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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 49

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 49 [XXX.]—An Objection of the Pelagians.

They therefore who say, “If through the sin of the first man it was brought about that we must die, by the coming of Christ it should be brought about that, believing in Him, we shall not die;” and they add what they deem a reason, saying, “For the sin of the first transgressor could not possibly have injured us more than the incarnation or redemption of the Saviour has benefited us.” But why do they not rather give an attentive ear, and an unhesitating belief, to that which the apostle has stated so unambiguously: “Since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive?” 622 For it is of nothing else than of the resurrection of the body that he was speaking. Having said that the bodily death of all men has come about through one man, he adds the promise that the bodily resurrection of all men to eternal life shall happen through one, even Christ. How can it therefore be that “the one has injured us more by sinning than the other has benefited us by redeeming,” when by the sin of the former we die a temporal death, but by the redemption of the latter we rise again not to a temporal, but to a perpetual life? Our body, therefore, is dead because of sin, but Christ’s body only died without sin, in order that, having poured out His blood without fault, “the bonds” 623 which contain the register of all faults “might be blotted out,” by which they who now believe in Him were formerly held as debtors by the devil. And accordingly He says, “This is my blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” 624



1 Cor. 15:21, 22.


Col. ii. 14. Chirographa, i.e. “handwritings.”


Matt. xxvi. 28.

Next: Chapter 50

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