Grace: The Most Misunderstood Word in the Bible
What Is the Meaning of Grace?
The Greek word that is translated as “grace” is charis. For most of my life, I’ve been told that charis means “unmerited favor.” But that’s only the beginning. Whole articles in Bible encyclopedias are written about charis or grace, setting it forth as some kind of super-word that has built into it all kinds of theological meaning. In fact, whole books have been written just about the word “grace.” One Greek lexicon gives the following definition for grace or charis:
The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.
Now, do you really think that the ancient Greeks had a word that meant all of that? Of course not! That is not a definition of charis. That’s someone’s theology being presented as a definition. But how can we know what a particular Greek word meant in the days of Jesus and the apostles? After all, no one wrote any dictionaries back then.
I would argue that the only sure way we can know what charis meant in New Testament times is to go to the writings near and around that period—particularly, the writings of Jews and Christians. For any New Testament word, the three most valuable ancient sources we can go to in order to discern the meaning of that word, as used by 1st century Christians, are: (1) the Septuagint, (2) the New Testament, and (3) the early Christian writings.
The Use of Charis or Grace in the Septuagint
The logical place to begin is with the Septuagint. What’s that? It’s the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament made or begun around 250 B. C. Why begin with the Septuagint? Because it was the Old Testament used by the vast majority of the New Testament Christians. Most of the New Testament quotations from the Old Testament are from the Septuagint.
Not only that, so much of the language and expressions used in the New Testament come directly from the Septuagint. The same 1st century Christians who were reading the letters of Peter, Paul, and John in koiné Greek were also reading the Septuagint, which, too, was written in koiné Greek. So the Septuagint is an obvious starting place. In fact, most of the same words that are used in the New Testament are also used in the Septuagint.
Actually, charis is used 90 times in the Septuagint. I have set forth below all 90 of these occurrences of charis in the Septuagint. In contrast, outside of Paul’s letters, charis is used only about 44 times in the New Testament. So we can get a good feel for the meaning of charis from reading the passages in the Septuagint that use it. And what do we find it means?
We find that charis was an ordinary, everyday word in ancient times. Most of the time charis simply meant favor or goodwill—particularly favor extended by a person of greater power or authority to one in a weaker or lesser position. Theoretically, this favor could be unmerited, but usually there’s a reason why the recipient receives favor from the person in greater power. Please read the quotations below from the Septuagint and see if you come to a different conclusion. Where the underlying Greek word is charis, I have placed the English word in bold—regardless of whether it is translated as grace, favor, or any other word.
Gen. 6:8 – But Noah found grace in the presence of the Lord God.
Gen. 18:3 – “O Lord, if I have now found grace in Your sight, do not pass by Your servant.
Gen. 30:27 – Then Laban said to him, “If I could find grace in your
Gen. 32:5 – And he commanded them, saying, “Speak thus to my lord Esau, ‘Thus your servant Jacob says, “I sojourned with Laban and stayed there until now. I have oxen, donkeys, sheep, and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in your sight.”
Gen. 33:8 – Then Esau said, “What are these things to you, all this company I met?” So he said, “That your servant might find grace in the sight of my Lord.”
Gen. 33:10 – But Jacob replied, “If I have now found grace in your sight, receive the present from my hands,
Gen. 33:15 – Then Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people with me.” But he said, “What need is there? It is enough that I found grace in my lord's sight.”
Gen. 34:11 – Then Shechem said to her father and her brothers, “Let me find grace in your eyes, and we will give whatever you ask.
Gen. 39:4 – Thus Joseph found grace in his sight and was pleasing to him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and put everything he had under Joseph's authority.
Gen. 39:21 – But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him grace in the sight of the chief prison keeper. 22So the chief keeper of the prison put under Joseph's authority
Gen. 43:13 – Take your brother also, and arise, go back to the man. 14May God give you grace before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
Gen. 47:25 – So they said, “You have saved our lives; let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.”
Gen. 47:29 – Thus when the time drew near for Jacob to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found grace in your sight, put your hand under my thigh, and deal with me in mercy and truth. Do not bury me in Egypt,
Gen. 50:4 – So when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spoke to the princes of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found grace in your sight, speak in the hearing of Pharaoh, saying, 5‘My father made me swear,
Exo. 3:21 – Then I will give this people grace in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty-handed.
Exo. 11:3 – So the Lord gave the people grace in the sight of the Egyptians, and they lent to them.
Exo. 12:36 – Now the Lord gave the people grace in the sight of the Egyptians, who lent to them. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
Exo. 33:12 – Then Moses said to the Lord, “Behold, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you above all, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, reveal Yourself to me, that I may see You clearly and find grace in Your sight, and know this great nation is Your people.”
Exo. 33:16 – For how then will it be known that Your people and I found grace in Your sight, except You go with us?
Exo. 33:17 – The Lord then said to Moses, “I will also do this thing you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you above all.”
Exo. 34:9 – Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, let my Lord go with us, for the people are stiff-necked; and You will take away our sins and lawlessness, and we will be Yours.”
Num. 11:11 – So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You maltreated Your servant? Why have I not found grace in Your sight, that You lay the wrath of this people on me?
Num. 32:5 – “Therefore they said, “If we have found grace in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession.”
Deut. 24:3 – “If a man takes a wife and marries her, and it should be she finds no favor before him, because he found something shameful in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce,
Judith 6:19 – “O Lord God of heaven, look down upon their arrogance, and have mercy on the humble state of our people. Look with favor upon those who are sanctified unto You this day.”
Ruth 2:2 – So Ruth the Moabite woman said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean heads of grain after him in whose eyes I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, daughter.”
Ruth 2:10 – So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a stranger?” 11And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done with your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know yesterday or the day before. 12May the Lord repay your work, and may a full reward be given you by the Lord God
Ruth 2:13 – Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken to the heart of your maidservant. Behold, I will be like one of your bondswomen.”
1 Sam. 1:17 – Then Eli answered and said to her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you the petition you asked of Him.” 18And she said, “Your handmaiden has found favor in your sight.”
1 Sam. 16:21 – So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. 22Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David stand here before me, for he has found favor in my sight.”
1 Sam. 20:3 – Then David answered Jonathan and said, “Your father certainly knows I have found favor in your sight, and Saul has said, ‘Jonathan should not come to know about this. He will not want this to happen.’ But as the Lord lives and as you yourself
1 Sam. 20:29 – And he said, ‘Please let me go, for our tribe has a sacrifice in the city, and my brothers commanded me to be there. And now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me go away safely and see my brothers.’ Therefore he has not come to the king's table.”
1 Sam. 25:8 – Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a good day. Please give whatever your hand finds to your son David.’ ” 9So when David's young men came, they told Nabal all these words
1 Sam. 27:5 – Then David said to Achish, “If your servant has now found favor in your eyes, indeed offer to me a place in one of the cities in your country,
2 Sam. 14:22 – Then Joab fell to the ground on his face and bowed himself and blessed the king. And Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord king, because the king has fulfilled his servant's request.”
2 Sam. 15:25 – Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and its majesty.
2 Sam. 16:4 – So the king said to Ziba, “Here, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba bowed and said, “May I find favor in your eyes, lord, my king!”
1 Kings 11:16-18 – Hadad fled, along with all the Edomites who served his father, and they went to Egypt. Hadad was still a little child. 17Then men arose from the city of Midian and came to Paran, and after joining with other men, they came to Pharaoh king of Egypt. Hadad went to Pharaoh, who gave him a house and apportioned food for him. 18Thus Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him as wife the sister of his own wife, that is, the older sister of Tahpenes.
Esth. 2:8,9 – So when the king's ordinance was heard, many young maidens were gathered together in the city of Susa, under the custody of Hegai, and Esther was brought to Hegai, the custodian of the women. 9And the young woman pleased him and found favor in his sight. He hastened to give beauty treatments to her, and her portion, and the seven young maidens appointed to her from the palace. He himself treated her and her maidservants well in the women's quarters.
2:15 – Now when the time came for Esther the daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai, to go in to the king, she neglected nothing which the king's eunuch, the guardian of the women, commanded. Now Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.
2:17 –And the king loved Esther, and she found favor beyond all the other virgins, and he placed the queen's crown on her.
5:9 – And she said to him, “I saw you, my lord, as an angel of God, and my heart was troubled for fear of your majesty, for you, my lord, are awesome, and your face is full of kindness.”
6:3 – Then the king said, “Has any honor or favor been granted Mordecai?” And the king's servants said, “Nothing was done for him.”
7:3 – 2And the king said to Esther on this second day of the banquet, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? What is your petition? Let it be granted to you, even up to half my kingdom.” 3She said in reply, “If I have found favor in the sight of the king, let my life be given to me at my request, and my people at my petition.”
8:4,5 – 4Then the king held out his golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood beside the king and said, 5“If it seems good to you, and I have found favor, let a letter be sent out to revoke the letters sent out by Haman, which were written to annihilate all the Jews in your kingdom.”
Ps. 44:3 –You are more beautiful than the sons of men; grace was poured out on Your lips; Therefore God blessed You forever.
83:12 – 11 For one day in Your courts is better than a thousand; I chose to be an outcast in the house of my God, Rather than to dwell in the tents of sinners. 12 For the Lord God loves mercy and truth; He will give grace and glory; The Lord's hand will not remove good things from those who walk in innocence.
Prov. 1:9 – 9 Hear, my son, the instruction of your father, And do not reject the laws of your mother. 10 For you will receive a crown of grace on your head And a gold chain around your neck.
Prov. 3:3 – 3My son, do not forget my laws, But let your heart keep my words;†ω 2 For length of days, and years of life and peace They will add to you.† 3 Do not let almsgiving and faithfulness forsake you, But hang them upon your neck; 4 And you will find grace And provide good things before the Lord and men.
Prov. 3:23 – 23 My son, do not be careless, But keep my counsel and thinking,† 24 That your soul may live, And grace may be around your neck.
Prov. 3:34 – 38: 35 For every lawless man is unclean before the Lord, And he does not sit among the righteous. 36 The curse of God is in the houses of the ungodly, But He blesses the dwellings of the righteous. 37 The Lord opposes the arrogant, But He gives grace to the humble. 38 The wise shall inherit glory, But the ungodly exalt dishonor.
Prov. 4:4-9: – 4Hear, my children, the instruction of your father, And pay attention, that you might know his thinking. . . . I was obedient to my father, And beloved in the presence of my mother, 4 Who taught me, saying, “Let our word become firmly planted in your heart. . . .Love it, and it will keep you. 7 Secure it, and it shall exalt you; Honor it, that it may embrace you, 8 And give your head a crown of graces, And cover you with a crown of delight.”
Prov. 5:18,19: – 18 Let the fountain of your water be for you alone, And rejoice together with the wife of your youth. 19 Let your loving deer and graceful colt keep company with you, And let her alone go before you and be with you at all times; For in living with her love, you will be great.
Prov. 7:6 – So they may keep you from a strange and evil woman, if she comes at you with flattering words.
Prov. 8:32 –35: [Wisdom speaking:] 32 Now therefore, my son, hear me: Blessed is the man who shall hearken to me And the man who shall guard my ways; 33 Who watches daily at my doors, Who keeps watch at the doors of my entryways; 34 For my issues are the issues of life, And grace is prepared from the Lord. 35 But those who sin against me act ungodly toward their own souls, And those who hate me love death.”
Prov. 10:32,33: – 32 The mouth of a righteous man distills wisdom, But the tongue of an unrighteous man utterly destroys. 33 The lips of righteous men distill grace, But the mouth of the ungodly is perverse.
Prov. 11:23,24: – 23 There are those who sow their own things and produce more things, And there are those who gather but have less. 24 Every sincere soul is blessed, But an angry man is not graceful.
Prov. 11:26,27: He who plans good things seeks good grace, But he who seeks evil, it will capture him. 27 He who trusts in riches, this man will fall, But he who helps the righteous, this man will rise.
Prov. 12:2 – 12He who loves instruction loves perception, But he who hates correction is without discernment. 2 He who finds grace from the Lord becomes better, But a lawless man will be passed over in silence.
Prov. 13:16-18: – 16 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, But the man without understanding will die by a snare. 17 A good understanding gives grace, And to know the law is to be of a good mind, But the ways of scorners are destructive. 18 Every astute man acts with knowledge, But the man without discernment spreads out his own evil.
