Let us then persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus “who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,” “but endured all things for us that we might live in him.” (The epistle of Polycarp, 100-155 AD).
There are at least two very important early patristic traits that are modeled here by Polycarp. First, we find no indication that the early church was confused about who our righteousness is. Clearly, he writes: “our righteousness, which is Jesus.” And second, we find that Polycarp could hardly finish a sentence with our quoting scripture. His whole epistle bears this characteristic. He is quite a model of a Catholic Evangelical.