Revealing relevant political and religious news, history, topics and truths

Salvation V

Soteriology / Salvation

Part Five

Excerpts from Early Church Fathers: Barnabas and Justin Martyr

 Barnabas (ca. 100) is said to have been an Alexandrian Jew.  Until the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus by Tischendorf, a significant portion of this letter or epistle was only know in an ancient Latin version.  The Sinaiticus Bible was discovered in 1859 by the Russian Tischendorf at the Monastery of St. Catherine at the foot of Mt. Sinai.  In its appendixes it contains both the Epistle of Barnabas and the letter of the Shepherd of Hermas.  Barnabas’ letter was also in appendix of the Codex Hierosolymitanus and he was mentioned or quoted in the Apostolic Canons and by several early church fathers.

“All hail, ye sons and daughters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us in peace… The doctrines of the Lord, then, are three: life, faith and hope… Since the days are evil (Eph. 5:16) and Satan possesses the power of this world, we ought to give heed to ourselves, and diligently inquire into the ordinances of the Lord.  Fear and patience, are helpers of our faith; and long-suffering and self-control are things which fight on our side.  While these remain pure in what respects the Lord, Wisdom, Understanding, Science and Knowledge rejoice along with them.  He has revealed to us by all the prophets that He needs neither sacrifices, nor burnt offerings, saying (Isaiah 1:11-) ’What is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’ Says the Lord, ‘I am full of burnt-offerings, and desire not the fat of lambs, and the blood of bulls and goats, not with you come to appear before Me… (note: 1 Sam. 15:22 – ‘…to obey is better than sacrifice…)’   …He has abolished these things, that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is without yoke of necessity, might have a human oblation (offering; sacrifice).  And again He says to them, ‘Did I command your fathers, when they went out from the land of Egypt, to offer unto Me burnt-offerings and sacrifices?  But this rather I commanded them, Let no one of you cherish any evil in his heart against his neighbor, and love not an oath of falsehood (Jer. 7:22; Zech. 8:17).’

Barnabas continues, ‘…It therefore befits us, who inquire much concerning events at hand, to search diligently into those things which are able to save us.  LET US utterly FLEE from all the works of INIQUITY (evil, sin), LEST (for fear that) THESE SHOULD TAKE HOLD OF US; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, LEST WE BECOME LIKE THEM. The final stumbling-block (source of danger) approaches, concerning which it is written, as Enoch says, ‘For this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that His Beloved my hasten; and He will come to the inheritance.’  And the prophet also speaks … ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth… in like manner Daniel says… I beheld the fourth beast, wicked and powerful… and from it sprang up ten horns…’

Elsewhere he writes, ‘Let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way of wickedness… Let us be spiritually-minded; let us be a perfect temple to God (1Cor. 6:19; 1Thes. 5:23)… let us meditate upon the fear of God, and let us keep His commandments, that we may rejoice in His ordinances.  The LORD WILL JUDGE the world without respect of persons.  EACH WILL RECEIVE AS HE HAS DONE: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him (see Ezek. 18).  TAKE HEED, LEST resting at our ease, as those who are the called of God, WE should FALL asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us AWAY FROM THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD…”

Dear brother and sisters in Christ and in the world, i don’t know how much clearer it can be stated.  The prophet Ezekiel said the same things (chapter 18) ‘The soul that sins, it shall die… have I pleasure at all that the wicked should die (in Hell; 2 Peter 3:9)… When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and dies in his sin (Heb. 10:26); for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.  And, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and does that which is lawful and right (Gen.4:7), he shall save his soul alive.’  But please notice, the Lord does not show partially (Deut.10:17); there are no different ‘dispensations’ that rescue us here.  We ‘the called of God (Rom. 1:7)’ IF, IF, IF, ‘we sin WILFULLY AFTER WE have received the knowledge of the TRUTH (that is of the ‘Way, Truth and Life – John 14:6, etc.), there remains no more sacrifice for our sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment… which shall devour the adversaries… and how much sorer punishment… upon those who have trodden underfoot the Son of God… and have despite unto the Spirit of grace… The Lord shall judge his people… (Heb. 10:26-30)?’

