XII. — It Clearly Appears That There Was but One Author of Both the Old and the New Law, from the Fact That Christ Condemned Traditions and Customs Repugnant to the Former, While He Confirmed Its Most Important Precepts, and Taught That He Was Himself the End of the Mosaic Law.

The righteousness of men and the righteousness of God are the two different ways the Torah was being interpreted. Christ didn’t blame to Torah or blame the people for walking out the Torah, it was being walked out without love. The righteousness of God is to understand the Torah correctly is to show love to God and our neighbors. Men, because of their ignorance had not righteousness of God but relied on their own understanding.

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  1. The Lord, too, does not do away with this [God], when He shows that the law was not derived from another God, expressing Himself as follows to those who were being instructed by Him, to the multitude and to His disciples: The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens, and lay them upon men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not so much as move them with a finger.” (Mat_23:2-4) He therefore did not throw blame upon that law which was given by Moses, when He exhorted it to be observed, Jerusalem being as yet in safety; but He did throw blame upon those persons, because they repeated indeed the words of the law, yet were without love. And for this reason were they held as being unrighteous as respects God, and as respects their neighbors. As also Isaiah says: “This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me: howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching the doctrines and the commandments of men.” (Isa_29:13) He does not call the law given by Moses commandments of men, but the traditions of the elders themselves which they had invented, and in upholding which they made the law of God of none effect, and were on this account also not subject to His Word. For this is what Paul says concerning these men: “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” (Rom_10:3-4) And how is Christ the end of the law, if He be not also the final Cause of it? For He who has brought in the end has Himself also wrought the beginning; and it is He who does Himself say to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have come down to deliver them;” (Exo_3:7-8) it being customary from the beginning with the Word of God to ascend and descend for the purpose of saving those who were in affliction.

~Iranaeus- Against Heresies Book IV Vol. 1

XXX. Christians Possess the True Righteousness

Justin is dialoguing with Trypho, a Jew on what true righteousness is. The statues are to be understood with right understanding not wickedness, but made manifest to all that believe in Him. His commandments are sweeter than honey. They pray to stay away from deceitful spirits that give words of prophecy personating as one who believes in Christ. The power of right understanding.

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“But impute1 it to your own wickedness, that God even can be accused by those who have no understanding, of not having always instructed all in the same righteous statutes. For such institutions seemed to be unreasonable and unworthy of God to many men, who had not received grace to know that your nation were called to conversion and repentance of spirit, while they were in a sinful condition and laboring under spiritual disease; and that the prophecy which was announced subsequent to the death of Moses is everlasting. And this is mentioned in the Psalm, my friends. (Ps_19:1-14) And that we, who have been made wise by them, confess that the statutes of the Lord are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb is manifest from the fact that, though threatened with death, we do not deny His name. Moreover, it is also manifest to all, that we who believe in Him pray to be kept by Him from strange, i.e., from wicked and deceitful, spirits; as the word of prophecy, personating one of those who believe in Him, figuratively declares. For we do continually beseech God by Jesus Christ to preserve us from the demons which are hostile to the worship of God, and whom we of old time served, in order that, after our conversion by Him to God, we may be blameless. For we call Him Helper and Redeemer, the power of whose name even the demons do fear; and at this day, when they are exorcised in the name of Jesus Christ, crucified under Pontius Pilate, governor of Judaea, they are overcome. And thus it is manifest to all, that His Father has given Him so great power, by virtue of which demons are subdued to His name, and to the dispensation of His suffering.

~Justin Martyr- Dialogue with Trypho Vol. 1

XLV. — It Is the Part of the Wicked to Vex the Righteous.

who with confidence endured tribulation, persecution, longsuffering are now heirs of glory and honor, and have been exalted and made illustrious by God in their memorial.

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Ye are fond of contention1, brethren, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation. Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them. There you will not find that the righteous were cast off by men who themselves were holy. The righteous were indeed persecuted, but only by the wicked. They were cast into prison, but only by the unholy; they were stoned, but only by transgressors; they were slain, but only by the accursed, and such as had conceived an unrighteous envy against them. Exposed to such sufferings, they endured them gloriously. For what shall we say, brethren? Was Daniel (Dan_6:16) cast into the den of lions by such as feared God? Were Ananias, and Azarias, and Mishael shut up in a furnace (Dan_3:20) of fire by those who observed the great and glorious worship of the Most High? Far from us be such a thought! Who, then, were they that did such things? The hateful, and those full of all wickedness, were roused to such a pitch of fury, that they inflicted torture on those who served God with a holy and blameless purpose [of heart], not knowing that the Most High is the Defender and Protector of all such as with a pure conscience venerate2 His all-excellent name; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. But they who with confidence endured [these things] are now heirs of glory and honor, and have been exalted and made illustrious by God in their memorial for ever and ever. Amen.

~St. Clement- Corinthians Vol. 1

XIV. — Righteousness Is Not Placed in Jewish Rites, but in the Conversion of the Heart Given in Baptism by Christ.

To those who seek the face of the Father, who seek right understanding and turn from their wicked ways, their sins will be forgiven.

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“By reason, therefore, of this laver of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God’s people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and testify that that very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. For what is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone?

