Living for Christ Who Died for All 

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For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

48087695691_ff0ba0a487_wSt Maximus the Confessor who spent much of his life in the West where he was free to write about the theological issues of greatest concern to him and did not have to worry about the interfering arm of the Orthodox emperor in Constantinople was often questioned by his fellow Greek Christians about his willingness to live and work with the Latin Christians.  He responded:

We have not received the commandment to hate anyone, I love the Romans since we are of the same faith, and the Greeks, because we have the same language.” (MAN AND THE COSMOS, p 25)

Maximus understood “Roman” to mean all the citizens of the Empire, who shared the same Christian faith whether they were Latin or Greek.  He understood “Greek” to refer to his ethnicity or language but not a description of the faith.  The basis of being a Christian is love for God and love for neighbor.  Christ died for everyone so that we might die to ourselves (to our passions and self-centeredness) and live for Him.  It did not matter to Maximus that Greek and Latins were often at odds with each other, that was human.  But it is the divine element in our life – our Christian faith – which unites us as one people under God.  And as God’s people we are to love one another, including loving our enemies.  The Lord Jesus taught:

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)