Paul vs. James (Pt. 9)

By William Handschumacher

A Special Rock of Offence Bible Study





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This is Part 9 of a fourteen-part Bible study.
The other parts of this study are available
below.

Part 1 ----- Part 2 ----- Part 3 ----- Part 4
Part 5 ----- Part 6 ----- Part 7 ----- Part 8
Part 10 ----- Part 11 ----- Part 12 ----- Part 13
Part 14

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Some Important Points to
Notice in Acts Chapter 10




FIRST: Peter, one of the chief apostles of the Church, was still practicing Old Testament Law more than 7 years after Christ's crucifixion and the day of Pentecost that took place in Acts chapter 2.

SECOND: God commands Peter to accept the Gentiles because He had now declared them to be "clean". On the surface, this would seem to indicate that He is telling Peter to "sin against the Law" ... which would be an unrighteous act on God's part if the Law was still in authority ... which it wasn't. This is a clear indication that the program of the Law officially and legally ended with the crucifixion of Christ some 7 years earlier and is now being gradually 'phased out' - as stated below in Hebrews chpater 8.

"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, "a new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)


God was allowing this slow transition - or "phase-out" - to give Israel time to repent. But, they did not repent - so He was now unveiling the New Covenant provided through the blood of His Son. Later, we will see why the New Covenant had to remain a secret (also called "a mystery") until it was revealed to the Apostle Paul by Christ Himself ... who was now living in Heaven.

THIRD: We can clearly see that two different 'programs of salvation', where each were governed by a different set of rules and tenants ... were running at the same time more than 7 years after the cross. The first program was a works-based conditional salvation directed only at the circumcision - or "the lost sheep of the house of Israel". Jesus revealed the requirements of this program when He told the rich young ruler (who was a Jew) that he needed to "keep the Commandments" in order to be saved. But, Peter unknowingly initiated the second program at Cornelius' household that would later be revealed through Saint Paul as "The New Covenant". Without revealing its still secret characteristics, Jesus also spoke of the New Covenant at the Last Supper shortly before the cross.





"This cup is the New Covenant
in My blood, which is shed
for you."
(Luke 22:20)



Unlike the previous program, the New Covenant program of salvation is based exclusively on Grace - which is designed to provide salvation (or eternal life) as God's free unmerited and undeserved gift to the new Gentile Church.



Paul's Gospel and the
Pauline Revelation




There are two major 'revelations' in the New Testament. The one most of us are familiar with is John's "Revelation of Jesus Christ", which is documented in the last book of the Bible. These writings describe how John is 'caught up to heaven' and shown what will happen during the Tribulation of the last days.

However, there is also another revelation given to Saint Paul known as "The Pauline Revelation". It is also a "Revelation of Jesus Christ", where Paul is "caught up to heaven" and hears Jesus speak words "that are unlawful for a man to speak". It is here that Paul is given the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Gentile Church. Paul later tells us that this gospel was given by revelation because it had to be kept secret ... and referred to it as "God's hidden wisdom". As a result, Paul's revelation, recorded in his "Epistles to the Church" provides THE FULL DETAILS of Christ's New Covenant, which hadn't been revealed to anyone (except through various "types and shadows") until Jesus personally gave it to him.


Contrary to popular opinion, the eleven Apostles of Christ who had been ruling the Church since the day of Pentecost - did not have this revelation, which is why Paul had to personally communicate it to them - beginning with Peter.



Speaking of his actual trip
to heaven to meet with Jesus,
Paul writes;



"It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows--how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)




In the following statements,
Paul reveals that the Gospel
he preaches came only from
Jesus Christ given during his
trip to heaven. He later said
that the knowledge he received
from Jesus was "a mystery
and hidden wisdom".



"But I make known to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it (the Gospel) came through the revelation (speaking of the Pauline Revelation) of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11)

"However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)



The revelations of both Paul and John are of great importance. However, due to the existence of popular yet corrupt brands of theology, most church leaders rarely talk about the Pauline revelation, which happened many years before John had his revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Pauline Revelation and its previously "hidden Gospel" is important because it removes the "Jewish only limitation" established by Christ during His earthly ministry. This limitation was a Messianic mandate that continued to operate for years after the cross. But, the Pauline Revelation establishes a new mandate that the Church is now to be "Gentile"; making it "racially neutral" and no longer limited to just "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (or the Jews). This means that membership in the Church of Jesus Christ is now open to all races of the earth, which also includes any Jewish person who wants to participate. This is why Paul made the following statement to the Church:


"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26-29)

(Important Note: The words "Gentile and Greek" are often used interchangeably by Paul in the New Testament, where the word "Greek" is synonymous with Gentile.)



At this point, some might say that Paul had no legal right to remove a limitation that Jesus had originally established ... and had no legal right to replace an existing gospel with the one in his revelation. In such situations, the following truth is often ignored:


It was Jesus who previously established the "Jews only limitation" ... and it was the same Jesus, now living in heaven, who later removed it - and then communicated this change to Paul during his visit. Likewise - it was Jesus who sanctioned the gospel that was first preached by His disciples (later to be apostles), which was directed only at "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" ... and it was the same Jesus, now living in heaven, who changed this gospel so that it applies to all earthly races known as "the Gentiles". Paul was only communicating what Jesus commanded. PAUL WAS NOT THE ONE MAKING THE CHANGES.



In both cases, Jesus was the one
making the changes. In the latter
case, the resurrected Jesus christ,
now living in heaven, used Saint
Paul as His mouthpiece to
communicate these changes.

What many theologians and church
leaders (but thankfull not all)
do not like...is Jesus choosing
Paul as His proxy to reveal the
mystery of the New Covenant. As a
result, there is a deliberate
effort within Christendom to
supress and even discredit the
Pauline Revelation. Unfortunately,
this popular effort unknowingly
produces a dangerous heresy that
carries eternal consequences.





