Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Church Fathers Part I

Submitted by Sam Nobles

Part 1 – Clement of Rome
Clement of Rome was a first century convert who had that wonderful privilege of being personally educated about Christ by the apostle Paul. Clement is mentioned by name in Philippians 4:3. Although there is no way to be absolutely sure, there is very good chance that this is the same Clement that became one of our first Apostolic Church Fathers.

After Paul was martyred at Rome, Clement become a leader of the church there. According to tradition, Clement was martyred in 100 A.D. by being cast into the sea tied to an anchor. Not much detail is known about Clement of Rome, but some of his writings provide valuable insight into the solid teaching found in the early church. Clement’s letter to the church at Corinth may be the earliest document we have outside of the New Testament.

Yes, another letter had to be written to the church at Corinth. Do you remember how Paul had to write letters to the Corinthians dealing with issues that was tearing the church to pieces? Well, their problems continued, and Clement sent a letter to the Corinthian Church as well. His letter proclaimed the doctrine that he had received from the apostles himself.

“…And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Clement’s Epistle to the Corinthians, c. 32)

Justification is a legal term which means, “to be declared righteous or in right standing”. Biblically, justification is the process by which sinful human beings are made acceptable to a holy God.

Being justified does not change us, but it does change our standing before God. If a person is charged with a crime (that which breaks the law) then that person must stand trial. Even though that person may be guilty, if the judge declares them not guilty, then that person is free to go—that person is justified. When I am justified, it is “just – if – I’d” never done it in the first place.

Therefore, the believer’s justification, the fact that I am in right standing with God, is not based upon what I can do or what I have done. The only thing that can put a person in right standing with God, to be justified from his or her sin, is faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus doesn’t just cover my sin, it washes it away, and makes it “just – if – I’d” never committed them in the eyes of God.

When it comes to the believer and sin, God remembers our sins and lawless deeds no more (Hebrews 10:16-17). He has sealed them up in a bag (Job 14:17) and cast them away from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). To make it even better for us, God has cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18–19) and posted a “No Fishing” sign (okay, there’s no Scripture for that one).

Scripture to Claim:
“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

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