Prov. 15:18 – 18 Better is a dinner of herbs with friendship and grace Than a fatted calf with hostility.
Prov. 17:9 – Instruction awards benefits to those using it, and wherever it turns, it prospers them.
Prov. 17:19 – Let a friend be with you on every occasion, and let brethren be useful in necessities, for they are begotten for this reason.
Prov. 18:22 – He who finds a good wife finds benefits and receives cheerfulness from God.
Prov. 19:12 The anger of a king is like the roar of a lion, But as dew upon the grass, thus is his grace.
Prov. 22:1 – A good name is to be chosen more than much wealth, And good grace more than silver and gold.
Prov. 24:29,30: – 29 He who says about an ungodly man, “He is righteous,” Shall be accursed to people and despicable to nations; 30 But those who reprove him shall appear more excellent, And a good blessing shall come upon them; And they will kiss the lips that answer good words.
Prov. 25:10-12: When your friend reproaches you, Retreat and do not despise him, 11 Lest your friend continue to reproach you, And your quarrel and enmity shall not depart, But be equal to death for you. 12 grace and friendship free a man; Keep these for yourself, that you may not be reproached, But guard your ways peaceably.
Prov. 26:12 –There is shame that brings on sin, And there is shame that is glory and grace.
Prov. 28:25 –He who reproves a man's ways Shall have more grace than he who flatters him.
Prov. 30:7: Two things I ask from You: Do not take away grace from me before I die.
Ecc. 9:11 –I returned and saw under the sun that: The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor wealth to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of knowledge; For time and chance will happen to them all.
Ecc. 10:12 –The words of a wise mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up.
Cant. 8:10 –I am a wall, and my breasts are as towers; I was in his eyes as one who found peace.
Ezek. 12:24 –For there shall no longer be any false vision or favorable prophesying in the midst of the children of Israel.
Zech. 4:7 ‘Who are you, O great mountain, to set this right before the face of Zerubbabel?
For I will bring forth the stone of the inheritance, its grace equaling My grace.’ ”
Zech. 6:14 – And the crown shall be to those who endure patiently, to His useful men, and to those coming to understand it, and for the favor of the son of Zephaniah, and for a psalm in the house of the Lord.
Zech. 6:10 – And I will pour the spirit of grace and compassion upon the house of David and those inhabiting Jerusalem, and they shall look upon Me whom they mocked, and they will mourn for Him as for a beloved one, and they shall grieve profoundly as for a firstborn son.
Wisdom of Solomon: 3:14 Blessed also is the eunuch who has done no lawless deed, Nor thought evil things against the Lord; For a chosen grace of faith will be given to him, And a delightful portion in the temple of the Lord. 15 For the fruit of good labors is of good report, And the root of discernment is infallible.
Wisdom of Solomon 4:10-15: There was once a man [Enoch] pleasing to God and loved by Him, And while living among sinners he was taken up. 11 He was caught up lest evil change his understanding Or deceit deceive his soul. 12 For envy arising from lack of judgment obscures what is good, And a whirling of desire undermines an innocent heart. 13 He was made perfect, For in a short time he fulfilled long years, 14 For his soul was pleasing to the Lord; Therefore, He took him early from the midst of evil. Yet peoples saw this but did not understand, Nor take such a thing to heart, 15 That the Lord's grace and mercy are with His elect And that He watches over His holy ones.
The Wisdom of Sirach
Sir. 18:2 For Your holy ones did not harm those Who previously wronged them. So they were thankful and begged for grace For being at variance with them.
Sir. 3:18-19: The greater you are, the more humble you must be, And you will find grace before the Lord; 19 Because great is the power of the Lord, And He is honored by the humble.
Sir. 7:18 Do not exchange a friend for money, Nor a genuine brother for the gold of Ophir. 19 Do not ignore a wise and good wife, For her grace is worth more than gold. 20 Do not mistreat a servant who does his work in truth Nor a hired worker who devotes himself to you.
Sir. 20: 19 A man without grace is like a story told at the wrong time; It will continue on the lips of the ignorant. 20 A parable from the lips of a fool will be rejected, For he does not tell it at its proper time.
Sir. 21: 16 The explanation of a fool is like a burden on a journey, But grace will be on the lips of an intelligent man.
Sir. 24:16 [Wisdom speaking:] I spread forth my branches like a terebinth tree, And my branches were glory and grace. 17 I yield grace like a vine, And my flowers produce the fruit of glory and riches. 18 I am the mother of fair love, and fear, and knowledge, and holy hope: I therefore, being eternal, am given to all my children who are named by Him.
Sir. 26:13 A wife's grace will delight her husband, And her skill will put fat on his bones.
Sir. 37:20 A man who devises words craftily will be hated. This man will go hungry, 21 For grace was not given to him from the Lord, Because he is destitute of all wisdom.
Sir. 40: 17 grace is like a paradise in blessing, And almsgiving endures forever.
Sir. 40:22 The eye will desire grace and beauty, But the green shoots of grain are better than both.
All Septuagint Scriptures taken from the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Use of Charis or Grace in the New Testament
When a person reads the New Testament with a blank slate (i.e., no preconceptions about the meaning of grace), he or she finds that it has the same basic meaning as it does in the Septuagint. The meaning of charis did not change from the Septuagint to the New Testament. It still has the basic meaning of favor or goodwill.
In the New Testament, and to a lesser degree in the LXX, there are four nuanced senses of favor in which charis is used. It can mean (1) simply favor or goodwill, including gratitude or thanks (2) a favor, (3) a gift that shows goodwill, or (4) a reward given out of goodwill. charis also has a fifth meaning of “elegance,” as in “graceful,” but that use of the word doesn’t have any theological implications. In this latter sense, when applied to speech, it normally means “eloquent.”
I have listed below every single use of charis in the New Testament. If you look at each of these passages, I think you will find that one of these nuances meanings of charis will fit every time. At the same time, charis never means wages or a debt owed.
Luke 1:30: Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Luke 2:40: And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Luke 2:52: And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Luke 4:22: So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph's son?”
Luke 6:32-35: But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Luke 17:9: Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.
John 1:14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:16: And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:47: praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Acts 4:33: And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
Acts 6:8: And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 7:10: and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
Acts 7:46: who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.
Acts 11:23: When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
Acts 13:43: Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Acts 14:3: Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Acts 14:26: From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
Acts 15:11: But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
Acts 15:40: but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
Acts 18:27: And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.
Acts 20:24: But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 20:32: So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Acts 24:27: But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.
Acts 25:3: asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem--while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.
Acts 25:9: But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?”
Romans 1:5: Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name.
Romans 1:7: To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:24: being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Romans 4:4: Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Romans 4:16: Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
Romans 5:2: through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:15: But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
Romans 5:17: For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:20: Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
Romans 5:21: so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Romans 6:14: For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:15: What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Romans 6:17: But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
Romans 7:25: I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 11:5: Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:6: And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
Romans 12:3: For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Romans 12:6: Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith.
Romans 15:15: Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God.
Romans 16:20: And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Romans 16:24: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
1 Corinthians 1:3: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:4: I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:10: According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
1 Corinthians 10:30: But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
1 Corinthians 15:10: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Corinthians 15:57: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 16:3: And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 16:23: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
2 Corinthians 1:2: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:12: For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
2 Corinthians 1:15: And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit.
2 Corinthians 2:14: Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
2 Corinthians 4:15: For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 6:1: We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
2 Corinthians 8:1: Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
2 Corinthians 8:4: imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:6: So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.
2 Corinthians 8:7: But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:9: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:16: But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.
2 Corinthians 8:19: and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,
2 Corinthians 9:8: And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. br>
2 Corinthians 9:14: And by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
2 Corinthians 9:15: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 12:9: And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Galatians 1:3: grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,
Galatians 1:6: I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.
Galatians 1:15: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace.
Galatians 2:9: And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Galatians 2:21: I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
Galatians 5:4: You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 6:18: Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Ephesians 1:2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:6: To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:7: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
Ephesians 2:5: Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
Ephesians 2:7: That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 3:2 If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you.
Ephesians 3:7: Of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
Ephesians 3:8: To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Ephesians 4:7: But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Ephesians 6:24: Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Philippians 1:2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:7: Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
Philippians 4:23: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Colossians 1:2: To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:6: which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth.
Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Colossians 4:18: This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. grace be with you. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 1:1: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:28: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 1:2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:12: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:16: Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace.
2 Thessalonians 3:18: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, a true son in the faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Timothy 1:14: And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:21: By professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. grace be with you. Amen.
2 Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, a beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Tim 1:3: I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day.
2 Timothy 1:9: Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
2 Timothy 2:1: You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:22: The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. grace be with you. Amen.
Titus 1:4: To Titus, a true son in our common faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Titus 2:11: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Titus 3:7: That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:15: All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. grace be with you all. Amen.
Phm 1:3: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Phm 1:25: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Hebrews 2:9: But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Hebrews 4:16: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 10:29: Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 12:15: Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
Hebrews 12:28: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Hebrews 13:9: Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
Hebrews 13:25: Grace be with you all. Amen.
James 4:6: But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 1:2: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:10: Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you.
1 Peter 1:13: Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:7: Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Peter 4:10: As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 5:5: Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:10: But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
1 Peter 5:12: By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
2 Peter 1:2: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 3:18: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 John 1:3: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Jude 1:4: For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:4: John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.
Revelation 22:21: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
All New Testament Scriptures taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Use of Grace in the Early Christian Writings of the 2nd Century
When we read the writings of the faithful Christians who lived between A.D. 100 and 200, we can quickly see that they didn’t understand charis or grace to be any kind of super-word with an enormous amount of theology attached to it. They recognized that without God’s charis or goodwill, none of us could be saved. However, they all understood that after our initial conversion and baptism, we must walk faithfully and obediently with Christ in order for us to retain God’s goodwill.
I have set forth below every occurrence of the English word “grace” in the writings of the early Christians of the second century.
