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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 31

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 31.—Christ’s Incarnation Was of Avail to the Fathers, Even Though It Had Not Yet Happened.

By disputation of this sort, they attempt to exclude the ancient saints from the grace of the Mediator, as if the man Christ Jesus were not the Mediator between God and those men; on the ground that, not having yet taken flesh of the Virgin’s womb, He was not yet man at the time when those righteous men lived. If this, however, were true, in vain would the apostle say: “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.” 1986 For inasmuch as those ancient saints, according to the vain conceits of these men, found their nature self-sufficient, and required not the man Christ to be their Mediator to reconcile them to God, so neither shall they be made alive in Him, to whose body they are shown not to belong as members, according to the statement that it was on man’s account that He became man. If, however, as the Truth says through His apostles, even as all die in Adam, even so shall all be made alive in Christ; forasmuch as the resurrection of the dead comes through the one man, even as death comes through the other man; what Christian man can be bold enough to doubt that even those righteous men who pleased God in the more remote periods of the human race are destined to attain to the resurrection of eternal life, and not eternal death, because they shall be made alive in Christ? that they are made alive in Christ, because they belong to the body of Christ? that they belong to the body of Christ, because Christ is the head even to them? 1987 and that Christ is the head even to them, because there is but one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus? But this He could not have been to them, unless through His grace they had believed in His resurrection. And how could they have done this, if they had been ignorant that He was to come in the flesh, and if they had not by this faith lived justly and piously? Now, if the incarnation of Christ could be of no concern to them, on the ground that it had not yet come about, it must follow that Christ’s judgment can be of no concern to us, because it has not yet taken place. But if we shall stand at the right hand of Christ through our faith in His judgment, which has not yet transpired, but is to come to pass, it follows that those ancient saints are members of Christ through their faith in His resurrection, which had not in their day happened, but which was one day to come to pass.



1 Cor. 15:21, 22.


1 Cor. xi. 3.

Next: Chapter 32

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