Church Fathers on sola fide – Protestant Quotes vs Catholic Reality: St. John Chrysostom

Quotes that Protestants and Catholics agree with:

“Let us see, however, whether the brigand gave evidence of effort and upright deeds and a good yield. Far from his being able to claim even this, he made his way into paradise before the apostles with a mere word, on the basis of faith alone, the intention being for you to learn that it was not so much a case of his sound values prevailing as the Lord’s lovingkindness being completely responsible. What, in fact, did the brigand say? What did he do? Did he fast? Did he weep? Did he tear his garments? Did he display repentance in good time? Not at all: on the cross itself after his utterance he won salvation. Note the rapidity: from cross to heaven, from condemnation to salvation. What were those wonderful words, then? What great power did they have that they brought him such marvelous good things? “Remember me in your kingdom.” What sort of word is that? He asked to receive good things, he showed no concern for them in action; but the one who knew his heart paid attention not to the words but to the attitude of mind.” —John Chrysostom, (347 – 407 AD), Sermon 7 on Genesis, in St. John Chrysostom, Eight Sermons on the Book of Genesis, pp. 123-24 (2004), Robert C. Hill translator.

“They said that he who adhered to faith alone was cursed; but he, Paul, shows that he who adhered to faith alone is blessed.”- St. John Chrysostom (347 – 407 AD) (Homily on Galatians 3)

“But he calls it their ‘own righteousness,’ either because the Law was no longer of force, or because it was one of trouble and toil. But this he calls God’s righteousness, that from faith, because it comes entirely from the grace from above, and because men are justified in this case, not by labors, but by the gift of God.”- St. John Chrysostom (347 – 407 AD) (Homily 17 on Romans 10:3)

“Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.” Homily 7 on Romans- St. John Chrysostom (347 – 407 AD)

“For you believe the faith; why then do you add other things, as if faith were not sufficient to justify? You make yourselves captive, and you subject yourself to the law.”- St. John Chrysostom (347 – 407 AD)(Epistle to Titus, Homily 3, PG 62.651)

“But what is the ‘law of faith?’ It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.” St. John Chrysostom, (347 – 407 AD)Homilies on Romans 3

“We need none of those legal observances, he says; faith suffices to obtain for us the Spirit, and by Him righteousness, and many and great benefits.”- Chrysostom (347 – 407 AD), Homilies on Galatians 4

“And he well said, “a righteousness of mine own,” not that which I gained by labor and toil, but that which I found from grace. If then he who was so excellent is saved by grace, much more are you. For since it was likely they would say that the righteousness which comes from toil is the greater, he shows that it is dung in comparison with the other. For otherwise I, who was so excellent in it, would not have cast it away, and run to the other. But what is that other? That which is from the faith of God, i.e. it too is given by God. This is the righteousness of God; this is altogether a gift. And the gifts of God far exceed those worthless good deeds, which are due to our own diligence.” Chrysostom, (347 – 407 AD) Homily on Philippians 3

“God does not wait for time to elapse after repentance. You state your sin, you are justified. You repented, you have been shown mercy.”- St. John Chrysostom, (347 – 407 AD)Homily 7 On Repentance and Compunction, p. 95 in FOTC, vol. 96.

Quotes Protestants do not agree with:

That you may not then, when you hear that He has chosen us, imagine that faith alone is sufficient, he proceeds to add life and conduct. To this end, says he, has He chosen us, and on this condition, that we should be holy and without blemish

– Homily 1 on Ephesians

Since though he has said here, He that believes in the Son has eternal life, and in the same place something even stronger, (for he weaves his discourse not of blessings only, but of their contraries also, speaking thus: He that believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him;) yet not even from this do we assert that faith alone is sufficient to salvation. And the directions for living given in many places of the Gospels show this. Therefore he did not say, This by itself is eternal life, nor, He that does but believe in the Son has eternal life, but by both expressions he declared this, that the thing does contain life, yet that if a right conversation follow not, there will follow a heavy punishment.

— Homily 31 on John

While commenting on the gospel of Matthew, he explains that Christ exhorts even believers that wicked actions will be judged precisely in order that they not put confidence in their faith alone.

