The Will of God (A Fathers Epistles Book 15)

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians
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Chapter 1 — You were chosen by the foreknowledge of God, sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Christ.

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And God caused you to be born again to a living heavenly hope thru the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That we might proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us into His marvelous light. Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Faithful living in difficult times — that is the lesson Peter would have believers learn through this dynamic letter. He knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and keep the unrighteous under punishment.

And then come under the influence of false teachers who mock their puritanical virtue And then they return to the very sins they had earlier rejected — this state is far worse than the first!

The Wonderful Implications of God being Our “Abba Father”

All continues as it was from the beginning of creation! And that the present heavens and earth are now awaiting their destruction by fire. John is an intensely practical in this letter. Chapter 1 — We bear witness concerning the Word of Life, that you may have fellowship with us.

Because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. By this we know that we abide in Christ — by the indwelling presence of His Spirit. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and grants our requests. John addresses this short letter to a Christian lady and her children who are walking in the truth. John addresses this letter to a man named Gaius, who is walking in the truth. Blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, and dominion forever.

So the book of Revelation expands upon the great end-time events, and culminates with the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. Chapter 1 — The revelation of future events was given to Jesus, then to angels, and last to John in a vision. Blessed is he who hears and heeds the things which are written in this prophecy. The devil is about to cast some of you into prison that you may be tested. But you are dead; your garments are soiled; thus wake up and strengthen the things that remain. Since you have persevered, I will keep you from the hour of testing Rev that is coming.

Lukewarm, so I will spit you out of My mouth; though wealthy, you are wretched, miserable, poor. Chapter 10 — Then another mighty angel came down from heaven; he held a little book of judgment. She is in labor, awaiting the birth of a baby — Jesus Christ. And the dragon Satan stood before the woman who was about to give birth, that he might devour the Child Christ.

Chapter 14 — John then beheld the Lamb standing on Mount Zion Righteous and true are Thy ways! Thou alone art holy! The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea — it became like blood and everything in it died. In one hour your judgment has come! Salvation, glory and power belong to our God! The great harlot has been judged, and her smoke rises up forever and ever! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns! We acknowledge the existence of spiritual realities, spiritual influences, and spiritual goals.

Life is more than the physical. The spiritual realm is the place in which God gives all spiritual blessings. It is the essence of life. As Paul identifies some specific spiritual blessings, he says God "chose us. But what is the nature of this predestination? And is it conditional or unconditional? Did he determine who would be believers and who would be unbelievers? Consider the following biblical truths. We also see the continuous pleading of God for men to believe and obey him cf. Matthew It is incredulous to think that God would plead with men who allegedly could not believe.

Since people can and must respond to the preaching of the gospel, the Lord commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature Mark The ones who submit to it will be saved.

Father's Love Letter Extended Narration

God did not decide who would believe and who would disobey. He did, however, determine that those who would believe would be saved. God chose Christ 1 Peter ; But Christ exercised his own freewill in the redemptive plan John ; Galatians If we want to share in the glory God chose for the saved, we must submit to his conditions. We know, however, of our many imperfections and weaknesses. He is our Father. A child of God receives his love 1 John A child of God will share in the glory of the Son Romans God freely bestowed his grace in Christ, the Beloved He has done what we never could do on our own John ; Romans Grace is not, however, unconditional.

We can be forgiven of our sins , if we obey the gospel of God cf. Apostolic preaching required a human response. It contains the idea of the payment of a ransom. The blood of Christ is the purchase-price for our salvation Acts Together, these terms vividly express to us the idea of being released from the penalty of sin. How precious it is to be forgiven.

What a blessing! God has not left us in the dark. He has, according to his eternal purpose in Christ, revealed his will It is a wonderful blessing to know the nature and destiny of his plan — the mystery of his will But his will was not fully disclosed in the beginning; it unfolded progressively. We have this blessing. The knowledge of his saving plan — as revealed in the Christian dispensation — should not go unappreciated. Think of what we know that was unknown in Old Testament times. Consider that life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel 2 Timothy It means that which was hidden.

It indicates that the eternal purpose was undiscoverable by man. However, God has revealed the unknowable to us. This happened in 59 AD. Because the Roman authorities held Paul in such a high esteem, he was able to preach freely. Thus end the details of his life in the Acts of the Apostles Acts 27 and In Rome Saint Paul wrote his letters to the Philippians with gratitude for the financial aid sent to him with Epaphroditus , to the Colossians, to the Ephesians, and to Philemon, a citizen of Colossus concerning his slave Onesimus, who had run away.

