Paul… following grace.

In the last post we looked at a broad picture of what it takes to follow Christ as a Jewish believer back in “time past” (see Bible Chart), what salvation meant to him and what he was to do with that salvation.  Now that God has temporarily set Israel (His channel of blessing to the nations) aside:

Acts 28:28… “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Hosea 1:9… “Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

What were the Gentile nations to do?

Plus, knowing that these Gentiles did not “become” Israel (spiritual or physical) somehow taking their place in Gods plan for the earth; how were they to come to know God without the “shining city on a hill” that was to be Jerusalem?  Enter Paul.  What did Paul advise these folks (you and I) about salvation?  Could we get saved without Israel?  The answer is a resounding YES!  Why?  Because to Paul and Paul alone was given the fulfillment of Gods Holy plan for His creation.  I know you never heard that before!

Paul tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  How were people to know that?  What proved it beyond doubt?  The Law itself did, because it was “un-keep-able”.

Romans 3:19-20… “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

The giving of the law was to force Israel to the realization that the law was impossible and that they could not keep it.  The Law was given to drive them from their own self righteous attitudes (as found in):

Deut 6:25… “And it shall be OUR righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.”  (Read the whole chapter!)

…to simple humble faith that it was God and God alone who could provide for them.  They (all men in fact as Paul demonstrates) are incapable of fully providing for themselves.  We are incapable of being or becoming righteous in and of ourselves in order to stand before a Perfect, Holy, Righteous, Just God.  So what did God tell Paul now that the Law had made its ultimate point in the crucifixion of Israel’s own Messiah; the ultimate self-righteous act?

It is my personal belief that these next 2 words are the most important words in scripture for this 2,000+ year period of grace which God has shown the world.

Romans 3:21-24, 28… “BUT NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith OF Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified FREELY by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:   Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”  Please notice carefully it is the faith OF Christ UPON all them that believe.  This faith is not a measure of the believers level of faith toward Christ.  It matters not how much we say we love the Lord.  What matters is how much He loves His creation and what He wants for it in the future.

BUT NOW… meaning, what once was, is no longer.  Something has changed!  Where at one time (time past) men agreed to follow the law to try and earn their own righteousness; “but now” (the dispensation of free grace – the yellow area on the Bible Chart where we live today) the righteousness of God without the law is made available to mankind.  ALL mankind, both Jew and Gentile.

How can a man today possibly follow Christ or Peter when both say that following the law, among other things, was imperative to salvation?  Answer… we don’t.  We follow Paul as Christ instructed in:

John 13:20… “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”  Did Christ send Paul?

Galatians 1:1… “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;)”  Yes, He did.  What does Paul then say to us?

1 Cor 4:16… “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

1 Cor 11:1… “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Philippians 3:17… “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

“MY gospel… be ye followers of ME…  What’s going on?  This is not possible!  I’m supposed to follow Jesus”, you cry.  Let scripture put a fine point on this.

1 Cor 9:16-17… “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

Ephesians 3:1-7… “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Colossians 1:25… “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD.”  This one should be read again and again until it completely sinks in.  To Paul was given the completion of Gods Word to man.  The final revelation after the Book of Revelation!

Ephesians 1:10… “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:

Yet precious few professing Christians see this ultimate Bible truth and suffer great delusion because of it.  Those “teachers/preachers” who say that dispensationalism (or dispensational Bible study) has only been around since the 1800’s need to re-read their KING JAMES Bibles.  God is a dispensationalist; therefore we are dispensationalists.

Do we worship Paul as many claim?  That is as far from truth as one can get and borders simply on name calling much like the term “hyper-dispensationalist” our legalistic brethren like to throw around.  The law is used in churches today simply to keep people guilty, under religious bondage and tithing.  In this writers not so humble opinion today’s churches that do not teach Pauline Truth are satanic at their core; as it is satan that wants more than anything to keep people from the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4… “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Paul commands us to…

Galatians 5:1… “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Has Christ made you free from sin and religious bondage?  It is why He died, FOR you.

How is a man saved today?  How is the righteousness of God without the law made manifest?

Simply by believing what God said and did as communicated by our Apostle, Paul.

1 Cor 15:1-4… “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Romans 4:25… “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Ephesians 2:8-9… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

It is not the strength of OUR faith which saves us.  It is the faith OF Christ to the will of His Father which does.  We must simply believe and trust in what Christ did on our behalf.  Such a gift… such amazing grace and love!  Yet so few come to know what they are in order to receive it.  How can one be “found” if one does not know he is “lost”?  The whole world is lost.  Every man, woman and comprehending child.  When the world teaches a man that he is inherently good, the world is condemning that man to an eternity in hell.  Who is the god of this world?  Who did Adam give his loyalty to?

Luke 4:5-6… “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”  Delivered by Adam who chose satan over God.  As God gave Adam dominion, Adam transferred the same to satan.

1 Cor 15:22… “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Don’t hear scripture like this in your church, do you?  Paul says, “from such, withdraw thyself”.  If you are still a son of Adam, you will die.  Without Christ, you will die.  Have you been adopted as a son of God?  You were born a son of Adam.

We beseech you; simply believe (in what Christ did) and ye shall be saved!  It is a transaction which occurs between you and God alone.  It is that simple.  Stop trusting in yourself and trust in Christ alone.

Next Post: “Saved…!  Now what?

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