What is the Orthodox Christian understanding of Christ being "an offering to His Father"?
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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:54 PM
Here are are few thoughts on the matter.
The Scriptures point to various understandings of Christ's sacrifice, such as the 'default' Christus Victor (Gospels, Acts, Peter), this particular understanding of Christ as being an offering to God is that found in Hebrews. The rich Theology of Hebrews focuses on the heavenly fulfilment of the earthly type of the Jewish sacrifice, tabernacle, and high priesthood. Christ as High Priest offered up Himself as the true offering leading men back to God, passing into the true tabernacle of heaven and establishing a new covenant by His blood, both sanctifying and purifying mankind of sin. Orthodoxy rejects the notion that this understanding of Christ's sacrifice contains any concept of Satisfactionism or penal substitution, and understands Christ's sacrifice not as an offering to the Father alone but to the Holy Trinity. The matter arose in the 12th century as to whether the offering was to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, or the Father alone. This was discussed at the Synod of Blachernae which decreed that it was to the Holy Trinity based on the following words in the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom: 'Thou art He that offers, and is offered (προσφερων και προσφερομενος), O Christ our God', that is the one who offers and the one to whom the offering is made. This same synod also rejected the notion that Christ's sacrifice reconciled us to the Father alone rather than to the Holy Trinity.
I hope this is of some help.
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