NON-CANONICAL EPISTLES AND RELATED WRITINGS
children than the one who has a husband.”3 Now when it says, “Be jubilant, you who are infertile and who do not bear children,” it is referring to us. For our church was infertile before children were given to it. 2 And when it says, “Cry out, you who experience no pains of labor,” it means this: we should raise our prayers up to God sincerely and not grow weary like women in labor. 3 And when it says, “For the one who has been deserted has more children than the one who has a husband,” it is because our people appeared to be deserted by God, but now that we believe we have become more numerous than those who appear to have God. 4 And also another Scripture says, “I did not come to call the upright, but sinners.”4 5 This means that he was to savea those who were perishing. 6 For it is a great and astonishing feat to ﬁx in place something that is toppling over, not something that is standing. 7 Thus also Christ wished to save what was perishing. And he did save many; for he came and called us while we were on the brink of destruction.
Brothers, we must think about Je sus Christ as we think about God, as about the judge of the living and the dead.2 And we must not give little thought to our salvation. 2 For when we think little about him, we also hope to receive but little. And we who listen as if these were little things sin, not realizing where we have been called from, by whom, and to what place, nor how many sufferings Jesus Christ endured for us. 3 What then shall we give to him in exchange? How can we produce anything comparable to what he has given us? And how many holy deeds do we owe him? 4 For he graciously bestowed light upon us. Like a father, he called us chil dren; while we were perishing, he saved us. 5 What praise, then, shall we give him, or what can we pay in exchange for what we have received? 6 We were maimed in our understand ing, worshiping stones and pieces of wood and gold and silver and copper— all of them made by humans. And our entire life was nothing other than death. Then when we were beset by darkening gloom, our vision blurred by such mist, we regained our sight through his will by setting aside the cloud that enveloped us. 7 For he showed mercy on us and through his compassion saved us. For he saw that a great error and destruction was in us, and that we had not the slightest hope of being saved, unless it came through him. 8 For he called us while we did not exist, and he wished us to come into being from non-being.
“Be jubilant, you who are infertile and who do not bear children! Let your voice burst forth and cry out, you who experience no pains of labor! For the one who has been deserted has more
He has shown us such mercy since, to begin with, we who are living do not sacriﬁce to dead gods or worship them; instead, through him we know the Father of truth. What then is the knowl edge that is directed toward to him? Is it not refusing to deny the one through whom we have come to know him? 2 For even he himself says, “I will ac knowledge before my Father the one who acknowledges me before others.”5 a
Or: that one must save
Acts 10:42; 1 Pet 4:5. 3Isa 54:1; Gal 4:27. 4Matt 9: 13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32. 5Matt 10:32; Luke 12:8.