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Schlatter on Paul, perfectionism, and tasks

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mmm, Schlatter:
The others were perfectionists, who desired to reach by their religious conduct a point where they could rest from their labors with a certain satisfaction in work well done. Paul, on the contrary, could never feel that he had attained the goal he had set himself. This was not because there was anything imperfect in his relation to God but because he knew that Christ had laid hold of him and that therefore he lived by faith in the work of Christ in him. Faith is union with God; not doubt and uncertainty, but sure conviction; not desire, but possession. But this possession was greater than present apprehension and so impelled him towards a goal above and beyond him. In others he saw a different picture. They were unable and willing constantly to break away with the past and to devote themselves to the task before them with perfect love. Under their leadership the Church was becoming a comfortable institution which made provision for its members, gave them joy, instructed them, and beautified their lives. But this was not what Paul wanted. He sought a genuine, absolute perfection, such as this life could never afford and such as could only come by the act of the Almighty, and the perfection of the Risen Lord, which his final revelation alone would bring.
-- Adolf Schlatter, The Church in the New Testament Period, Ch. 24.

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