You that have an ear to hear, it is very clear that both Barnabas and Paul join all the prophets and apostles and the Spirit of the Lord and the very words of the Lord and warn us that yes indeed WE – the Called of God, the children of God must ‘Take heed, lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12; Heb. 2:1; 3:12; 12:15; etc.)’ – fall in what way – Fall ‘away from the kingdom of the Lord (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 20:12-15; 21:8,27).’  Show me in the Holy Scriptures where it is written that you cannot lose your salvation – you cannot show me or anyone, because it is not written, the scriptures must be taken out of context or twisted; but the warnings and clear truth that anyone who continues in sin without repentance ‘shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’

Nevertheless, knowing that many will continue to be stubborn and some will come to the knowledge of the truth I shall press on in the subject.  But before going to Justin, i must again say as i did concerning Clement.  Barnabas is slightly more important than any of your pastors or TV evangelist.  Not clear enough here, i repent of my sarcasm; understand – Barnabas’ letter was in many early Christian bibles until the fifth century at least.  Barnabas’ words are some much closer in time and truth than the vast great majority all preachers today.  The weight of his words should not be simply set aside in preference or comparison to any other commentary.


Justin Martyr (late first century AD)

            Justin said, ‘As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them.’ (First Apology, LXI, Christian Baptism)

First Apology ‘to the Emperor Titus… Augustus Caesar, and to his son Verissimus the Philosopher… and to the sacred Senate, with the People of the Romans, I, Justin… of Flavis Neapolis in Palenstine, present this address and petition in behalf of those of all nations who are unjustly hated and wantonly abused, myself being one of them.  Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honor and love only what is true… those among yourselves (Roman citizens) who are accused you do not punish before they are convicted; but in our case you receive the name as proof against us… we are accused of being Christians, and to hate what is excellent is unjust.  If any of the accused deny the name, and say that he is not a Christian, you acquit him… but if any one acknowledge that he is a Christian, you punish him on account of this acknowledgment.  Justice (Roman law and a form of due process existed for their ‘citizens’) requires that you inquire into the life both of him who confesses and of him who denies, that by his deeds it may be apparent what kind of man each is.  For as some who have been taught by the Master, Christ, not to deny Him (Matt. 10:28-33), give encouragement to others when they are put to the question…’

Nevertheless in the case of Christians, Justin continues, ‘…In our case, who pledge ourselves to do no wickedness, nor to hold these atheistic opinions, you do not examine the charges made against us; but yielding to unreasoning passion, and to the instigation of evil demons, you punish us without consideration or judgment.  For the truth shall be spoken; since of old these evil demons… defiled… and corrupted …those who did not use their reason in judging… were struck with terror; and being carried away by fear, and not knowing that these were demons, they called them gods (1 Cor. 10:20), and gave to each the name which each of the demons chose for himself. ‘

‘And Socrates endeavored, by true reason and examination, to bring these things to light, and deliver men from the demons, then the demons themselves, by means of men who rejoiced in iniquity (sins), compassed his death, as an atheist and a profane person, on the charge that ‘he was introducing new divinities;’ and in our (Christian) case they display a similar activity.  For not only among the Greeks did reason (Logos) prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the Barbarians were they condemned by Reason (the Word, the Logos) Himself, who took shape, and became man, and was called Jesus Christ; and in obedience to Him, we not only deny that they  who did such things as these are gods (evil spirits), but assert that they are wicked and impious demons (evil spirits), whose actions will not bear comparison with those even of men desirous of virtue.’

‘Hence are we called atheists.  And we confess that we are atheists so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God, the Father of righteousness… But both Him, and the Son, who came forth from Him… and taught us these things, (with) the host of good angels who follow… Him, and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth… and by tradition we have received that God does not need material offerings from men… for He Himself is the provider of all things.’

‘…More than all other men are we your helpers and allies in promoting peace, seeing that we hold this view, that it is alike impossible for the wicked, the covetous, the conspirator, and for the virtuous, to escape the notice of God (see Eccl.12:14), and that each man goes to EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT or SALVATION according to the value of his actions.  FOR if all men knew this, no one would choose wickedness even for a little while, knowing that he goes to everlasting punishment of fire; but would by all means restrain himself, and adorn himself with virtue, that he might obtain good gifts of God, and escape the punishments.”


Note: William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army, whose voice can be heard through  i occasionally think of that audio, ‘…serve the Lord with gladness is one of our favorite mottos; so I am pleased that you are please; but amidst all your joys don’t forget the sons and daughters of misery – do you never visit them…’  Anyway in an interview when asked about the training of Salvation Army soldiers, Booth was quoted saying that if possible he would have finalized the training of his soldiers with twenty-four hours hanging over an open hell, to see its eternal torment. Then he said, “With just 100 men I could evangelize the world.”

i wish every soul while in this flesh had that opportunity before death, but the Lord requires a little seeking, a little care for reason and faith.  Nevertheless, behold, the man that died went to the grave, ‘and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22; Sheol or Hades – the other side of the gulf separated from paradise until the last day and judgment)’ where ‘he lifted up his eyes, being in torments’ and cried to Father Abraham; he asked two things.  First, he asked for himself ‘have mercy on me and …cool my tongue from this tormenting flame’ and after Abraham tells him – ok you asked – ‘Son (in that Abraham is the Father of Nations), remember that you in your lifetime received good things… and now you are tormented (you had your chance – the Lord did have mercy on mankind and sent out His Son and His Spirit and prophets to witness to all – by word and conscience; and He sent rain on the just and unjust – without partially +/- the effects of prayer – can’t tell you how many tens of times i have prayed ‘Lord give me 30 minutes or even an hour to finish mowing the lawn and it would start pouring down to the minutes or at times even seconds after that time).