Speaking Now From Heaven
Jesus Christ Changes
All the Previous Rules




Various brands of denominational theology claim that the words Jesus uttered both before the cross and before His ascension from the earth (often highlighted in red in our Bible) gives us a complete revelation for all Christian faith and practice.


But...after the cross and the
day of Pentecost in Acts
chapter 2; everything changed
in the spiritual realm.

FIRST:
Jesus was raised from the
dead - meaning that He now lives
again. Believing this in your
heart is one of the requirements
necessary to obtain eternal life.
(see Romans 10:9-10)

SECOND:
Christ, who is now alive from
the dead, also continues to speak
from His position in heaven.

This is why we are warned ...

"Not to refuse Him who now
speaks from heaven."
(Hebrews 12:22-26)

Refusing to listen to the words
of Christ from heaven may be an
indication that you do not truly
believe He is alive from the
dead - otherwise, you would
heed what He says.



The previous Old Testament program and its written law (Paul calls it "the letter that kills"--see 2 Corinthians 3:4-11 quoted below) was first fulfilled and then replaced by God's new redemptive program; the New Covenant ... also called "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" as revealed in Romans 8:1-4. Tragically, many professing Christians are taught to reject this truth. As a result of the changes brought about by Christ's sacrificial death, many of the requirements for salvation that He previously taught before the cross (such as His instructions to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-17) - are now fulfilled by His sacrifice at the cross - and then replaced with "a new and living way" (See Hebrews 10:19-23). Contrary to popular church teachings, when the Bible uses the phrase "new and living way" - it means that God no longer honors the previous "old way of the Law".

Paul is speaking to the Corinthian
Church and to all Christians today
when he says ...


"And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant, not of the letter (the old written Law) but of the Spirit; for the letter (the old written Law) kills, but the Spirit (Christ's New Covenant) gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit (Christ's New Covenant) not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation (the old written Law) had glory, the ministry of righteousness (Christ's New Covenant) exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious." (2 Corinthians 3:4-11 - Special comments added)

(Important Note: "The ministry of the Spirit" and "the ministry of rightousness" are alternate terms describing Christ's New Covenant)

We can now understand the
words Paul wrote in his
Epistle to the Hebrews.

"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He (Jesus) is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." (Hebrews 8:6-7)

"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, "a new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)





AN IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION: When we speak about Christ's New Covenant (or what the Bible calls 'the second covenant' in Hebrews chapter 8) - and how it 'replaces' the first covenant of Old Testament Law - readers should not think that we are teaching the false doctrine of Replacement theology (an entirely different subject addressed later in this study). We often use the word 'replace or replacing' to emphasize an important Scriptural truth. What Jesus referred to as "The New Covenant in His blood" in Luke 22:20 is not a continuation or extension of the Old Covenant program - also referred to as "the first covenant" in Hebrews chapter 8.

Scripture now declares this "first covenant" to be annulled, abolished and "nailed to the cross" at the Crucifixion (See Ephesians 2:11-22, Colossians 2:13-14 and Hebrews 7:11-22). As a result, it is not extended or continued.

If the Law is abolished (or 'annulled' as revealed in Hebrews chapter 7:11-22) - then it must be "taken out of the way" (as stated in Colossians 2:13-14) and replaced with something else. In this situation ... it is replaced with the New Covenant, which is also called "the new and living way of Christ" (Hebrews 10:19-23). We see this same pattern in 2 Corinthians 5:17 which states:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

What God has accomplished through His Son is actually very easy to understand. Something old is replaced by something new ... and better. The confusion and false accusations that continues on this subject comes from misguided church leaders who are spreading out-of-context Bible teachings - in an effort to protect unbiblical, yet cherished doctrines and traditions.




The full details of this 'new and
living way--or New Covenant of
Christ' are revealed through
the Epistles of Saint Paul--which
contain the words Jesus Christ
speaks from heaven about the way
salvation is now received.


If we fail to accept this change...

If we reject the 'new and living way'
Jesus taught from heaven and adopt
the popular belief that what He taught
on earth - before our salvation was
paid for at the cross ... continues to
be the way salvation is obtained and
kept today, then we have no other
choice but to go astray in our faith.

What is Jesus now teaching
from heaven?

"For by Grace you have been saved
through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should
boast." (Ephesians 2:4-9)

And ...

"Therefore by the deeds of the Law no
flesh will be justified in His sight".
(Romans 3:20)

And ...

"You have become estranged (separated
or cut-off) from Christ, you who
attempt to be justified by law (or by
keeping the commandments of the Law);
you have fallen from Grace."
(Galatians 5:4)




This is why Hebrews 12:22-26 warns about the severe consequences of rejecting these "words of Christ" spoken from heaven. Some preachers, attempting to protect their legalistic brand of Bible teaching, try to persuade us that Christ's heavenly words carry a 'lesser weight' than those spoken on earth. Yet, Christians go into dangerous religious error and even heresy when they fail to accept all His words on an equal basis.



The annulling of the old covenant program
of the Law is a Divine act that we refer
to as, "Heaven's Royal Proclamation" and
is covered in more detail HERE

We also understand that many hold to the
popular belief that "God never changes";
meaning that any changes to God's program
of salvation that takes place after the
cross - especially the ones mentioned in
this study - is considered false teaching.
This popular belief (actually a dangerous
"half-truth") is covered in more detail HERE





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This is Part 9 of a fourteen-part Bible study.
The other parts of this study are available
below.

Part 1 ----- Part 2 ----- Part 3 ----- Part 4
Part 5 ----- Part 6 ----- Part 7 ----- Part 8
Part 10 ----- Part 11 ----- Part 12 ----- Part 13
Part 14

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