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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 43

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 43.—From the Epistle to the Romans.

Let me now request your attention to the testimony of the Apostle Paul on this subject. And quotations from him may of course be made more abundantly, because he wrote more epistles, and because it fell to him to recommend the grace of God with especial earnestness, in opposition to those who gloried in their works, and who, ignorant of God’s righteousness, and wishing to establish their own, submitted not to the righteousness of God. 349 In his Epistle to the Romans he writes: “The righteousness of God is upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; since all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission 350 of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness; that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” 351 Then in another passage he says: “To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth p. 32 the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth no sin.” 352 And then after no long interval he observes: “Now, it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus Christ our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” 353 Then a little after he writes: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” 354 In another passage he says: “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I know not: for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 355 Let them, who can, say that men are not born in the body of this death, that so they may be able to affirm that they have no need of God’s grace through Jesus Christ in order to be delivered from the body of this death. Therefore he adds, a few verses afterwards: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” 356 Let them say, who dare, that Christ must have been born in the likeness of sinful flesh, if we were not born in sinful flesh.



Rom. x. 3.


[This is the reading of the Vulgate, as well as of the Greek; but Augustin, following an Old Latin reading, actually has propositum, instead of remissionem.—W.]


Rom. iii. 22-26.


Rom. iv. 4-8.


Rom. iv. 23-25.


Rom. v. 6.


Rom. vii. 14-25.


Rom. viii. 3.

Next: Chapter 44