Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St. Clement Of Rome On Justification By Grace

In his first epistle to the Corinthians (which was written towards the end of the 1st century AD), St. Clement of Rome wrote:
...All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (cf. Rom. 4:1-6; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 11:11-33)

What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! (cf. Rom. 6:1-2). But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work (cf. Eph. 2:10; Tit. 3:7-8)....
Exactly the evangelical position on Justification. While we are not saved by our works but by faith in Christ, we do not neglect the importance of good works as the necessary outward evidence of our saving faith. So after all it wasn't really Luther who invented the doctrine of Sola Gratia and Sola Fide. I believe it's not Clement either, nor Paul, nor any of the apostles, but Jesus Christ himself:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (Jn. 3:16-18, KJV)

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