There is a gem we are most fortunate to have as only one copy survived the centuries. We do not know who wrote it. It came from the second century. It was, as the New Testament, originally written in Greek. In this brief excerpt, we have preserved a magnificent description of Christian living in what was expected in the early church community. Where can we draw inspiration for Christian life in 2017 from this first-century record? In describing these Christians, he writes,
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. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.
They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring.
They have a common table, but not a common bed. 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; but when put to death they are 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 evil spoken of and yet are justified; when they are reviled, they bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers.
When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; 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.
To sum it all up in one word -- what the soul is to the body, these are those Christians in the world.