The Christians As They Were

The philosopher Aristides, author of these words (written in A.D. 125), describes the Christianity that then was.

They walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them, and they love one another. They despise not the widow, and grieve not the orphan. He that hast distributeth liberally to him that hath not. If they see a stranger, they bring him under their roof, and rejoice over him as if he were their own brother: for they call themselves brethren, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit of God; but when one of their poor passes away from the world, and any of them see him, he provides for his burial according to his ability; and if they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs. . . .

“And if there is among them a man that is needy and poor, and they have not an abundance of necessaries, they fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with their necessary food.”

Nothing else needs to be said.

6 thoughts on “The Christians As They Were

  1. Convicting, Ingrid. The last line would not even cross the minds of our culture as a whole. Much needed reality check. Thanks for posting that.

  2. “I am told that Christians do not love each other. I am very sorry if that be true, but I rather doubt it, for I suspect that those who do not love each other are not Christians.” – Charles Spurgeon

  3. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS. Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.” ~ Jesus, Gospel of St. Matthew, 7:22-27

    “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” ~ Jesus, Gospel of St. John 15:12

    ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. ~ Leviticus 19:18

    “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” ~ Romans 13:8-11

    Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ~ Ephesians 5

  4. I don’t remember that I have ever really seen this love in any church. Maybe I have seen a glimpse of it occassionally, but nothing stands out in my memory. I think the church I am at now displays something of it, but I’m not sure how much.

    We see this love in parts of Scripture like Philemon. The love displayed between Paul and Onesimus and Philemon is amazing.

    “I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you…I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment…I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart…I would have been glad to keep him with me…but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord…For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother…So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it – to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.”

    I am convicted and encouraged by this, because as much as I may be disappointed by others, I have a responsibility before Jesus Christ to work to achieve this love in the fellowship I have with other Christians. And I need to speak the truth of the Bible about it to those I see not loving as they should.

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