135. But the Son of Man could not have saved the world from a distance, without making Himself in the likeness of men?
God in His wisdom considered that it was not good t save the men from afar. There are many reasons for this and the main ones are three:
136. What is the first one of these reasons?
The first reason is that justice required if a man had broken the law of obedience of God, another man had to suffer fulfilling this law by obedience and paying with His innocent life the disobedience of the others: ` For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. ` (Romans V, 19).
In other words the reconciliation between God and man had to be made by God’s action and by man’s deed as well. Saint Gregory of Nyssa says: `After death had entered the world by the disobedience of a man, it was expelled by the obedience of another. Here is why He made Himself obedient till death: to heal in this way the sin of disobedience and to destroy by His Resurrection the death that entered the world by disobedience.
That is why the Son of God made Himself man to work in the name of men, but His deed, as one that was done by a Man Who was also God, had to have a price to overcome the sins of all mankind. `The One who died for us – says saint Cyril of Jerusalem – was not of a low price. He was not a mute sheep, He was not an ordinary man, He was nto an angel, but God made man. The trespass of sin was not as big as the righteousness of the One killed because of us. We did not sin as much as it valued the righteousness of the One who put His soul for us.
Making Himself a man and keeping his human nature pure and fulfilling with it the law of obedience of God and expiating with the blood shed on the cross the disobedience of men He saved the mankind from damnation and reconciliated us with God. ` For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!` (Romans, 5:10) `All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:18)
Our nature that bore within itself the ugliness of disobedience and was within those who were the enemies of God has become now the pure nature of His Beloved Son.
Looking at His Son with love God looked with love at our own nature that was appropriated by Him. Loving His Son Who became obedient till death, God loved in the same time the man. He did not see anymore our nature as the one that disobeyed the law and was condemned to die but as the nature that expiated the disobedience of the law and became worthy to commune life. And God’s love for our nature appropriated by His Son was to touch all those who had this nature and clung to His Son by faith. That is why saint Apostle paul says that in the Son of God `we have the expiation and the forgiveness of our sins by His blood` and `that through Him He condescended to reconcile everything with Himself, making peace by the blood from His Cross. Or more clearly:
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians I, 14, 20, 21-22).
God by loving us now in Jesus Christ makes us partakers of His kindness communed by Jesus Christ as His Son, considering us as His Sons as well : `
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans VIII, 17).
137. But what is the second reason of the incarnation ?
The second reason why the Son of God incarnated Himself as man was to show us that His Love for us is so great that He doesn’t stay far away from us but makes Himself man, adopts our nature and comes towards us to speak with us on our language and to teach us directly, not through others, like in the Old Testament. He wanted to conquer our hearts by His Love and give us a visible example of the way a man should be to please God. And He did not make Himself a man only for a while but for eternity, remaining in touch with us and showing us how much he values and loves men. Saint John Damascene says that `the Savior came to partake our nature, to teach us by His parables the path to virtue, to free us of corruption by communion with Life, making Himself the beginning of our life.`