The Spiritual Cannot Do Carnal Things

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John Edminster: The Martyrdom of Ignatius, after an Orthodox icon, 12/21/2012

John Edminster: The Martyrdom of Ignatius, after an Orthodox icon, 12/21/2012

Bishop Ignatius of Antioch (d. 108 C.E.?), being escorted to Rome to be eaten by lions in the Coliseum, was allowed to receive visitors and write letters to the Churches of Asia Minor before taking ship for Italy.

In his Epistle to the Ephesians I read: “Those that are carnal cannot do spiritual things; neither can those that are spiritual do carnal things, just as faith cannot do the works of faithlessness, nor faithlessness the works of faith. But even the things that ye do at the prompting of the flesh are spiritual, for ye do all things in Jesus Christ.”

I’ve been wanting to post statements of my own on this blog for some time, but not had the freedom nor the energy. But this beautiful statement of Ignatius’s so far outshines anything I might write that I’m taking a break from my job to put it out there for all of you that have asked for the new life in Christ and felt His acceptance of you. Ask yourselves whether or not this message sounds like your Shepherd’s voice, and if it does, rejoice with me, give thanks, and relax; He will not let you lose it unless you willfully break away. And why would you?

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One Response to “The Spiritual Cannot Do Carnal Things”

  1. Thy Friend John Says:

    The Greek text, from Migne’s Patrologia Græca, vol. 5, reads:

    Hoi sarkikoì tà pneumatikà prássein ou dúnantai oudè hoi pneumatikoì tà sarkiká, hōsper oudè hē pístis tà tēs apistías oudè hē apistía tà tēs písteōs. Hà dè kaì katà sárka prássete, taûta pneumatiká estin; en Iesoû gàr Christō pánta prássete.

    It’s translated in Richardson’s _Early Church Fathers_, p. 90, “Carnal people cannot act spiritually, or spiritual people carnally, just as faith cannot act like unbelief, or unbelief like faith. But even what you do in the flesh you do spiritually. For you do everything under Christ’s control.”

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