Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grace Leads to Repentance, Leading to Grace

It is the Lord your God you shall fear.  Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.  (Deuteronomy 6:13)

But where there is no fear, in like manner there is no change; where there is no change, repentance is of necessity empty, for it lacks the fruit for which God sowed it—that is, man’s salvation.  For God … when He had hastened back to His own mercy, did from that time onward inaugurate repentance in His own self, by rescinding the sentence of His initial wrath, engaging to grant pardon to His own work and image.*  And so He gathered together a people for Himself, and cared for them with many abundant distributions of His bounty, and, after so often finding them most ungrateful, ever exhorted them to repentance and sent out the voices of the universal company of the prophets to prophesy.  By and by, promising freely the grace which in the last times He was intending to pour as a flood of light on the whole world through His Spirit, He called for the baptism of repentance to lead the way, with the view of first preparing, by means of the sign and seal of repentance, them whom He was calling, through grace, to the promise surely made to Abraham.

Tertullian, On Repentance, 2

* I.e., mankind.

No comments: