“I am the victim of violence in my nature,” you say. “I love Christ, yet my nature compels me to sin.”


If you were in fact compelled to sin, if you were the victim of violence, then you would be forgiven for it. On the other hand, if you sin through idleness, do not expect forgiveness.


But let us look at the question a moment to discover if we do commit sins by compulsion, under pressure of violence, rather than through idleness or serious negligence.


It is written: “Thou shalt not kill.”


But who compels you to kill? Who forces you to do it? On the contrary, you have to do violence to your own nature to kill someone. Which of us would light-heartedly cut a neighbor’s throat? Who would gladly stain his hands with blood? No one. So the facts are the exact opposite of your contention. To sin, you have to force yourself.


God has given our nature the gift of mutual love as a result of which every living creature loves its own kind, every human being loves his neighbor. Do you see? Our nature predisposes us to virtue. It is vices that are contrary to nature. If they win a victory, it is the fault of series negligence on our part.


And adultery, what shall we say about that? What sort of necessity drives you to that?


Your answer: “The tyranny of desire.”


Why, I ask you? Can you not have intercourse with your spouse and in this way defeat that tyranny? “But I am in love someone else’s spouse.” In this case there is no compulsion. Love cannot be compelled. You do not love because you are forced to love: you love spontaneously, of your own free will. Sexual intercourse spontaneously, of your own free will. Sexual intercourse may be an irresistible need, but love is a free choice.


The conclusion is clearly apparently: virtue is consistent with our nature whereas vice is opposed to it.


Saint John Chrysostom

On the Letter to the Ephesians 2, 3 (PG 62, 20)