Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Paleo-Orthodoxy: The Early Church on Holiness

The topics of holiness and sanctification are important to the Christian life. While we have many good theologians who have explored these topics at length, such as John Wesley, it is helpful to go back to the writings of the earliest Christian theologians and see how they understood these very important principles. The following are just a few representative quotes.


Holiness Manifests in Upright Behavior
"According to the same apostle, those who strive after perfection (holiness), must "give no offense in anything, but in everything approve themselves not to men, but to God."- Clement of Alexandria

Holiness is Wholistic
"As I conceive it, sanctity is perfect pureness of mind, deeds, thoughts and words."- Clement of Alexandria

"The beauty of the soul becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit when it acquires a disposition in the whole of life corresponding to the gospel."-Clement of Alexandria

Holiness Produces Demonstrable Fruit
"Abstinence from sins is not sufficient for perfection (holiness), unless a person also assumes the work of righteousness-activity in doing good."- Clement of Alexandria

Holiness is Living as Jesus Lived
"For it is in this manner that one truly follows the Savior: by aiming at sinlessness and at His perfection."- Clement of Alexandria

Holiness is Denial of Selfish Desires
"I am persuaded that every action of the perfect (holy) man is a testimony to Christ Jesus and that abstinence from every sin is a denial of self, leading him after Christ."- Origen

Holiness is Available Only Through Christ
"Apart from the help of the Word...it is impossible for a man to become free from sin."- Origen

Holiness is Made Possible Through God's Grace
"God allows Himself at all times to be comprehended in our thoughts...This is so that we may receive a desire for purity and may free ourselves from every stain by the removal of all our shortcomings."- Arnobius

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