For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
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Cyril of Alexandria
We say, therefore, that he came forth from a woman, and in the likeness of sinful flesh, he who for our sake became as we are and yet is above us insofar as he is understood as God…. The same was at once God and man. I cannot understand how these people pillage this wonderful and noble economy of the OnlyBegotten. They connect a man to him in terms of a relationship adorned with external honors and radiant in a glory which is not his, for then he is not truly God. They treat him as someone who has fellowship and participation with God, and is thus a falselynamed son, a saved savior, a redeemed redeemer; all of which contradicts what the blessed Paul wrote. .
For Paul has also shown us that there are these two comings, in his epistle to Titus where he says, “The grace of God our Savior has appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” You note how he acknowledges with thanksgiving the first coming and that we look for a second…. So our Lord Jesus Christ comes from heaven and comes with glory at the last day to bring this world to its close.
Who does not know that the deceit of demons filled every corner of the world and held sway over human life by the madness of idolatry? Who does not realize that every people on earth was accustomed to worship demons under the form of idols, by sacrificing living victims and making foul offerings on their altars? But as the apostle says, from the moment that God’s saving grace appeared among men and dwelt in human nature, all this vanished into nothing, like smoke.
Having demanded from servants so great virtue, for it is great virtue to adorn the doctrine of our God and Saviour in all things, and charged them to give no occasion of offense to their masters, even in common matters, he adds the just cause, why servants should be such: For the grace of God, that brings salvation, has appeared. Those who have God for their Teacher, may well be such as I have described, seeing their numberless sins have been forgiven to them. For you know that in addition to other considerations, this in no common degree awes and humbles the soul, that when it had innumerable sins to answer for, it received not punishment, but obtained pardon, and infinite favors. For if one, whose servant had committed many offenses, instead of scourging him with thongs, should grant him a pardon for all those, but should require an account of his future conduct, and bid him beware of falling into the same faults again, and should bestow high favors upon him, who do you think would n...
You hear that the prophets foretold and predicted that men will no longer be bound to come from all over the earth to offer sacrifice in one city or in one place but that each one will sit in his own home and pay service and honor to God. What time other than the present could you mention as fulfilling these prophecies? At any rate listen to how the Gospels and the apostle Paul agree with Zephaniah. The prophet said: “The Lord shall appear”; Paul said: “The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people.” Zephaniah said: “To all nations”; Paul said: “To all people.” Zephaniah said: “He will make their gods waste away”; Paul said: “training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions and to live sober, upright and godly lives in this world.” .
It is, therefore, with an unmistakable tenderness that so great a wealth of divine goodness has been poured out on us, dearly beloved. Not only has the usefulness of foregoing examples served for calling us to eternity, but the Truth himself has even “appeared” in a visible body. We ought, then, to celebrate this day of the Lord’s birth with no listless and worldly joy.