Saturday, January 09, 2016

A Patristic Note on Baptism and Justification

In St Paul and Baptism: An Early Foray I said:

"One was justified by their faith, their profession of allegiance to Christ, in the rite of baptism: there is no conflict between the two, rather they are an integrated whole. This goes a long way to explaining why some of the 'quirks' of the earliest church exist, such as why catechumens were considered 'saved' if they died in martyrdom before baptism: it isn’t that baptism became a proto-Pelagian 'work,' but rather that it was considered the moment of saving faith through the work of the Spirit."

For a primary source documenting this, I found this in St Hippolytus' Apostolic Tradition (while looking for something entirely different, naturally):

"If a catechumen should be arrested for the name of a the Lord, let him not hesitate about bearing his testimony; for if it should happen that they treat him shamefully and kill him, he will be justified, for he has been baptized in his own blood" (II:19, emphasis added).

Note here the close connection between baptism and justification, as if one is the cause of the other.