Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/On Nature and Grace/Chapter 66
Chapter 66.—The Works, Not the Substance, of the “Flesh” Opposed to the “Spirit.”
Now if we secure even this concession from them, that unbaptized persons may implore the assistance of the Saviour’s grace, this is indeed no slight point against that fallacious assertion of the self-sufficiency of nature and of the power of free will. For he is not sufficient to himself who says, “O wretched man that I am! who shall liberate me?” Nor can he be said to have full liberty who still asks for liberation. [LVI.] But let us, moreover, see to this point also, whether they who are baptized do the good which they would, without any resistance from the lust of the flesh. That, however, which we have to say on this subject, our author himself mentions, when concluding this topic he says: “As we remarked, the passage in which occur the words, ‘The flesh lusteth against the Spirit,’ must needs have reference not to the substance, but to the works of the flesh.” We too allege that this is spoken not of the substance of the flesh, but of its works, which proceed from carnal concupiscence,—in a word, from sin, concerning which we have this precept: “Not to let it reign in our mortal body, that we should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
- Gal. v. 17.
- Rom. vi. 12.