Chrysostom on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel


Chrysostom was an important early church figure, whose name means ‘golden-mouthed’, as he was known for his eloquence



The Commentary and Homilies of St. Chrysostom Archbishop of Constantinople on the Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians and Ephesians, tran. Gross Alexander, in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 13: 52.  This quote was compiled by David Ponter

[Ephesians 1] Verses 4-5. “In love,” says he, “having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself.”

Do you observe how that nothing is done without Christ?  Nothing without the Father?  The one has predestinated, the other has brought us near.  And these words he adds by way of heightening the things which have been done, in the same way as he says also elsewhere, “And not only so, but we also rejoice in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. v. 11.)  For great indeed are the blessings bestowed, yet are they made far greater in being bestowed through Christ; because He sent not any servant, though it was to servants He sent, but the Only-begotten Son Himself.

[Ephesians 1] Verse 5. “According to the good pleasure,” he continues, “of His will.”

That is to say, because He earnestly willed it. This is, as one might say, His earnest desire.

For the word “good pleasure” every where means the precedent will, for there is also another will. As for example, the first will is that sinners should not perish; the second will is, that, if men become wicked, they shall perish.  For surely it is not by necessity that He punishes them, but because He wills it.  You may see something of the sort even in the words of Paul, where he says, “I would that all men were even as I myself.” (1 Cor. 7:7)  And again, “I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children.” (1 Tim. 5:14)  By “good pleasure” then he means the first will, the earnest will, the will accompanied with earnest desire, as in case of us, for I shall not refuse to employ even a somewhat familiar expression, in order to speak with clearness to the simpler sort; for thus we ourselves, to express the intentness of the will, speak of acting according to our resolve.  What he means to say then is this, God earnestly aims at, earnestly desires, our salvation.  Wherefore then is it that He so loves, whence has He such affection?  It is of His goodness alone.  For grace itself is the fruit of goodness.  And for this cause, he says, has He predestinated us to the adoption of children; this being His will, and the object of His earnest wish, that the glory of His grace may be displayed. “According to the good pleasure of His will,” he proceeds, . . .



Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture

vol. IVa, John 1-10

p. 31, on John 1:9, from Homilies on the Gospel of John 8.1, NPNF 1 14:29

If He, ‘enlightens everyone that comes into the world,’ how is it that so many continue unenlightened?  For not all have known the majesty of Christ.  How then does He ‘enlighten everyone’?  He enlightens all who live in Him.  But if some, willfully closing the eyes of their mind would not receive the rays of that light, their darkness arises not from the nature of the light but from their own wickedness as they willfully deprive themselves of the giftFor the grace is shed forth upon all, turning its back on no one…  but admitting all alike and inviting all equally.  And those who are not willing to enjoy this gift ought in justice to impute their blindness to themselves.  For if when the gate is opened to all and there is none to hinder, any who are willfully evil remain outside.  They perish through no one else but their own wickedness. 


p. 127, on John 3:17, from Homilies on the Gospel of John, 28.1, NPNF 1 14:96-97

Many of the more careless sort, using the loving kindness of God to increase the magnitude of their sins and the excess of their disregard, speak in this way, saying: There is no hell, no future punishment.  God forgives all our sins…

But let us remember that there are two advents [comings] of Christ, one past, the other to come.  The first was not to judge but to pardon usThe second will be not to pardon but to judge us.  It is of the first that He says, “I have not come to judge the world but to save the world.”  [John 12:47]  But of the second He says, “When the Son shall come in the glory of his Father, He will set the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.”  And the sheep will go into life and the goats into eternal punishment… But because He is merciful, for a time He pardons instead of judging.  For if He had judged immediately, everyone would have been rushed into peridition, for “all have sinned and fallen short .of the glory of God.”  Don’t you see the unspeakable surplus of his loving kindness?


Vol. VI, Romans

p. 273, on Rom. 10:21, Homilies on Romans 18, NPNF 1 11:480

Throughout the period of the old dispensation, God held out his hands to the Jews to call them and draw them to Himself.


Vol. VII, 1,2 Corinthians

p. 252, on 2 Cor. 6:2, Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 12.1, NPNF 1 12:336-7

Let us not let the opportunity slip, but rather let us display a zeal worthy of his grace.  We press on because we know that the time is both short and opportuneThe acceptable time is the time of the gift, the time of grace, when it is decreed that not only will no account of our sins be demanded from us, but that we shall also enjoy abundant blessings, righteousness, sanctification and all the rest.


Vol. IX, Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon

p. 155, on 1 Thess. 2:4, Homilies on Colossians 5, NPNF 1 13:282

See how great the darkness is [in discussing the nature of God], and how everywhere there is need of faith.  This much is sure and solid.  But let us now come to matters less sure, for example, as to the relation of the divine will and its way of working.  Is God’s will already immediately his working?  Is it a particular type of causality?  If God is immutable, how does God’s will enter into physical movement?…  Is the movement in God’s willing reducible to the familiar seven types of causality [in the Aristotelian tradition].  Is God’s movement more like the movement of the mind?  Not quite.  For in many things the mind is even absurdly moved.  When God wills, is He already at work or not?  If to will is to work and God wills all men to be good and to be saved [1 Tim. 2:4], why doesn’t this come immediately to pass?  There is here a subtler distinction between God’s [primodial] willing and God’s actual working within history.¹  

¹ Editor’s Footnote: There is assumed here a familiar distinction between the primordial or original will of God prior to the Fall and the consequential will of God, which works as a result of the Fall within the contingencies of history.




Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Early and Medieval Church Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel