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between baptismal chrismation and becoming partakers in Christ would have precluded this development.

But we must be wary of making facile contrasts along cultural and political lines that often shifted and were in any case never impermeable. Far more important than a superficial difference in terminology is the striking agreement about the spiritual dynamic of'becoming christs'. In this matter, we find a profound similarity, especially as regards the need for humble acknowledgment of one's sinfulness. As Ambrose says, 'One who takes refuge in the baptism of Christ acknowledges himself to be a human.'98 Baptism is predicated on an awareness of one's fallen condition - or, in other words, on humility. Chrysos-tom proclaimed the same message, in consequence of his meditations upon Matthew 11.29.99 These two quotations set up a neat contrast to the earlier claims about partaking of Christ, and that contrast tells us a great deal about how salvation could be viewed during this period. These insights centre on St Paul's exhortation: 'Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.' In confessing oneself a human -that is, in sorrowfully acknowledging one's sins, but also and especially in joyfully acknowledging oneself as the handiwork of God - the Christian is re-created by God through the sacrament of baptism. Being thus incorporated into the 'body of Christ' and anointed with chrism, the sinful person lives according to Christ and becomes another 'christ'.100

In the adroit hands ofMaximus the Confessor, this teaching is stated in such a way as to obviate the Christological problems that were attributed to Stephen bar Sudaili and that could in any case emerge from a different interpretation of earlier patristic writings. According to Maximus' teaching, there is no sense in which the Christian becomes 'equal to Christ'; instead, he speaks of the Christian having by the grace of God the experience of God's own life.101 This clarion teaching can be applied back to our Christological exposition of baptism: whatever the Christian has of Christ, it is always properly Christ's

98 Ambrose, De sacramentiis 3.2.14 (ed. Chadwick, 27): 'Ergo agnoscit se hominem qui confugit ad baptismum Christi.'

99 See Chrysostom, Baptismal homilies 1.28-31 (SC 50: 122-4).

100 For a contemporary evaluation of theosis thatlays appropriate emphasis on its communal dimensions, see F. Norris, 'Deification: Consensual and cogent'.

101 See Maximus, Ad Thalassium 6 (CCSG 7: 70-1; trans. Wilken and Blowers, 104): 'With those undergoing the (second mode of) birth, the Holy Spirit takes the whole of their free choice and translates it completely from earth to heaven, and, through the true knowledge acquired by exertion, transfigures the mind with the blessed light-rays of our God and Father, such that the mind is deemed another "god," insofar as in its habitude it experiences, by grace, that which God himself does not experience but "is" in his very essence.'

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