As soon as the great question is put: Cur Deus homo? [Why did God become man?] it is understood [in the Eastern church] as a question for the rationale of the incarnation rather than of the death of Christ.
Sure enough, an EO writer says --
The Incarnation did not take place for the Crucifixion; the Crucifixion took place so the Incarnation and the eternal communion of God and man could be fulfilled despite Satan, sin, and death. Explaining that there was no necessity in God the Father that required the death of His Son, St. Gregory is telling us that, from before the ages, it was the divine will for mankind to be sanctified and made immortal by communion with the humanity of the Incarnate God, but corruptibility and death came and stood in the way.
Thus for the Ancient Church, as even today for the Eastern Church, the cross is hidden in the miracle of Christmas and in the miracle of Easter.
How is that limitation of Ancient Christianity and its theology to be explained? Certainly it must not be forgotten that the divine revelation given in Holy Scriptures is so rich that whole centuries are necessary to understand its content fully. It cannot be expected that the Church of the First Ecumenical Councils should already have solved the problems of the medieval Western World.
As to the meaning of redemption, the Greek Fathers could not get away from the idealistic conception of man.
The lack of full understanding of the greatness of sin is the reason why the Ancient Church and the Church of the East never reached a theologia crucis.
So if you wonder what's the difference between Lutherans and the Eastern church, this is it. In EO, sin is not quite as bad, not quite as deep, not quite as corrupting, as what the Bible teaches.
"The Law shows us our sin
and how much we need a Savior."
Not so much sin?
Then you don't need so much of a Savior, do you?
And some of the glory goes to you instead of all the glory being His.