You have Christ within you

(Bishop, Apostolic Father of the Church and Martyr)

An excerpt from The Letter to the Magnesians, 6.


Let us not be insensible of Christ’s loving kindness. For if he had acted as we do, we would have been lost indeed. Therefore let us become his disciples and learn to live in the Christian way; those who are called by any other name are not of God. Cast out the evil leaven that has become old and sour, and replace it with the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. He must be the salt of your lives, so that none of you may become corrupt, since it is by your wholesomeness that you will be judged. It is absurd to profess Christ with the lips and at the same time to practice Judaism; for Christianity did not develop into faith in Judaism, but Judaism into faith in Christianity. It was in this that men of every tongue believed and were brought together unto God.

I do not write this to you, my dear friends, because I have heard that any one of you is thus disaffected, but because, though I am a lesser man than yourselves, I would have you all guard against falling into the snares of false doctrine. Have a firm faith in the reality of the Lord’s birth, and passion and resurrection which took place when Pontius Pilate was procurator. All these deeds were truly and certainly accomplished by Jesus Christ, who is our hope; may none of you ever be turned away from him!

May you be my joy in all things, if I am worthy of it. For although I am in chains, I do not deserve to be compared with any of you who live in freedom. I know that you are not inflated with pride, for you have Jesus Christ within you. And I know that you blush when I praise you, as the scripture says: The just man is his own accuser. Take care, then, to be firmly grounded in the teachings of the Lord and his apostles so that you may prosper in all your doings both in body and in soul, in faith and in love, in the Son, and in the Father and in the Spirit, in the beginning and in the end, along with your most worthy bishop and his spiritual crown, your presbyters, and with the deacons, who are men of God. Be obedient to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was in the flesh to the Father, and the apostles to Christ and to the Father and to the Spirit, so that there may be unity in flesh and spirit.

I have exhorted you only briefly, for I am aware that you are filled with God. Remember me in your prayers, that I may attain to God. And remember the church in Syria, from which I am unworthy to be called. How I need your united prayer and love in God! Remember, then, the Church in Syria, that it may be strengthened through your prayers.

The Ephesians at Smyrna, where I write these lines, send their greetings. They have come together here like yourselves for the glory of God; they have consoled me in every way and so has Polycarp, their bishop. The other churches, too, greet you for the glory of Jesus Christ. Farewell; may you abide in God’s harmony, possessing that undivided spirit which is Jesus Christ.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen