Good Statements by the Church Fathers
on Sin and
Clement of Rome (fl. c.90-100): "Let us therefore
approach Him in holiness of soul, lifting up pure and
undefiled hands unto Him, with love towards our gentle and compassionate
Father because He made us an elect portion unto Himself
… Seeing then that we are the special elect portion of a
Holy God, let us do all things that pertain unto
holiness … There was given a declaration of blessedness
upon them that have been elected by God through Jesus
Christ our Lord … Jesus Christ is the hope of the elect
Epistle of Barnabas (c.70–c.131):
"We are elected to hope, committed by God unto faith,
appointed to salvation."
Epistle of Barnabas (c.70–c.131):
"Learn: before we believed in God, the habitation of our
heart was corrupt and weak."
Ignatius (d.98-117): "They that are carnal cannot do the
things that are spiritual … Nor can the unbelievers do
the things of belief."
Ignatius (d.98-117): "To the predestined ones before all
ages, that is, before the world began, united and elect
in a true passion, by the eternal will of the Father …"
Justin Martyr (c.100-165): "Mankind by Adam fell under
death, and the deception of the serpent; we are born
sinners … No good thing dwells in us … For neither by
nature, nor by human understanding is it possible for me
to acquire the knowledge of things so great and so
divine, but by the energy of the Divine Spirit … Of
ourselves it is impossible to enter the kingdom of God …
He has convicted us of the impossibility of our nature
to obtain life … Free will has destroyed us; we who were
free are become slaves and for our sin are sold … Being
pressed down by our sins, we cannot move upward toward
God; we are like birds who have wings, but are unable to
Martyr (c.100-165): "In all these discourses I have
brought all my proofs out of your own holy and prophetic
writings, hoping that some of you may be found of the
elect number which through the grace that comes from the
Lord of Sabaoth, is left or reserved [i.e., set apart]
for everlasting salvation."
Clement of Alexandria (c.155-c.220): "The soul cannot
rise nor fly, nor be lifted up above the things that are
on high, without special grace."
Clement of Alexandria (c.155-c.220): "Through faith the
elect of God are saved. The generation of those who seek
God is the elect nation, not [an earthly] place, but the
congregation of the elect, which I call the Church … If
every person had known the truth, they would all have
leaped into the way, and there would have been no
election … You are those who are chosen from among men
and as those who are predestined from among men, and in
His own time called, faithful, and elect, those who
before the foundation of the world are known intimately
by God unto faith; that is, are appointed by Him to
faith, grow beyond babyhood."
Irenaeus (fl. c.175-c.195): "God hath completed the
number which He before determined with Himself, all
those who are written, or ordained unto eternal life …
Being predestined indeed according to the love of the
Father that we would belong to Him forever."
Origen (c.185-c.254): "Our free will … or human nature
is not sufficient to seek God in any manner."
Cyprian (d.258): "This is therefore the predestination
which we faithfully and humbly preach."
Eusebius (c.265-c.339): "The liberty of our will in
choosing things that are good is destroyed."
Ambrose (c.339-397): "In predestination the Church of
God has always existed."
Augustine (354-430): "Here certainly, there is no place
for the vain argument of those who defend the
foreknowledge of God against the grace of God, and
accordingly maintain that we were elected before the
foundation of the world because God foreknew that we
would be good, not that He Himself would make us good.
This is not the language of Him who said, ‘You did not
choose Me, but I chose you’ (John 15:16)."
Augustine (354-430): "If, therefore, they are servants
of sin (II Cor. 3:17), why do they boast of free will? …
O, man! Learn from the precept what you ought to do;
learn from correction, that it is your own fault you
have not the power … Let human effort, which perished by
Adam, here be silent, and let the grace of God reign by
Jesus Christ … What God promises, we ourselves do not
through free will of human nature, but He Himself does
by grace within us … Men labour to find in our own will
something that is our own, and not God’s; how can they
find it, I know not."