Friday, May 17, 2013

Clement, Salvation of the Rich - You came to the right place

This is a continuation of my series on Clement of Alexandria and his book on the Salvation of the Rich Man. If you are unfamiliar with Clement or his book, you may want to start with the introduction to this series.
"For our Lord and Saviour was asked pleasantly a question most appropriate for Him,—the Life respecting life, the Saviour respecting salvation, the Teacher respecting the chief doctrines taught, the Truth respecting the true immortality, the Word respecting the word of the Father, the Perfect respecting the perfect rest, the Immortal respecting the sure immortality. He was asked respecting those things on account of which He descended, which He inculcates, which He teaches, which He offers, in order to show the essence of the Gospel, that it is the gift of eternal life." (Clement of Alexandria, Salvation of the Rich Man, Chapter 6)
This rich young ruler had come to the right place to get his questions answered. If you want to know about the law, go to a lawyer. If you want to know about computers, go to a geek. If you want to know about healthy eating, go to a nutritionist. But if you want to know about life, especially eternal life, you need to go to Jesus because Jesus is life and he came to announce to us eternal life through His gospel. There are many people who want life and want it abundantly, but they are looking in all the wrong places; money, power, relationships, addictions. True life is found in none of those things but only in God.

When people come to us looking for life, it is important that we point them in the right direction, not towards us but towards God.
"And having been called 'good,' and taking the starting note from this first expression, He commences His teaching with this, turning the pupil to God, the good, and first and only dispenser of eternal life, which the Son, who received it of Him, gives to us." (Clement of Alexandria, Salvation of the Rich Man, Chapter 6)
We may understand the way and even be able to teach others the way, but the way is of no use until the seeker learns first to seek God.

There is nothing more important for us, and for our search for true life, than a desire to know God.
"Wherefore the greatest and chiefest point of the instructions which relate to life must be implanted in the soul from the beginning,—to know the eternal God, the giver of what is eternal, and by knowledge and comprehension to possess God, who is first, and highest, and one, and good. For this is the immutable and immoveable source and support of life, the knowledge of God, who really is, and who bestows the things which really are, that is, those which are eternal, from whom both being and the continuance of it are derived to other beings. For ignorance of Him is death; but the knowledge and appropriation of Him, and love and likeness to Him, are the only life." (Clement of Alesandria, Salvation of the Rich Man, Chapter 7)
Inside of each of us there is the desire to know God. This desire has been implanted in us by God that we might seek after Him and, in seeking, that we might find him. Paul said of God, "He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things... that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:25-27) We each have the desire to know God, but far too often we allow the world to distract our desire with other satisfactions; we become satisfied with other pleasures and become deaf to our desire to know God and the pleasure to be found in relationship with Him. Sometimes we must separate ourselves from the worldly "chatter" long enough to hear that desire that lies deeper within our hearts; that desire to know God.

David Robison

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