Reflection: Ancient Christian Doctrines Vol 5 – For the Forgiveness of Sins

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I have been posting three or four quotes from each section of this book, graciously sent by IVP-Academic for review, to encourage you to take a deeper glance. Many of the books on today’s shelves will long forgotten rather shortly, but those whose works are remember here are done so almost daily by various peoples around the Christian globe because these words, whether we ultimately agree with them or not, are a part of the Christian heritage.

If we are the children of God, if we have already begun to be his temples, if (after receiving the Holy Spirit) we live in a holy and spiritual way, if we have lifted up our eyes from the earth toward heaven, if we have raised our hearts, full of God and Christ, to supernal and divine things, let us do nothing that is not worthy of God and Christ, as the apostle arouses and urges us. Cyprian, Jealousy and Envy 14.

You are in the Spirit because you are occupied with spiritual things. The Spirit of God dwells in those in whom his fruit is manifest, as Paul says to the Galatians: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, et cetera. The Spirit of Christ, who loved his enemies and prayed for them, is the Spirit of humility, patience and all virtues. Pelagius, Commentary on Romans.

Baptism is like a death when you go down into the water and like a resurrection when you rise again. Thus, according to the interpretation of the apostle, just as Christ’s resurrection was a regeneration so the resurrection from the font is also a regeneration. Ambrose, On the Sacraments 3.I.2

Next, you believe in the forgiveness of sins. This is the grace by which those who believe in and confess God and Christ receive in baptism the remission of all their sins. We call it a rebirth, because it makes a person more innocent and pure than when he is born from his mother’s womb. Niceta of Remesiana, Explanation of the Creed 10.

We believe in the forgiveness of sins: since through Christ and the church the one who is born as a new human being will have nothing of the old one. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 60.15

Further, observe that by baptism we cut off all the covering that we have worn since birth, that is to say, sin, and become spiritual Israelites and God’s people. John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 4.9-10

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