Sunday, July 21, 2019

Early Christian Quotes on Salvation

Early Christian Quotes on Salvation

The Shepherd of Hermas 

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 9, Chapter 12:


"First of all, sir," I said, "explain this to me: What is the meaning of the rock and the gate I saw in my vision?"


"This rock," the angel answered, "and this gate are the Son of God."


"How, sir?" I said, "The rock is old, and the gate is new."


"Listen," he said, "and understand, O ignorant man. The Son of God is older than all His creatures, so that He was a fellow-councilor with the Father in His work of creation: for this reason, He is old."


"And why is the gate new, sir?" I said.


"Because," he answered, "He became manifest in these last days: for this reason, the gate was made new, that they who are to be saved by it might enter into the kingdom of God. Did you see," he said, "that those stones that came in through the gate were used for the building of the tower, and that those that did not come through the gate were thrown back again to their own place?"


"I saw, sir," I replied.


"In the same way," he continued, "no one will enter into the kingdom of God unless he receives His holy name. For if you desire to enter into a city, and that city is surrounded by a wall and has only one gate, can you enter into that city except through that one gate?"


"Why, how can it be otherwise, sir?" I said.


"If, then, you cannot enter into the city except through its gate, so, in the same way, a man cannot enter into the kingdom of God except by the name of His beloved Son. Did you see," he added, "the multitude who were building the tower?"


"I saw them, sir," I said.


"Those," he said, "are all glorious angels, and the Lord is surrounded by them. And the gate is the Son of God. This is the one entrance to the Lord. In no other way, then, shall anyone enter in to Him except through His Son. Did you see," he continued, "the six men, and the tall and glorious man in the midst of them, who walked around the tower and rejected the stones from the building?"


"I saw him, sir," I answered.


"The glorious man," he said, "is the Son of God, and those six glorious angels are those who support Him on the right hand and on the left. None of these glorious angels," he continued, "will enter in to God apart from Him. Whoever does not receive His name shall not enter into the kingdom of God."



The Shepherd of Hermas

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 9, Chapter 13:


The angel said, “Since you take an interest in everything and examine all the details, hear about the stones that were rejected. These all received the name of God, and they also received the strength of these virgins [representing virtues]. Having received these spirits, they were made strong and were with the servants of God. And theirs was one spirit and one body and one clothing. They were of the same mind and did righteous deeds.


“But after a while, they were persuaded by the women whom you saw clothed in black. These second women had their shoulders exposed and their hair disheveled, and they were beautiful in appearance. Having seen these women, they desired to have them and clothed themselves with their strength and put off the strength of the virgins.


“So, these stones were rejected from the house of God and were given over to the black-robed women. But they who were not deceived by the beauty of these women remained in the house of God.”



The Shepherd of Hermas

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 9, Chapter 15:


The angel continued: “Hear also the names of the women who had the black garments…The first is Unbelief, the second: No Self-Control, the third Disobedience, the fourth Deceit. And their followers are called Sorrow, Wickedness, Wantonness, Anger, Falsehood, Folly, Backbiting, Hatred. The servant of God who bears these names will see the kingdom of God but will not enter into it.”



The Shepherd of Hermas

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 9, Chapter 18:


The angel said, “He who does not know God and does evil will be punished for his wickedness. But he who has known God should do evil no longer but should do good. If, when he should do good, he does evil, isn’t he doing greater evil than he who does not know God? So, those who have not known God and do evil are condemned to death, but they who have known God and have seen His mighty works and still continue in evil will be punished doubly and will die forever.”



The Shepherd of Hermas

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 9, Chapter 19:


The angel said, “Repentance is not open to apostates and those who blaspheme the Lord, nor to those who betray the servants of God.”



Odes of Solomon

(1st or 2nd Century)

Ode 3:


I am putting on the love of the Lord.


And His members are with Him, and I am dependent on them; and He loves me.


For I should not have known how to love the Lord if He had not continuously loved me.


Who is able to distinguish love, except him who is loved?


I love the Beloved, and I myself love Him, and where His rest is, there also am I.


And I will be no stranger, because there is no jealousy with the Lord Most High and Merciful.


I have been united to Him, because the lover has found the Beloved. Because I love Him who is the Son, I will become a son.


Yes, he who is joined to Him who is immortal, truly will be immortal.


And he who delights in the Life will become living.


This is the Spirit of the Lord, which is not false, which teaches the sons of men to know His ways.


Be wise and understanding and awakened.





Mathetes’ Letter to Diognetus

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 9:


As long as the former time endured, He allowed us to be carried along by unruly impulses, being drawn away by the desire of pleasure and various lusts. He did not delight in our sins; He simply endured them…He wanted to make us conscious of righteousness, convincing us that in our unworthiness, we could not attain life by our own works. Now, through the kindness of God, that life is secure. He showed us that we weren’t able to enter the kingdom of God through our own power but only through His.


When our wickedness had reached its limit, and it had been clearly shown that the consequence of punishment and death was looming over us, the time had come that God set for showing His own kindness and power. He showed that the unique love of God cared extremely for men and did not have any hatred toward us, nor did He want to thrust us away, nor remember our immorality against us. Instead, He showed great patience and bore with us.


He Himself took on the burden of our sins. He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for those who are mortal. For what else could have covered our sins than His righteousness? Who else could have justified us, the wicked and ungodly, other than the only Son of God?


O sweet exchange! O unsearchable change! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hidden in a single righteous One and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!


So, having convinced us in the former time that we couldn’t attain to life in our own nature, and having now revealed the Savior who is able to save even those who couldn’t be saved before, He desires to lead us to trust in His kindness and to count Him our Nourisher, Father, Teacher, Counselor, Healer, our Wisdom, Light, Honor, Glory, Power, and Life so that we shouldn’t be anxious about anything, including clothing and food.



Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 3

(Late 2nd Century)

Chapter 20, Paragraphs 1-2:


God was patient when man sinned, foreseeing the victory He would gain through the Word. For, when strength was made perfect in weakness, it showed the kindness and transcendent power of God.


Take Jonah as an example. God patiently allowed Jonah to be swallowed by the whale, not that he should be swallowed up and die forever, but that, having been cast out again, he would be more obedient to God and glorify Him the more who had given him such an unhoped-for deliverance…


So also, from the beginning, God allowed man to be swallowed up by the great whale, the author of sin, not that he should die forever when swallowed up like this, but was arranging and preparing the plan of salvation that would be accomplished by the Word…


This was done so that man, receiving unhoped-for salvation from God, would rise from the dead and glorify God…and never adopt an opposite opinion with regard to God, thinking that the incorruptibility he now has is his due to his own nature, and so by not holding to the truth, boast with empty arrogance, as if he were naturally like God. For Satan caused man to be ungrateful toward his Creator and obscured the love God had for man and blinded man’s mind so that he couldn’t see what is really worthy of God, comparing himself with, and judging himself equal to, God.


So this is why God was patient with man: He wanted man to pass through all these things and gain the knowledge of moral discipline, then, attaining to the resurrection from the dead and learning by experience what the source of his deliverance is, always live in a state of gratitude to the Lord, having obtained from Him the gift of incorruptibility and so loving Him all the more; for "he who has been forgiven much, loves much."


And He wanted man to know himself, how mortal and weak he is, while he also understands God to be immortal and powerful to such a degree that He can confer immortality upon what is mortal and eternity upon what is temporal.



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Find more of what the early Christians thought on my Christian History page!

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