Thursday, January 13, 2011

Metrophanes Critopoulos on a Double Justification

I found an interesting quote that I've decided to put up here. I suspect that many Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals will have a diverse range of reactions to it and the views it espouses. The quote comes from Metrophanes Critopoulos, a seventeenth-century Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria:

Reason knows of a double justification. The first is from the original sin of our forefathers, through which we all alike became enemies of God. We have this justification simply and solely through the goodwill of the Father, through teh blood of his only-begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the grace of the Allholy Spirit. We ourselves make no contribution or effort toward this, as is shown by the text: "By grace you are saved" [Ephesians 2:5]. The second is our acquittal from our own sins. This requires first of all the goodwill of God, without which everything of ours is dead and lifeless. But this must be accompanied by zeal and diligence on our part, in accordance with the words "by your own works you shall be justified, and by your own works you shall be condemned" [Matthew 12:37]. For it seems that good works contribute even to our standing in the kingdom of heaven. For by simply standing within the bridal chamber, we have received a gift by the grace alone of the God who has invited us. But when we hear that in the house of God there are many different rooms [John 14:2], and that "there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, and star differs from star in glory" [1 Corinthians 15:41], we understand from this that there is some difference in the status of the elect. And we believe that to be given this or that standing there is the result of each man's works: "that which a man sows, he will also reap" [Galatians 6:7]. Therefore good works are essential for the chosen. First, so taht it may be clear that their faith is not dead, but living and fruitful. And that through the fruit that they bear they may be good examples to others and that God may be glorified in them. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven" [Matthew 5:16]. Then also that through good works they may avoid the occasional punishments which they suffer when they fail to do what is right. And finally, that they may enjoy a better and finer place in the church of the firstborn, which is the kingdom of heaven. (Metrophanes Critopoulos, Confession of Faith 6.5, quoted from Jaroslav Pelikan and Valerie Hotchkiss, Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition 1.510-511)


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