Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ignatius: Mysteries

So far, Ignatius has told the Ephesians to unite in following their godly bishop, Onesimus.  They should be gentle as they are mistreated for the Lord's name.

It is the end times.  Even in Ignatius's day it was the end times.  From the time of Christ's ascension until he returns are the end times.  As God winds down this present age, we must continue in a reverent spirit.  We must fear God's long-suffering.  These end times are drawn out because of God's mercy.  He is very patient, and yet we must still fear him.  His patience is no obligation.

The Ephesians are objects of God's mercy, and Ignatius is condemned and considers himself the least of the martyrs.  Those that profess Christ are known by what they practice.  Clearly, the Ephesians know Christ judging by their practice.  They are known not just by words but by action.  Ignatius believes it better to be a silent Christian then to talk and not be one.  He's got a point.  How much do I sin by opening my mouth or typing on my keyboard?  1 Corinthians 4:20, "for the Kingdom does not consist in talk, but in power." 

The worthy Ephesians must not use too many words, and they must not knowingly listen to false teachers who are known for their verbosity.  He says to "not be anointed with the bad odor of doctrine of the prince of this world."  I remember having this inspirational calendar and thinking it was bizarre.  I had learned that the chief end of man is to glorify God.  The calendar's chief end was for man to be glorified.  I thought that was odd.  Then I got to April where they declared there is no hell.  That is the sure sign that someone has damning doctrine, no matter how peaceful they are otherwise.  They don't believe God will execute his justice on the world, and they refuse to believe he executed his justice toward those he saved on Jesus.  They still want to glorify themselves when they are nothing.

Ignatius is not a false teacher.  He says "let my spirit by counted as nothing for the sake of the cross."  The cross is a stumbling-block to those who do not believe, but it is salvation and life eternal to Christians.  It either heals or condemns.

He finishes this section with three mysteries that the prince of this world cannot understand.  In fact, these are the three mysteries most rejected by "intellectuals."  They are: Mary's virginity when she bore Christ, Christ himself, and Christ's death and resurrection.  The Jesus Seminar spends most of its time denying those three and explaining them "scientifically."  However, without those, we have nothing to hope in.  Jesus was born sinless by having no sinful father, but had to grow from Mary's egg so he could be completely human.  Christ was God the Son in the flesh who lived the only sinless life.  Jesus died, rose from the dead, and will come back.  These are necessary for any hope of salvation.

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