Sts. Cyprian the Bishop,
the Forty-five Martyrs, and
the Virgins Justina, Euphemia, and Christina
 “Hearken to me, you stubborn of heart,
you who are far from deliverance:
 I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off,
and my salvation will not tarry;
I will put salvation in Zion,
for Israel my glory.”
 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree” —
 that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
 To give a human example, brethren: no one annuls even a man’s will, or adds to it, once it has been ratified.
 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many; but, referring to one, “And to your offspring,” which is Christ.
 This is what I mean: the law, which came four hundred and thirty years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.
 For if the inheritance is by the law, it is no longer by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained by angels through an intermediary.
 Now an intermediary implies more than one; but God is one.
 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not; for if a law had been given which could make alive, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
 But the scripture consigned all things to sin, that what was promised to faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
 So he told them this parable:
 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?
 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’
 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’
 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America