Archive for the ‘Augustine of Hippo’ Category

We were not chosen because of our goodness

April 25, 2010

“You did not choose me,” Christ says, “but I chose you” (John 15:16). Such grace is beyond description. What were we, apart from Christ’s choice of us, when we were empty of love? What were we but sinful and lost? We did not lead him to choose us by believing in him; for if Christ chose people who already believed, then we chose him before he chose us. How then could he say, “You did not choose me,” unless his mercy came before our faith? Here is the faulty reasoning of those who say that God chose us before the creation of the world, not in order to make us good, but because he foreknew we would be good…We were not chosen because of our goodness, for we could not be good without being chosen…salvation is not by grace if our goodness came first; but it is by grace – and therefore God’s grace did not find us good but makes us good.

Augustine of Hippo, Commentary on John 15:16 quoted N.R. Needham, 2000 Years of Christ’s Power : Part 1, Grace Publications 2002, p.261-2