Matt. 7:24-29 (Part 1)

7:24ff IRENAEUS: For this purpose did the Father reveal the Son, that through His instrumentality He might be manifested to all, and might receive those righteous ones who believe in Him into incorruption and everlasting enjoyment (now, to believe in Him is to do His will); but He shall righteously shut out into the darkness which they have chosen for themselves, those who do not believe, and who do consequently avoid His light. The Father therefore has revealed Himself to all, by making His Word visible to all; and, conversely, the Word has declared to all the Father and the Son, since He has become visible to all. And therefore the righteous judgment of God shall fall upon all who, like others, have seen, but have not, like others, believed. Against Heresies, 1.468-469.

IRENAEUS: But with respect to obedience and doctrine we are not all the sons of God: only those are so who believe in Him and do His will. And those who do not believe, and do not obey His will, are sons and angels of the devil, because they do the works of the devil. . . . According to nature, then, they are His children, because they have been so created; but with regard to their works, they are not His children.

For as, among men, those sons who disobey their fathers, being disinherited, are still their sons in the course of nature, but by law are disinherited, for they do not become the heirs of their natural parents; so in the same way is it with God,—those who do not obey Him being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons. Against Heresies, 1.524-525.

TATIAN: Every man that comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like the wise man which built a house, and dug and went deep, and laid the foundations on a rock: and the rain came down, and the rivers overflowed, and the winds blew, and shook that house, and it did not fall: for its foundation was laid on rocks. And every one that hears my words, and does not do them, is like the foolish man which built his house on sand, without foundation: and the rain descended, and the rivers overflowed, and the winds blew, and smote upon that house, and it fell: and the fall of it was great. The Diatessaron, 9.60.

ORIGEN: He declares: “Every one who hears my words, and does them, I will show to whom he is like: he is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock,” etc. So also the declaration: “Whoever hears these things, and does not do them, is like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand,” etc. Even the words addressed to those who are on His right hand, “Come to Me, all you blessed of My Father,” etc.; “for I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink,”manifestly show that it depended upon themselves, that either these should be deserving of praise for doing what was commanded and receiving what was promised, or those deserving of condemnation who either heard or received the contrary, and to whom it was said, “Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire.”Let us observe also, that the Apostle Paul addresses us as having power over our own will, and as possessing in ourselves the causes either of our salvation or of our ruin: “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, and of His patience, and of His long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But, according to your hardness and impenitent heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath on the day of judgment and of the revelation of the just judgment of God, who will render to everyone according to his work: to those who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and immortality, eternal life; while to those who are contentious, and do not believe the truth, but who believe iniquity, anger, indignation, tribulation, and distress, on every soul of man that works evil, on the Jew first, and (afterwards) on the Greek; but glory, and honor, and peace to every one that does good, to the Jew first, and (afterwards) to the Greek.”You will also find innumerable other passages in holy Scripture, which manifestly show that we possess freedom of will. Otherwise there would be a contrariety in commandments being given us, by observing which we may be saved, or by transgressing which we may be condemned, if the power of keeping them were not implanted in us. De Principiis, 4.306.

ORIGEN: Is it the rock upon which Christ builds the church, or is the rock the church? For the phrase is ambiguous. Or is it as if the rock and the church were one and the same? This I think to be true; for neither against the rock on which Christ builds the church, nor against the church will the gates of Hades prevail; just as the way of a serpent upon a rock, according to what is written in the Proverbs, cannot be found.  Now, if the gates of Hades prevail against any one, such an one cannot be a rock upon which Christ builds the church, nor the church built by Jesus upon the rock; for the rock is inaccessible to the serpent, and it is stronger than the gates of Hades which are opposing it, so that because of its strength the gates of Hades do not prevail against it; but the church, as a building of Christ who built His own house wisely upon the rock, is incapable of admitting the gates of Hades which prevail against every man who is outside the rock and the church, but have no power against it.
Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 9.456-457.

ORIGEN: The Lord also says in the Gospel, “He who believes in me keeps my commands;”  and again, “he who hears these words of mine and does them;” and likewise, “Why do you say to me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?”  You see, then, that everywhere faith is joined with works and works are united with faith. Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. 

ORIGEN: Long ago we heard Jesus' words, and it is now in the distant past that we were made disciples of the gospel, and all built for ourselves a house. Where we have built, whether we have dug deep and founded it on the rock, or on the sand without any foundation, the present struggle will show. For a storm is imminent bringing rain and rivers and winds, or, as Luke says, flood-water.  When these break upon the house, either they will not be able to shake it, and the house will not fall for the reason that it is built upon the rock, on Christ, or they will show up the weakness of the building which will fall under the blows of the tempest. May this never happen to our buildings. A fall by apostasy is very great, or, as Luke says, great is the ruin of the building that lacks any foundation. Therefore let us pray that we may be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. Against such a house there may come the rain from the spiritual powers of evil in the heavens or from the rivers from the world-rulers of this darkness or the flood-water of the spirits beneath the earth. Let them break themselves on our building founded on the rock, not only that the house may not fall but that it may not be shaken in the least, and that it may be rather they than we who suffer from their onslaught. Let each one of us say as he strikes the hostile powers, “So I fight, but not as a man beating the air.”  Exhortation to Martyrdom.

CYPRIAN: An example is given us to avoid the way of the old man, to stand in the footsteps of a conquering Christ, that we may not again be incautiously turned back into the nets of death, but, foreseeing our danger, may possess the immortality that we have received. But how can we possess immortality, unless we keep those commands of Christ whereby death is driven out and overcome, when He Himself warns us, and says, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments?”  And again: “If you do the things that I command you, henceforth I do not call you servants, but friends.”  Finally, these persons He calls strong and stedfast; these He declares to be founded in robust security upon the rock, established with immoveable and unshaken firmness, in opposition to all the tempests and hurricanes of the world. “Whosoever,” He says, “hears my words, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, that built his house upon a rock: the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it did not fall: for it was founded upon a rock.” We ought therefore to stand fast on His words, to learn and do whatever He both taught and did. But how can a man say that he believes in Christ, who does not do what Christ commanded him to do?  How shall he attain to the reward of faith, who will not keep the faith of the commandment? He must of necessity waver and wander, and, caught away by a spirit of error, like dust which is shaken by the wind, be blown about; and he will make no advance in his walk towards salvation, because he does not keep the truth of the way of salvation. The Treatises of Cyprian, 5.421-422.

CYPRIAN: In Solomon, in Ecclesiasticus: “Do not be hasty with your tongue, and in your deeds useless and remiss.”  And Paul, in the first to the Corinthians: “The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”  Also to the Romans: “Not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”  Also in the Gospel according to Matthew: “He who shall do and teach so, shall be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Also in the same place: “Every one who hears my words, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. The rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it did not fall: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one who hears my words, and does not do them, I will liken him to the foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. The rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and its ruin became great.” The Treatises of Cyprian, 5.554.

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