Chrysostom on the Son of God1

Here again (Gal. 1:1) is a plain confutation of the heretics, who say that John in the opening of his Gospel, where he says "the Word was God," used the word 'God' without the article, to imply an inferiority in the Son's Godhead; and that Paul, where he says that the Son was "in the form of God," did not mean the Father, because the word 'God' is without the article. And it is in no indulgent mood toward them that he calls God, "Father," but by way of severe rebuke, and suggestion of the source whence they became sons, for the honor was vouchsafed to them not through the Law, but through the washing of regeneration. Thus everywhere, even in his exordium, he scatters traces of the goodness of God, and we may conceive him speaking thus: "O ye who were lately slaves, enemies and aliens, what right have ye suddenly acquired to call God your Father? it was not the Law which conferred upon you this relationship; why do ye therefore desert Him who brought you so near to God, and return to your tutor (cf. Gal. 3:24, 25)?

But the Name of the Son, as well as that of the Father, had been sufficient to declare to them these blessings. This will appear, if we consider the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ with attention; for it is said, "thou shalt call His Name Jesus; for it is He that shall save His people from their sins;" (Mt. 1:21) and the appellation of "Christ" calls to mind the unction of the Spirit.

Ver 4. "Who gave himself for our sins" (Gal. 1:4).

Thus it appears, that the ministry which He undertook was free and uncompelled; that He was delivered up by Himself, not by another. Let not therefore the words of John, "that the Father gave His only-begotten Son" (Jn. 3:16) for us, lead you to derogate from the dignity of the Only-begotten, or to infer therefrom that He is only human. For the Father is said to have given Him, not as implying that the Son's ministry was a servile one, but to teach us that it seemed good to the Father, as Paul too has shown in the immediate context: "according to the will of our God, and Father." He says not "by the command," but "according to the will," for inasmuch as there is an unity of will in the Father and the Son, that which the Son wills, the Father wills also.

"For our sins," says the Apostle; we had pierced ourselves with ten thousand evils, and had deserved the gravest punishment; and the Law not only did not deliver us, but it even condemned us, making sin more manifest, without the power to release us from it, or to stay the anger of God. But the Son of God made this impossibility possible for he remitted our sins, He restored us from enmity to the condition of friends, He freely bestowed on us numberless other blessings.


1 John Chrysostom (ca. 345/47-407), alias the "golden mouthed," is regarded as perhaps the greatest preacher of the early church. Highly revered in the East, he was also well respected by the Protestant Reformers. He served as Bishop of Constantinople from 398 until his deposition at the infamous Synod of the Oak (403). Having rebuked the empress Eudoxia for her vanity and heartlessness to the poor, he was caught in the cross-hairs of royal politics and banished. Though he was returned to his Episcopal chair, the hostility of the empress triumphed. In a forced winter march to the east shore of the Black Sea (Colchis) in 407, his already weakened body sickened and died on September 14 at Comana in Pontus. Our excerpt has been slightly modified from the "Commentary of St. John Chrysostom . . . to the Galatians," in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (First series), 13:4-5.