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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Invocation of Saints part 30

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Philippians 3:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Although the saints performed great deeds, useful as examples in either public or private life, the remembrance of which would promote the strengthening of faith and the imitation of their example in the administration of public affairs, no one has searched for true stories from the lives of the saints. Still, it is advantageous to hear how holy people administered governments, underwent calamities and dangers, were an aid to kings at times of great peril, taught the Gospel, and confronted heretics.

Pulling It Together

The “Apostolic Fathers” inform us that Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John, and “the angel of the church in Smyrna” (Rev 2:8). Irenaeus was his disciple and tells of the bishop’s faithful life, teaching, stand against heresy, and martyrdom. Polycarp is a beneficial example of the Christian life because his story teaches us how he imitated the life of John who followed the teaching and example of Jesus. Polycarp should be set forth as an example to us all for that reason: because he followed the example Christ that he learned from others, notably John—not because of some imaginative tale.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to stand firm with faith in you. Amen.

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