 

Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred; and, lo! the body is pure. For this is the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old deeds of wicked leaven. But you have understood all things in a carnal sense, and you suppose it to be piety if you do such things, while your souls are filled with deceit, and, in short, with every wickedness. Accordingly, also, after the seven days of eating unleavened bread, God commanded them to mingle new leaven, that is, the performance of other works, and not the imitation of the old and evil works. And because this is what this new Lawgiver demands of you, I shall again refer to the words which have been quoted by me, and to others also which have been passed over. They are related by Isaiah to the following effect: ‘Hearken to me, and your soul shall live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the nations. Nations which know not Thee shall call on Thee; and peoples who know not Thee shall escape unto Thee, because of Thy God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified Thee. Seek ye God; and when you find Him, call on Him, so long as He may be nigh you. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will obtain mercy, because He will abundantly pardon your sins. For my thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are my ways as your ways; but as far removed as the heavens are from the earth, so far is my way removed from your way, and your thoughts from my thoughts. For as the snow or the rain descends from heaven, and shall not return till it waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread for food, so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return until it shall have accomplished all that I desired, and I shall make My commandments prosperous. For ye shall go out with joy, and be taught with gladness. For the mountains and the hills shall leap while they expect you, and all the trees of the fields shall applaud with their branches: and instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle. And the Lord shall be for a name, and for an everlasting sign, and He shall not fail!’ (Isa_55:3 to end) Of these and such like words written by the prophets, O Trypho,” said I, “some have reference to the first advent of Christ, in which He is preached as inglorious2, obscure, and of mortal appearance: but others had reference to His second advent1., when He shall appear in glory and above the clouds; and your nation shall see and know Him whom they have pierced, as Hosea, one of the twelve prophets, and Daniel, foretold.

~ Justin Martyr- Dialogue of Justin Vol. 1

X. — By a Comparison Drawn from the Wild Olive-Tree, Whose Quality but Not Whose Nature Is Changed by Grafting, He Proves More Important Things; He Points Out Also That Man Without the Spirit Is Not Capable of Bringing Forth Fruit, or of Inheriting the Kingdom of God.

To produce the fruit of righteousness we are to be engrafted to the Word through the Spirit by carefully tending to the understanding of the Word. We cannot become engrafted without killing the lust of the flesh. Producing righteousness does not come by pampering the flesh. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom is not referring to our physical flesh, it is speaking of our flesh producing good fruit.

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  1. This truth, therefore, [he declares], in order that we may not reject the engrafting of the Spirit while pampering the flesh. “But thou, being a wild olive-tree,” he says, “hast been grafted into the good olive-tree and been made a partaker of the fatness of the olive-tree.” (Rom_11:17) As, therefore, when the wild olive has been engrafted, if it remain in its former condition, viz., a wild olive, it is “cut off, and cast into the fire;” (Mat_7:19) but if it takes kindly to the graft, and is changed into the good olive-tree, it becomes a fruit-bearing olive, planted, as it were, in a king’s park (paradiso): so likewise men, if they do truly progress by faith towards better things, and receive the Spirit of God, and bring forth the fruit thereof, shall be spiritual, as being planted in the paradise of God. But if they cast out the Spirit, and remain in their former condition, desirous of being of the flesh rather than of the Spirit, then it is very justly said with regard to men of this stamp, “That flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God;” (1Co_15:50) just as if any one were to say that the wild olive is not received into the paradise of God. Admirably therefore does the apostle exhibit our nature, and God’s universal appointment, in his discourse about flesh and blood and the wild olive. For as the good olive, if neglected for a certain time, if left to grow wild and to run to wood, does itself become a wild olive; or again, if the wild olive be carefully tended and grafted, it naturally reverts to its former fruit-bearing condition: so men also, when they become careless, and bring forth for fruit the lusts of the flesh like woody produce, are rendered, by their own fault, unfruitful in righteousness. For when men sleep, the enemy sows the material of tares; (Mat_13:25) and for this cause did the Lord command His disciples to be on the watch. (Mat_24:42, Mat_25:13; Mar_13:33) And again, those persons who are not bringing forth the fruits of righteousness, and are, as it were, covered over and lost among brambles, if they use diligence, and receive the word of God as a graft, (Jam_1:21) arrive at the pristine nature of man — that which was created after the image and likeness of God.

 

  1. But as the engrafted wild olive does not certainly lose the substance of its wood, but changes the quality of its fruit, and receives another name, being now not a wild olive, but a fruit-bearing olive, and is called so; so also, when man is grafted in by faith and receives the Spirit of God, he certainly does not lose the substance of flesh, but changes the quality of the fruit [brought forth, i.e.,] of his works, and receives another name, (Rev_2:17) showing that he has become changed for the better, being now not [mere] flesh and blood, but a spiritual man, and is called such. Then, again, as the wild olive, if it be not grafted in, remains useless to its lord because of its woody quality, and is cut down as a tree bearing no fruit, and cast into the fire; so also man, if he does not receive through faith the engrafting of the Spirit, remains in his old condition, and being [mere] flesh and blood, he cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Rightly therefore does the apostle declare, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” (1Co_15:50) and, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God:” (Rom_13:8) not repudiating [by these words] the substance of flesh, but showing that into it the Spirit must be infused. And for this reason, he says, “This mortal must put on immortality, and this corruptible must put on incorruption.” (1Co_15:53) And again he declares, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” (Rom_8:9) He sets this forth still more plainly, where he says, “The body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit dwelling in you.” (Rom_8:10, etc.) And again, he says, in the Epistle to the Romans, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.” (Rom_8:13) [Now by these words] he does not prohibit them from living their lives in the flesh, for he was himself in the flesh when he wrote to them; but he cuts away the lusts of the flesh, those which bring death upon a man. And for this reason, he says in continuation, “But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the works of the flesh, ye shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”

~Irenaeus- Against Heresies Book V Vol. 1