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On Christ the True Redeemer

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Lent

On Christ the True Redeemer

You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled. (1 Peter 1:19-20)

Through the sin of the first parents the entire human race was alienated from God, as is said in Ephesians 2:12—not indeed from the power of God, but from the vision of God’s face, to which both sons and members of the household are admitted. And further, we came into the power of the usurping devil, to whom man by his own consent subjected himself, to the degree that he could—although he could not do it by right, because he was not his own, but belonged to another.

And therefore through his own passion Christ did two things. For he freed us from the power of the enemy by conquering him through things contrary to the things by which the enemy conquered man—namely, humility, obedience, and the bitterness of punishment, which are opposed to the delight of the forbidden food. And further, by making satisfaction for the fault, he joined us to God and made us members of the household of God, and even sons.

Whence such liberation has two parts of the account of buying: for he is said to have redeemed us inasmuch as he rescued us from the power of the devil, just as when a kingdom has been occupied by an enemy, the king redeems it through the labor of battle; and he is also said to have redeemed us inasmuch as he pleased God on our behalf, as paying on our behalf the price of his satisfaction, so that we might be freed from punishment and from sin.

The price of his blood was not paid to the devil; rather, he offered it to God, so that he might make satisfaction for us. Moreover, through the victory of his passion he seized us from the devil.

Although the devil took us unjustly, nonetheless we justly came into his power because we were conquered by him. And therefore it was also necessary that he himself be conquered, through things contrary to the things by which he conquered us; for he did not conquer us violently, but did it by inducing us to sin by fraud.

The repetition that is implied by the preposition [“re-“ in “redemptio”] does not refer to the act of buying, as though we will be bought again, but to the terminus of the act, since we were at another time in a state of innocence. For to buy is to make something one’s own. Or it should be said that it is called “re-demption” [buying back] in reference to that selling by which we sold ourselves to the devil, through the consent of sin, with respect to which selling this is a second buying.

(From Sent.III.D19.Q1.A4.qa1)

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