The Shepherd of Hermas: Works

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Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:5

“The ones who returned their sticks two-thirds withered and one-third green are those who had been faithful, but became rich and acquired a reputation among the outsiders. They clothed themselves with great pride and became arrogant and abandoned the truth and did not associate with the righteous, but lived with and according to the standards of outsiders, and this way of life was more pleasant to them.

Yet they did not fall away from God, but continued in the faith, though they did not do the works of faith. Many of them, therefore, repented, and their home was within the tower. But others, living entirely among the outsiders and being corrupted by the worthless opinions of the outsiders, fell away from God and behaved like the outsiders. These, therefore, were counted with the outsiders.

But others of them were double-minded, no longer hoping to be saved because of the deeds that they had done; and others were double-minded and caused divisions among themselves. For these, then, who became double-minded because of their deeds, there is still repentance; but their repentance ought to be swift, in order that their home may be within the tower. But for those who do not repent but persist in their pleasures, death is near.”

The Shepherd of Hermas 75, Parable VIII.9 (c. A.D. 70-140) in The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations 3rd edition, edited and translated by, Michael W. Holmes after the earlier work of J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, 84.

Thanks for your prayers for our meetings in the Washington D.C. area. Had a phenomenal time at ECFA yesterday. Praise the LORD. More on this trip later.

I am nearing the end of my exploration of the Apostolic Fathers. For many of you that might be a relief. But for me, this has been so enriching.

Today’s parable echoes the message of the letter to the church in Ephesus. Remember Ephesus was a prominent wealthy city. That causes the rich to get to comfortable.

Once that happens, they look and act like those outside the faith. Both the Scripture and this parable from Hermas written probably 30 years later calls God’s people to action.

Repent means to change directions. You are going the wrong way. Do the works you did at first. How might that relate to you and where you are on your journey. Only you can answer it.