Friday, February 18, 2011

...and Not by Faith, Either

God does not save us by our works, and most of us are reasonably clear about that.

Well, God doesn't save us by our faith, either.

He doesn't save us because our works please Him and He doesn't save us because our faith pleases Him.  He doesn't save us because we are pleasing to Him in any way whatsoever.   He saves us because that is His will, and that is His will because He loves us, unconditionally and infinitely,  period. 

He doesn't save us BECAUSE we have faith; that's not the reason salvation apart from faith is impossible. The reason is, faith is the interface between God and us, without which there is no pathway of communication, let alone communion, and salvation = communion in God's life and glory and blessedness.

So it's through faith, but it's by grace, pure grace, all grace.


joel in ga said...

That's a wonderful thought. Do you know of any of the fathers who have taught along the same lines?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

St. Paul taught it, see Ephesians 2:8-9.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

In fact. I should have cited the entire passage, beginning with v. 4 and ending with v. 10:

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

joel in ga said...

If St Paul taught it, that's certainly sufficent for belief. Did any of the later Fathers also write as you did about how God, in love, does not keep an account of our wrongdoings?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

??? That's not what I wrote about here, although I have written that in other posts.

No, I don't have a quote for you. The idea of a retaliatory or vindictive god was so foreign to the Fathers (Eastern ones, anyway; not sure about, for example, St. Augustine) that I don't know whether they even wrote against it. They were, of course, familiar with God's chastisement.

joel in ga said...

You're right. I was thinking of your posting, A Hidden Gem (Jan. 30). Sorry for the confusion.