Volume One of the ANF
[Christ’s] blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God. Clement of Rome, Ch. 7
The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it, “As I live, says the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;” adding, moreover, this gracious declaration, “Repent, O house of Israel, of your iniquity. Say to the children of My people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, I and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, yet if ye turn to Me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people.” And in another place He speaks thus: “Wash you, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before mine eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together. He declares, Though your sins be like crimson, I will make them white as snow; though they be like scarlet, I will whiten them like wool. And if ye be willing and obey Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse, and will not hearken unto Me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken these things.” Clement of Rome, Ch. 8
And again He says, “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All that see Me have derided Me; they have spoken with their lips; they have wagged their head, [saying] He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him, let Him save Him, since He delights in Him.” Ye see, beloved, what is the example which has been given us; for if the Lord thus humbled Himself, what shall we do who have through Him come under the yoke of His grace? Clement of Rome, Ch. 16
“For God,” says [the Scripture], “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Clement of Rome, Ch. 30
Many, too, have surrendered themselves to slavery, that with the price which they received for themselves, they might provide food for others. Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits. Clement of Rome, Ch. 55
This is He who, being from everlasting, is to-day called the Son; through whom the Church is enriched, and grace, widely spread, increases in the saints, furnishing understanding, revealing mysteries, announcing times, rejoicing over the faithful, giving to those that seek, by whom the limits of faith are not broken through, nor the boundaries set by the fathers passed over. Then the fear of the law is chanted, and the grace of the prophets is known, and the faith of the gospels is established, and the tradition of the Apostles is preserved, and the grace of the Church exults; which grace if you grieve not, you shall know those things which the Word teaches, by whom He wills, and when He pleases. Diognetus, ch. 11
“In whom, though now ye see Him not, ye believe, and believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;” into which joy many desire to enter, knowing that “by grace ye are saved, not of works,” but by the will of God through Jesus Christ. Polycarp, ch. 1
For if any one be inwardly possessed of these graces, he has fulfilled the command of righteousness, since he that has love is far from all sin. Polycarp, ch. 3
And, looking to the grace of Christ, they despised all the torments of this world, redeeming themselves from eternal punishment by [the suffering of] a single hour. For this reason the fire of their savage executioners appeared cool to them. Martyrdom of Polycarp, ch. 2
The last times are come upon us. Let us therefore be of a reverent spirit, and fear the long-suffering of God, that it tend not to our condemnation. For let us either stand in awe of the wrath to come, or show regard for the grace which is at present displayed— one of two things. Only [in one way or another] let us be found in Christ Jesus unto the true life. Ignatius, Ephesians, ch.11
Stand fast, brethren, in the faith of Jesus Christ, and in His love, in His passion, and in His resurrection. Do ye all come together in common, and individually, through grace, in one faith of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ His only-begotten Son, and “the first-born of every creature,” Ignatius, Ephesians, ch. 20
Since, then, I have had the privilege of seeing you, through Damas your most worthy bishop, and through your worthy presbyters Bassus and Apollonius, and through my fellow-servant the deacon Sotio, whose friendship may I ever enjoy, inasmuch as he is subject to the bishop as to the grace of God, and to the presbytery as to the law of Jesus Christ Ignatius, Magnesians, ch. 2
Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace. For the divinest prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to fully convince the unbelieving that there is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence, and who in all things pleased Him that sent Him. Ignatius, Magnesians, ch. 8
For he has not received the prophecy which speaks thus concerning us: “The people shall be called by a new name, which the Lord shall name them, and shall be a holy people.” This was first fulfilled in Syria; for “the disciples were called Christians at Antioch,” when Paul and Peter were laying the foundations of the Church. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the corrupt leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven of grace. Abide in Christ, that the stranger may not have dominion over you. It is absurd to speak of Jesus Christ with the tongue, and to cherish in the mind a Judaism which has now come to an end. Ignatius, Magnesians, ch. 12
I also salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father: to those who are united, both according to the flesh and spirit, to every one of His commandments; who are filled inseparably with the grace of God, and are purified from every strange taint, [I wish] abundance of happiness unblameably, in Jesus Christ our God. Ignatius, Romans, intro
for I hope as a prisoner in Christ Jesus to salute you, if indeed it be the will of God that I be thought worthy of attaining unto the end. For the beginning has been well ordered, if I may obtain grace to cling to my lot without hindrance unto the end. Ignatius, Romans, ch. 1
But may those that dishonored them be forgiven through the grace of Jesus Christ! Ignatius, Romans, ch. 11
Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Let not [high] place puff any one up: for that which is worth all is faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred. But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty. Ignatius, Smyrna, ch. 6
Let all things, then, abound to you through grace, for ye are worthy. Ye have refreshed me in all things, and Jesus Christ [shall refresh] you. Ye have loved me when absent as well as when present. May God recompense you, for whose sake, while ye endure all things, ye shall attain unto Him. Ignatius, Smyrna, ch. 9
The love of the brethren at Troas salutes you; whence also I write to you by Burrhus, whom ye sent with me, together with the Ephesians, your brethren, and who has in all things refreshed me. And I would that all may imitate him, as being a pattern of a minister1056 of God. grace will reward him in all things. Ignatius, Smyrna, ch. 12
Having obtained good proof that thy mind is fixed in God as upon an immoveable rock, I loudly glorify [His name] that I have been thought worthy [to behold] thy blameless face, which may I ever enjoy in God! I entreat you, by the grace with which you art clothed, to press forward in thy course, and to exhort all that they may be saved. Maintain thy position with all care, both in the flesh and spirit. Ignatius, Polycarp, ch. 1
I salute Attalus, my beloved. I salute him who shall be deemed worthy to go [from you] into Syria. grace shall be with him forever, and with Polycarp that sends him. Ignatius, Polycarp, ch. 8
And these things he thus spoke, and thus testified, extending his love to Christ so far as one who was about to secure heaven through his good confession, and the earnestness of those who joined their prayers to his in regard to his [approaching] conflict; and to give a recompense to the Churches, who came to meet him through their rulers, sending1419 letters of thanksgiving to them, which dropped spiritual grace, along with prayer and exhortation. Martyrdom of Ignatius, ch. 4
And because the cross was to express the grace [of our redemption] by the letter Τ, he says also, “Three Hundred.” He signifies, therefore, Jesus by two letters, and the cross by one. Barnabas, ch. 9
He also mentions another miracle relating to Justus, surnamed Barsabas, how he swallowed a deadly poison, and received no harm, on account of the grace of the Lord. Papias, ch. 6
Glory and praise are before His face, strength and glorying are in the habitation of His holiness. Give Glory to the Lord, the Father everlasting. Receive grace, and enter His presence, and worship in His holy courts. Justin, Apology, ch. 41
But if you obey me, you shall adorn yourself not with ornament nor beauty that passes away and perishes, but with everlasting and precious graces. Justin, 2nd Apology, ch. 11
But impute it to your own wickedness, that God even can be accused by those who have no understanding, of not having always instructed all in the same righteous statutes. For such institutions seemed to be unreasonable and unworthy of God to many men, who had not received grace to know that your nation were called to conversion and repentance of spirit, while they were in a sinful condition and laboring under spiritual disease; Justin, Trypho, ch. 30
But now, by means of the contents of those Scriptures esteemed holy and prophetic amongst you, I attempt to prove all [that I have adduced], in the hope that some one of you may be found to be of that remnant which has been left by the grace of the Lord of Sabaoth for the eternal salvation. Justin, Trypho, ch. 32
“Moreover, the prescription that twelve bells be attached to the [robe] of the high priest, which hung down to the feet, was a symbol of the twelve apostles, who depend on the power of Christ, the eternal Priest; and through their voice it is that all the earth has been filled with the glory and grace of God and of His Christ. Wherefore David also says: ‘Their sound has gone forth into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’ Justin, Trypho, ch. 42
They will appear strange to you, although you read them every day; so that even from this fact we understand that, because of your wickedness, God has withheld from you the ability to discern the wisdom of His Scriptures; yet [there are] some exceptions, to whom, according to the grace of His long-suffering, as Isaiah said, He has left a seed of salvation, lest your race be utterly destroyed, like Sodom and Gomorrah. Justin, Trypho, ch. 55
Then I continued, “I purpose to quote to you Scriptures, not that I am anxious to make merely an artful display of words; for I possess no such faculty, but God’s grace alone has been granted to me to the understanding of His Scriptures, of which grace I exhort all to become partakers freely and bounteously, in order that they may not, through want of it, incur condemnation in the judgment which God the Maker of all things shall hold through my Lord Jesus Christ.” Justin, Trypho, ch. 58
but now, since I fear the judgment of God, I do not state an untimely opinion concerning any one of your nation, as to whether or not some of them may be saved by the grace of the Lord of Sabaoth. Therefore, although you act wrongfully, I shall continue to reply to any proposition you shall bring forward, and to any contradiction which you make. Justin, Trypho, ch. 64
Hence it would be becoming for you, sirs, to learn what you have not perceived, from those who have received grace from God, namely, from us Christians; and not to strive in every way to maintain your own doctrines, dishonoring those of God. Therefore also this grace has been transferred to us, as Isaiah says, speaking to the following effect: ‘This people draws near to Me, they honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; but in vain they worship Me, teaching the commands and doctrines of men. Therefore, behold, I will proceed to remove this people, and I shall remove them; and I shall take away the wisdom of their wise men, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent men.’ Justin, Trypho, ch. 78
Accordingly He rested, i.e., ceased, when He came, after whom, in the times of this dispensation wrought out by Him amongst men, it was requisite that such gifts should cease from you; and having received their rest in Him, should again, as had been predicted, become gifts which, from the grace of His Spirit’s power, He imparts to those who believe in Him, according as He deems each man worthy thereof. Justin, Trypho, ch. 87
“Unless, therefore, a man by God’s great grace receives the power to understand what has been said and done by the prophets, the appearance of being able to repeat the words or the deeds will not profit him, if he cannot explain the argument of them. And will they not assuredly appear contemptible to many, since they are related by those who understood them not? For if one should wish to ask you why, since Enoch, Noah with his sons, and all others in similar circumstances, who neither were circumcised nor kept the Sabbath, pleased God, God demanded by other leaders, and by the giving of the law after the lapse of so many generations, that those who lived between the times of Abraham and of Moses be justified by circumcision, Justin, Trypho, ch. 92
‘No man knows the Father but the Son; nor the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son will reveal Him.’ Accordingly He revealed to us all that we have perceived by His grace out of the Scriptures, so that we know Him to be the first-begotten of God, and to be before all creatures; Justin, Trypho, ch. 100
we have by the grace of our Jesus, according to His Father’s will, stripped ourselves of all those filthy wickednesses with which we were imbued. And though the devil is ever at hand to resist us, and anxious to seduce all to himself, yet the Angel of God, i.e., the Power of God sent to us through Jesus Christ, rebukes him, and he departs from us. And we are just as if drawn out from the fire, when purified from our former sins, and [rescued] from the affliction and the fiery trial by which the devil and all his coadjutors try us; out of which Jesus the Son of God has promised again to deliver us, and invest us with prepared garments, if we do His commandments; and has undertaken to provide an eternal kingdom [for us]. Justin, Trypho, ch. 116
Then I said again, “Would you suppose, gentlemen, that we could ever have understood these matters in the Scriptures, if we had not received grace to discern by the will of Him whose pleasure it was? Justin, Trypho, ch. 119
Noah, moreover, was the father of Abraham, and in fact of all men; and others were the progenitors of others. What larger measure of grace, then, did Christ bestow on Abraham? This, namely, that He called him with His voice by the like calling, telling him to quit the land wherein he dwelt. And He has called all of us by that voice, and we have left already the way of living in which we used to spend our days, passing our time in evil after the fashions of the other inhabitants of the earth; and along with Abraham we shall inherit the holy land, when we shall receive the inheritance for an endless eternity, being children of Abraham through the like faith. For as he believed the voice of God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, in like manner we having believed God’s voice spoken by the apostles of Christ, and promulgated to us by the prophets, have renounced even to death all the things of the world. Accordingly, He promises to him a nation of similar faith, God-fearing, righteous, and delighting the Father; but it is not you, ‘in whom is no faith.’ Justin, Trypho, ch. 119
