HE IS CLEMENT OF ROME
Clement I is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church. The Liber Pontificalis, which documents the reigns of popes, states that Clement presents the second in the line of bishops of Rome, with St. Peter as first. Clement was consecrated by St. Peter, and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the late 1st century. Early church lists place him as the second bishop. He is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. Peter ordained two bishops, Linus and Cletus, for the priestly service of the community, devoting himself instead to prayer and preaching, and that it was to Clement that he entrusted the Church as a whole, appointing him as his successor. Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:3, a fellow laborer in Christ.
Clement is known for his epistle to the church in Corinth (c. 96), in which he asserts the apostolic authority of the bishops/presbyters as rulers of the church. The epistle mentions episkopoi (overseers, bishops) or presbyteroi (elders, presbyters) as the upper class of minister, served by the deacons, but, since it does not mention himself, it gives no indication of the title or titles used for Clement in Rome. It has been cited as the first work to establish Roman primacy, but most scholars see the epistle as more fraternal than authoritative, and Orthodox scholar John Meyendorff sees it as connected with the Roman church's awareness of its "priority" (rather than "primacy") among local churches.
"Do we then think it to be a great and marvelous thing, if the Creator of the universe shall bring about the resurrection of them that have served Him with holiness in the assurance of a good faith, seeing that He showeth to us even by a bird the magnificence of His promise?" 1 Clem 26:1
Clement was banished from Rome to the Chersonesus during the reign of the Emperor Trajan and was set to work in a stone quarry. Finding on his arrival that the prisoners were suffering from lack of water, he knelt down in prayer. Looking up, he saw a lamb on a hill, went to where the lamb had stood and struck the ground with his pickax, releasing a gushing stream of clear water. This miracle resulted in the conversion of large numbers of the local pagans and his fellow prisoners to Christianity. As punishment, Saint Clement was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown from a boat into the Black Sea.
"The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts."
"Do not court death by your erring way of life, nor draw to yourselves destruction by the works of your hands. Because God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living. For He fashioned all things that they might have being, and the creatures of the world are wholesome; There is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of Hades on earth, for righteousness is undying"
The New Testament has a definite affirmative answer to this question in the first epistle of John chapter 4:7 "Whoever loves is born of God, and he who does not love does not know God." The definitive evidence that you have faith in God is that you have the love of God. The definition of faith would be deficient if we do not pay attention to the words of St Paul in his epistle to the Galitians chapter 5 :6 "the faith which works by love." In the sense that faith is not faith if it is not fruitful, and the fruit is the life of love. Jesus said that it is by our fruits that we are known as His disciples (Mathew 7:20) "Thus you will recognize them by their fruit." Fruitless branches—professing believers who do not display the fruit of the Spirit are cut off ( John 15:6) "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch & withers." A genuine faith is one that not only believes in God, the devils themselves do that, but leads to obedience to Christ's commands (James 2:19) " You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe & shudder!."
Faith should be activated and expressed through love. St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans chapter 10 :9 said " Say with your mouth," Jesus is Lord". Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved." The word "in your heart" here means your love i.e. if you have the faith that produces love. So St. Paul made sure that faith is not a word said with your mouth and your tongue, but to be seen in you the fullness of Jesus' love that you have believed in and loved from your heart. And St. Paul completes the verse and says that this love that you have received from your faith in Christ, is the sign of your acceptance of Christ and your unity with Him, which is also the sign that you are saved. Salvation is the unity with Christ. This love and faith in Jesus is not just a human feeling and emotion, but the love that proves your faith in him, as Jesus defined it in the Gospel of John chapter 14:21 " Anyone who has my commands and obeys them loves me."
So the faith in Jesus is the faith that leads you to love. And the proof and sign of this love is your obedience to His commands. So this is the faith that will save you. Now we can summarize and say that the proof of you having faith in God, is the love in you. And the sign of your salvation is that this love has a fruit in your life.
Reading the Old Testament we can see that the word "sin" is referred simply to the "violation of the law"; and this disobedience of the law leads to punishment by God's justice. While reading the New Testament we see Jesus Christ the incarnated Word of God came to our world to reveal for us the love of God and the destiny which he created man for, which is man's participation in His glory. God has set as the destiny of all people; participation in His Glory, and of His divine love. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3: 23). God has set this as our destiny and in Christ He has made it clearly possible for us to attain it. Because of Christ Who, as true human, arrived at this destiny and attained to it for all mankind, we can inherit it by choosing to strive for a life in Christ. "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." ( 1peter1:1-5)
According to the New Testament the word "sin" in the Greek language in which it was originally written is "amartia" which means " to go off the goal" or "to miss the mark". The New Testament was very clear in defining the word "sin". Sin is missing the mark and the goal of our lives as Christians. What is our goal as Christians according to the New Testament? Our Goal is to live in unity with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ & To be in His likeness. To receive and accept Jesus in us in the Holy Spirit. Basing our actions in our lives on the divine life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, when we "go off the goal", we sin.
Since the goal for which man was created is full communion with God, to partake of the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4), sharing in His glory and immortality, then sin means to fall short of the destiny of participation in God. St. Paul expresses this concept of sin when he says that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) that is, everyone has missed the mark and fallen short of the goal of man's destiny, which is to participate in the glory of God.
