Galatians 1:11-19

      Today we stand midway between two of the greatest feasts of the year:
      the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) and the Baptism of the Lord
      (Theophany). Thus this is, in a sense, the season of the revelation of
      God to man. First He revealed Himself to us by taking flesh and becoming
      man, being incarnate in the world so that we might know Him who is
      unknowable. Second He further revealed Himself as God inasmuch as we
      could bear it in his Baptism by the Forerunner, John, in the Jordan and
      as He rose out of the water the voice of the Father called the God/man
      His beloved Son and the Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon Him
      to confirm the truthfulness of the word of God. In this way, we see the
      divine/human nature of the Son of God as well as the mystery of the Holy
      Trinity. This is the season of enlightenment for God has revealed
      Himself to us that we might know Him.

      Today, the Holy Apostle Paul, speaks of his own experience of the
      incarnate God and describes how he was changed by that experience. He
      says that “God … called me by His grace … to reveal His Son in me…� Note
      here that the Apostle says that God revealed His Son *in* him, not *to*
      him. This is important because it speaks to us of the nature of our
      salvation. God has revealed Himself to us in order that He might reveal
      Himself in us. Our salvation is tied up in that small transition from
      being the object of God’s self-revelation to being the instrument of His
      self-revelation.

      In the Nativity of our Lord we celebrate the incarnation of our Lord –
      God became man and dwelt among us. God made Himself known to us by
      becoming like us and taking on human flesh. But the incarnation does not
      stop there for God continues to reveal Himself through the instrument of
      human flesh. He does not, however, take a new body and become incarnate
      anew for the incarnation could only occur once (or the one God would not
      have truly become man, but only put on a costume as it were). What He
      does do is to transform those who believe in Him and follow Him so that
      His life becomes our life and in this way He is made manifest in us.
      This transformation is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit in
      us. Just as the Spirit, in the form of a dove, descended upon our Lord
      at His baptism to confirm the truth of His divine nature, so also the
      Holy Spirit descends upon us, enters into us and dwells within us,
      confirming in us the life of Christ, joining us to Him. Thus the purpose
      of our Lord’s self-revelation to us in His Nativity and Baptism is that
      He might be revealed in us by dwelling within us and transforming us
      into His likeness.

      See how this reveals to us the nature of our salvation. We are not saved
      by knowing about God but rather by incorporating that knowledge into our
      own lives and by this means becoming like Him. We have to use this
      knowledge of God in such a way that we are transformed by His grace. He
      has shown Himself to us that we might first see Him clearly and so
      desire Him. Desiring Him, we then see Him as our goal and purpose and
      fulfillment and so seek to follow the example that He has given us in
      Himself. But He does not leave us to do this by our own strength and
      skill, for such a transformation is beyond us and we would be doomed to
      fail. He descends upon us as the Holy Spirit and dwells within us,
      filling us with His grace. It is then our task to prepare ourselves that
      His grace might be able to work in us and to cooperate with the working
      of His grace as it transforms us.

      As we participate in the life of Christ making His life our own and as
      we are transformed by the grace of God into His likeness, we then begin
      to make God manifest in our lives. We reflect the light of Christ as a
      mirror reflects the image of the one who stands before it. The more
      perfectly we conform to Christ, the more perfectly His image is
      reflected in us. Those who, by their lives, reflect most perfectly the
      God/man Jesus Christ we hold up as examples, recognizing that they are
      saints, that is, they have been sanctified by the incorporation of the
      grace of God in their lives. They have, in fact, become “like Christ�
      and so have taken the revelation of God to themselves and used it to
      reveal God in themselves.

      Brothers and sisters, we too are called to become the instrument of
      God’s revelation; we too are called to become saints. God did not call
      only the apostles or prophets or the fathers of old, but He has also
      called us, revealing Himself to us that He might also be revealed in us.
      Let us then embrace this revelation of God to us with joy, opening
      ourselves to Him, and being filled with His grace let us then cooperate
      with the working of that grace in us that we might be transformed into
      His likeness, becoming saints, reflecting the image of the God/man Jesus
      Christ, becoming ourselves the instruments of God’s self-revelation.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org