Thursday, August 21, 2014

Don't Work for What Is Offered Freely

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Rom 10:8-10)

And what does the phrase mean, “The Word is near you?” That is, It is easy. For in your mind and in your tongue is your salvation. There is no long journey to go, no seas to sail over, no mountains to pass, to get saved. But if you are not minded to cross so much as the threshold, you may even while you sit at home be saved. For “in your mouth and in your heart” is the source of salvation. And then on another score also he makes the word of faith easy, and says, that “God raised Him from the dead.” For just reflect upon the worthiness of the Worker, and you will no longer see any difficulty in the thing. That He is Lord then, is plain from the resurrection. And this he said at the beginning even of the Epistle. “Which was declared to be the Son of God with power … by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). But that the resurrection is easy too, has been shown even to those who are very unbelieving, from the might of its Worker.

Since then the righteousness is greater, and light and easy to receive, is it not a sign of the utmost contentiousness to leave what is light and easy, and set about impossibilities? For they could not say that it was a thing they declined as burdensome. See then how he deprives them of all excuses. For what do they deserve to have said in their defense, who choose what is burdensome and impracticable, and pass by what is light, and able to save them, and to give them those things which the Law could not give? All this can come only from a contentious spirit, which is in a state of rebellion against God. For the Law is onerous, but grace is easy. The Law, though they dispute never so much, does not save. Grace yields the righteousness resulting from itself, and that from the Law likewise.

John Chrysostom, Homily XVII on Romans

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