Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Concerning Man's Perfection in Righteousness/Chapter 25
(24.) To Be Without Sin, and to Be Without Blame—How Differing.
The same thing is affirmed in another passage, which he has quoted immediately afterwards, as spoken by the same Job: “Behold, I am very near my judgment, and I know that I shall be found righteous.” Now this is the judgment of which it is said in another scripture: “And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” But he does not say, I am already there; but, “I am very near.” If, indeed, the judgment of his which he meant was not that which he would himself exercise, but that whereby he was to be judged at the last day, then in such judgment all will be found righteous who with sincerity pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” For it is through this forgiveness that they will be found righteous; on this account that whatever sins they have here incurred, they have blotted out by their deeds of charity. Whence the Lord says: “Give alms; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.” For in the end, it shall be said to the righteous, when about to enter into the promised kingdom: “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat,” and so forth. However, it is one thing to be without sin, which in this life can only be predicated of the Only-begotten, and another thing to be without accusation, which might be said of many just persons even in the present life; for there is a certain measure of a good life, according to which even in this human intercourse there could no just accusation be possibly laid against him. For who can justly accuse the man who wishes evil to no one, and who faithfully does good to all he can, and never cherishes a wish to avenge himself on any man who does him wrong, so that he can truly say, “As we forgive our debtors?” And yet by the very fact that he truly says, “Forgive, as we also forgive,” he plainly admits that he is not without sin.
- Job xiii. 18.
- Matt. vi. 12.
- Luke xi. 41.
- Matt. xxv. 35.