on whom also a pillar of light shone, in order that you, more than any other nation in the world, might possess a peculiar light, never-failing and never-setting; for whom He rained manna as nourishment, fit for the heavenly angels, in order that you might have no need to prepare your food; and the water at Marah was made sweet; and a sign of Him that was to be crucified was made, both in the matter of the serpents which bit you, as I already mentioned (God anticipating before the proper times these mysteries, in order to confer grace upon you, to whom you are always convicted of being thankless), as well as in the type of the extending of the hands of Moses, and of Oshea being named Jesus (Joshua); when you fought against Amalek. Justin, Trypho, ch. 131
Then said the prefect Rusticus to Chariton, “Tell me further, Chariton, are you also a Christian?” Chariton said, “I am a Christian by the command of God.” Rusticus the prefect asked the woman Charito, “What say you, Charito?” Charito said, “I am a Christian by the grace of God.” Rusticus said to Euelpistus, “And what are you?” Euelpistus, a servant of Cæsar, answered, “I too am a Christian, having been freed by Christ; and by the grace of Christ I partake of the same hope.” Martyrdom of Justin, ch. 3
Irenaeus -- Against Heresies: Book I
Note: Page references are to Volume 1 of the Ante-Nicene Fathers
In fine, as I (to gratify thy long-cherished desire for information regarding the tenets of these persons) have spared no pains, not only to make these doctrines known to you, but also to furnish the means of showing their falsity; so shalt you, according to the grace given to you by the Lord, prove an earnest and efficient minister to others, that men may no longer be drawn away by the plausible system of these heretics, which I now proceed to describe. Prologue
Others of them, again, who pretend at first to live in all modesty with them as with sisters, have in course of time been revealed in their true colors, when the sister has been found with child by her [pretended] brother. 4. And committing many other abominations and impieties, they run us down (who from the fear of God guard against sinning even in thought or word) as utterly contemptible and ignorant persons, while they highly exalt themselves, and claim to be perfect, and the elect seed. For they declare that we simply receive grace for use, wherefore also it will again be taken away from us; but that they themselves have grace as their own special possession, which has descended from above by means of an unspeakable and indescribable conjunction; and on this account more will be given them. They maintain, therefore, that in every way it is always necessary for them to practice the mystery of conjunction. Chap. 6
In order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess” to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send “spiritual wickednesses,” and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory. Chap. 10, 1
4. But already some of the most faithful women, possessed of the fear of God, and not being deceived (whom, nevertheless, he did his best to seduce like the rest by bidding them prophesy), abhorring and execrating him, have withdrawn from such a vile company of revelers. This they have done, as being well aware that the gift of prophecy is not conferred on men by Marcus, the magician, but that only those to whom God sends His grace from above possess the divinely-bestowed power of prophesying; and then they speak where and when God pleases, and not when Marcus orders them to do so. For that which commands is greater and of higher authority than that which is commanded, inasmuch as the former rules, while the latter is in a state of subjection. chap. 13, 4
2. Now this Simon of Samaria, from whom all sorts of heresies derive their origin, formed his sect out of the following materials:—Having redeemed from slavery at Tyre, a city of Phoenicia, a certain woman named Helena, he was in the habit of carrying her about with him, declaring that this woman was the first conception of his mind, the mother of all, by whom, in the beginning, he conceived in his mind [the thought] of forming angels and archangels. . . . 3. For this purpose, then, he had come that he might win her first, and free her from slavery, while he conferred salvation upon men, by making himself known to them. For since the angels ruled the world ill because each one of them coveted the principal power for himself, he had come to amend matters, and had descended, transfigured and assimilated to powers and principalities and angels, so that he might appear among men to be a man, while yet he was not a man; and that thus he was thought to have suffered in Judaea, when he had not suffered. Moreover, the prophets uttered their predictions under the inspiration of those angels who formed the world; for which reason those who place their trust in him and Helena no longer regarded them, but, as being free, live as they please; for men are saved through his grace, and not on account of their own righteous actions. ch. 23, 2,3
But they declare that from the Light, which is Christ, and from Aphtharsia, four luminaries were sent forth to surround Autogenes; and again from Thelema and Zoe Aionios four other emissions took place, to wait upon these four luminaries; and these they name charis (grace), Thelesis (will), Synesis (understanding), and Phronesis (prudence). Of these, charis is connected with the great and first luminary: him they represent as Soter (Savior), p. 354
3. If, however, any one do not discover the cause of all those things which become objects of investigation, let him reflect that man is infinitely inferior to God; that he has received grace only in part, and is not yet equal or similar to his Maker; and, moreover, that he cannot have experience or form a conception of all things like God; but in the same proportion as he who was formed but to-day, and received the beginning of his creation, is inferior to Him who is uncreated, and who is always the same, in that proportion is he, as respects knowledge and the faculty of investigating the causes of all things, inferior to Him who made him. For you, O man, art not an uncreated being, nor didst you always co-exist with God, as did His own Word; but now, through His pre-eminent goodness, receiving the beginning of thy creation, you dost gradually learn from the Word the dispensations of God who made you. p. 397
3. If, therefore, even with respect to creation, there are some things [the knowledge of] which belongs only to God, and others which come within the range of our own knowledge, what ground is there for complaint, if, in regard to those things which we investigate in the Scriptures (which are throughout spiritual), we are able by the grace of God to explain some of them, while we must leave others in the hands of God p. 400
And we, while upon the earth, as Paul also declares, “know in part, and prophesy in part.” Since, therefore, we know but in part, we ought to leave all sorts of [difficult] questions in the hands of Him who in some measure, [and that only,] bestows grace on us. p. 401-402
4. If, however, they maintain that the Lord, too, performed such works simply in appearance, we shall refer them to the prophetical writings, and prove from these both that all things were thus predicted regarding Him, and did take place undoubtedly, and that He is the only Son of God. Wherefore, also, those who are in truth His disciples, receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from Him. p. 409
And therefore, when the number [fixed upon] is completed, [that number] which He had predetermined in His own counsel, all those who have been enrolled for life [eternal] shall rise again, having their own bodies, and having also their own souls, and their own spirits, in which they had pleased God. Those, on the other hand, who are worthy of punishment, shall go away into it, they too having their own souls and their own bodies, in which they stood apart from the grace of God. Both classes shall then cease from any longer begetting and being begotten, from marrying and being given in marriage; p. 411 – ch. 33
And again, He thus speaks respecting the salvation of man: “He asked life of You, and You gave him length of days for ever and ever;” indicating that it is the Father of all who imparts continuance for ever and ever on those who are saved. For life does not arise from us, nor from our own nature; but it is bestowed according to the grace of God. And therefore he who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him who imparted it, shall receive also length of days for ever and ever. But he who shall reject it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been created, and has not recognized Him who bestowed [the gift upon him], deprives himself of [the privilege of] continuance for ever and ever. Irenaeus p. 412
whom He says, “I have said, Ye are gods, and all sons of the Most High.” To those, no doubt, who have received the grace of the “adoption, by which we cry, Abba Father.” p. 419
And when he shall have divested his mind of such error, and of that blasphemy against God which it implies, he will of himself find reason to acknowledge that both the Mosaic law and the grace of the new covenant, as both fitted for the times [at which they were given], were bestowed by one and the same God for the benefit of the human race. p. 435
not receiving the incorruptible Word, they remain in mortal flesh, and are debtors to death, not obtaining the antidote of life. To whom the Word says, mentioning His own gift of grace: “I said, Ye are all the sons of the Highest, and gods; but ye shall die like men.” He speaks undoubtedly these words to those who have not received the gift of adoption, but who despise the incarnation of the pure generation of the Word of God p. 449
And again: “Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then he introduces the Deliverer, [saying,] “The grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.” And Isaiah declares this also, [when he says:] “Be ye strengthened, ye hands that hang down, and ye feeble knees; be ye encouraged, ye feeble-minded; be comforted, fear not: behold, our God has given judgment with retribution, and shall recompense: He will come Himself, and will save us.” Here we see, that not by ourselves, but by the help of God, we must be saved. p. 451
They indeed, had they been cognizant of our future existence, and that we should use these proofs from the Scriptures, would themselves never have hesitated to burn their own Scriptures, which do declare that all other nations partake of [eternal] life, and show that they who boast themselves as being the house of Jacob and the people of Israel, are disinherited from the grace of God. p. 452 – ch. 21
3. Since, therefore, the Scriptures have been interpreted with such fidelity, and by the grace of God, and since from these God has prepared and formed again our faith towards His Son, and has preserved to us the unadulterated Scriptures in Egypt, where the house of Jacob flourished, fleeing from the famine in Canaan. p. 452
For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace. p. 459
1. God, therefore, is one and the same, who rolls up the heaven as a book, and renews the face of the earth; who made the things of time for man, so that coming to maturity in them, he may produce the fruit of immortality; and who, through His kindness, also bestows [upon him] eternal things, “that in the ages to come He may show the exceeding riches of His grace;” who was announced by the law and the prophets, whom Christ confessed as His Father. Now He is the Creator, and He it is who is God over all, as Esaias says, p. 466 – ch. 5
But one and the same householder produced both covenants, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who spoke with both Abraham and Moses, and who has restored us anew to liberty, and has multiplied that grace which is from Himself. p. 472
but are used in the case of those of the same substance, and which possess properties in common, but merely differ in number and size; such as water from water, and light from light, and grace from grace. Greater, therefore, is that legislation which has been given in order to liberty than that given in order to bondage; and therefore it has also been diffused, not throughout one nation [only], but over the whole world. For one and the same Lord, who is greater than the temple, greater than Solomon, and greater than Jonah, confers gifts upon men, that is, His own presence, and the resurrection from the dead; p. 472
since He is [ever] the same, and is always willing to confer a greater [degree of] grace upon the human race, and to honor continually with many gifts those who please Him? p. 473
3. As, therefore, He has promised to give very much to those who do now bring forth fruit, according to the gift of His grace, but not according to the changeableness of “knowledge;” for the Lord remains the same, and the same Father is revealed; thus, therefore, has the one and the same Lord granted, by means of His advent, a greater gift of grace to those of a later period, than what He had granted to those under the Old Testament dispensation. For they indeed used to hear, by means of [His] servants, that the King would come, and they rejoiced to a certain extent, inasmuch as they hoped for His coming; but those who have beheld Him actually present, and have obtained liberty, and been made partakers of His gifts, do possess a greater amount of grace, and a higher degree of exultation, rejoicing because of the King’s arrival: as also David says, “My soul shall rejoice in the Lord; it shall be glad in His salvation.” p. 475
4. If, therefore, the self-same person is present who was announced by the prophets, our Lord Jesus Christ, and if His advent has brought in a fuller [measure of] grace and greater gifts to those who have received Him, it is plain that the Father also is Himself the same who was proclaimed by the prophets. p. 475
For He did not set us free for this purpose, that we should depart from Him (no one, indeed, while placed out of reach of the Lord’s benefits, has power to procure for himself the means of salvation), but that the more we receive His grace, the more we should love Him. Now the more we have loved Him, the more glory shall we receive from Him, when we are continually in the presence of the Father. p. 478
And for this reason did the Word become the dispenser of the paternal grace for the benefit of men, for whom He made such great dispensations, revealing God indeed to men, but presenting man to God, and preserving at the same time the invisibility of the Father. p. 490
Now all those believed in Him who had hope towards Him, that is, those who proclaimed His advent, and submitted to His dispensations, the righteous men, the prophets, and the patriarchs, to whom He remitted sins in the same way as He did to us, which sins we should not lay to their charge, if we would not despise the grace of God. For as these men did not impute unto us (the Gentiles) our transgressions, which we wrought before Christ was manifested among us, so also it is not right that we should lay blame upon those who sinned before Christ’s coming. p. 499
For as He gave by His advent a greater privilege to those who believed on Him, and who do His will, so also did He point out that those who did not believe on Him should have a more severe punishment in the judgment; thus extending equal justice to all, and being to exact more from those to whom He gives the more; the more, however, not because He reveals the knowledge of another Father, as I have shown so fully and so repeatedly, but because He has, by means of His advent, poured upon the human race the greater gift of paternal grace. pp. 516-517
