Cyril of Alexandria on Substitutionary Atonement

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376 – 444) – Patriarch of Alexandria

stcyrilofalexandriaFor that there is no obedience without reward, and on the other hand, no disobedience without penalty, is made plain by what God spoke by His holy prophet to those who disregarded Him:

“Behold, they who serve Me shall eat, but you shall suffer hunger: behold, they who serve Me shall drink, but you shall suffer thirst: behold, they who obey Me shall rejoice, but you shall lament: behold, they who serve Me shall exult in happiness, but you shall groan, and wail from contrition of your heart.” (Isaiah 65:13)

For let us see, if you will, even from the writings of Moses, the grief to which disobedience has brought us. We have been driven from a paradise of delights, and have also fallen under the condemnation of death; and while intended for incorruption:—-for so God created the universe:—-we yet have become accursed, and subject to the yoke of sin. And how then have we escaped from that which befell us, or Who is He that aided us, when we had sunk into this great misery? It was the Only-begotten Word of God, by submitting Himself to our estate, and being found in fashion as a man, and becoming obedient unto the Father even unto death. Thus has the guilt of the disobedience that is by Adam been remitted: thus has the power of the curse ceased, and the dominion of death been brought to decay. And this too Paul teaches, saying,

“For as by the disobedience of the one man, the many became sinners, so by the obedience of the One, the many became righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

For the whole nature of man became guilty in the person of him who was first formed; but now it is wholly justified again in Christ. For He became for us the second commencement of our race after that primary one; and therefore all things in Him have become new. And Paul assures of this, writing,

“Therefore every man who is in Christ is a new creation; and the former things have passed away: behold, they have become new.” (2 Cor 5:17)

Commentary on Luke, Sermon 42

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