Saturday, May 31, 2014

Every person will receive a new body during the second coming ( part 4 ) - St. Epifanios, Bishop of Cyprus

Oftentimes, certain fig trees growing next to beautifully constructed temples have extended their roots like a network through the joints in the
walls and displaced the stones from their proper positions. The damage resulting from this proliferating tree will not cease until it is thoroughly uprooted, at which time the branches that have grown into the structure will
also whither. Afterwards, once the fig tree's branches have been removed, it is possible to reposition the stones in their original and correct location.

Thus, the temple will be restored without any remnants of the damage it had previously sustained, while the fig tree will die after it has been completely uprooted. Similarly, God, Who engineered and built His own temple(i.e.,man)
cut down and eradicated sin, which had sprouted like a wild fig tree, through the use of a temporary means, namely death, in order for the body to be resurrected immortal and unblemished once sin has withered, perished, and completely vanished.

Before the body dies, and for as long as it lives, sin co-exists, concealing within it its roots, even though it is cut back and pruned externally with self-control and the word of God. Otherwise, if sin
were completely and truly removed from us after baptism, we would never commit any wrongdoing again. However, even after believing in Christ and
receiving the bath of purification, we often find ourselves sinning. Thus, no one can boast that he is without sin, or that he has never even thought of
something unrighteous. Hence, at present it is possible to control and subdue sin through faith so that harmful fruits do not grow; nevertheless, it is not possible to totallypull up the roots. 

At present we control the shoots of sin (i.e., the evil thoughts) by cutting them as if with an axe, so that no root of bitterness springs up and plagues us
(Heb. 12:15); after the body is resurrected, the ability to even think of something evil will disappear.

The Apostle Paul, realizing that the root of sin has not yet been removed from man, states the following: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not
find. For the good that I want to do, I do not do;
but the evil that I do not want to do, that I do. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I
who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a
law, that evil is present with me, the one who wants to do good. 

For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members (Rom. 7:18-22).

Hence, sin has not yet been eradicated; it has not yet altogether died, but it still lives. How would it have been possible for sin to have been completely
destroyed and abolished if man had not first been cloaked with death, thus allowing sin, like a plant, to whither away with the body, wherein it hid its
roots, and enabling man to be resurrected once more no longer having any embedded roots of bitterness? 

Death was used by God, our defender and true physician, as an antidote to uproot and abolish sin, so that evil would not eternally dwell within us (since it would have sprouted in an immortal body), and so that we would not remain crippled and alienated from virtue (since we would forever carry the terrible sickness of sin within everlasting and immortal bodies). 

For this reason, God very ingeniously used death as a medicinal means of purification, in order to save both the soul and the body, so that we may thus be rendered immaculate and flawless. 

 St. Epifanios, Bishop of Cyprus
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