One of the problems we have within the church is that we do not read or understand the old stuff. This is a translation of Polycarp’s letter to the Phillipians. Well the first chapter. Tradition notes that Polycarp knew the apostles — he lived from the apostolic age until his martyrdom. He has one known writing, and this is the first chapter.
Polycarp and the Elders with him to the Church of God sojourning in Philippi; mercy and peace from God Almighty and Jesus Christ our Saviour be multiplied to you.
I rejoice greatly with you in our Lord Jesus Christ that you have followed the pattern of true love, and have helped on their way, as opportunity was given you, those who were bound in chains, which become the saints, and are the diadems of those who have been truly chosen by God and our Lord. I rejoice also that your firmly rooted faith, which was famous in past years, still flourishes and bears fruit unto our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured for our sins, even to the suffering of death, “whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of Hades, in whom, though you did not see him, you believed in unspeakable and glorified joy,” — into which joy many desire to come, knowing that “by grace ye are saved, not by works” but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.
It is worth seeing that from the beginning our salvation has not been our doing, but the work of Christ, and Christ alone. It is also worth noting that he was martyred because he would not give a pinch of incense to the pagan religion of this time.
May we note his example, and follow it.