St Polycarp: Do You Love the Things God Loves?

Feast of Sts Carpos & Alphaeus, Apostles of the Seventy

Polycarp_Square.jpgPOLYCARP AND the presbyters with him to the church of God that sojourns at Philippi: may mercy and peace from God Almighty and Jesus Christ our Savior be yours in abundance.

I greatly rejoice with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because you welcomed the representations of the true love and, as was proper for you, helped on their way those men confined by chains suitable for saints, which are the diadems of those who are truly chosen by God and our Lord; and because your firmly rooted faith, renowned from the earliest times, still perseveres and bears fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured for our sins, facing even death, “whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of Hades” (Acts 2.24). “Though you have not see Him, you believe in Him with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Pet. 1.8) (which many desire to experience), knowing that “by grace you have been saved, not because of works” (Eph. 2.5, 8-9), but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.

“Therefore prepare for action and serve God in fear” (1 Pet. 1.13; cf. Ps. 2.11) and truth, leaving behind the empty and meaningless talk and the error of the crowd, and “believing in Him who raised” our Lord Jesus Christ “from the dead and gave Him glory” (1 Pet. 1.21) and a throne at His right hand; to whom all things in heaven and on earth were subjected (cf. 1 Cor. 15.28; Phil. 2.10; 3.21), whom every breathing creature serves, who is coming as “Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10.42), for whose blood God will hold responsible those who disobey Him (cf. Lk. 11.50-51). But “He who raised Him from the dead will raise us also” (cf. 2 Cor. 4.14), if we do His will and follow His commandments and love the things He loved, while avoiding every kind of unrighteousness, greed, love of money, slander and false testimony; “not repaying evil for evil or insult for insult” (1 Pet. 3.9) or blow for blow or curse for curse, but instead remembering what the Lord said as He taught: “Do not judge, that you may not be judged; forgive, and you will be forgiven; show mercy, that you may be shown mercy; with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matt. 7.1-2; cf. Lk. 6.36-38); and “blessed are the poor and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Lk 6.20 and Matt. 5.10; cf. Matt. 5.2).

—St Polycarp of Smyrna, Letter to the Philippians

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