Saturday, 4 January 2014

Paul's Revelation

In short: Paul's revelation was the good news that it is God's plan to save Gentiles as well as Jews, by grace through faith in Jesus, without the works of the Law.


Paul understood that it had always been God's plan since before the world was made, to send forth His Son Jesus Christ to be crucified.

Before the world even began, God chose that those of us who believe in Jesus would be justified, walk in good works and eventually be glorified.

Paul understood that God gave promise to Abraham that people from every nationality would one day be saved through a single descendant of his, which was Christ. This promise was believed by Abraham before the Law was even given.

And God credited his faith to him as righteousness, before he was ever asked to be circumcised. The sign of circumcision was given later, only for Abraham's physical descendants, and only as a sign of the above promise, until the promise would come.

While in captivity in Egypt, God chose the descendants of Jacob. At first He didn't give them the Law - He only asked them to put away the idols of Egypt, and to walk in the faith of their father Abraham. But they disobeyed God and angered Him, to the point that He was willing to destroy them, and start the nation again with Moses.

But Moses interceded for them, and God relented and instead of handing them over to judgment, He gave them the Law. The Law wasn't given for the godly, but for the ungodly.

Originally God invited all of Israel to approach the holy mountain, but they were afraid to approach. As an allowable concession due to mankind's sinful nature, God ordained a priesthood exclusively for the Levites, as part of Moses' Law, although ultimately it would be God's plan that all believers be kings and priests unto God.

The covenant and Law included many such reminders of their deliverance from Egypt, and many reminders of their need for atonement and sanctification.

But still they broke the covenant and the Law. On occasion God reduced Israel virtually to a mere remnant.

Through the fires of captivity he purified them and restored them again to the land and to His covenant and Law.

But again they disobeyed. They couldn't help it. The Law was unable to change the sinful nature of man.

God sent them many prophets who both challenged them on the basis of the Law, and repeated the promises made to Abraham. The Law and the Prophets foresaw the time of fulfilment coming. They saw the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that would follow, and a New Covenant been offered to Israel, though the whole nation would not accept it, and they also saw the Gentiles being included in God's plans, just as it had been promised to Abraham.

When the time of the promise drew near, according to the timeframe revealed to the Prophet Daniel, the Saviour appeared. He preached grace and truth.

Without breaking Moses' Law, but by fulfilling Moses' Law, He confirmed the promises and fulfilled the Prophets, finishing it all and inaugurating the New Covenant in His blood.

God gave us new birth through Jesus Christ, and created one new man in Christ Jesus, having eliminated the Law which separated Jew from Gentile and alienated man from God - thus eliminating the need for the Old Covenant and its Law.

This good news was preached first to Jews, then in Judaea, then in all the world - including to the Gentiles.

The Gentiles were included in God's plan.

The Gentiles were not required to keep the Law.

This message of inclusion and freedom gladdened the heart of the Gentiles.

Paul foresaw that the keeping of Moses' Law would vanish away, even for the Jews. And it did vanish away soon afterwards, with the destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.

Paul saw that through the Gospel, God was fulfilling His long-awaited plan, kept hidden, of bringing Jews and Gentiles together in one new man, having removed the enmity between them, which was the Law.

Free from the requirements of the Law, through grace, they would reign in life together because of the righteousness that is through faith in Jesus Christ.

God's promises to the fathers and to Israel had not failed, nor had they been postponed, but they were fulfilled by Christ - and inherited by believers. And the rest were hardened, unless they believed.

Paul saw that this dual outcome - of salvation and hardening - was foreseen in the Law and the Prophets.

Much tribulation would be endured in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

Christ's message of grace empowered them and taught them to live holy lives.

Paul taught them to confidently expect the resurrection from the dead and Christ's coming and kingdom.

He taught that the resurrection had not yet happened, for certain things were to happen first, such as the man of sin standing in the holy place, which may have been fulfilled a short number of years later.

This revelation was good news to the Gentiles.

It motivated Paul's missions.

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