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In our series on the patristic writings, we return to 2 Clement 8-9. Our series uses for its text Michael Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers.
What’s 2 Clement about? It’s an exhortation to faithfulness to the way of Christ in the face of threats like gnosticism, false teachers and rebellion against leaders. I reads like a sermon, and our passage today is about repentance.
Problem - Time - Time - Time - Chance
He begins with the problem of time: it is time now to repent because once the time is up there’s no longer a chance to repent. Repentance and salvation are integrated (8:2). While post mortem opportunities are found at times in the history of the church, and has become popular among some progressives today, Clement is not with them (8:3). Notice in 8:4 that there is no salvation without transformation, and his concern here is the “flesh.”
2Clem. 8:1 So, then, while we are yet on earth, let us repent. 2 For we are clay in the craftsman’s hand. For example: while a potter is making a vessel, if it becomes misshapen or breaks in his hands, he simply reshapes it; but if he has already put it into the kiln, he is no longer able to repair it. So it is with us: as long as we are in this world, let us repent with our whole heart of the evil things that we have done in the flesh, in order that we may be saved by the Lord while we still have time for repentance. 3 For after we have left the world, we are no longer able there either to confess or to repent any more. 4 So, brothers and sisters, if we have done the will of the Father and have kept the flesh pure and have observed the commandments of the Lord, we will receive...
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