In this interview, Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol [Orthodox Church of Cyprus] talks about Christ’s work for the salvation of humankind.
Christ made everything for us. He had need of nothing. He had no need to be born, to be circumcised, to be baptized, to suffer, He had no need of anything. He did everything for man.
As Saint Paisios used to say, [when asked] “Was there a need for Christ to suffer all these?” He [St. Paisios] would say, “He did everything to move us.” To show how much He loves us, He did everything. Whatever there was to be done, He did it. There was not something He could do and did not.
As the Gospel says “[f]or thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” [Matthew 3:15] God “fulfilled all righteousness.” There is not something He could do and He did not. So that no one can be found to tell Him, “If You did one more thing, I could be a bit more faithful.” “If You did something more for me, I could be closer to You.”
He did everything. And this is going to be our Judgement. On Judgement [Day], when we will be resurrected and will be able to see reality [as it truly is], we’ll see that God did everything for us, and we did everything to avoid Him, to deny Him.
[Moderator]: This is where I wanted to go, elder. As St. Paisios said, I understand that Christ came and did everything, He was crucified, He was whipped, everything else. I cannot understand how we can be indifferent to all these. If it was not Christ, but it was a simple man, our wife, our father and [in] their whole life they did something to move us, to help us, then we would value [their contribution]. How can we remain indifferent to Christ?
Unfortunately, sin makes us blind and senseless. We have no spiritual senses. Our “sensors” are dead. Just like an unconscious man or someone who is under anesthesia and you cut his finger and he only realizes it after he wakes up. In the same way, sin makes us senseless and deadens us.
[Moderator]: I understand that sin is responsible for this indifference towards Christ, but also for every other indifference.
That’s why sin is called “death.” Death…
[Moderator]: Elder, in the Jordan river, Christ entered the “unclean waters of sin” to cleanse them, but, in the end, sin, herself, killed Him with the Crucifixion. Although, completely exhausted with everything He went through, in the end, He had the power to resurrect the whole human nature. The question is and let us conclude with this, “How will we, the seemingly weak people, manage to feel inside us the immense power of Resurrection?”
If we let ourselves [open] to the Grace of the Holy Spirit and invoke Christ as our Savior and say with all our heart, “Lord Jesus Christ, help me” just like the publican did. This will be our salvation. The Grace of the Holy Spirit [arrives at] the repentant and humble man. The fulfilment of the commandments of Christ will [then] begin. The life inside the church, inside the holy mysteries [will begin] and the Lord will work on our salvation in collaboration with our [free] will.
[Moderator]: Thank you very much, elder.
Thank you, too!