I picked up my copy of the Apostolic Fathers today. I was intending to glance through the Didache in order to do a little early church teaching with the Thursday evening Bible class. Instead, I wound up reading the letter from Ignatius of Antioch to Polycarp of Smyrna.
With all the talk of "relevance" today in the church, they should take a page from Ignatius' letters and realize that Christ and His Word is relevant simply if it is kept unadulterated and taught purely.
You can tell by the way Ignatius exhorts Polycarp to be a good pastor, that there is clear concern for God's people founded solely on the grace of God in Christ Jesus. And those exhortations bring joy to the heart because in those exhortations he continually points us back to grace. For example, Ignatius exhorts Polycarp,
"Bear with all people, even as the Lord bears with you."It's quite remarkable what Ignatius does with His exhortations. I realize this is a letter and not a sermon, but would that I could exhort with as much grace as Ignatius did, better yet, with as much as our Lord Christ did. Thorough the grace of Jesus Christ, indeed, we can rejoice at Godly living that He has worked in us and through us.
"Please the one whom you serve as soldiers, from whom you receive your wages. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism serve as a shield, faith as a helmet, love as a spear, endurance as armor."
What a remarkable letter! And I pray that one day as I finish my studies another pastor would say to me as Ignatius said to Polycarp,
"For by grace I trust that you are ready for a good work in the service of God."+Kyrie Eleison+