“Lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
THIS COMMANDMENT the apostle Paul spoke in the Spirit to his son Timothy,
who later on became the bishop of Ephesus following John the apostle. It is truly
fitting as an apostle’s commandment to his spiritual son. And so with a fatherly spirit we picked it for you, dear reader, as we are spiritual children, not only of Paul, but of
Christ Himself, to Whom be the glory.
So if you ask me about the greatest commandment mentioned in the Bible that would
suit man’s current state in this age, I would not hesitate to say, “Lay hold on eternal life,
to which [the Lord called you]”. And when the Lord calls, His would be a call that
emerges from the heart of His vocation that He came to fulfill for humanity. It is not
obscure to tell you that Christ was manifested to humanity as Eternal Life, as the Bible
says1. We are explaining what we knew about Christ, that He came from the Father’s to
render us eligible at the end for entry to eternal life. The apostle Paul says in full
awareness, knowledge and truth that, it is no longer he who lives, but Christ lives in
him; and the life which he now lives in the flesh he lives by faith in Jesus Christ2. In
other words, Christ is, by faith, our life. As for the way that Christ mapped for us for
Him to be our life, it is the glorious resurrection that He resurrected in the body; in this
way, He would have “raised us up together”3, for we are “the body of Christ, and
members individually”4. And now Christ lives with the Father and is seated on His
throne at the Father’s right hand5, and He gave us this life an inheritance with the Father
and the Son, the same eternal life to which Christ calls you.
This call to eternal life is for us a heavenly rescue from the life of this age where
worries, illusions and going astray increased to the ultimate climax of straying and error,
to the extent that, and without exaggeration but in all truth, the one who runs with this age
and entertains himself with its leisure, is said to, not have strayed, but rather to have
written in his own handwriting his complete alienation from Christ and His call. He lives
the life of death, pleased by his choice. To this person, whoever he may be, came Christ’s
call for rescue from death and deprivation, and that is to “lay hold on eternal life, to which
you were also called”. And eternal life to which Christ calls is the sole rescue from the
inevitableness of mortal destruction that lies in wait for man, and so it is eternal salvation
from sin that leads to destruction. Thus, he who sins contently writes death for himself,
which is why the apostle cries out, “lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also
called”. The call of eternal life and its hope is the only rescuer that snatches us from the
current of destruction that reaps millions. Here, death is set before you, and so is life,
“therefore choose life, that you…may live”6, and die not without hope.
You ask me, “How do I lay hold of eternal life for which Christ calls?” In a nutshell
I would tell you to lay hold of Christ Himself. Understand why Christ came to preach
eternal life. It is because the world and what the world teaches is “the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”7, and the distraction of the soul by countless
distractions. Christ came to preach the kingdom of God and eternal life which is against
vanity; it is hatred of the bodily life and desires. For with affirmation did Christ declare
“I am not of [this] world”8. And just as He calls us to eternal life, He calls us to give our
back to the world of the flesh, passions and lusts that we may become as Christ, “not of
If we lay hold of eternal life we will step on the world of the flesh and lusts, as it is
impossible for one to live for this world and at the same time live for God and eternal
life10. Therefore, the apostle John alerts us: “Do not love [this] world… [for] the world
is passing away, and the lust of it”11. And the things that are in the world are snares that
the devil laid by which he could seize fools and lovers of insipidities. Lately, the world
has skillfully made for sin a crown for the devil to put on the heads of those who bow
the head for him. Besides, he made for vanity medals by which he adorns his slaves to
whom he gave the world and its desires for possession.
So the way is before you young man, the way of eternal life and the prepared
kingdom, where the Lord of glory Himself opens His arms for you in order for you to
become His son and He be your Savior that redeems you from the power of sin and the
devil. As for the way of death, it is wide open before you, to become one with the
children of this world.
Nevertheless, wide and very comfortable is the way of fools that strive after the
desires of the flesh. As for the way of the kingdom and eternal life, it appears narrow in
the eyes of the body. Yet in the eyes of the spirit it is the way of glory, the royal way
that Christ Himself plotted, and for which He put a sign, which is the sign of the Son
that a child knows and by which he overcomes all those over whom Christ triumphed on
December 13, 2005
1 1John 5:20.
2 Galatians 2:20.
3 Ephesus 2:6.
4 1Corinthians 12:27.
5 Ephesus 1:20, 2:6.
6 Deuteronomy 30:19.
7 1John 2:16.
8 John 17:14.
9 John 17:16.
10 Matthew 6:24.
11 1John 2:15,17.
12 Colossians 2:15.
|| The Orthodox Faith (Dogma) || Family and Youth || Sermons || Bible Study || Devotional || Spirituals || Fasts & Feasts || Coptics || Religious Education || Monasticism || Seasons || Missiology || Ethics || Ecumenical Relations || Church Music || Pentecost || Miscellaneous || Saints || Church History || Pope Shenouda || Patrology || Canon Law || Lent || Pastoral Theology || Father Matta || Bibles || Iconography || Liturgics || Orthodox Biblical topics || Orthodox articles || St Chrysostom |||| Bible Study || Biblical topics || Bibles || Orthodox Bible Study || Coptic Bible Study || King James Version || New King James Version || Scripture Nuggets || Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus || Index of the Miracles of Jesus || Index of Doctrines || Index of Charts || Index of Maps || Index of Topical Essays || Index of Word Studies || Colored Maps || Index of Biblical names Notes || Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids || New Testament activities for Sunday School kids || Bible Illustrations || Bible short notes
|| Prayer of the First Hour || Third Hour || Sixth Hour || Ninth Hour || Vespers (Eleventh Hour) || Compline (Twelfth Hour) || The First Watch of the midnight prayers || The Second Watch of the midnight prayers || The Third Watch of the midnight prayers || The Prayer of the Veil || Various Prayers from the Agbia || Synaxarium