Anyway so the dead sinner asked for comfort, Abraham says you have been judged, but even if I could have mercy on you now, ‘there is a great gulf between us… and neither you nor I can pass through it (Luke 16:26).’  So then the sinner asked the second question and remembered his loved ones, ‘I pray to you, father Abraham, please would you send witnesses to my father’s house, I have five brothers, let them testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’  Now, hear Abraham, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’  The rich sinner says, ‘No, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.’  And Abraham replied, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though on rose from the dead (Luke 16:19-31).’  And no great than Jesus Christ rose from the dead and cries out unto mankind continually through the Spirit and through His apostles and witness; and so ‘the light is come into the world – and shines unto the darkness – but men loved their darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (John 1 and 3)’ and there ‘riches and pleasures (Luke 8:14).’


Ok sorry for the distraction – i was compelled; so a little more for Justin who also said in his First Apology (chap. 46), ‘We have been taught that Christ is the first-begotten of God, and we have declared him to be the Logos of which all mankind partakes [John 1:9]. Those, therefore, who lived according to reason [Greek, logos] were really Christians, even though they were thought to be atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates, Heraclitus, and others like them. . . . Those who lived before Christ but did not live according to reason [logos] were wicked men, and enemies of Christ, and murderers of those who did live according to reason [logos], whereas those who lived then or who live now according to reason [logos] are Christians. Such as these can be confident and unafraid.’

And Justin quoted Christ (Matt. 10:28) saying, “‘Fear not them that kill you, and after that can do no more; but fear Him who after death is able to cast both your soul and body into hell.’  And hell is a place where those are to be punished who have lived wickedly, and who do not believe that those things which God has taught us by Christ will come to pass.’

And Justin later says, ‘…(neither) men… (nor) devils… will escape…  the Father and Lord of all, and the power of Christ Himself… Who calls all to repentance before the day of Judgment comes… unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice (free will), they are not accountable for their actions (not a single person would be guilty without free will – and hell would be unjust and ungodly and make God what He is not)… but the Holy Spirit of prophecy taught us by Moses that God said… ‘before your face are good and evil: choose the good (Deut. 30:15-).’  …And through Isaiah He says, ‘come let us reason together, if your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool… if you be willing and obey Me…’ And so too, Plato says, ‘The blame is his who chooses, and God is blameless.’  …And whatever both philosophers and poets have said concerning the immortality of the soul, or punishments after death… or of heavenly things… they have received such suggestions from the prophets…’

Nevertheless, Christ Jesus ’…shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by His angelic host, when also HE SHALL RAISE THE BODIES OF ALL (all – as in THAT DAY – as in everyone – as in ‘Behold, He comes with clouds and every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced him (Rev.1:7)’ at His crucifixion.) MEN WHO HAVE LIVED, and shall clothe those of the worthy with immorality, and shall send those of the wicked, endued with eternal sensibility, into everlasting fire with the wicked devils (Matt. 25:41).  And these things have been foretold…’

‘As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them.  Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we ourselves regenerated.  For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the Universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.  For Christ also said, ‘Except, you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5)’… And this (rite) we have learned from the apostles for this reason…’   Justin goes on to teach about the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) and how Christians ‘keep together’ and how ‘we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost.  And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president (presider) verbally instructs and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.  Then we all rise together and pray… when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the presider in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying, ‘Amen;’ and there is distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.  And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours (assists, supports) the orphans and widows, and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.  But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.  For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun (according to the Romans), having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.’

‘And if these things seem to you to be reasonable and true, honor them; but if they seem nonsense… still do not decree death against those who have done no wrong… for we forewarn you, that you shall not escape the coming judgment of God, if you continue your injustice; and we ourselves will invite you to do that which is pleasing to God.  And though from the letter of the greatest and most illustrious Emperor Adrian, your father, we could demand that you order judgment to be given as we have desired, yet we have made this appeal and explanation, not on the ground of Adrian’s decision, but because we know that what we ask is just.  And we have subjoined the copy of Adrian’s letter that you may know that we are speaking is true…”

By a servant

(Resipsa – free to copy for non-profit personal and ministry uses)

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