1. The Apostle Paul has, moreover, in the most lucid manner, pointed out that man has been delivered over to his own infirmity, lest, being uplifted, he might fall away from the truth. Thus he says in the second [Epistle] to the Corinthians: “And lest I should be lifted up by the sublimity of the revelations, there was given unto me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me. And upon this I besought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. But he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you; for strength is made perfect in weakness. Gladly therefore shall I rather glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” What, therefore? (as some may exclaim:) did the Lord wish, in that case, that His apostles should thus undergo buffeting, and that he should endure such infirmity? Even so it was; the word says it. For strength is made perfect in weakness, rendering him a better man who by means of his infirmity becomes acquainted with the power of God. For how could a man have learned that he is himself an infirm being, and mortal by nature, but that God is immortal and powerful, unless he had learned by experience. p. 529
For if the earnest, gathering man into itself, does even now cause him to cry, “Abba, Father,” what shall the complete grace of the Spirit effect, which shall be given to men by God? It will render us like unto Him, and accomplish the will of the Father; for it shall make man after the image and likeness of God. pp. 533-534
And in continuation he says, “And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten by the Father, full of grace and truth.” He thus plainly points out to those willing to hear, that is, to those having ears, that there is one God, the Father over all, and one Word of God, who is through all, by whom all things have been made; and that this world belongs to Him, and was made by Him, according to the Father’s will, and not by angels; nor by apostasy. p. 547
2. He taught by His commandment that we who have been set free should, when hungry, take that food which is given by God; and that, when placed in the exalted position of every grace [that can be received], we should not, either by trusting to works of righteousness, or when adorned with super-eminent [gifts of] ministration, by any means be lifted up with pride, nor should we tempt God, but should feel humility in all things, and have ready to hand [this saying], “You shall not tempt the Lord thy God.” As also the apostle taught, saying, “Minding not high things, but consenting to things of low estate;” that we should neither be ensnared with riches, nor mundane glory, nor present fancy. p. 551
Whatsoever things he had heard from them respecting the Lord, both with regard to His miracles and His teaching, Polycarp having thus received [information] from the eye-witnesses of the Word of life, would recount them all in harmony with the Scriptures. These things, through, God’s mercy which was upon me, I then listened to attentively, and treasured them up not on paper, but in my heart; and I am continually, by God’s grace, revolving these things accurately in my mind. p. 568
VII. This [custom], of not bending the knee upon Sunday, is a symbol of the resurrection, through which we have been set free, by the grace of Christ, from sins, and from death, which has been put to death under Him. Now this custom took its rise from apostolic times, p. 570
XX. “And he laid his hands upon him.” The countenance of Joshua was also glorified by the imposition of the hands of Moses, but not to the same degree [as that of Moses]. Inasmuch, then, as he had obtained a certain degree of grace, [the Lord] said, “And you shall confer upon him of thy glory.” For [in this case] the thing given does not cease to belong to the giver. p. 572
The Use of grace in the Early Christian Writings of the 2nd Century, Volume 2 of the ANF
All page references are to Volume 2 of the ANF
And they were clothed with linen tunics, and gracefully girded, having their right shoulders exposed, as if about to bear some burden. Hermas – Similitude 9th – ch. 2
The Lord, therefore, seeing their simplicity and all their meekness, multiplied them amid the labors of their hands, and gave them grace in all their doings. And I, the angel of repentance, say to you who are such, Continue to be such as these, and your seed will never be blotted out; Hermas p. 52, ch. 24
But far be it from Christians to conceive any such deeds; for with them temperance dwells, self-restraint is practiced, monogamy is observed, chastity is guarded, iniquity exterminated, sin extirpated, righteousness exercised, law administered, worship performed, God acknowledged: truth governs, grace guards, peace screens them; the holy word guides, wisdom teaches, life directs, God reigns. Theophilus, p. 115, ch. 15
Clement of Alexandria
The instrument of God loves mankind. The Lord pities, instructs, exhorts, admonishes, saves, shields, and of His bounty promises us the kingdom of heaven as a reward for learning; and the only advantage He reaps is, that we are saved. For wickedness feeds on men’s destruction; but truth, like the bee, harming nothing, delights only in the salvation of men. You have, then, God’s promise; you have His love: become partaker of His grace. And do not suppose the song of salvation to be new, as a vessel or a house is new. Clement of Alexandria of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen, p. 173
This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man—the Author of all blessings to us; by whom we, being taught to live well, are sent on our way to life eternal. For, according to that inspired apostle of the Lord, “the grace of God which bringeth salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for the blessed hope, and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” This is the New Song, the manifestation of the Word that was in the beginning, and before the beginning. The Savior, who existed before, has in recent days appeared. Clement of Alexandria, p. 173
The Savior has many tones of voice, and many methods for the salvation of men; by threatening He admonishes, by upbraiding He converts, by bewailing He pities, by the voice of song He cheers. He spoke by the burning bush, for the men of that day needed signs and wonders. He awed men by the fire when He made flame to burst from the pillar of cloud—a token at once of grace and fear: if you obey, there is the light; if you disobey, there is the fire; Clement of Alexandria, p. 174
And art not you afraid as you hear the voice of the Divine Word? Art not you distressed? Do you not fear, and hasten to learn of Him,—that is, to salvation,—dreading wrath, loving grace, eagerly striving after the hope set before us, that you may shun the judgment threatened? Come, come, O my young people! For if you become not again as little children, and be born again, as saith the Scripture, you shall not receive the truly existent Father, nor shall you ever enter into the kingdom of heaven. p. 195, ch. 9
So I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter into My rest.” Look to the threatening! Look to the exhortation! Look to the punishment! Why, then, should we any longer change grace into wrath, and not receive the word with open ears, and entertain God as a guest in pure spirits? For great is the grace of His promise, “if to-day we hear His voice.” And that to-day is lengthened out day by day, while it is called to-day. And to the end the to-day and the instruction continue; and then the true to-day, the never-ending day of God, extends over eternity. Let us then ever obey the voice of the divine word. For the to-day signifies eternity. Clement of Alexandria, p. 196
And day is the symbol of light; and the light of men is the Word, by whom we behold God. Rightly, then, to those that have believed and obey, grace will superabound; while with those that have been unbelieving, and err in heart, and have not known the Lord’s ways, which John commanded to make straight and to prepare, God is incensed, and those He threatens. Clement of Alexandria, p. 196
Noble and desirable is this inheritance: not gold, not silver, not raiment, which the moth assails, and things of earth which are assailed by the robber, whose eye is dazzled by worldly wealth; but it is that treasure of salvation to which we must hasten, by becoming lovers of the Word. Thence praise-worthy works descend to us, and fly with us on the wing of truth. This is the inheritance with which the eternal covenant of God invests us, conveying the everlasting gift of grace; and thus our loving Father—the true Father—ceases not to exhort, admonish, train, love us. For He ceases not to save, and advises the best course: “Become righteous,” says the Lord. Clement of Alexandria, p. 199
What glory, tell me, O blessed One, which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man;” and “they shall be glad in the kingdom of their Lord for ever and ever! Amen.” You have, O men, the divine promise of grace; you have heard, on the other hand, the threatening of punishment: by these the Lord saves, teaching men by fear and grace. Why do we delay? Why do we not shun the punishment? Why do we not receive the free gift? Why, in fine, do we not choose the better part, God instead of the evil one, and prefer wisdom to idolatry, and take life in exchange for death? “Behold,” He says, “I have set before your face death and life.” The Lord tries you, that “you may choose life.” He counsels you as a father to obey God. “For if ye hear Me,” He says, “and be willing, ye shall eat the good things of the land:” this is the grace attached to obedience. “But if ye obey Me not, and are unwilling, the sword and fire shall devour you:” this is the penalty of disobedience. Clement of Alexandria, p. 199
For there are miserable wretches of humankind, who consider that God utters His voice by the raven and the jackdaw, but says nothing by man; and honor the raven as a messenger of God. But the man of God, who croaks not, nor chatters, but speaks rationally and instructs lovingly, alas, they persecute; and while he is inviting them to cultivate righteousness, they try inhumanly to slay him, neither welcoming the grace which comes from above, nor fearing the penalty. For they believe not God, nor understand His power, whose love to man is ineffable; and His hatred of evil is inconceivable. His anger augments punishment against sin; His love bestows blessings on repentance. It is the height of wretchedness to be deprived of the help which comes from God. Clement of Alexandria, pp. 201-202
What, then, is the exhortation I give you? I urge you to be saved. This Christ desires. In one word, He freely bestows life on you. And who is He? Briefly learn. The Word of truth, the Word of incorruption, that regenerates man by bringing him back to the truth—the goad that urges to salvation—He who expels destruction and pursues death—He who builds up the temple of God in men, that He may cause God to take up His abode in men. Cleanse the temple; and pleasures and amusements abandon to the winds and the fire, as a fading flower; but wisely cultivate the fruits of self-command, and present thyself to God as an offering of first-fruits, that there may be not the work alone, but also the grace of God; and both are requisite, that the friend of Christ may be rendered worthy of the kingdom, and be counted worthy of the kingdom. Clement of Alexandria, p. 205
This Jesus, who is eternal, the one great High Priest of the one God, and of His Father, prays for and exhorts men. “Hear, ye myriad tribes, rather whoever among men are endowed with reason, both barbarians and Greeks. I call on the whole race of men, whose Creator I am, by the will of the Father. Come to Me, that you may be put in your due rank under the one God and the one Word of God; and do not only have the advantage of the irrational creatures in the possession of reason; for to you of all mortals I grant the enjoyment of immortality. For I want, I want to impart to you this grace, bestowing on you the perfect boon of immortality; and I confer on you both the Word and the knowledge of God, My complete self. Clement of Alexandria, p. 206
And if what belongs to friends be reckoned common property, and man be the friend of God—for through the mediation of the Word has he been made the friend of God—then accordingly all things become man’s, because all things are God’s, and the common property of both the friends, God and man. It is time, then, for us to say that the pious Christian alone is rich and wise, and of noble birth, and thus call and believe him to be God’s image, and also His likeness, having become righteous and holy and wise by Jesus Christ, and so far already like God. Accordingly this grace is indicated by the prophet, when he says, “I said that ye are gods, and all sons of the Highest.” For us, yea us, He has adopted, and wishes to be called the Father of us alone, not of the unbelieving. Such is then our position who are the attendants of Christ. Clement of Alexandria, p. 206
To you still remains this conclusion, to choose which will profit you most—judgment or grace. For I do not think there is even room for doubt which of these is the better; nor is it allowable to compare life with destruction. Clement of Alexandria, p. 206
For if the God of both is one, the master of both is also one; one church, one temperance, one modesty; their food is common, marriage an equal yoke; respiration, sight, hearing, knowledge, hope, obedience, love all alike. And those whose life is common, have common graces and a common salvation; common to them are love and training. p. 211-212, ch. 4
He did not then learn anything more from him? Certainly not. But He is perfected by the washing—of baptism—alone, and is sanctified by the descent of the Spirit? Such is the case. The same also takes place in our case, whose exemplar Christ became. Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal. “I,” says He, “have said that ye are gods, and all sons of the Highest.” This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing: washing, by which we cleanse away our sins; grace, by which the penalties accruing to transgressions are remitted; and illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly. Now we call that perfect which wants nothing. For what is yet wanting to him who knows God? For it were truly monstrous that that which is not complete should be called a 216 gift (or act) of God’s grace. Being perfect, He consequently bestows perfect gifts. As at His command all things were made, so on His bare wishing to bestow grace, ensues the perfecting of His grace. For the future of time is anticipated by the power of His volition. p. 216
Further, the abandonment of what is bad is the adopting of what is better. For what ignorance has bound ill, is by knowledge loosed well; those bonds are with all speed slackened by human faith and divine grace, our transgressions being taken away by one Poeonian medicine, the baptism of the Word. We are washed from all our sins, are no longer entangled in evil. This is the one grace of illumination, that our characters are not the same as before our washing. pp. 216-217
You will certainly find nothing else more nourishing, or sweeter, or whiter than milk. In every respect, accordingly, it is like spiritual nourishment, which is sweet through grace, nourishing as life, bright as the day of Christ. p. 220
Now the law is ancient grace given through Moses by the Word. Wherefore also the Scripture says, “The law was given through Moses,” not by Moses, but by the Word, and through Moses His servant. Wherefore it was only temporary; but eternal grace and truth were by Jesus Christ. Mark the expressions of Scripture: of the law only is it said “was given;” but truth being the grace of the Father, is the eternal work of the Word; and it is not said to be given, but to be by Jesus, without whom nothing was. p. 225
For the Instructor testifies to the good, and summons forth to better things those that are called; dissuades those that are hastening to do wrong from the attempt, and exhorts them to turn to a better life. For the one is not without testimony, when the other has been testified to; and the grace which proceeds from the testimony is very great. Besides, the feeling of anger (if it is proper to call His admonition anger) is full of love to man, God condescending to emotion on man’s account; for whose sake also the Word of God became man. p. 228
“And a fair and graceful harlot skilled in enchanted potions.” With consummate art, after applying to the virgin the opprobrious name of whoredom, He thereupon calls her back to an honorable life by filling her with shame. p. 230