All three of these Epistles were written in 63 AD and were sent with Tychicus. The further fate of Apostle Paul is not known with any certainty. Some think that he stayed in Rome and by the orders of Nero died a martyr's death in 64 AD. But there is evidence that suggests that after a two year imprisonment, Paul was given his freedom and he took on a fourth missionary journey, which was indicated by his "Pastoral Epistles" to Timothy and Titus.

After defending his actions before the Senate and the Emperor, Saint Paul was freed from bondage so he could again travel to the east. Spending a long time on the island of Crete, he left his pupil Titus to ordain elders throughout all the cities Titus , which shows that Titus was ordained by Paul to be the bishop of the church in Crete. Later in his letter Paul instructs Titus on how to go about his duties as a bishop. From this letter it is clear that Paul intended to spend that winter of 64 in Nicopolis Titus , near his native Tarsus. During the spring of 65 AD, he visited the rest of the churches in Asia Minor and in Miletus, he left the sick Trophimus.

Earlier, the people in Jerusalem rioted against Paul because of Trophimus, bringing about Paul's first imprisonment 2 Tim.

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Whether Saint Paul went through Ephesus is not known. He said that the Ephesian elders would not see his face again Acts , although at the time, it appears that he ordained Timothy as bishop of the Ephesian church. Later the Apostle went through Troas, where he left his bishop's mantle the outer layer of liturgical clothing and books probably also liturgical books, 2 Tim. Upon hearing about the strengthening of false teachings in Ephesus, he wrote his first letter to Timothy from there. After spending some time in Corinth 2 Tim.

They arrived in Rome where in 66 AD, Peter remained while Paul continued further to the west, probably reaching Spain. After his return to Rome, he was imprisoned for the second time , where he remained until his death. There is a tradition that upon his return to Rome, he preached at the very door of the emperor Nero and converted his favorite concubine to Christ.

For this he was condemned and even though by God's mercy - in his own words - he was "delivered from the lion's mouth," that is from being devoured by animals in the circus 1 Tim. During this second imprisonment he wrote his second letter to Timothy in Ephesus, inviting him to Rome for a last meeting, sensing death was at hand.

Tradition doesn't say whether Timothy managed to find his teacher alive, but it does say that the Apostle did not have to wait long for his martyr's crown. After a nine-month imprisonment he was beheaded as a Roman citizen, not far from Rome. This happened in 67 AD during the 12th year of Nero's reign.

A general observation of Apostle Paul's life shows that it is sharply divided into two halves. Before his conversion to Christ, Saint Paul then Saul was a strict Pharisee, fulfiller of the law of Moses and the traditions of his fathers, thinking that he could be justified by the works of the law and his zeal for the faith of his fathers, reaching even fanaticism. After his conversion, he became an Apostle of Christ, totally committed to the task of spreading the gospel, fortunate in his calling, yet recognizing his own impotence for fulfilling this eminent ministry and attributing all of his deeds and merits to the grace of God.

All of Paul's life before his conversion was driven by a deep conviction toward deviation and sin, which led him towards condemnation instead of justification, and only the mercy of God saved him from this destructive delinquency.

From that moment on, Saint Paul tries to be worthy of God's grace and not turn away from his calling. Therefore there cannot be any talk of personal merit - all of it was God's doing. All of Saint Paul's teachings revealed in his Epistles, being a full reflection of his life, carry this very fundamental thought: man is justified by faith, independent of deeds of the law Romans However, it cannot be concluded from this that Apostle Paul rejects any significance of good deeds See for example Gal.

According to his Epistles, the understanding of "works of the law" does not mean "good deeds" in general, but ritualistic observance of the Mosaic Law. It must be remembered that during the time of his evangelistic work, Paul needed to carry out a bitter struggle against the opposition of the Judaists and Judean Christians. Upon becoming Christians, many of the Judaists held the view that it too was necessary for Christians to strictly observe all the ceremonial instructions of Mosaic Law.

