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And so these men gave no credit to themselves for their power of working such wonders, because they confessed that they were done not by their own merits but by the compassion of the Lord and with the words of the Apostle they refused the human honour offered out of admiration for their miracles: “Men and brethren, why marvel ye at this, or why look ye on us as though by our own power or holiness we had caused this man to walk.” (Acts 3:12). Nor did they think that any one should be renowned for the gifts and marvels of God, but rather for the fruits of his own good deeds, which are brought about by the efforts of his mind and the power of his works. For often, as was said above, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the truth, both cast out devils and perform the greatest miracles in the name of the Lord. Of whom when the Apostles complained and said: “Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and we forbade him because he followeth not with us,” though for the present Christ replied to them “Forbid him not, for he that is not against you is for you,” (Luke 9:49-50). still when they say at the end: “Lord, Lord, have we not in Thy name prophesied, and in Thy name cast out devils, and in Thy name done many mighty works?” He testifies that then He will answer: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.” (Matt. 7:22-23). And therefore He actually warns those, to whom He Himself has given this glory of miracles and mighty works because of their holiness, that they be not puffed up by them, saying: “Rejoice not because the devils are subject to you, but rejoice rather because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)-- St. John Cassian, Conferences, 15.6
And how calleth he those “carnal,” who had attained so large a measure of the Spirit; and into whose praises, at the beginning he had entered so much at large? Because they also were carnal, unto whom the Lord saith, (Matt. 7:22-23) “Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity, I know you not;” and yet they both cast out devils, and raised the dead, and uttered prophecies. So that it is possible even for one who wrought miracles to be carnal. For so God wrought by Balaam, and unto Pharaoh He revealed things to come, and unto Nebuchadnezzar; and Caiaphas prophesied, not knowing what he said; yea, and some others cast out devils in His name, though they were “not with Him;” (Luke 9:49) since not for the doers’ sake are these things done, but for others’ sake: nor is it seldom, that those who were positively unworthy have been made instrumental to them.-- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 8 on First Corinthians
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)Wherefore said He not, “but he that doeth my will?” Because for the time it was a great gain for them to receive even this first; yea it was very great, considering their weakness. And moreover He intimated the one also by the other. And withal this may be mentioned, that in fact there is no other will of the Son besides that of the Father. And here He seems to me to be censuring the Jews chiefly, laying as they did the whole stress upon the doctrines, and taking no care of practice. For which Paul also blames them, saying, “Behold thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest His will:” (Rom. 2:17-18) “Who then are these men?” you ask. Many of them that believed received gifts such as he that was casting out devils, (Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49) and was not with Him; such as Judas; for even he too, wicked as he was, had a gift. And in the Old Testament also this may be found, in that grace hath oftentimes wrought upon unworthy persons, that it might do good to others. That is, since all men were not meet for all things, but some were of a pure life, not having so great faith, and others just the contrary; by these sayings, while He urges the one to show forth much faith, the others too He was summoning by this His unspeakable gift to become better men. Wherefore also with great abundance did He bestow that grace. For “we wrought,” it is said, “many mighty works.” But “then will I profess unto them, I knew you not.” For “now indeed they suppose they are my friends; but then shall they know, that not as to friends did I give to them.” And why marvel if He hath bestowed gifts on men that have believed on Him, though without life suitable to their faith, when even on those who have fallen from both these, He is unquestionably found working? For so Balaam was an alien both from faith and from a truly good life; nevertheless grace wrought on him for the service of other men. And Pharaoh too was of the same sort: yet for all that even to him He signified the things to come. And Nebuchadnezzar was very full of iniquity; yet to him again He revealed what was to follow after many generations. (Dan. 3) And again to the son of this last, though surpassing his father in iniquity, He signified the things to come, ordering a marvellous and great dispensation. (Dan. 5) Accordingly because then also the beginnings of the gospel were taking place, and it was requisite that the manifestation of its power should be abundant, many even of the unworthy used to receive gifts. Howbeit, from those miracles no gain accrued to them; rather they are the more punished. Wherefore unto them did He utter even that fearful saying, “I never knew you:” there being many for whom His hatred begins already even here; whom He turns away from, even before the judgment. Let us fear therefore, beloved; and let us take great heed to our life, neither let us account ourselves worse off, in that we do not work miracles now. For that will never be any advantage to us, as neither any disadvantage in our not working them, if we take heed to all virtue. Because for the miracles we ourselves are debtors, but for our life and our doings we have God our debtor. -- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on Matthew
“He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matt. 12:30) Behold also a fourth refutation. For what is my desire? saith He. To bring men to God, to teach virtue, to proclaim the kingdom. What, that of the devil, and the evil spirits? The contrary to these. How then should he that gathers not with me, nor is at all with me, be likely to co-operate with me? And why do I say co-operate? Nay, on the contrary, his desire is rather to scatter abroad my goods. He then who is so far from cooperating that he even scatters abroad, how should he have exhibited such unanimity with me, as with me to cast out the devils? Now it is a natural surmise that He said this not of the devil only, but Himself also of Himself, as being for His part against the devil, and scattering abroad his goods. And how, one may say, is he that is not with me against me? By this very fact, of his not gathering. But if this be true, much more he that is against him. For if he that doth not co-operate is an enemy, much more he that wages war. But all these things He saith, to indicate His enmity against the devil, how great and unspeakable it is. For tell me, if thou must go to war with any one, he that is not willing to fight on thy side, by this very fact is he not against thee? And if elsewhere He saith, “He that is not against you is for you,” (Mark 9:40; Luke 9:50) it is not contrary to this. For here He signified one actually against them, but there He points to one who in part is on their side: “For they cast out devils,” it is said “in Thy name.” (Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49).-- St. John Chrysostom, Homily 41 on Matthew
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