"Sins" are those things we do which reveal obviously our separation from God; and make us fall short of our goal. All sins are mortal, because all sins separate us from the source of immortality, Who is God. Then to have a faith in God means to choose freely and truly to submit your will to the will of God and to be in unity with Him.
God does not punish man for his sins and sinfulness in this life, or even in the life to come. But we are the ones who formed our destiny. We are the ones who have chosen the ways of the devil which led us to death. Death is both cause and result of missing the goal of the immortality which results from the union with God. So death is not a punishment of God: it is, rather, the result of man's failure to live up to his destiny of participating in God's immortality. Death is the primary manifestation of separation and alienation from God; it is also our main source of bondage and the driving force behind individual sins. " Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. " (Hebrews 2: 14-15)
"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world" (Galatians 4:3).
Sins are all those things which form a barrier between us and participation in God. We also refer to these things as "lusts." If we read the New Testament carefully and see that "the Kingdom of God is within you" and "you are the temple of the Holy Spirit," we learn that the origin of sin is really this: we choose to build in our hearts the principality of this world rather than the kingdom of God. The struggle against sin can really be defined as man's role in building a new kingdom within himself, as Saint Paul says: "Are ye not aware that to Whom ye yield yourselves to obey as servants, ye are truly His servants Whom ye obey: whether of sin unto death, or of obedience [to God] unto righteousness?" (Romans 6:16).
The authority of this world rules in a man's heart. He chooses to conquer that principality and replace it with the indwelling of Jesus Christ . He knows that with the help of the Holy Spirit it can be done. Such a person then becomes a warrior of God's Kingdom. He begins to train for the battle, he enters a spiritual warfare learning how to fight and struggle against this principality of death within himself. In this war, which is fought in one's own conscience, mind, and soul, we must choose to defeat and conquer one of the enemy's strongholds and attain our goal. We must make the choice to have Christ' dominion over our heart. When we take this decision and accept Jesus to dwell in us, He comes with his healing power that releases us from the bondage of sin and gives us His victorious power over all the thoughts and deeds of lust, hatred, greediness, immorality, malice, and fornication. He makes us new in His holiness. So He came to change our nature by giving us His overcoming nature over sin and death.
The apostle Paul authored the book of 1 Corinthians. He wrote this book from the city of Ephesus during his third missionary journey. He composed the letter around AD 55-56.
This church of Corinth had its problems and shortcomings. The apostle dealt with these problems in an attempt to make the church a more effective witness for Jesus Christ. Paul focused on the need for Christ's death and His resurrection, giving us the very heart of the gospel itself.
Most of the believers at Corinth had been converted from a pagan background. They seemed to be struggling to leave their past behind and commit themselves totally to Christian ethical standards. They also have misunderstandings about some of the doctrines of faith particularly about Jesus' resurrection. Much of what Paul covered in 1corinthians regarded Jesus' role as head of the church. The Corinthians chose worldly wisdom and ways over godly gratitude and grace.
The city of Corinth was a commercial crossroads for the Roman Empire. It was a natural center of trade and point of exposure to religious and ideas around the world. It became the melting pot of devotees to various pagan cults that was filled with a whole slew of nationalities. It was marked by a cultural and moral depravity. Spread throughout the city, pagan temples. The temple of Aphrodite was reported to have 1000 temples prostitutes. And those cultural corruptions seeped into the church at Corinth. (The Bible from 30,000 feet by S. Heitzig)
The Historical Position of Paul
He is the founder of Christian Theology. Paul originated in Hellenistic Judaism; his home was Tarsus in Cilicia( Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3). There he received his first training in the rabbinic scriptural learning to which his letters bear witness. In his home he came into contact with Hellenistic culture and became acquainted with popular philosophy and the phenomena of religious syncretism. Not having been a personal disciple of Jesus, he was won to the Christian faith by the kerygma of the Hellenistic church. The question thrust upon him by this kerygma was whether he was willing to regard the crucified Jesus of Nazareth, whom the kerygma asserted to have risen from the dead, as the expected Messiah. But for Paul the fervent champion of the traditions of the fathers(Gal.1:14), straightway recognizing how basically the Torah was called into question by the Hellenistic mission, that meant whether he was willing to acknowledge in the cross of Christ God's judgment upon his self-understanding up to that time – i.e. God's condemnation of his Jewish striving after righteousness by fulfilling the works of the law. After first indignantly rejected this question and become a persecutor of the church, at his conversion he submitted to this judgment of God. His conversion was obedient submission to the judgment of God, made known in the cross of Christ, upon all human accomplishment and boasting (The Theology of the New Testament by R, Bultmann).
So Paul addressed in this letter a series of practical problems in the Corinthians church like:
A- The Facts of Divisions (chapter 1:10-17)
1:10 " Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, " that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1:12 " Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or " I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or " I am of Christ."
1:13 "Is Christ divided? Or were you baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name."
1:17 "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect."
B- The Causes of Divisions ( 1:18 – 2:16)
1- The misunderstanding of God's message of the cross (1:18- 2:5)
1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
1:20-22 " For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness."
1:30-31 "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption- that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."
2:2-5 " For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in wisdom of men but in the power of God."
2:6-7 "We speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages of our glory."
2:10 " But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. "
2:12 " Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things but have been given to us by God."
2:14 " But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned."
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