Fourth Sunday of Easter (1887

1 Peter 2:11-20 One has made the accusation even to the first Christians that they were not good citizens because they - as strangers and pilgrims in the world - segregated themselves from the doings of children of the world and led another way of life. One already held at that time that it was impossible to be a true Christian and also a loyal citizen. Therefore one has cruelly persecuted Christians as enemies of the state from the time of the apostles and in the following centuries and sought to exterminate them. They will no longer be sought in our time, but there are still enough enemies who indicate Christians as those which hinder the welfare of the state. Although this is now said by the Church of the Antichrist and the fanatical sects, not entirely without reason, members of the true church thus cannot be accused of it. Rather, these prove to be good citizens precisely because they regard themselves as strangers and pilgrims in the world. It is this, what, etc. That true Christians prove themselves to be good citizens precisely because they regard themselves as strangers and pilgrims in the world; namely 1. that true Christians consider themselves as strangers and pilgrims in the world; they prove a. that they abstain from fleshly lusts which children of the world indulge in; α. what are fleshly lusts, namely every desire and inclination that man has against God's command, all sinful desires and movements that derive from the flesh and bind people to the world; β. how they abstain from it; ‫א‬. in that they flee and avoid everything, that can arouse and tempt the desires of the flesh, ‫ב‬. in that they resist them, suppress and fight against them, that they will not act on them; γ. why they abstain from them; ‫א‬. because that does not harmonize with the disposition to give in to fleshly lusts that strangers and pilgrims must have1, ‫ב‬. because fleshly lusts war against the soul and therefore would bring them harm and ruin; b. that they lead a way of life in the world as behooves strangers and pilgrims; α. how this way of life is created, namely not merely external decency, as it is led by children of the world, but a way of life that attracts the attention of children of the world because of his piety; β. for what purpose they lead such a way of life; ‫א‬. not to earn salvation, but that they bring honor to their being Christian in the world and stopping the mouths of those who talk about them as about evildoers, and ‫ב‬. that they win over children of the world, in order that they praise God with them;

2. precisely how they prove themselves as good citizens in the world;

Colossians 3:2-3; Hebrews 13:14.

a. they are subject to every authority, not only the good and gentle, but also the harsh and cruel, not only the just and fair, but also the unjust and unfair, not only he who has come to power on the right path, but also he who has come into office through fraud and bribery or by revolution, not only the supreme head, as to the king or emperor, but also the sub-officers and all, to whom judicial power is given by the authorities, not only to people, be they Christians or non-Christians, Jews or Gentiles, but also the regulations and laws that they make, unless they contradict God's Word, not only when they prosper here, but also if they have to endure and suffer many things. Instead of doing something that might be harmful to their authorities, they rather promote their welfare with word and deed, instead of reviling and blaspheming them, they rather honor and hold them up, instead of revolting against them, they rather help to defend and protect them and continually bear them in prayerful hearts; b. they also conduct themselves differently toward their fellow citizens than children of the world, they may now live in what social rank they want, like men or servants, rich or poor: they do not abuse their freedom to the detriment of others. They honor everyone. They love the brotherhood. They seek to edify their neighbor and to be useful in word and deed. And all this is not under compulsion, but voluntarily, as servants of God. Therefore Justin2 rightly could write about Christians: "They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners.... They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified.... They are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred."3 J.G.G.

2 3

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus is thought to have been written by Justin Martyr. ANF 1:26-27.

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