The Spirit Filled Church – Clement’s Epistle to The Corinthians

Geoff ChapmanGreat Quotes, Theology, Thinking Out Loud0 Comments

Below is a quote from Clement of Rome’s letter to the Corinthians in which he describes the fullness of life the Corinthians enjoyed prior to the crisis in the leadership that he was writing to correct.  What is most noticeable is the link he makes between their humble obedience and the pouring  out of the Spirit.  Far from being an esoteric pursuit for the sake of experience, the Spirit’s presence and power was given as they faithfully strove to live according to the commands of Christ:

Who has not admired the sobriety and Christian gentleness of your piety? Who has not reported your character so magnificent in its hospitality? And who has not blessed your perfect arid secure knowledge? For you did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the laws of God, obedient to your rulers, and paying all fitting honour to the older among you. On the young, too, you enjoined temperate and seemly thoughts, and to the women you gave instruction that they should do all things with a blameless and seemly and pure conscience, yielding a dutiful affection to their husbands. And you taught them to remain in the rule of obedience and to manage their households with seemliness, in all circumspection.

And you were all humble-minded and in no wise arrogant, yielding subjection rather than demanding it, “giving more gladly than receiving,” satisfied with the provision of Christ, and paying attention to his words you stored them up carefully in your hearts, and kept his sufferings before your eyes. Thus a profound and rich peace was given to all, you had an insatiable desire to do good, and the Holy Spirit was poured out in abundance on you all.

You were full of holy plans, and with pious confidence you stretched out your hands to Almighty God in a passion of goodness, beseeching him to be merciful towards any unwilling sin. Day and night you strove on behalf of the whole brotherhood that the number of his elect should be saved with mercy and compassion. You were sincere and innocent, and bore no malice to one another. All sedition and all schism was abominable to you. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbours; you judged their shortcomings as your own. You were without regret in every act of kindness, “ready unto every good work.” You were adorned by your virtuous and honourable citizenship and did all things in the fear of God. The commandments and ordinances of the Lord were “written on the tables of your heart.”

All glory and enlargement was given to you, and that which was written was fulfilled, “My Beloved ate and drank, and he was enlarged and waxed fat and kicked.”

We should learn this lesson from the Early Church well: The Spirit is given in response to faith, but not abstract faith. Rather, faith working through love.

 

 

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