Monday, February 18, 2013

Ignatius to the Ephesians - The Cross and a Rope

This is a continuation of my series on Ignatius and the seven letters he wrote while on his way to be martyred in Rome. If you are unfamiliar with Ignatius, you may want to start with the introduction to this series.

Ignatius congratulates the Ephesians that they did not, for one minute, give ear to those who passed through preaching their false doctrine.
"Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed on from this to you, having false doctrine, whom ye did not suffer to sow among you, but stopped your ears, that ye might not receive those things which were sown by them." (Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chapter 9)
This praise is consistent with similar praises from earlier in the life of the Ephesian church. "I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false." (Revelation 2:2) Now, not all the Spirit had to say to them was praise, but they were a church that held fast to the truth that had been passed down to them by the apostles.

Ignatius goes on to say that, part of the reason that they resisted the false teachers was because they understood the greater purpose they were called to; they were called to be stones for the Father's temple and as such they desired to keep themselves pure and not give themselves to a lesser faith.
"as being stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the cross, making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to God." (Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chapter 9)
Their entry into the Kingdom of God was through the cross of Christ while they trusted and hoped in the Holy Spirit to enable them to press into the Kingdom, reaching out as it were by their faith, and all the time letting the love of God, for them and for others, guide them into the way of holiness. This journey into the Kingdom of God lead them away from the things of this world, including the doctrines of this world, and lead them to Christ and his righteousness, holiness, and likeness.
"Ye, therefore, as well as all your fellow-travellers, are God-bearers, temple-bearers, Christbearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the commandments of Jesus Christ, in whom also I exult that I have been thought worthy, by means of this Epistle, to converse and rejoice with you, because with respect to your Christian life ye love nothing but God only." (Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chapter 9)
So should be our hearts and our desire, to become like them, bearers of God, bearers of Christ, and bearers of holiness. Oh that we might too become like them, loving nothing but God alone. Because, when you have God, you have no need for the things of this world because you already have everything.

David Robison

No comments:

Post a Comment