“Then in order that not even these should put confidence in their faith alone, He discourses unto them also concerning the judgment to be passed upon wicked actions;  “– Homily 69 on Matthew.

There is safety for you too who are strong, and this consists in making your hopes of salvation depend, next to the grace of God, on avoiding every act unworthy of this gift, and of God who gave it. — on the priesthood 3.5

For transparent madness it is to despise so great a dignity, without which it is not possible to obtain either our own salvation, or the good things which have been promised to us. For if no one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious? — on the priesthood 4.1

Church Fathers on sola fide – Protestant Quotes vs Catholic Reality: Clement of Rome

Quotes that Protestants and Catholics agree with:

“Similarly we also, who by His will have been called in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, or our own wisdom or understanding or godliness, nor by such deeds as we have done in holiness of heart, but by that faith through which Almighty God has justified all men since the beginning of time. Glory be to Him, forever and ever, Amen.”- St. Clement of Rome (? – ~101 AD) (Letter to the Corinthians, par. 32)”

Quotes Protestants do not agree with:

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

First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Chapter 30.

Finding true happiness

Some people do not acknowledge their transcendental dimension, and as a consequence they do not investigate the evidence for it or even reflect on their restricted assumptions about themselves. This does not mean that their transcendental nature will lie dormant. It most assuredly will not. Rather, it will produce a myriad of frustrations with the world of restricted and conditioned beings. For example, we will still have a desire for unconditional love whether we acknowledge it or not; but because we do not acknowledge it, we begin to look for unconditional love in restricted and conditioned individuals. They of course will never be able to satisfy our desire for unconditional love, and this will produce feelings of frustration and rejection. We may make judgments about them such as “they are not understanding enough”, “not responsive enough”, “not sympathetic enough”, “not strong enough”, and so forth. Thus, failure to acknowledge our transcendental desires almost invariably leads to frustration and unhappiness, because it compels us to look for perfect and unconditional love in imperfect and conditioned places.

Conversely, if we do acknowledge our transcendentality, and we pursue a Being who can truly fulfill it, everything changes. The more we open ourselves to a true transcendent power, the more that transcendent power responds to us. Of course, we can only know this by either trusting in the testimony of those who have done it or by doing it ourselves. In either case we will have to make a decision to let God into our minds and hearts. Though God takes the first step by inviting us through the numinous experience, the desire for the sacred, and our five transcendental desires, He awaits our response to His invitation. This requires an act of the will—a little leap of faith—to connect with the deity who is already present to us. This connection has many facets—opening ourselves to the deity, responding to His call, learning His ways, responding to His guidance, asking for help, and surrendering to His providential love—to see Him more clearly, follow Him more nearly, and love Him more dearly.

(From: Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts by Robert J. Spitzer )

Freedom

We often have an erroneous concept of freedom. We think that freedom is the ability to choose between contraries and, therefore, the possibility of choosing evil. We think that a transgression is a manifestation of our freedom. But that is not true at all. Let us take a musical comparison: the violinist who practices his exercises for hours acquires little by little a greater mastery of his instrument. Will he be less free as a result? Would freedom be, for him, the ability to play wrong notes? Is it not instead such mastery of his instrument that if, unfortunately, a string were to slacken during a concert, he could continue to play without anyone noticing the problem? Virtue is precisely what enables us to perform excellent actions easily and joyfully, in a stable manner, with profound interior freedom, the freedom of the children of God. – Jean-Charles Nault

Christ’s words are always words to be done

JESUS’ WORDS are for doing, for incarnating in ourselves. Just as Jesus himself is called The Word, because God’s innermost Expression of himself is not only a passing thought but a Person, so too the words to us of this same Person by their very nature and dynamism want to become incarnated in us, in our souls, hearts, and lives. A Christian’s life is intended to be the concrete manifestation of the Word in the world. Our lives ought to “proceed” from us into the world made strong and fertile by the advent of the Word within us. A Christian life is meant to be a visible witness of trinitarian fecundity of the Trinity’s interior life of charity –  Erasmo Leiva