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NON-CANONICAL EPISTLES AND RELATED WRITINGS

short-lived, and perishable, and to love those other things, which are good and imperishable. 7 For by doing the will of Christ we will find a place of rest; on the other hand, nothing will deliver us from eter­ al punishment if we disobey his commandments. 8 And the Scripture also says in Eze­ kiel, “Even if Noah, Job, and Daniel should arise, they will not deliver their children from captivity.”14 9 But if even such upright men as these cannot deliver their children through acts of righteousness, with what confidence can we enter into the kingdom of God if we do not keep our baptism pure and undefiled? Or who will serve as our ad­ vocate, if we are not found doing what is holy and upright?

7

So then, my brothers, we should compete in the games, knowing that the competition is at hand. Many set sail for earthly competitions but not all receive the crown—only those who labor hard and compete well. 2 We should therefore compete that we all may be crowned. 3 And so we should run the straight course, the eternal competition. Many of us should sail to it and compete, that we may receive the crown. And if all of us cannot receive the crown, we should at least come close to it. 4 We must realize that if someone is caught cheating while competing in an earthly contest, he is flogged and thrown out of the stadium. 5 What do you suppose? What will happen to the one who cheats in the eter­ nal competition? 6 As for those who do not keep the seal of their baptism, he says: “Their worm will not die nor their fire be extin­ guished; and they will be a spectacle for all to see.”15

8

And so we should repent while we are still on earth. 2 For we are clay in the hand of the artisan. As in the case of a potter: if he is making a vessel that becomes twisted or crushed in his hands, he then remolds it; but if he has already put it in the kiln, he can no longer fix it. So too with us. While we are still in the world, we should repent from our whole heart of the evil we have done in the flesh, so the Lord will save us—while there is still time for repentance. 3 For after we leave the world we will no longer be able to make confession or repent in that place. 4 So then, brothers, if we do the will of the Father and keep our flesh pure and guard the commandments of the Lord we will receive eternal life. 5 For the Lord says in the Gospel, “If you do not keep what is small, who will give you what is great? For I say to you that the one who is faithful in very little is faithful also in much.”16 6 This then is what he means: you should keep the flesh pure and the seal of baptism stainless, so that we may re­ ceive eternal life.

9

And none of you should say that this flesh is neither judged nor raised. 2 Think about it! In what state were you saved? In what state did you regain your sight? Was it not while you were in this flesh? 3 And so we must guard the flesh like the temple of God. 4 For just as you were called in the flesh, so also you will come in the flesh. 5 Since Jesus Christ—the Lord who saved us—was first a spirit and then be­

14 16

Ezek 14:14ff. 15Isa 66:24; cf. Mark 9:44, 46, 48. Luke 16:10–12.

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