From all slavish habits and excess we must abstain, and touch what is set before us in a decorous way; keeping the hand and couch and chin free of stains; preserving the grace of the countenance undisturbed, and committing no indecorum in the act of swallowing; p. 241
And the mixture of both—of the water and of the Word—is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul. p. 243
But women, making a profession, forsooth, of aiming at the graceful, that their lips may not be rent apart by stretching them on broad drinking cups, and so widening the mouth, drinking in an unseemly way out of alabastra quite too narrow: in the mouth, throw back their heads and bare their necks indecently, as I think; and distending the throat in swallowing, gulp down the liquor as if to make bare all they can to their boon companions; and drawing hiccups like men, or rather like slaves, revel in luxurious riot. For nothing disgraceful is proper for man, who is endowed with reason; much less for woman to whom it brings modesty even to reflect of what nature she is. p. 246
In the present instance He is a guest with us. For the apostle adds again, “Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to God.” p. 249
Finally, before partaking of sleep, it is a sacred duty to give thanks to God, having enjoyed His grace and love, and so go straight to sleep. p. 249
Wherefore always contemplating God, and by perpetual converse with Him inoculating the body with wakefulness, it raises man to equality with angelic grace, and from the practice of wakefulness it grasps the eternity of life. p. 259, ch. 9
For the field is the world, and we who are bedewed by the grace of God are the grass; and though cut down, we spring up again, as will be shown at greater length in the book On the Resurrection. p. 265
We have heard, too, that the Jerusalem above is walled with sacred stones; and we allow that the twelve gates of the celestial city, by being made like precious stones, indicate the transcendent grace of the apostolic voice. For the colors are laid on in precious stones, and these colors are precious; while the other parts remain of earthy material. p. 268
Perish, then, the savage beasts whose food is blood! For it is unlawful for men, whose body is nothing but flesh elaborated of blood, to touch blood. For human blood has become a partaker of the Word: it is a participant of grace by the Spirit; and if any one injure him, he will not escape unnoticed. p. 278
But if we must distinguish, let it be granted that he is rich who has many possessions, loaded with gold like a dirty purse; but the righteous alone is graceful, because grace is order, observing a due and decorous measure in managing and distributing. p. 280
But temperance in drinks, and moderation in articles of food, are effectual in producing beauty according to nature; for not only does the body maintain its health from these, but they also make beauty to appear. For from what is fiery arises a gleam and sparkle; and from moisture, brightness and grace; and from dryness, strength and firmness; p. 287
Out of a confused heap who didst create This ordered sphere, and from the shapeless mass Of matter didst the universe adorn;— Grant to me life, and be that life well spent, Thy grace enjoying; let me act and speak In all things as Thy Holy Scriptures teach; Thee and Thy co-eternal Word, All-wise, From Thee proceeding, ever may I praise p. 296
And now the Savior shows Himself, out of His abundance, dispensing goods to His servants according to the ability of the recipient, that they may augment them by exercising activity, and then returning to reckon with them; when, approving of those that had increased His money, those faithful in little, and commanding them to have the charge over many things, He bade them enter into the joy of the Lord. But to him who had hid the money, entrusted to him to be given out at interest, and had given it back as he had received it, without increase, He said, “You wicked and slothful servant, you oughtest to have given my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received mine own.” Wherefore the useless servant “shall be cast into outer darkness.” “You, therefore, be strong,” says Paul, “in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” And again: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If, then, both proclaim the Word—the one by writing, the other by speech—are not both then to be approved, making, as they do, faith active by love? It is by one’s own fault that he does not choose what is best; God is free of blame. As to the point in hand, it is the business of some to lay out the word at interest, and of others to test it, and either choose it or not. And the judgment is determined within themselves. p. 300
The writing of these memoranda of mine, I well know, is weak when compared with that spirit, full of grace, which I was privileged to hear. But it will be an image to recall the archetype to him who was struck with the thyrsus. For “speak,” it is said, “to a wise man, and he will grow wiser; and to him that has, and there shall be added to him.” p. 302
And similarly both the grass and the wheat sprout; and the figs and any other reckless trees grow on sepulchres. And things that grow, appear as a type of truths. For they enjoy the same influence of the rain. But they have not the same grace as those which spring up in rich soil, inasmuch as they are withered or plucked up. And here we are aided by the parable of the sower, which the Lord interpreted. For the husbandman of the soil which is among men is one; He who from the beginning, from the foundation of the world, sowed nutritious seeds; He who in each age rained down the Lord, the Word. But the times and places which received [such gifts], created the differences which exist. p. 308
One speaks in one way of the truth, in another way the truth interprets itself. The guessing at truth is one thing, and truth itself is another. Resemblance is one thing, the thing itself is another. And the one results from learning and practice, the other from power and faith. For the teaching of piety is a gift, but faith is grace. “For by doing the will of God we know the will of God.” “Open, then,” says the Scripture, “the gates of righteousness; and I will enter in, and confess to the LORD. pp. 308-309, ch. 7
Whence he adds, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,”—that is “corrupt communication” which proceeds out of conceit,—“but that which is good for the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.” And the word of the good God must needs be good. And how is it possible that he who saves shall not be good? p. 321
Wherefore also the Word says, “Call no man master on earth.” For knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, what is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter. pp. 350-351
Mistake is a sin contrary to calculation; and voluntary sin is crime; and crime is voluntary wickedness. Sin, then, is on my part voluntary. Wherefore says the apostle, “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Addressing those who have believed, he says, “For by His stripes we were healed.” Mistake is the involuntary action of another towards me, while a crime alone is voluntary, whether my act or another’s. These differences of sins are alluded to by the Psalmist, when he calls those blessed whose iniquities God has blotted out, and whose sins He has covered. Others He does not impute, and the rest He forgives. For it is written, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD will not impute sin, and in whose mouth there is no fraud.” This blessedness came on those who had been chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For “love hides the multitude of sins.” And they are blotted out by Him “who desireth the repentance rather than the death of a sinner.” And those are not reckoned that are not the effect of choice; “for he who has lusted has already committed adultery,” it is said. And the illuminating Word forgives sins. p. 362
Respecting imparting and communicating, though much might be said, let it suffice to remark that the law prohibits a brother from taking usury: designating as a brother not only him who is born of the same parents, but also one of the same race and sentiments, and a participator in the same word; deeming it right not to take usury for money, but with open hands and heart to bestow on those who need. For God, the author and the dispenser of such grace, takes as suitable usury the most precious things to be found among men—mildness, gentleness, magnanimity, reputation, renown. Do you not regard this command as marked by philanthropy? As also the following, “To pay the wages of the poor daily,” teaches to discharge without delay the wages due for service; for, as I think, the alacrity of the poor with reference to the future is paralyzed when he has suffered want. pp. 366, 367
For by these instances it is shown that both good things and gifts are supplied by God; and that we, becoming ministers of the divine grace, ought to sow the benefits of God, and make those who approach us noble and good; so that, as far as possible, the temperate man may make others continent, he that is manly may make them noble, he that is wise may make them intelligent, and the just may make them just. p. 369
“Now all the generations from Adam to this day are gone. But they who have been perfected in love, through the grace of God, hold the place of the godly, who shall be manifested at the visitation of the kingdom of Christ.” Love permits not to sin; but if it fall into any such case, by reason of the interference of the adversary, in imitation of David, it will sing: “I will confess unto the Lord, and it will please Him above a young bullock that has horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad.” For he says, “Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay to the Lord thy vows; and call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and you shalt glorify me.”2852 “For the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit. p. 430
For this is to be drawn by the Father, to become worthy to receive the power of grace from God, so as to run without hindrance. And if some hate the elect, such an one knows their ignorance, and pities their minds for its folly. p. 435
MISCELLANIES, BOOK V.
But since some are unbelieving, and some are disputatious, all do not attain to the perfection of the good. 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. And we must possess the healthy mind which is fixed on the pursuit of the good; in order to which we have the greatest need of divine grace, and of right teaching, and of holy susceptibility, and of the drawing of the Father to Him. p. 446
For “I became all things to all men, that I might gain all men.” Since also “the rain” of the divine grace is sent down “on the just and the unjust.” “Is He the God of the Jews only, and not also of the Gentiles? Yes, also of the Gentiles: if indeed He is one God,” exclaims the noble apostle. p. 449
But those who abstain from these things give their thoughts to divine things, and partake of gnostic food. “According to the grace,” it is said, “given to me as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation. And another buildeth on it gold and silver, precious stones.” Such is the gnostic superstructure on the foundation of faith in Christ Jesus. But “the stubble, and the wood, and the hay,” are the additions of heresies. p. 450, ch. 4
Wherefore also Moses says, “Show Thyself to me,”—intimating most clearly that God is not capable of being taught by man, or expressed in speech, but to be known only by His own power. For inquiry was obscure and dim; but the grace of knowledge is from Him by the Son. Most clearly Solomon shall testify to us, speaking thus: “The prudence of man is not in me: but God giveth me wisdom, and I know holy things.” p. 462
For it depends on primary and better known principles. But there is nothing antecedent to the Unbegotten. It remains that we understand, then, the Unknown, by divine grace, and by the word alone that proceeds from Him; p. 464, ch. 12
Whether, then, the Father Himself draws to Himself everyone who has led a pure life, and has reached the conception of the blessed and incorruptible nature; or whether the free-will which is in us, by reaching the knowledge of the good, leaps and bounds over the barriers, as the gymnasts say; yet it is not without eminent grace that the soul is winged, and soars, and is raised above the higher spheres, laying aside all that is heavy, and surrendering itself to its kindred element. p. 464
Philosophy, then, consists of such dogmas found in each sect (I mean those of philosophy) as cannot be impugned, with a corresponding life, collected into one selection; and these, stolen from the Barbarian God-given grace, have been adorned by Greek speech. For some they have borrowed, and others they have misunderstood. And in the case of others, what they have spoken, in consequence of being moved, they have not yet perfectly worked out; and others by human conjecture and reasoning, in which also they stumble. And they think that they have hit the truth perfectly; but as we understand them, only partially. p. 493
For it follows that there is one unchangeable gift of salvation given by one God, through one Lord, benefiting in many ways. For which cause the middle wall3384 which separated the Greek from the Jew is taken away, in order that there might be a peculiar people. And so both meet in the one unity of faith; and the selection out of both is one. And the chosen of the chosen are those who by reason of perfect knowledge are called [as the best] from the Church itself, and honored with the most august glory—the judges and rulers—four-and-twenty (the grace being doubled) equally from Jews and Greeks. Since, according to my opinion, the grades here in the Church, of bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who, following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel. p. 505
Conformably, therefore, there are various abodes, according to the worth of those who have believed. To the point Solomon says, “For there shall be given to him the choice grace of faith, and a more pleasant lot in the temple of the Lord.” For the comparative shows that there are lower parts in the temple of God, which is the whole Church. And the superlative remains to be conceived, where the Lord is. p. 506
Since, then, the forms of truth are two—the names and the things—some discourse of names, occupying themselves with the beauties of words: such are the philosophers among the Greeks. But we who are Barbarians have the things. Now it was not in vain that the Lord chose to make use of a mean form of body; so that no one praising the grace and admiring the beauty might turn his back on what was said, and attending to what ought to be abandoned, might be cut off from what is intellectual. We must therefore occupy ourselves not with the expression, but the meaning. p. 516
graceful speech = eloquent speech
Those even who claim God as their teacher, with difficulty attain to a conception of God, grace aiding them to the attainment of their modicum of knowledge; accustomed as they are to contemplate the will [of God] by the will, and the Holy Spirit by the Holy Spirit. pp. 519-520
And the things which are really good, the things which concern the soul, he prays that they may belong to him, and remain with him. And so he desires not anything that is absent, being content with what is present. For he is not deficient in the good things which are proper to him; being already sufficient for himself, through divine grace and knowledge. But having become sufficient in himself, he stands in no want of other things. But knowing the sovereign will, and possessing as soon as he prays, being brought into close contact with the almighty power, and earnestly desiring to be spiritual, through boundless love, he is united to the Spirit. p. 436?
