Answers to Bible Questions
Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible
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PART SIX– Conclusion of “Why Paul”
(Q) Why Paul? Are Paul’s teachings any different from what the 12 Apostles taught?
(A) In part five, I gave you some Bible Contrasts showing some of the differences that God has made between the program given to Israel under the law, and the program of grace given to our Apostle Paul. When God called Paul to be the Apostle of the Gentiles in Acts 9:15 around two thousand years ago, He made a change in the way He was going to deal with mankind. If you read these contrasts very carefully and look up the scriptures given, you will see they are not contradictions, but changes that were made by God when He revealed the Grace message to our Apostle Paul. Here are more of these Bible Contrasts:
Leave Unbelieving Mate was required of Jews returning to God. He forbade His people to intermarry with Gentiles or strangers (Deut. 7:2-4; Josh. 23:11-13). But “the people of Israel…mingled themselves with the people of those lands” anyway (Ezra 9:1-2). Thus they were “punished” and could “not stand before” God (Ezra 9:10-15; Neh. 13:23-30). For restoration the congregation confessed their trespass in taking strange wives. They made “a covenant with our God to put away all [such] wives…according to the law.” They did God’s “pleasure and separate[d]” themselves “from the strange wives” (Ezra 10:1-17).
Live With Unbelieving Mate is God’s present rule for believers. The Gentiles are now “acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 15:16). No man is now “common or unclean” (Acts 10:28). Any believer with “a wife” or “an husband that believeth not” is commanded to “not leave him,” to “not put her away.” If the unbelieving mate “be pleased to dwell with” the believer, they are to stay together. Further, “the unbelieving” mate “is sanctified by the” believing mate (I Cor. 7:12-14).
Genealogy Important: Through most of the Bible, ancestry was stressed, covering many entire chapters (e.g., I Chron. 1-9). God established “an everlasting covenant” with Abraham “and thy seed…in their generations” (Gen. 17:7). Aaron’s sons received the priesthood, but those whose “genealogy” was “not found…were… put from the priesthood” (Ex. 40:13-15; Ezra 2:62; Neh. 7:64). Only those “reckoned by genealogy among the Levites” could serve in the temple and receive benefits (II Chron. 31:16-19). “So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies” to determine “their possessions” and positions (I Chron. 9:1,2,22). God told restored Israel to “be reckoned by genealogy” (Neh. 7:5). Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was introduced by His genealogies (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38). The 144,000 end-time servants of God are descendants of specific “tribes…of Israel” (Rev. 7:3-8).
Genealogy Ignored: The Apostle Paul commands believers, “Neither give heed to…endless genealogies,” to “avoid…genealogies… for they are unprofitable and vain” (I Tim. 1:4; Titus 3:9). People today become “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus”; moreover “there is neither Jew nor Greek” (Gal. 3:26-28). In Christ ancestry means nothing.
Men’s Traditions Void: In the Gospels “the tradition of the elders” was held by “all the Jews” (Mark 7:3). Religious leaders had added many rituals to God’s Word. But keeping such traditions was to “reject the commandment of God” (Mark 7:9). Such “commandments of men” were “making the Word of God of none effect” (Mark 7:7,13). Christ and His disciples “walk[ed] not…according to the tradition of the elders” (Matt. 15:2; Mark 7:5). Both Paul and Peter discard the traditions of their fathers (Gal. 1:14; I Pet. 1:18). But religious leaders and churches have continued to add non-Biblical traditions to God’s Word (such as Lent).
Paul’s Traditions Vital: The Apostle Paul commands believers to “hold the traditions which ye have been taught” in “our epistle” (II Thes. 2:15). To “withdraw yourselves from” one who “walketh… not after the tradition which he received of us” (II Thes. 3:6). Paul praises believers who “keep the ordinances [traditions in the Greek text], as I delivered them to you” (I Cor. 11:2). He further commands, “those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do” (Phil. 4:9).
Earthly Promises were given to God’s people in other ages. For obedience, “God will set thee [Israel] on high above all nations of the earth” (Deut. 28:1). “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isa. 11:9). Messiah’s reign “shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jer. 23:5). God’s people were repeatedly promised that “they shall inherit the earth” (Psa. 25:13; 37:9,11,22). While on earth, Jesus Christ taught, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). He also taught His disciples to pray: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
Heavenly Possessions belong to believers of this present age. “God…hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). “God…hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6; Col. 3:1-3). “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven…” (Phil. 3:20). The Apostle Paul also testifies that “the Lord…will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom” (II Tim. 4:18).
Many Baptisms were practiced through most of the Bible. The Old Testament religious system required “divers washings [various baptisms, in the original Greek language]” (Heb. 9:1,10). The Jewish religion of Christ’s time held to the “washing [baptism, in the Greek text]” of many things (Mark 7:4,8). When John the Baptist came to “baptize…with water,” he also spoke of Holy Ghost and fire baptisms (Matt. 3:11). Both Jesus and Peter at Pentecost taught water baptism as necessary to “be saved”—“for the remission of sins” (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Later Peter water baptized Cornelius obviously after his salvation (Acts 10:43-48). Death and risking martyrdom are also called baptisms (Luke 12:50; I Cor. 15:29). Christendom today practices many different baptisms. “
One Baptism” alone is now God’s rule (Eph. 4:5). That one baptism is a spiritual one “for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:13). The Apostle Paul also calls this baptism “the operation of God” (Col. 2:12). This one baptism happens the moment a person trusts Christ after hearing the gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:12-13).
