magnesian

You have Jesus Christ within you

St Ignatius of Antioch’s [ c.35 - c.107 ] letter to the Magnesians

Let us not fail to be moved by his goodness, for if he were ever to imitate the way we behave ourselves, we would be truly lost. Now that we are his disciples let us learn to lead Christian lives. Whoever does not take the name of Christian does not belong to God. Put aside the old worn-out leaven which has grown old and sour, and turn to the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be preserved by the salt of Christ so that you do not decay; for it is by your odour that you will be judged. It is monstrous to talk of Jesus Christ and to practise Judaism. For the Christian faith does not look to Judaism, but Judaism looks to Christianity, in which everyone who believes in God has been brought together.  Now I say this, beloved, not because I know that there are any of you that are thus, but because I wish to warn you, though I am less than you, not to fall into the snare of vain doctrine. Be convinced of the birth and passion and resurrection which took place at the time of the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate; for these things were truly and certainly done by Jesus Christ, our hope, from which God grant that none of you be turned aside.  My desire is to enjoy every happiness in you, if only I can be found worthy. Even though I am in chains and you are not, I am still unfit to be compared to you. I know that you are free from pride, for you have Jesus Christ in yourselves. Even when I praise you, you are not proud but embarrassed. As Scripture says, The righteous man is his own accuser.  Do your utmost to stand firm in the precepts of the Lord and the Apostles, so that you may prosper in all that you do in the flesh and in the spirit, in faith and love, in the Son and the Father and the Spirit, at the beginning and at the end, together with your revered bishop and with your clergy (that beautifully woven spiritual crown) and with the godly deacons. Be subject to the bishop and to one another, even as Jesus Christ was subject to the Father, and the Apostles were subject to Christ and to the Father, so that there may be complete unity of both flesh and spirit.  I have kept my exhortation brief because I know how God fills you. Remember me in your prayers, so that I may win through to God, and remember the Church in Syria, of which I am not worthy to be called a member. For I need your united prayers and love in God so that the Church in Syria may draw refreshment from the dew of your Church.  I am writing this from Smyrna and the Ephesians here send you their greeting. They, like you, are here for the glory of God and have in all things given me comfort, as has Polycarp, the bishop of the Smyrnaeans. The other Churches also greet you in honour of Jesus Christ.  Farewell. See that there is a godly unity among you and an unhesitating spirit; for this is Jesus Christ.

United in one prayer and one hope, in joy and holiness

St Ignatius of Antioch’s [ c.35 - c.107 A.D. ] letter to the Magnesians

Since I have met the persons I have just mentioned and seeing and embracing them I have seen and embraced your whole congregation, I exhort you — be zealous to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God, and the presbyters in the place of the Council of the Apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, entrusted with the service of Jesus Christ, who was from eternity with the Father and was made manifest at the end of time. Be all in conformity with God, and respect one another, and let no man judge his neighbour according to the flesh, but in everything love one another in Jesus Christ. Let there be nothing in you which can divide you, but be united with the bishop and with those who preside over you as an example and lesson of immortality.  Just as the Lord was united to the Father and did nothing without him, neither by himself nor through the Apostles, so you also must do nothing without the bishop and the presbyters. Do not attempt to make anything appear right for you by yourselves, but let there be in common one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope in love, in the joy which is without fault, the joy that is Jesus Christ, than whom there is nothing better. Hasten all to come together as to one temple of God, as to one altar, to one Jesus Christ, who came from the one Father, and is with one Father, and returned to one Father.  Do not let yourselves be seduced by foreign teachings or by old and worthless fables. If we continue to live according to Jewish law then we are simply showing that we have not received grace. Look at their holy prophets: their lives were filled with Jesus Christ and inspired by his grace to teach doubters that there is one God, and for this they were persecuted. That one God manifested himself through Jesus Christ his son, who is his Word proceeding from silence and in all respects was well-pleasing to the One who sent him.  You see how the followers of the ancient customs have come to a new hope. They no longer rule their lives by the Sabbath but by the Lord’s Day, which is our day also, the day on which also our life sprang up through him and his death. Though some deny it, it is by this mystery that we received faith, and for this reason also we suffer, that we may be found to be true disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher. If all this is true, how can we possibly not give him a place in our lives, since even the prophets were his disciples in the Spirit and looked forward to him as their teacher? They waited for him in righteousness, and when he came he raised them from the dead.