For by it faith is perfected, inasmuch as it is solely by it that the believer becomes perfect. Faith is an internal good, and without searching for God, confesses His existence, and glorifies Him as existent. Whence by starting from this faith, and being developed by it, through the grace of God, the knowledge respecting Him is to be acquired as far as possible. pp. 538, 539
But it is not doubting in reference to God, but believing, that is the foundation of knowledge. But Christ is both the foundation and the superstructure, by whom are both the beginning and the ends. And the extreme points, the beginning and the end—I mean faith and love—are not taught. But knowledge, conveyed from communication through the grace of God as a deposit, is entrusted to those who show themselves worthy of it; and from it the worth of love beams forth from light to light. For it is said, “To him that has shall be given:” to faith, knowledge; and to knowledge, love; and to love, the inheritance. p. 539
Mixing, then, “the serpent with the dove,” he lives at once perfectly and with a good conscience, mingling faith with hope, in order to the expectation of the future. For he is conscious of the boon he has received, having become worthy of obtaining it; and is translated from slavery to adoption, as the consequence of knowledge; knowing God, or rather known of Him, for the end, he puts forth energies corresponding to the worth of grace. For works follow knowledge, as the shadow the body. p. 547
Hence it appears that the soul is not naturally immortal; but is made immortal by the grace of God, through faith and righteousness, and by knowledge. p. 572
Because, that is, they have fallen away from faith; whilst they are still in the flesh they are judged according to preceding judgments, that they might repent. Accordingly, he also adds, saying, “That they might live according to God in the spirit.” So Paul also; for he, too, states something of this nature when he says, “Whom I have delivered to Satan, that he might live in the spirit;” that is, “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” p. 573 - Fragments
Therefore God does not here take the semblance of man, but of a dove, because He wished to show the simplicity and gentleness of the new manifestation of the Spirit by the likeness of the dove. For the law was stern, and punished with the sword; but grace is joyous, and trains by the word of meekness. p. 584 - Fragments
For it appears to me to be far kinder, than basely to flatter the rich and praise them for what is bad, to aid them in working out their salvation in every possible way; asking this of God, who surely and sweetly bestows such things on His own children; and thus by the grace of the Savior healing their souls, enlightening them and leading them to the attainment of the truth; p. 592 – Rich Man
VIII. He then who would live the true life is enjoined first to know Him “whom no one knows, except the Son reveal (Him).” Next is to be learned the greatness of the Savior after Him, and the newness of grace; for, according to the apostle, “the law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ;” and the gifts granted through a faithful servant are not equal to those bestowed by the true Son. If then the law of Moses had been sufficient to confer eternal life, it were to no purpose for the Savior Himself to come and suffer for us, accomplishing the course of human life from His birth to His cross; p. 593
IX. Jesus, accordingly, does not charge him with not having fulfilled all things out of the law, but loves him, and fondly welcomes his obedience in what he had learned; but says that he is not perfect as respects eternal life, inasmuch as he had not fulfilled what is perfect, and that he is a doer indeed of the law, but idle at the true life. Those things, indeed, are good. Who denies it? For “the commandment is holy,” as far as a sort of training with fear and preparatory discipline goes, leading as it did to the culmination of legislation and to grace. But Christ is the fulfilment “of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth;” and not as a slave making slaves, but sons, and brethren, and fellow-heirs, who perform the Father’s will. p. 594
Such also was what the Lord said to Martha, who was occupied with many things, and distracted and troubled with serving; while she blamed her sister, because, leaving serving, she set herself at His feet, devoting her time to learning: “You art troubled about many things, but Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” So also He bade him leave his busy life, and cleave to One and adhere to the grace of Him who offered everlasting life. p. 594, ch. X
XVI. The presence of wealth in these is deadly to all, the loss of it salutary. Of which, making the soul pure,—that is, poor and bare,—we must hear the Savior speaking thus, “Come, follow Me.” For to the pure in heart He now becomes the way. But into the impure soul the grace of God finds no entrance. And that (soul) is unclean which is rich in lusts, and is in the throes of many worldly affections. pp. 595-596
XXI. But the Lord replies, “Because what is impossible with men is possible with God.” This again is full of great wisdom. For a man by himself working and toiling at freedom from passion achieves nothing. But if he plainly shows himself very desirous and earnest about this, he attains it by the addition of the power of God. For God conspires with willing souls. But if they abandon their eagerness, the spirit which is bestowed by God is also restrained. For to save the unwilling is the part of one exercising compulsion; but to save the willing, that of one showing grace. Nor does the kingdom of heaven belong to sleepers and sluggards, “but the violent take it by force.” p. 597
The Use of Grace in the Early Christian Writings of the 2nd Century
Volume 3 of the ANF
Chapter XVII. The object of our worship is the One God, He who by His commanding word, His arranging wisdom, His mighty power, brought forth from nothing this entire mass of our world, with all its array of elements, bodies, spirits, for the glory of His majesty; whence also the Greeks have bestowed on it the name of Cosmos. The eye cannot see Him, though He is (spiritually) visible. He is incomprehensible, though in grace He is manifested. He is beyond our utmost thought, though our human faculties conceive of Him. p. 32
The sacred writers withal, in giving previous warning of these things, all with equal clearness ever declared that, in the last days of the world, God would, out of every nation, and people, and country, choose for Himself more faithful worshippers, upon whom He would bestow His grace, and that indeed in ampler measure, in keeping with the enlarged capacities of a nobler dispensation. Accordingly, He appeared among us, whose coming to renovate and illuminate man’s nature was pre-announced by God—I mean Christ, that Son of God. And so the supreme Head and Master of this grace and discipline, the Enlightener and Trainer of the human race, God’s own Son, was announced among us, born—but not so born as to make Him ashamed of the name of Son or of His paternal origin. p. 34
Democritus, in putting out his eyes, because he could not look on women without lusting after them, and was pained if his passion was not satisfied, owns plainly, by the punishment he inflicts, his incontinence. But a Christian with grace-healed eyes is sightless in this matter; he is mentally blind against the assaults of passion. If I maintain our superior modesty of behaviour, there at once occurs to me Diogenes with filth-covered feet trampling on the proud couches of Plato, under the influence of another pride: the Christian does not even play the proud man to the pauper. p. 51
For who that contemplates it, is not excited to inquire what is at the bottom of it? who, after inquiry, does not embrace our doctrines? and when he has embraced them, desires not to suffer that he may become partaker of the fullness of God’s grace, that he may obtain from God complete forgiveness, by giving in exchange his blood? For that secures the remission of all offences. p. 56
Mindful of this rule, we can render service even “to magistrates and powers,” after the example of the patriarchs and the other forefathers, who obeyed idolatrous kings up to the confine of idolatry. Hence arose, very lately, a dispute whether a servant of God should take the administration of any dignity or power, if he be able, whether by some special grace, or by adroitness, to keep himself intact from every species of idolatry; after the example that both Joseph and Daniel, clean from idolatry, administered both dignity and power in the livery and purple of the prefecture of entire Egypt or Babylonia. p. 72
The tiny streamlet from its very spring-head, the little twig from its very budding, contains in it the essential nature of its origin. It may be grand or mean, no matter, any circus procession whatever is offensive to God. Though there be few images to grace it, there is idolatry in one; though there be no more than a single sacred car, it is a chariot of Jupiter: anything of idolatry whatever, whether meanly arrayed or modestly rich and gorgeous, taints it in its origin. p. 83, ch. 7
If there really was a Pandora, whom Hesiod mentions as the first of women, hers was the first head the graces crowned, for she received gifts from all the gods whence she got her name Pandora. But Moses, a prophet, not a poet-shepherd, shows us the first woman Eve having her loins more naturally girt about with leaves than her temples with flowers. Pandora, then, is a myth. p. 97
For Christ Jesus has made us even kings to God and His Father. What have you in common with the flower which is to die? You have a flower in the Branch of Jesse, upon which the grace of the Divine Spirit in all its fullness rested—a flower undefiled, unfading, everlasting, by choosing which the good soldier, too, has got promotion in the heavenly ranks. p. 103
Although divine honors had to be ascribed to dead men, it was not to them as such, of course. Look at your own practice, when with similar excess of presumption you sully heaven with the sepulchres of your kings: is it not such as are illustrious for justice, virtue, piety, and every excellence of this sort, that you honor with the blessedness of deification, contented even to incur contempt if you forswear yourselves for such characters? And, on the other hand, do you not deprive the impious and disgraceful of even the old prizes of human glory, tear up their decrees and titles, pull down their statues, and deface their images on the current coin? Will He, however, who beholds all things, who approves, nay, rewards the good, prostitute before all men the attribute of His own inexhaustible grace and mercy? And shall men be allowed an especial mount of care and righteousness, that they may be wise in selecting and multiplying their deities? Shall attendants on kings and princes be more pure than those who wait on the Supreme God? You turn your back in horror, indeed, on outcasts and exiles, on the poor and weak, on the obscurely born and the low-lived p. 136
For the occasion, indeed, of claiming Divine grace even for the Gentiles derived a pre-eminent fitness from this fact, that the man who set up to vindicate God’s Law as his own was of the Gentiles, and not a Jew “of the stock of the Israelites.” For this fact—that Gentiles are admissible to God’s Law—is enough to prevent Israel from priding himself on the notion that “the Gentiles are accounted as a little drop of a bucket,” or else as “dust out of a threshing-floor:” although we have God Himself as an adequate engager and faithful promiser, in that He promised to Abraham that “in his seed should be blest all nations of the earth;” and that out of the womb of Rebecca “two peoples and two nations were about to proceed,”—of course those of the Jews, that is, of Israel; and of the Gentiles, that is ours. Each, then, was called a people and a nation; lest, from the nuncupative appellation, any should dare to claim for himself the privilege of grace. For God ordained “two peoples and two nations” as about to proceed out of the womb of one woman: nor did grace make distinction in the nuncupative appellation, but in the order of birth; to the effect that, whichever was to be prior in proceeding from the womb, should be subjected to “the less,” that is, the posterior. p. 151 – An Answer to the Jews, ch. 1
Accordingly, since the people or nation of the Jews is anterior in time, and “greater” through the grace of primary favor in the Law, whereas ours is understood to be “less” in the age of times, as having in the last era of the world attained the knowledge of divine mercy: beyond doubt, through the edict of the divine utterance, the prior and “greater” people—that is, the Jewish—must necessarily serve the “less;” and the “less” people—that is, the Christian—overcome the “greater.” . . . For thus has the “less”—that is, posterior—people overcome the “greater people,” while it attains the grace of divine favor, from which Israel has been divorced. p. 152
And justly does the evangelist write, “The law and the prophets (were) until John” the Baptist. For, on Christ’s being baptized, that is, on His sanctifying the waters in His own baptism, all the plenitude of bygone spiritual grace-gifts ceased in Christ, sealing as He did all vision and prophecies, which by His advent He fulfilled. pp. 160, 161
But what do you read above concerning the Christ? “Blooming in beauty above the sons of men; grace is outpoured in thy lips.” But very absurd it is if he was complimenting on the bloom of his beauty and the grace of his lips, one whom he was girding for war with a sword; of whom he proceeds subjunctively to say, “Outstretch and prosper, advance and reign!” And he has added, “because of thy lenity and justice.” Who will ply the sword without practising the contraries to lenity and justice; that is, guile, and asperity, and injustice, proper (of course) to the business of battles? See we, then, whether that which has another action be not another sword,—that is, the Divine word of God, doubly sharpened with the two Testaments of the ancient law and the new law; sharpened by the equity of its own wisdom; rendering to each one according to his own action. p. 163
“The greatness of thy right hand,” he says, “shall conduct thee”—the virtue to wit, of the spiritual grace from which the recognition of Christ is deduced. p. 263
For, because Jesus Christ was to introduce the second people (which is composed of us nations, lingering deserted in the world aforetime) into the land of promise, “flowing with milk and honey” (that is, into the possession of eternal life, than which nought is sweeter); and this had to come about, not through Moses (that is, not through the Law’s discipline), but through Joshua (that is, through the new law’s grace), after our circumcision with “a knife of rock” (that is, with Christ’s precepts, for Christ is in many ways and figures predicted as a rock); p. 163
For to none of men was the universal aggregation of spiritual credentials appropriate, except to Christ; paralleled as He is to a “flower” by reason of glory, by reason of grace; but accounted “of the root of Jesse,” whence His origin is to be deduced,—to wit, through Mary. p. 164
And, of course, it had been meet that the mystery of the passion itself should be figuratively set forth in predictions; and the more incredible (that mystery), the more likely to be “a stumbling-stone,” if it had been nakedly predicted; and the more magnificent, the more to be adumbrated, that the difficulty of its intelligence might seek (help from) the grace of God. pp. 165, 166
ever since we Gentiles, with our breast doubly enlightened through Christ’s truth, cast forth (let the Jews see it) our idols,—what follows has likewise been fulfilled. For “the Lord of Sabaoth has taken away, among the Jews from Jerusalem,” among the other things named, “the wise architect” too, who builds the church, God’s temple, and the holy city, and the house of the Lord. For thenceforth God’s grace desisted (from working) among them. And “the clouds were commanded not to rain a shower upon the vineyard of Sorek,”—the clouds being celestial benefits, which were commanded not to be forthcoming to the house of Israel; for it “had borne thorns”—whereof that house of Israel had wrought a crown for Christ—and not “righteousness, but a clamour,”—the clamour whereby it had extorted His surrender to the cross. And thus, the former gifts of grace being withdrawn, “the law and the prophets were until John,” and the fishpool of Bethsaida until the advent of Christ: thereafter it ceased curatively to remove from Israel infirmities of health; since, as the result of their perseverance in their frenzy, the name of the Lord was through them blasphemed, as it is written: “On your account the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles:” for it is from them that the infamy (attached to that name) began, and (was propagated during) the interval from Tiberius to Vespasian. p. 171
And we saw Him, and He had not attractiveness or grace; but His mien was unhonored, deficient in comparison of the sons of men,” “a man set in the plague, and knowing how to bear infirmity p. 172
Then, assuredly, is He to have an honorable mien, and a grace not “deficient more than the sons of men;” for (He will then be) “blooming in beauty in comparison with the sons of men.” “grace,” says the Psalmist, “has been outpoured in Thy lips: wherefore God has blessed Thee unto eternity. Gird Thee Thy sword around Thy thigh, most potent in Thy bloom and beauty!” while the Father withal afterwards, after making Him somewhat lower than angels, “crowned Him with glory and honor and subjected all things beneath His feet. p. 172, ch. 14
after the expiation of all sins, the priests of the spiritual temple, that is, of the church, were to enjoy a spiritual public distribution (as it were) of the Lord’s grace, while all others are fasting from salvation.
