Rich Lusk's recent article on justification and baptism reminded me of this statement by St. Basil in On the Holy Spirit:
"Faith and baptism are two inseperably united means of salvation. Faith is perfected through baptism; the foundation of baptism is faith, and both are fulfilled through the same names [that is, the baptismal invocation]."
Mr. Lusk writes:
"Thus, we can say that faith is the instrument of justification on our end, while baptism is the instrument on God’s side. God offers Christ and applies Christ to us through the instrument of baptism. We receive Christ as he is offered in the sacrament with the outstretched and open hand of faith. Baptism is not a good work we do to earn justification; it is a gift of grace through which God grants justification to faith."