Friday, August 31, 2012

1st Clement 9 to 12 - Those who lived well

Clement instructs us to consider those who have lived well in the past.
"Let us stedfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to His excellent glory." (Clement 9)
He counsels us to think deeply and continuously about those who have "perfectly ministered" to God's "excellent glory." So how does one perfectly minister to God's glory? Here is a summary of the saints from the past that Clement includes among those who have successfully done this.
"Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to him. Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark." (Clement 9)

"Abraham, styled 'the friend,' was found faithful, inasmuch as he rendered obedience to the words of God. He, in the exercise of obedience, went out from his own country, and from his kindred, and from his father’s house, in order that, by forsaking a small territory, and a weak family, and an insignificant house, he might inherit the promises of God... On account of his faith and hospitality, a son was given him in his old age; and in the exercise of obedience, he offered him as a sacrifice to God on one of the mountains which He showed him." (Clement 10)

"On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodom when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him, but gives up such as depart from Him to punishment and torture." (Clement 11)

"On account of her faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved. For when spies were sent by Joshua, the son of Nun, to Jericho, the king of the country ascertained that they were come to spy out their land, and sent men to seize them, in order that, when taken, they might be put to death." (Clement 12)
The qualities that are common to those who have ministered well to God's glory include: obedience, godliness, faithfulness, faith, and hospitality. In addition, by reflection on one who did not live well, Clement adds continuance as a necessity for those who would live for God.
"For Lot’s wife, who went forth with him, being of a different mind from himself and not continuing in agreement with him [as to the command which had been given them], was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt unto this day. This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves and become a sign to all succeeding generations." (Clement 11).
One of these qualities that I find intriguing is the inclusion of "hospitality." Of all the other qualities, this one directly refers to our behavior towards others rather than towards God. Ministering to the glory of God can never be divorced from ministering to those made in His image.

These are the qualities of those who who would live well with God; those whose life would be an example of how to minister to God's glory. These are the characters of life that we should seek to cultivate in our own lives as we continue in our walk with God.

David Robison

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