GOD’S SPIRIT COULD LEAVE believers in other ages. “The Spirit of God came upon” men for specific tasks. So was it with careless Samson and King Saul (Judges 14:6,19; I Sam. 11:6). God’s Spirit also came upon godly men such as Moses and King David for their appointed work (Num. 11:17,29; I Sam. 16:13). The Spirit came upon Jesus Christ when He began His earthly ministry (Mark 1:10). But “the Spirit of the Lord departed from” such as Samson and Saul (Judges 16:20; I Sam. 16:14). Even David begged God, “take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psa. 51:11).
GOD’S SPIRIT STAYS in believers today from salvation onward. When someone trusts Christ as Savior he is “sealed with that Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13). Everyone who is truly saved possesses the Holy Spirit, for God’s Word declares “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). By “the Holy Spirit of God… ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).
Peter’s Authority: While on earth, Christ gave to Peter “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Peter’s power included “whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:16-19). In early Acts, Peter exercised this authority. Peter led in replacing Judas, explaining Pentecost, stating salvation, condemning deceivers, and receiving Gentiles (Acts 1:15ff; 2:14ff; 37-38; 5:3ff; 15:7-11).
Paul’s Authority: From heaven, the Lord later “appeared unto” Paul (Acts 26:15-19). Paul received his message “by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:1-3). Paul often stressed his special authority. He magnified his office as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13). Paul wrote that he “should not be ashamed” to “boast somewhat more of our authority” (II Cor. 10:8). Believers are repeatedly commanded to follow Paul as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1; Phil. 4:9; et al). Then we read that Paul “withstood” and “blamed” Peter (Gal. 2:11ff). Peter (Cephas) saw that Paul had authority “unto the heathen” and “wisdom…hard to be understood” (Gal. 2:9; II Pet. 3:15-17).
Jewish Church: Israel under Moses was called “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:37-38). To “all ye the seed of Israel” the Lord says, “In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee” (Psa. 22:22-23). Hebrews quotes that Psalm “saying…in the midst of the church [congregation=church]” (Heb. 2:12). Christ and His apostles were “not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6; 15:24). His Jewish disciples are called a “church” in contrast to “an heathen” or Gentile (Matt. 18:17). At Pentecost, Peter spoke only to “the house of Israel” and “the Lord added to the church” which already existed (Acts 2:36,47). Peter said that “all the prophets… foretold these days” (Acts 3:24).
Body Church: The Apostle Paul alone wrote of “the church, which is His [Christ’s] body” (Eph. 1:22-23). In God’s present church “there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek,” “there is neither Jew nor Greek…for ye are all one in Christ” (Rom. 10:12; Gal. 3:28). This Body Church was “the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations” (Col. 1:24-27; Eph. 3:4-6).
“Jesus”: The Gospels use this single name hundreds of times to record events during Christ’s time on earth. Before His birth it was written, “thou shalt call His name JESUS,” the name linked to His humiliation to “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Only unbelievers, enemies, and demons addressed Him as simply “Jesus” (e.g., John 6:42; 18:5; Luke 4:33-34). His disciples never spoke to Him without some title of reverence (John 13:13).
“lord Jesus Christ” is the Apostle Paul’s usual title for Him. Paul used it often, especially in beginning all his letters. He prayed, “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified…” (II Thes. 1:12). Instead of “Jesus took bread” at the Lord’s Supper (Mark 14:22), “the Lord Jesus…took bread” (I Cor. 11:23). The crucifixion now involves not “Jesus” (John 19:23), but “the Lord of glory” (I Cor. 2:8). Both salvation and the Holy Spirit require calling Him “Lord” (Rom. 10:9; I Cor. 12:3). This change is clearly stated: “though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more” (II Cor. 5:16).
Conditional Blessings if you obey, were formerly promised to God’s people. God has Moses “tell the children of Israel…if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people” (Ex. 19:3,5). Later Israel was told “if thou shalt…do all His commandments…all these blessings shall come on thee…if thou shalt hearken unto…the Lord thy God” (Deut. 28:1,2,13). “But…if thou wilt not hearken…to do all His commandments…that all these curses shall come upon thee” (Deut. 28:15). In the Sermon on the Mount, blessing also depends upon what people do (Matt. 5:1-9; 6:14-15).
Unconditional Blessings belong to all true Christians today. The Apostle Paul declares that “God…hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Even unspiritual believers are told “all things are yours” (I Cor. 3:1:21-22). Now believers “are the children of God: And…heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16,17). “And ye are complete in Him” (Col. 2:10)
My hope is that anyone reading these articles about “Why Paul” will come to see that there is a big difference between the teachings Christ gave to the Twelve Apostles, which was for the nation of Israel, and the teachings Christ gave to Paul, which are for the one new man made up of Jews and Gentiles, and called the Body of Christ. Our doctrines today come only through the teachings of our Apostle Paul. Paul’s teachings start with the book of Romans, and go through to the book of Philemon. These are the only books written to, and about us today. All the other books are for our leaning, and should be studied in light of Paul’s teachings. If we mix these two different programs together, thinking the whole Bible is for our doctrine, then we will surely be confused.
Remember this if you don’t remember anything else: Our salvation today comes by believing that Christ shed His blood for us at Calvary, He died, was buried, and He rose up again the third day by His own power. No one took the life of Christ; He willingly died of His own free will to pay the penalty for our sins, and He had the power to raise Himself up again at the proper time. This salvation message can only be found in the Epistles of Paul.
This will complete my series of articles about “Why Paul.”
Have a good day,
Maranatha (Lord Come)