As with the previous post “Predestination According to Ignatius” and the obvious idea of predestination in St. Ignatius, now on to another early church father, in fact the earliest church father outside of Scripture whose documents are still with us today!
By-passing the background of Clement I will go right on ahead and provide quotes and some clarification if needed.
Firstly Clement is writing his letter “to them [Corinthians] which are called and sanctified by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Clement i:1), a similar greeting to that of Paul’s.
Next after greeting them, and commending he writes, “Ye had conflict day and night for all the brotherhood, that the number of His elect might be saved with fearfulness and intentness of mind.” (1 Clement 2:4)
When commenting on Psalm 32 and the blessedness of having ones sins forgiven he writes, “This declaration of blessedness was pronounced upon them that have been elected by God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Clement 50:6)
Later he goes on to call David the “elect” who says, “Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows to the Most High: and call upon Me in the day of thine affliction, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me” (Psalm 50:14-; 1 Clement 52:2)
Lastly take notice of Clement use of the trinity with relation to our election, the same that Paul does in his epistle to the Ephesians 1:3-5. Clement writes, “For as God liveth, and the Lord Jesus Christ liveth, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect so surely shall he, who with lowliness of mind and instant in gentleness hath without regretfulness performed the ordinances and commandments that are given by God, be enrolled and have a name among the number of them that are saved through Jesus Christ” (1 Clement 58:2). In this particular instance Clement doesn’t come off as a hardcore determinist, as he recognizes (and that properly) that there is responsibility on the part of the sinner to repent and produce the fruits of the spirit in conjunction with the performance of the ordinances of God. Nonetheless he maintains the sovereign election by saying that those who produce these qualities are actually being “enrolled…among the number of them that are saved” i.e the elect.
Until next time!