October 26, 2016
Life After Baptism
This week’s meditation is part 33 of The Oration on Holy Baptism. It was preached by Archbishop Gregory of Nazianzus at Constantinople January 6, 381, on the Festival of Epiphany. He refers to several people Jesus healed and put on the path to a new way of living. I pray you will take this to heart in light of what Christ has done for you. We do not want to trifle with God’s grace, but in sincere repentance live the new life Holy Baptism gives.
What say I then, and what is my argument?
Yesterday you were a Canaanite soul bent together by sin; today you have been made straight by the Word. Do not be bent gain, and condemned to the earth, as if weighed down by the Devil with a wooden collar, nor get an incurable curvature.
Yesterday you were being dried up by an abundant hemorrhage, for you were pouring out crimson sin; today stanched and flourishing again, for you have touched the hem of Christ and your issue has been stayed. Guard, I pray you, the cleansing lest you should again have a hemorrhage, and not be able to lay hold of Christ to steal salvation; for Christ does not like to be stolen from often, though He is very merciful.
Yesterday you were flung upon a bed, exhausted and paralyzed, and you had no one when the water should be troubled to put you into the pool. Today you have Him Who is in one Person Man and God, or rather God and Man. You were raised up from your bed, or rather you took up your bed, and publicly acknowledged the benefit. Do not again be thrown upon your bed by sinning, in the evil rest of a body paralyzed by its pleasures. But as you now are, so walk, mindful of the command.
Behold you are made whole; sin no more lest a worse thing happen to you if you prove yourself bad after the blessing you have received. You have heard the loud voice, Lazarus, come forth, as you lay in the tomb; not, however, after four days, but after many days; and you were loosed from the bonds of your grave clothes. Do not again become dead, nor live with those who dwell in the tombs; nor bind yourself with the bonds of your own sins; for it is uncertain whether you will rise again from the tomb till the last and universal resurrection, which will bring every work into judgment, not to be healed, but to be judged, and to give account of all which for good or evil it has treasured up.