For it is not the soul’s actual substance which is benefited by the aliment of learned study, but only its conduct and discipline; such ailment contributing nothing to increase its bulk, but only to enhance its grace. It is, moreover, a happy circumstance that the Stoics affirm that even the arts have corporeality; since at the rate the soul too must be corporeal.
As for ourselves, indeed, we inscribe on the soul the lineaments of corporeity, not simply from the assurance which reasoning has taught us of its corporeal nature, but also from the firm conviction which divine grace impresses on us by revelation. For, seeing that we acknowledge spiritual charismata, or gifts, we too have merited the attainment of the prophetic gift, although coming after John (the Baptist). We have now amongst us a sister whose lot it has been to be favoured with sundry gifts of revelation.
Else what resources would trees possess in due course for the inoculation of grafts, and the formation of leaves, and the swelling of their buds, and the graceful shedding of their blossom, and the softening of their sap. p. 200
This will be the power of the grace of God, more potent indeed than nature, exercising its sway over the faculty that underlies itself within us—even the freedom of our will. p. 202
Chapter XXII.—Recapitulation. Definition of the Soul. . . .We have assigned, then, to the soul both that freedom of the will which we just now mentioned, and its dominion over the works of nature, and its occasional gift of divination, independently of that endowment of prophecy which accrues to it expressly from the grace of God. p. 203
A peacock, no doubt, is a very pretty bird, pluming itself, at will, on its splendid feathers; but then its wings do not make amends for its voice, which is harsh and unpleasant; and there is nothing that poets like better than a good song. His transformation, therefore, into a peacock was to Homer a penalty, not an honor. The world’s remuneration will bring him a much greater joy, when it lauds him as the father of the liberal sciences; and he will prefer the ornaments of his fame to the graces of his tail! p. 215
You have your answer in the angel’s announcement: “And he shall go before the people,” says he, “in the spirit and power of Elias”—not (observe) in his soul and his body. These substances are, in fact, the natural property of each individual; whilst “the spirit and power” are bestowed as external gifts by the grace of God and so may be transferred to another person according to the purpose and will of the Almighty, as was anciently the case with respect to the spirit of Moses.1741 p. 217
We declare, then, that dreams are inflicted on us mainly by demons, although they sometimes turn out true and favourable to us. When, however, with the deliberate aim after evil, of which we have just spoken, they assume a flattering and captivating style, they show themselves proportionately vain, and deceitful, and obscure, and wanton, and impure. And no wonder that the images partake of the character of the realities. But from God—who has promised, indeed, “to pour out the grace of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, and has ordained that His servants and His handmaids should see visions as well as utter prophecies”—must all those visions be regarded as emanating, which may be compared to the actual grace of God, as being honest, holy, prophetic, inspired, instructive. p. 226
always making it one of his chief cares to extinguish the very truth which we are proclaiming, that men may not readily believe that all souls remove to Hades, and that they may overthrow faith in the resurrection and the judgment. And yet for all that, the demon, after trying to circumvent the bystanders, is vanquished by the pressure of divine grace, and sorely against his will confesses all the truth. So also in that other kind of magic, which is supposed to bring up from Hades the souls now resting there, and to exhibit them to public view, there is no other expedient of imposture ever resorted to which operates more powerfully. p. 234
David, a good man “after the Lord’s own heart,” is guilty afterwards of murder and adultery. Solomon, endowed by the Lord with all grace and wisdom, is led into idolatry, by women. For to the Son of God alone was it reserved to persevere to the last without sin. p. 244
So long, however, as its form exists in its proper order, you may seek and discuss as much as you please, and give full rein to your curiosity, in whatever seems to you to hang in doubt, or to be shrouded in obscurity. You have at hand, no doubt, some learned brother gifted with the grace of knowledge, some one of the experienced class. p. 250
All these suggestions of distrust you may find put forward by the heretics. They bear in mind how the churches were rebuked by the apostle: “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?” and, “Ye did run so well; who has hindered you?” and how the epistle actually begins: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him, who has called you as His own in grace, to another gospel.” That they likewise (remember), what was written to the Corinthians, that they “were yet carnal,” who “required to be fed with milk,” being as yet “unable to bear strong meat;” who also “thought that they knew somewhat, whereas they knew not yet anything, as they ought to know.” When they raise the objection that the churches were rebuked, let them suppose that they were also corrected. p. 256-257
When again he mentions “endless genealogies,” one also recognizes Valentinus, in whose system a certain Aeon, whosoever he be, of a new name, and that not one only, generates of his own grace Sense and Truth; and these in like manner produce of themselves Word and Life. p. 259
On the present occasion, indeed, our treatise has rather taken up a general position against heresies, (showing that they must) all be refuted on definite, equitable, and necessary rules, without any comparison with the Scriptures. For the rest, if God in His grace permit, we shall prepare answers to certain of these heresies in separate treatises. p. 265
To those who may devote their leisure in reading through these (pages), in the belief of the truth, be peace, and the grace of our God Jesus Christ for ever. p. 265
And yet, if to have been the author of our creation, such as it is, be unworthy of God, how much more unworthy of Him is it to have created absolutely nothing at all!—not even a production which, although unworthy, might yet have encouraged the hope of some better attempt. To say somewhat, then, concerning the alleged unworthiness of this world’s fabric, to which among the Greeks also is assigned a name of ornament and grace, not of sordidness, those very professors of wisdom, from whose genius every heresy derives its spirit, called the said unworthy elements divine; as Thales did water. p. 281
Until Marcion forsooth came to Thy rescue! Now they adduce the case of Peter himself, and the others, who were pillars of the apostolate, as having been blamed by Paul for not walking uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel—that very Paul indeed, who, being yet in the mere rudiments of grace, and trembling, in short, lest he should have run or were still running in vain, then for the first time held intercourse with those who were apostles before himself. Therefore because, in the eagerness of his zeal against Judaism as a neophyte, he thought that there was something to be blamed in their conduct—even the promiscuousness of their conversation—but afterwards was himself to become in his practice all things to all men, that he might gain all,—to the Jews, as a Jew, and to them that were under the law, as under the law,—you would have his censure, which was merely directed against conduct destined to become acceptable even to their accuser, suspected of prevarication against God on a point of public doctrine. p. 286
Such must be the sentence to be pronounced against Marcion’s god: tolerant of evil, encouraging wrong, wheedling about his grace, prevaricating in his goodness, which he did not exhibit simply on its own account. p. 288
What, then, is man? Made, no doubt of it, of the dust; and God placed him in paradise, because He molded him, not breathed him, into being—a fabric of flesh, not of spirit. Now, this being the case, with what face will you contend for the perfect character of that goodness which did not fail in some one particular only of man’s deliverance, but in its general capacity? If that is a plenary grace and a substantial mercy which brings salvation to the soul alone, this were the better life which we now enjoy whole and entire; whereas to rise again but in part will be a chastisement, not a liberation. p. 290
Now, if from the very first “the natural man, not receiving the things of the Spirit of God,” has deemed God’s law to be foolishness, and has therefore neglected to observe it; and as a further consequence, by his not having faith, “even that which he seemeth to have has been taken from him”—such as the grace of paradise and the friendship of God, by means of which he might have known all things of God. pp 298-299
He required the sins of the fathers at the hands of the children, the hardness of the people made such remedial measures necessary for them, in order that, having their posterity in view, they might obey the divine law. For who is there that feels not a greater care for his children than for himself? Again, if the blessing of the fathers was destined likewise for their offspring, previous to any merit on the part of these, why might not the guilt of the fathers also redound to their children? As was the grace, so was the offence; so that the grace and the offence equally ran down through the whole race, with the reservation, indeed, of that subsequent ordinance by which it became possible to refrain from saying, that “the fathers had eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth were set on edge:” in other words, that the father should not bear the iniquity of the son, nor the son the iniquity of the father, but that every man should be chargeable with his own sin; so that the harshness of the law having been reduced after the hardness of the people, justice was no longer to judge the race, but individuals. p. 309
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Then indeed He shall have both a glorious form, and an unsullied beauty above the sons of men. “You art fairer,” says (the Psalmist), “than the children of men; grace is poured into Thy lips; therefore God has blessed Thee forever. Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.” For the Father, after making Him a little lower than the angels, “will crown Him with glory and honor, and put all things under His feet. p. 327
and given to the priests of the temple for meat, afforded proofs of His second appearance, when (after all sins have been expiated) the priests of the spiritual temple, that is, the church, are to enjoy the flesh, as it were, of the Lord’s own grace, whilst the residue go away from salvation without tasting it. p.327-328
But what do you read about Christ just before? “You art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured forth upon Thy lips.” It amuses me to imagine that blandishments of fair beauty and graceful lips are ascribed to one who had to gird on His sword for war! p. 333
Now if he caught at the name Christ, just as the pickpocket clutches the dole-basket, why did he wish to be called Jesus too, by a name which was not so much looked for by the Jews? For although we, who have by God’s grace attained to the understanding of His mysteries, acknowledge that this name also was destined for Christ, yet, for all that, the fact was not known to the Jews, from whom wisdom was taken away. To this day, in short, it is Christ that they are looking for, not Jesus; and they interpret Elias to be Christ rather than Jesus. p. 335
For inasmuch as Jesus Christ was to introduce a new generation (because we are born in the wilderness of this world) into the promised land which flows with milk and honey, that is, into the possession of eternal life, than which nothing can be sweeter; inasmuch, too, as this was to be brought about not by Moses, that is to say, not by the discipline of the law, but by Joshua, by the grace of the gospel, our circumcision being effected by a knife of stone, that is, (by the circumcision) of Christ, for Christ is a rock (or stone), therefore that great man. p. 335
For although, in David’s words, “He is fairer than the children of men,” yet it is in that figurative state of spiritual grace, when He is girded with the sword of the Spirit, which is verily His form, and beauty, and glory. p. 336
Now to no man, except Christ, would the diversity of spiritual proofs suitably apply. He is indeed like a flower for the Spirit’s grace, reckoned indeed of the stem of Jesse, but thence to derive His descent through Mary. Now I purposely demand of you, whether you grant to Him the destination of all this humiliation, and suffering, and tranquillity, from which He will be the Christ of Isaiah. p. 336
First, I shall offer a full explanation of the types. And no doubt it was proper that this mystery should be prophetically set forth by types, and indeed chiefly by that method: for in proportion to its incredibility would it be a stumbling-block, if it were set forth in bare prophecy; and in proportion too, to its grandeur, was the need of obscuring it in shadow, that the difficulty of understanding it might lead to prayer for the grace of God. First, then, Isaac, when he was given up by his father as an offering. pp. 336-337
Consider whether what follows in the prophet has not received its fulfilment: “The Lord of hosts has taken away from Judah and from Jerusalem, amongst other things, both the prophet and the wise artificer;” that is, His Holy Spirit, who builds the church, which is indeed the temple, and household and city of God. For thenceforth God’s grace failed amongst them; and “the clouds were commanded to rain no rain upon the vineyard” of Sorech; to withhold, that is, the graces of heaven, that they shed no blessing upon “the house of Israel,” which had but produced “the thorns” wherewith it had crowned the Lord, and “instead of righteousness, the cry” wherewith it had hurried Him away to the cross. And so in this manner the law and the prophets were until John, but the dews of divine grace were withdrawn from the nation. After his time their madness still continued, and the name of the Lord was blasphemed by them, p. 341-342
Of course they were; “for, says (St. Luke), “His word was with power—not because He taught in opposition to the law and the prophets. No doubt, His divine discourse gave forth both power and grace, building up rather than pulling down the substance of the law and the prophets. Otherwise, instead of “astonishment, they would feel horror. It would not be admiration, but aversion. p. 353
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