justification by faith alone in Early Fathers


Even Clement taught that we are justified by faith alone. The ‘‘3rd pope’’

Here is a better explanation by St Clement more in context.


I think this should be read with who he was talking to and quite frankly a Catholic Perspective and it make much more sense than the ani Catholic Puritan.

Love the quotation marks, it totally gives anything you’re saying credibility when you’re dripping with sarcasm.

“Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words.”

Oh hey, it’s St. Clement! Saying we’re justified by works!

Selective pickings from Church Fathers is sort of like taking one verse form James Chapter 2 and trying to pass off the entire Chapter as “faith alone”.

I was aware of that quote it is just a few pages before. What clement means there is a justification or a proving to be righteous by our words. Jesus said that to.

What does he mean when he says that we are justified by faith apart from works of holiness and moral righteousness? This is synonomous with the forgiveness of sin or the state of grace

Is this intended to be a faith alone vs. faith plus works argument? If so, please provide the works you’re referring too.

I’ve seen these arguments and really think the separation is because of semantics. Works are man’s obligation to God’s love; e.g. praise, prayer, attending Church, reading scriptures, following God’s commandments, etc.

I believe that justification, the one which refers to entering into salvation and experiencing the forgiveness of sin (Rom 3:24, 4:9. 5:9) and a right-relationship with God. This state of grace is obtained through baptismal regeneration where we participate in the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and our persons are made new.

The works we do throughout our christian lives will be part of our salvation and necessary for the choosing of our destiny in the world to come.

There are other justifications. These are the passing of tests of faith which God puts in our life. We have the decision to enter into sin or to please God, and thus be justified.

Abraham for instance was not lost and condemned prior to the moment he was going to sacrifice Isaac, rather this was a test which vitally could have meant his apostacy or his salvation, and his works proved him faith and thus he was justified. He overcame and honored the Lord, and was by this accepted.

Those who say that are saved by faith alone and that works have no part in the process of salvation or that works are merely evidence have a reductionistic view of salvation.

No he didn’t. The article is in error. Holy Scripture uses the term “Faith Alone” only one time, when it says salvation is NOT by faith alone.

thee whole faith alone idealogy is not true. the argument falls apart on itself and can easily be refuted. we need faith AND good works

All these, therefore, were highly honored, 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.

If justification is apart from our holiness of heart or righteousness which we have done, would it not be by faith? Even if justification refers to the renewal of the inner man, it is still by faith alone and not earned by works.

And if you all are trying to think that I am arguing that we do not NEED works, you are mistaken.

**Jas 2:24 Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only? **

I am not trying to play Bible ‘ping pong’ with you. I am trying to show you there are variations of how the teaching is worded. We know that scriptures do not contradict.

As I said, faith alone arguments end up being mostly a matter of semantics.

Yeah, um, no.

“For neither is it possible to attain it without the exercise of free choice; nor does the whole depend on our own purpose; as, for example, what is defined to happen. “For by grace we are saved:” not, indeed, without good works; but we must, by being formed for what is good, acquire an inclination for it.” - Clement, Stromata 5:1 (sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/002/0020375.htm)

Your own bolded words prove you wrong. Look at it more carefully. “Not for their OWN works” - as in the works that belong to us. And then later it says “through the operation of his will”. Operating a will is an action - it is a work, and since it is God’s will, they are God’s works given to us, not our own works. That is what is meant here.

There are a lot of Christians who teach that you just have to accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior to achieve salvation. But the Bible teaches differently – merely acknowledeging Jesus as Lord is not enough:

Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Matthew 7:21-23.

Jesus flatly told us what’s going to happen on judgment day, and it is not going to be a case of “Everyone who accepted Me as personal lord and savior gets in; everyone else doesn’t.”

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:

Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

Matthew 25:31-46 (note that the goats on His left, just like the sheep on His right, call Him “Lord”).

So what if you wear your faith on your sleeve, answer altar calls, and are well-known in your church? So what if you go to daily Mass, confession twice a week, and Bible study every Wednesday? So what if you go out onto the internet holding forth all day long about why people ought to believe in Jesus?

