Saint Clement of Rome on justification

Clement of Rome (AD 30-100) was a personal friend of Paul's and is thought to be, after Peter, Linus, and Cletus, the fourth bishop of the Roman church (what would later be called the Pope).

He is, to my knowledge, the earliest of the Church Fathers whose writing still exists. This is a challenge to Muslims who find in the New Testament many spurious doctrines that they claim have been corrupted from the original injiil which Jesus son of Mary ('Issa bin Maryam) received from Allah. The probable date of this letter is around 97 AD, though some put it earlier. That means it was completed in the same decade as the Gospel according to St John.

Here is a brief section on justification by faith in this very early work, which was read widely in the ancient churches. This is from his letter, written on behalf of his church in Rome to the church in Corinth.

All these [OT figures], therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


1 Clement 32

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