It is by grace that you are saved


From the beginning of a letter to the Philippians by Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr (Cap. 1, 1-2, 3: Funk 1, 267-269)


From Polycarp and his fellow presbyters to the pilgrim church of God at Philippi: May you have mercy and peace in abundance from Almighty God and Jesus Christ our Savior.
I rejoice with you greatly in the Lord Jesus Christ because you have assumed the pattern of true love and have rightly helped on their way those who were in chains. Such chains are becoming to the faithful; they are the rich crown of the chosen ones of our Lord and God. I am glad, too, that your deep-rooted faith, proclaimed of old, still abides and continues to bear fruit in the life-giving power of our Lord Jesus Christ. He, for our sins, did not refuse to go down to death, and God raised him up after destroying the pains of hell. With a glorious joy that no words can express you believe in Christ without seeing him. This is the joy in which many wish to share knowing that it is by grace that you are saved and not by works, for so God has willed through Jesus Christ.
So prepare yourselves for the struggle, serve the Lord in fear and truth. Put aside empty talk and popular errors; your faith must be in him who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and gave him a share in his own glory and a seat at his right hand. To him everything was made subject in heaven and on earth; all things obey him, who will come as judge of the living and the dead. All who refuse to believe must answer to God for the blood of his Son.
He who raised him from the dead will raise us too if we do his will and keep his commandments, loving what he loved, refraining from all wrongdoing, fraud, avarice, malice and slander.
We must abstain from false witness, not returning evil for evil, nor curse for corse, nor blow for blow, nor denunciation for denunciation.
Always remember the words of the Lord, who taught: Do not judge and you will not be judged; forgive and you will be forgiven; be merciful and you will find mercy; the amount you measure out to others will be the amount measured out to you. Blessed are the poor and those who suffer persecution, for theirs is the kingdom of God.