Friday, October 09, 2009
Church Fathers on Faith
"Ver 8 - “For by grace,” saith he “have ye been saved.”
In order then that the greatness of the benefits bestowed may not raise thee too high, observe how he brings thee down: “by grace ye have been saved,” saith he,
Then, that, on the other hand, our free-will be not impaired, he adds also our part in the work, and yet again cancels it, and adds,
“And that not of ourselves.”
Neither is faith he means, “of ourselves.” Because had He not come, had He not called us, how had we been able to believe? for “how,” saith he, “shall they believe, unless they hear?” (Rom. x. 14.) So that the work of faith itself is not our own.
“It is the gift,” said he, “of God,” it is “not of works.”
Was faith then, you will say, enough to save us? No; but God, saith he, hath required this, lest He should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is, that faith saveth, but it is because God so willeth, that faith saveth. Since, how, tell me, doth faith save, without works? This itself is the gift of God.That he may excite in us proper feeling
Ver 9. - touching this gift of grace. “What then?” saith a man, “Hath He Himself hindered our being justified by works?” By no means. But no one, he saith, is justified by works, in order that the grace and loving-kindness of God may be shown. He did not reject us as having works, but as abandoned of works He hath saved us by grace; so that no man henceforth may have whereof to boast."
- John Chrysostom on Eph 2:8-9
"For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." (Gen 15:6/Rom 4:3). Abraham believed God. Let us also believe, so that we who are heirs of his race may likewise be heirs of his faith."
-Ambrose of Milan
"Paul revealed that Abraham had glory before God not because he was circumcised nor because he abstained from evil, but because he believed in God. For that reason he was justified, and he would receive the reward of praise in the future."
"Vain, too, are Marcion and his followers when they seek to exclude Abraham from the inheritance, to whom the Spirit through many men, and now by Paul, bears witness, that 'he believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness."