Early Church Fathers Quotes on Grace and the Holy Spirit
Clement of Rome
The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it, “As I live, said the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;”
You see, dearly beloved, what is the pattern that has been given unto us; for, if the Lord was thus lowly of mind, what should we do, who through Him have been brought under the yoke of His grace? -ibid
Let us therefore cleave unto those to whom grace is given from God…being justified by works and not by words. For He said; He that said much shall hear also again. Does the ready talker think to be righteous? -ibid
Though you saw Him not, you believe with joy unutterable and full of glory; unto which joy many desire to enter in; forasmuch as you know that it is by grace you are saved, not of works, but by the will of God through Jesus Christ. Wherefore gird up your loins and serve God in fear and truth, forsaking the vain and empty talking and the error of the many.
Martyrdom of Polycarp
And, looking to the grace of Christ, they despised all the torments of this world, redeeming themselves from eternal punishment by [the suffering of] a single hour.
Be not seduced by strange doctrines nor by antiquated fables, which are profitless. For if even unto this day we live after the manner of Judaism, we avow that we have not received grace: for the divine prophets lived after Christ Jesus. For this cause also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to the end that they which are disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested Himself through Jesus Christ His Son.
For wearing bonds in Christ Jesus I hope to salute you, if it be the Divine will that I should be counted worthy to reach unto the end; for the beginning verily is well ordered, if so be I shall attain grace, that I may receive my fate without hindrance. -ibid
But mark you those who hold strange doctrine touching the grace of Jesus Christ which came to us, how that they are contrary to the mind of God. They have no care for love, none for the widow, none for the orphan, none for the afflicted, none for the prisoner, none for the hungry or thirsty. -ibid
Unless, therefore, a man by God’s great grace receives the power to understand what has been said and done by the prophets, the appearance of being able to repeat the words or the deeds will not profit him, if he cannot explain the argument of them. -ibid
Letter to Diognetus
Grace; which confers understanding, which reveals mysteries, which announces seasons, which rejoices over the faithful, which is bestowed upon those who seek her, even those by whom the pledges of faith are not broken, nor the boundaries of the fathers overstepped.
If you grieve not this grace, you shall understand the discourses which the Word holds by the mouth of those whom He desires when He wishes. -ibid
Others of the (Gnostics) yield themselves up to the lusts of the flesh with the utmost greediness, maintaining that carnal things should be allowed to the carnal nature, while spiritual things are provided for the spiritual. For they (the Gnostics) declare that we (the church) simply receive grace for use, wherefore also it will again be taken away from us; but that they themselves have grace as their own special possession, which has descended from above by means of an unspeakable and indescribable conjunction; and on this account more will be given them. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.324
(God) may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory.
The same Lord granted, by means of His advent, a greater gift of grace to those of a later period, than what He had granted to those under the Old Testament dispensation. For they indeed used to hear, by means of [His] servants, that the King would come, and they rejoiced to a certain extent, inasmuch as they hoped for His coming; but those who have beheld Him actually present, and have obtained liberty, and been made partakers of His gifts, do possess a greater amount of grace, and a higher degree of exultation, rejoicing because of the King’s arrival. -ibid
Clement of Alexandria
The Author of all blessings to us; by whom we, being taught to live righteously, are sent on our way to life eternal. For, according to that inspired apostle of the Lord,”the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for the blessed hope, and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”…The Word, who in the beginning bestowed on us life as Creator when He formed us, taught us to live righteously when He appeared as our Teacher; that as God He might afterwards conduct us to the life which never ends.
Rightly, then, to those that have believed and obey, grace will superabound. -ibid
Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal. “I,” says He, “have said that you are gods, and all sons of the Highest.” This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing: washing, by which we cleanse away our sins; grace, by which the penalties accruing to transgressions are remitted; and illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly. -ibid
Therefore God does not here take the semblance of man, but of a dove, because He wished to show the simplicity and gentleness of the new manifestation of the Spirit by the likeness of the dove. For the law was stern, and punished with the sword; but grace is joyous, and trains by the word of meekness. Hence the Lord also says to the apostles, who said that He should punish with fire those who would not receive Him, after the manner of Elias: “You know not what manner of spirit you are of.” -ibid
We must hear the savior speaking thus, “Come, follow Me.” For to the pure in heart He now becomes the way. But into the impure soul the grace of God finds no entrance.-ibid
For God conspires with willing souls. But if they abandon their eagerness, the spirit which is bestowed by God is also restrained. For to save the unwilling is the part of one exercising compulsion; but to save the willing, that of one showing grace. Nor does the kingdom of heaven belong to sleepers and sluggards…-ibid
Solomon, who, although so long as he walked in God’s ways, retained that grace which he had received from the Lord, yet after he forsook the Lord’s way he lost also the Lord’s grace. And therefore it is written, “Hold fast that which you have, lest another take your crown.” But assuredly the Lord would not threaten that the crown of righteousness might be taken away, were it not that, when righteousness departs, the crown must also depart.