Thursday, July 28, 2022

John 1:12 according to St. John Chrysostom

 John Chysostom explains the meaning of: 

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” John 1:12 

Many modern Christians presume that we become children of God and our sonship is complete once we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. But why did Paul declare that WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR OUR ADOPTION as sons (Romans 8:23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5)? 

Let’s hear the interpretation of a Greek Archbishop from the 5th Century AD, historically known as the greatest preacher of the church after the time of the Apostles, St. John Chrysostom: 

Why then did he NOT say "He MADE THEM SONS of God," but instead said, "He GAVE THEM POWER to become sons of God"? To show that we need much zeal to keep the image of sonship impressed on us at Baptism, all through without spot or soil; and at the same time to show that no one shall be able to take this power from us, UNLESS WE ARE THE FIRST TO DEPRIVE OURSELVES OF IT. ... At the same time too he wishes to show, that not even does grace come upon any believer, but upon those who desire and take pains for it. For it lies in the power of these to become (His) children since if they do not themselves first make the choice, this power or right does not come upon them, nor have any effect. 

 Having therefore everywhere excluded compulsion and instead, pointing to (man's) voluntary choice and free power, he has said the same now. For even in these mystical blessings, IT IS, ON THE ONE HAND, GOD'S PART TO GIVE THE GRACE, AND MAN'S PART TO SUPPLY FAITH.... In order to preserve our purity, it is NOT sufficient for us merely to have been baptized and to have believed, but we must if we will continually enjoy this brightness, DISPLAY A LIFE WORTHY OF IT. This then is God's work in us. To have been born the mystical Birth, and to have been cleansed from all our former sins, comes from Baptism; BUT TO REMAIN FOR THE FUTURE PURE, NEVER AGAIN AFTER THIS TO ADMIT ANY STAIN BELONGS TO OUR OWN POWER AND DILIGENCE. 

 ...For there is no small fear, lest, having sometime defiled that beautiful robe by our complacency and transgressions, we be cast out from the inner room and bridal chamber, like the five foolish virgins, or him who had not on a wedding garment. [Matthew 25; Matthew 22] He too was one of the guests, for he had been invited; but because, after the invitation and so great an honor, he behaved with insolence towards Him who had invited him, hear what punishment he suffers, how pitiable, fit subject for many tears. For when he comes to partake of that splendid table, not only is he forbidden the least, but bound hand and foot alike, is carried into outer darkness, to undergo eternal and endless wailing and gnashing of teeth. Therefore, beloved, let not us either expect that faith is sufficient to us for salvation; for IF WE DO NOT SHOW FORTH A PURE LIFE, BUT COME CLOTHED WITH GARMENTS UNWORTHY OF THIS BLESSED CALLING, NOTHING HINDERS US FROM SUFFERING THE SAME AS THAT WRETCHED ONE. 

 ...He has done all His part. He has made the marriage, He has provided the table, He has sent men to call us, has received us when we came, and honored us with all other honor; but we, WHEN WE HAVE OFFERED INSULT TO HIM, TO THE COMPANY, AND TO THE WEDDING, BY OUR FILTHY GARMENTS, THAT IS, OUR IMPURE ACTIONS, are then with good cause cast out. It is to honor the marriage and the guests, that He drives off those bold and shameless persons; for were He to tolerate those clothed in such dirty garment, He would seem to be offering insult to the other believers who worked diligently to maintain their purity.

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