Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Sinner's Condemnation Is Just

[S]in came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because wall sinned…  (Rom 5:12)

But why do we speak of Jerusalem, since, indeed, the fashion of the whole world must also pass away, when the time of its disappearance has come, in order that the fruit indeed may be gathered into the granary, but the chaff, left behind, may be consumed by fire?  “For the day of the Lord comes as a burning furnace, and all sinners shall be stubble, they who do evil things, and the day shall burn them up.”*  Now, who this Lord is that brings such a day about, John the Baptist points out, when he says of Christ, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire, having his fan in his hand to cleanse his floor; and he will gather his fruit into the granary, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.”†  For he who makes the chaff and he who makes the wheat are not different persons, but one and the same, who judges them, that is, separates them.  But the wheat and the chaff, being inanimate and irrational, have been made such by nature.  But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect like to God, having been made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself the cause to himself, that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff.  Wherefore also he shall be justly condemned, because, having been created a rational being, he lost the true rationality, and living irrationally, opposed the righteousness of God, giving himself over to every earthly spirit, and serving all lusts; as says the prophet, “Man, being in honor, did not understand: he was assimilated to senseless beasts, and made like them.”‡

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4.4.3

*  Malachi 4:1
†  Matthew 3:11, etc.
‡  Psalm 49:12

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