01 Nov What Kind of Faith Is This??
I came across this quote today and wanted to exhort you to think about this. The last sentence is particularly powerful as I ask myself, “For what am I willing to be ripped apart?” In North America, it is easy to write this kind of quote off as extreme and ridiculous. However, what is it that you are willing to give your life for? The Roman authorities wished to squash Christianity by such horrific deaths in the arenas. Instead, Christianity spread like fire because of Christians’ willingness to suffer for the sake of the Name.
I write to all the churches, and I declare to all men, that willingly I die for God, if it be that you hinder me not. I beg of you, be not with me in the love that is not in season. Leave me, that I may be for the beasts, that by means of them I may be worthy of God. I am the wheat of God, and by the teeth of the beasts am I ground, that I may be found the pure bread of God. With provoking provoke ye the beasts, that they may be a grave for me, and may leave nothing of my body, that not even when I am fallen asleep may I be a burden upon any man. Then am I a disciple in truth to Jesus Christ, when the world seeth not my body. Intreat our Lord for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God. I am not commanding you like Peter and Paul, who are Apostles, but I one condemned… But if I suffer, I am the freedman of Jesus Christ, and I shall rise from the dead in Him free. And now, since I am bound, I learn to desire nothing. From Syria even to Rome I am cast among beasts, by sea and by land, by night and by day; since I am bound between ten leopards, which are the band of soldiers, who, even when I do good to them, the more do evil to me. But I, through their injury, an the more instructed; but I do not on this account justify myself. I rejoice in the beasts which are prepared for me, and I pray that they may be quickly found for me; and I will provoke them, that they may quickly devour me, and not like that which is afraid of other men, and approacheth them not, even if they should not be willing to approach me, I will go against them with force…Fire, and the cross, and the beasts which are prepared, cutting of the limbs, scattering of the bones, and crushing of the whole body, hard torments of the Devil, let them come upon me, and may I be worthy of Jesus Christ. (Ignatius’ Third Epistle to the Romans)