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Chapter 37 [XXIII.]—The Corruption of Nature is by Sin, Its Renovation is by Christ.

From this law of sin is born the flesh of sin, which requires cleansing through the sacrament of Him who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, that the body of sin might be destroyed, which is also called “the body of this death,” from which only God’s grace delivers wretched man through Jesus Christ our Lord.596596     Rom. vii. 24, 25. For this law, the origin of death, passed on from the first pair to their posterity, as is seen in the labour with which all men toil in the earth, and the travail of women in the pains of childbirth. For these sufferings they merited by the sentence of God, when they were convicted of sin; and we see them fulfilled not only in them, but also in their descendants, in some more, in others less, but nevertheless in all. Whereas, however, the primeval righteousness of the first human beings consisted in obeying God, and not having in their members the law of their own concupiscence against the law of their mind; now, since their sin, in our sinful flesh which is born of them, it is obtained by those who obey God, as a great acquisition, that they do not obey the desires of this evil concupiscence, but crucify in themselves the flesh with its affections and lusts, in order that they may be Jesus Christ’s, who on His cross symbolized this, and who gave them power through His grace to become the sons of God. For it is not to all men, but to as many as have received Him, that He has given to be born again to God of the Spirit, after they were born to the world by the flesh. Of these indeed it is written: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God; which were born, not of the flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.”597597     John i. 12, 13.


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