Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Against Two Letters of the Pelagians/Book IV/Chapter 8
Chapter 8.—Death Passed Upon All by Sin.
But on account of what does the same apostle say, that we are reconciled to God by Christ, except on account of what we had become enemies? And what is this but sin? Whence also the prophet says, “Your sins separate between you and God.” On account of this separation, therefore, the Mediator was sent, that He might take away the sin of the world, by which we were separated as enemies, and that we, being reconciled, might be made from enemies children. About this, certainly, the apostle was speaking; hence it happened that he interposed what he says, “That sin entered by one man.” For these are his former words. He says, “But God commendeth His love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being now justified in His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved in His life. And not only so, but glorying also in God through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom also we have now received reconciliation.” Then he subjoins, “Therefore, as by one man sin entered into this world, and death by sin, and so passed upon all men, for in him all have sinned.” Why do the Pelagians evade this matter? If reconciliation through Christ is necessary to all men, on all men has passed sin by which we have become enemies, in order that we should have need of reconciliation. This reconciliation is in the laver of regeneration and in the flesh and blood of Christ, without which not even infants can have life in themselves. For as there was one man for death on account of sin, so there is one man for life on account of righteousness; because “as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive;” and “as by the sin of one upon all men to condemnation, so also by the righteousness of one upon all men unto justification of life.” Who is there that has turned a deaf ear to these apostolical words with such hardiness of wicked impiety, as, having heard them, to contend that death passed upon us through Adam without sin, unless, indeed, they are opposers of the grace of God and enemies of the cross of Christ?—whose end is destruction if they continue in this obstinacy. But let it suffice to have said thus much for the sake of that serpentine subtlety of theirs, by which they wish to corrupt simple minds, and to turn them away from the simplicity of the faith, as if by the praise of the creature.
- Isa. lix. 2.
- Rom. v. 8 ff.
- 1 Cor. xv. 22.
- Rom. v. 18.