Sola Gratia

“Grace indeed freely discharges sins,
but with the consent and choice of the believer.”
– Pelagius

“We are assurimageed of victory over death, victory over the flesh, victory over the world and Satan. Christ promises us remission of sins, fruits in this life a hundredfold, and thereafter life eternal. And for what reason? For the sake of our merit? No indeed, but through the grace of faith which is in Christ Jesus. We are the more secure because He is first our Doctor. He first overcame the lapse of Adam, nailed our sins to the cross, sealed our redemption with His blood … He added the seal of the Spirit lest we should waver in our confidence … What could we little worms do of ourselves? Christ is our justification. Christ is our victory. Christ is our hope and security. … I believe there are many not absolved by the priest, not having taken the Eucharist, not having been anointed, not having received Christian burial who rest in peace, while many who have had all the rites of the Church and have been buried next to the altar have gone to hell.”
– Desiderius Erasmus, Treatise on the Preparation for Death

Self-rigtheousness won’t save us. We need His grace.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiosese of America puts grace the following way (I am not part of this denomination):

“When we come to Christ as sinners, we have no works to offer to Him, but only faith and repentance.  But once we come to Him and receive the gift of salvation, we enter into a sacred covenant to honor Him with good works. (…)
Neither faith nor good works can be presented as merit before God, but only as return gifts in humility, love, and thanksgiving.”
Source: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/how-are-we-saved
the original content was written by Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos and is used with permission from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of
God: Not of works, lest any man should
boast.
– Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

We have to accept the grace by having faith and repenting. As Justin Martyr put it:

If they repent, all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God: and the Scripture foretells that they shall be blessed, saying, ‘Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin;’ that is, having repented of his sins, that he may receive remission of them from God;
– Justin Martyr

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)

Picture Desiderius Erasmus: Holbein, Erasmus, wikimedia
Picture Justin Martyr taken from forallsaints

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