O Lord, the God of my salvation: I have cried in the day, and in the night before thee. Let my prayer come in before thee: incline thy ear to my petition. For my soul is filled with evils: and my life hath drawn nigh to hell. I am counted among them that go down to the pit: I am become as a man without help, Free among the dead. Like the slain sleeping in the sepulchres, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cast off from thy hand. They have laid me in the lower pit: in the dark places, and in the shadow of death. Thy wrath is strong over me: and all thy waves thou hast brought in upon me. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: they have set me an abomination to themselves. I was delivered up, and came not forth: My eyes languished through poverty. All the day I cried to thee, O Lord: I stretched out my hands to thee.
Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? or shall physicians raise to life, and give praise to thee? Shall any one in the sepulchre declare thy mercy: and thy truth in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark; and thy justice in the land of forgetfulness? But I, O Lord, have cried to thee: and in the morning my prayer shall prevent thee. (Psalm 87)
Who then frees from death and from bondage, save He, who is “Free among the dead”? Who is “Free among the dead,” save He who among sinners is without sin? “Lo, the prince of the world comes,” says our Redeemer Himself, our Deliverer, “Lo, the prince of the world comes, and shall find nothing in Me.” He holds fast those whom he has deceived, whom he has seduced, whom he has persuaded to sin and death; “in Me shall he find nothing.” Come, Lord, Redeemer come, come; let the captive acknowledge you, him that leads captive flee you; be Thou my Deliverer. Lost as I was, He has found me in Whom the devil finds nothing that comes of the flesh. The prince of this world finds in Him Flesh, he finds it but what kind of Flesh? A mortal Flesh, which he can seize, which he can crucify, which he can kill. You are mistaken, O deceiver, the Redeemer is not deceived; you are mistaken. You see in the Lord a mortal Flesh, it is not flesh of sin, it is the likeness of flesh of sin. “For God sent His Son in the likeness of flesh of sin.” True Flesh, mortal Flesh; but not flesh of sin. “For God sent His Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, that by sin He might condemn sin in the Flesh.” “For God sent His Son in the likeness of flesh of sin;” in Flesh, but not in flesh of sin; but “in the likeness of flesh of sin.” For what purpose? “That by sin,” of which assuredly there was none in Him, “He might condemn sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”(St. Augustine: Sermon 84)