Saturday, August 22, 2009

FATHERS: Living With a Faith That Works


When John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407) was brought before the empress Eudoxia, she threatened him with banishment if he insisted on his Christian independence as a preacher.

“You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house.”

“But I will kill you,” said the empress.

“No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God,” said John.

“I will take away your treasures.”

“No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”

“But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left.”

“No, you cannot, for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me.”


We make a great deal of noise in our day about knowing the truth, and few reasonable people would argue that knowledge is unnecessary. However, since the age of scholasticism, rationalism, and the enlightenment, we are wired from our earliest days to conclude that knowledge is the deciding factor. For this reason, many Christians think that knowledge in their heads and ascent to that knowledge is equal to faith. Yet, what we see in St John Chrysostom is not merely a knowledge that tries to pass for faith, but an application of that knowledge when it counts. In this quote we see that he wears the truth of his faith as if was his own skin, and that enables him to overcome any fear and stand up even to the fiercest of adversaries with unquenchable fire from heaven. Oh, that we learn may learn to walk in his steps, that we might all acquire a faith that works when it counts.

I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe- and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? James 2: 18-20

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