Doth he thank that servant, for doing the things which he commanded him? I think not. So you also, when you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do.

Luke 17:9-10.

We are all sinners, and nothing we have done – nothing, not even welcoming Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior – merits the grace of eternal life. Only Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross gives us even a small chance of eternal salvation, and Jesus has made clear that we have a lot to do if we want to have even that.

As for Early Church Fathers on the concept of “faith alone,” I would suggest checking with one of the earliest, St. James:

What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him? And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food: And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself. But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only? And in like manner also Rahab the harlot, was not she justified by works, receiving the messengers, and sending them out another way?

For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.

James 2:14-26 (note that this is the only use of “faith alone” – rendered “faith only” in this particular translation – in all of Scripture).

True or False: faith alone always and necessarily results in God willed works?

The answer is false.

Even the devil posses faith alone–he knows of the true existence of God.

No matter how hard faith alone supporters try they cannot throw James 2:24 out of the bible!

Martin Luther and Calvin both knew this and that is why both of them despised the book of James and wished that it wasn’t in the bible.

Faith alone broken by mortal sin = death and does not save!

What I don’t understand is how some people can’t fathom the fact that faith CAN NOT be alone–it is a CONTINUANCE–a flowing thing–like the I AM God who gives that gift.

Either it is continuing at death or it isn’t.

If it isn’t continuing at death it is ALONE and results in Hell!

If it is continuing at death then one is in a state of grace and that faith IS NOT ALONE and results in heaven!

The only thing that can SPLIT faith from “God willed works” and make that FAITH ALONE which DOES NOT SAVE is mortal sin.

It’s not faith alone that saves–it is not works that save–it is not faith+ works that save.

It is faith CONTINUING THROUGH “God willed works” unto death that saves.

Even if those “God willed works” are as simple as accepting one’s death after a deathbed conversion or like the good thief accepting his death on his cross after asking Our Lord Jesus to remember him in his kingdom!

Faith and works are one and the same thing, inseperable from eachother, so therefore one *could *say that one is saved by faith alone. Saying that “we’re scoring points to get in heaven through works” or “through faith alone (as some sort of mental assent) we’re saved” is equally silly.

I dont know if anyone here is familiar with historic protestantism, but protestants do not teach that good works are not neccessary in order to pass the final judgement. I really do not understand the point of these verses. Protestants accept them and believe that faith and works are as a body and spirit, therefore God will judge us according to our works to determine our destiny.

Throughout my entire life as a protestant, I would frequently point out Matthew 7 in my evangelism in order to emphasis the works in one’s conversion.

It really is a false accusation against the protestants with some verses like this because they do teach, at least I did when I was a protestant and so did my whole church, that if someone fails to have works on the final day of judgement, they go to hell.

Then why would Paul not equate them?

“For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and not of works, it is the gift of God, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus so that we should walk in good works” (Ephesians 2:10).

Somewhere, faith and works are differing principles. Maybe faith and works are together throughout the salvation process. But somewhere in the life of a person, faith and works do not go together, for St. Paul says “through faith, and not of works”. The question is “What is through faith and therefore not of works?”.

I don’t understand anything you have said in this argument.

Protestants, at least Calvin, believed that “justification” is the remission of sin and the establishment of a peaceful relationship between God and the creature. There are many protestants out there that teach that if someone does not lead a life of good works they are not converted. For Calvin believed that justification comes out of regeneration, the re-creation of the person for good works in Christ Jesus. Therefore. Calvin would distinguish justification from final salvation. Final salvation is always according to works. If one does not have works, he is lost and condemned.

Our baptism ensures that a practice of sin will not be characteristic of those who go to heaven. Only of those who have lapsed and gone to hell .

Since faith without works is dead, and thus not salvific, I would say that the two are most intimately connected. No works = no faith.

Sure, I believe this.

Faith and works exist together like a body and spirit. If a body has no spirit, it is dead, and not alive. In the same way, if faith has no works, it is dead, and therefore cannot save anyone.

Because our final salvation is based on works, there must be faith.

However, justification is by faith, according to Paul, and not by works. And the principle for this is grace and giving full credit to the sacrifice of Jesus (Gal 2:20).

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