Monday, May 6, 2013

More examples from Clement

Corinth is going through verbal assaults of the elite media of that time.  Rome empathizes.  Clement writes this note to give them company as many godly men of Scripture fell pray to jealous rage because God accepted them over others.  This is now the reason behind Corinth's naysayers.

He cited examples all the way from Abel to Peter and Paul.  In chapters 11 and 12, he finishes the list with Lot and Rahab.

He explains that God saved Lot from Sodom because of his hospitality.  He did welcome strangers into his home not realizing that they were angels.  He moved to protect them.  Both Clem and the Bible agree that Lot was a righteous man.  I read Lot's story and see how righteous he wasn't.  God really saved him because Abraham prayed for him.  God counted Abraham as righteous just because he believed.  Abraham also did not cling to his faith perfectly.  God loved Abraham and Lot because of his grace, and they believed from what ability God allowed them.  Also, Rahab the prostitute welcomed the Israeli spies into her home and her whole family survived the falling of the Jericho walls and joined Israel because she was hospitable to God's people.  One cannot fathom God's generosity in saving people for something as simple as believing in him and protecting his people because of belief in him.

He then tells Corinth to let us be of humble mind and to act according to what is written.  Jeremiah says in his 9th chapter:
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

All the Roman and Corinthian believers in Jesus believed for nothing more than because God graced them with righteousness.  He gave them such a lavish gift only because they love Jesus.  They were far from perfect, but they loved Jesus, and God will take even a little faith and make it into a mighty lifestyle.

Since it is God who has made the Corinthians to believe and to care for the community and to grow to a successful church that non-believers have to tear down in their envy, they must remember their permanent standing with God and obey him rather than listen to "authors of sedition" who will eventually perish.

"Let us cleave to those who cultivate peace with godliness."  At the same time, with our security in God's love, we must be with peace with all people even if they oppose us.  The others try to have peace by forcing people to accept what they despise.  This is not peace.  True peace is simply accepting people without agreeing with them.  Even better, it is to continue loving God even when people try to make you feel guilty for standing up for the truth.

Psalm 12:5 "Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord“I will place him in the safety for which he longs."

Ultimately he leads to Christ's perfect example of humility.  He was God, but he left his glorious throne in heaven to live as a gross human being among gross human beings and to take on all their sins and pay their penalty that they simply cannot pay.  He quotes Isaiah 53, and shows the willingness of Christ to take abuse and accusations, even death on a cross, in order atone for the humans.

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