They deluded themselves with conceited notions that Christ came to earth to save the Jews only, and therefore gentiles wanting to be saved, needed to undertake circumcision and observe all of the Jewish rituals. This delusion impeded the spread of Christianity among the gentiles so strongly, that the Apostles were obliged to convene in 51 AD the Jerusalem Council, which removed the requirements of the ceremonial decrees of the law of Moses for Christians. However, even after this Council, many Judean Christians continued to stubbornly hold to their former views and as a consequence, split from the Church by establishing their own heretical society.

These heretics opposed Apostle Paul personally and injected disturbances into the life of any church, where Paul was absent. That's why Saint Paul needed to continually underline in his Epistles that Christ was the Savior of all humanity - for Jews just as well as for gentiles - and that a person was not saved by fulfilling the ceremonial deeds of the law, but only through faith in Christ. Unfortunately, Luther and his successors - the Protestants - distorted these thoughts of Apostle Paul, because to them Paul had repudiated the importance of every good deed for salvation.

If this were so, then he would not have written in his first Epistle to the Corinthians in the 13th chapter that "if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" 1 Cor. On the basis of credible witnesses, the common voice of the Church attributes fourteen Epistles to Apostle Paul's authorship, which appear in the Bible in the following order:. The Epistles are not in any chronological order, but are arranged according to their significance and magnitude of their circulation, and by the relative importance of the Church and its people to whom they are addressed.

The Epistles to the three individuals follow those Epistles to the seven Churches. The Epistle to the Hebrews is last because it was the last to be authenticated. Usually, Apostle Paul's Epistles are separated into two uneven groups: 1 Epistles of a general Christian nature and 2 Pastoral Epistles. The Epistles to Timothy and Titus belong to the second category, because they indicate the basis and rules of good pastorship.

Certain sections of Apostle Paul's Epistles gave rise to thoughts that he had written other Epistles that have not reached us eg. While the correspondence with an unknown philosopher Seneka, brother of pro-consul Gallio as mentioned in Acts was attributed to Paul, this could not be authenticated. T he Epistles of Apostle Paul carries great importance in the composition of the New Testament, because it is in them that we find a deep and all-encompassing revelation and elucidation of the mysteries of the Gospel's teachings. Apart from Apostle Paul's individual, especially-loved mysteries of Christ's faith, for example: the meaning of the Old Testament law in relation to the New Testament, the corruption and decay of human nature, the only means of justification before God is through faith in Jesus Christ, it can be said that there is not one point in the whole of Christian dogma that did not have its beginnings and affirmation in his Epistles.

The bulk of the Epistles are structured on the one and only plan. They begin with a greeting to the readers and expression of gratitude to God for His providential activity about the place it is addressed to. Further on, the Epistle is usually divided into two parts - religious instructions doctrinal and moral directives. In conclusion, the Apostle touches upon private matters, charges persons with commissions, discusses his personal circumstances, expresses his kind wishes and sends greetings of peace and love. His language is lively and bright - reminiscent of the ancient Prophets, and reflects a profound understanding of the Old Testament.

B ecause the opportunity to give a more detailed account of St. Paul's many faceted Christian teachings is constrained by time and space, we will limit ourselves to citing extracts from his Epistles, which are essentially of a moral nature. As we will see in them, the Apostle explains what constitutes a true spiritual life - that what every Christian should strive for. For convenience sake, we bring these excerpts by subject order - in alphabetical sequence - so that the reader may easily refer to them in Apostle Paul's Epistles.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills" 1 Cor. See also: Rom. About attitudes toward riches : "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you. See also: 1 Tim. Life is spiritual warfare : "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

THE ORAL TRADITION OF THE APOSTLES

Shall I praise you? About Contact. You do this even to your brethren. That is why we shall now acquaint the reader with those aspects of Apostle Paul's life - which he himself pointed out - which served as his source in determining questions relating to the Christian teachings on faith and morality. Note — twenty years, thirteen letters, all written to different people, at different times, in different cultures, experiencing different problems. He is behind and above Christ on the Cross in the Throne of Mercy iconography. Paul was calling these early Christians back from the Mosaic Law to grace, from legalism to faith.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole amour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on a breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" Ephes. See also: 1 Thes. Faith and its meaning : "through Whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" Rom.

On resurrection of the dead : 1 Cor. On good deeds : "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" Gal. See also: Ephes. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" 1 Tim. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" 1 Tim Spiritual renovation and Christian life : "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" 2 Cor.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Jesus Christ. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ Who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.