Paul was a tenacious debater, he did not let his opponents escape. The sheer rationality of his argument comes across clearly here, to the point where you would wonder why anyone would stick to attempting to obey the whole Law for their salvation! Those who do that, even those who wholly and dedicatedly commit themselves to doing it-such as the Jewish Rabbis-become accursed, because it is impossible and the punishment for failure in the Torah is death and God's enmity (Deuteronomy 27 v 26). In effect, the only Way to salvation and to acceptance by God is through faith in Jesus Christ. In our conversations with friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues we must have that always at the back of our mind. The continued obsession is still to seek to be a 'good' person-people often tell me that when I meet with them after a loved one has died- and certain 'saints' are revered until it is discovered that, inevitably they weren't as saint-like as first thought: yes, Jean Vanier, but Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther-king Junior, Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Pullinger too. Recently, there has been a purge of evangelical, charismatic church leaders from their US mega-churches, because of attitudes or actions which have proved unacceptable: but nobody ever said they were perfect! We look up to people who are talented in certain areas and then begin to see them as above criticism and they eventually begin to think that too. As I have frequently declared at the beginning of a Communion services: ''I am a sinner and each one of us here are too!'' That is the only starting point and the only continuing point from which to form our relationship with Jesus Christ, who became a curse for us, so that we could become acceptable to God.
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