“…..when they (Peter, James and John) saw that the gospel for the UNCIRCUMCISED (the Gentiles) had been committed to me, (Paul) as the gospel for the CIRCUMCISED (The Jews) was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”
In Part 14, we saw how the New Testament is divided up. Why is it important to distinguish between Paul’s letters and the others? Because Peter, James, John and Jude were apostles to the CIRCUMCISED, the Jewish people, although it is believed that Paul wrote Hebrews. It’s quite obvious by the very name of that book it is written TO THE HEBREWS, and not TO the non-Jewish Church. Even so, it can be of benefit FOR us.
TO Whom Is It Written?
There are many things, although of interest and instruction to us, that do not apply to the non-Jewish Church. They were directed TO the Jewish people of the 1st century. There were some very serious problems to address.
The entire Olivet discourse in Matthew 24 is neither for nor about the Church. It is directed TO Jewish people who would be on earth during the Tribulation. Please see part 1 of this series for more on that topic: https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/part-1-of-16-introduction-to-rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god/)
Message FOR The Church.
Is there a message TO the Church in the gospels? Yes. It is found in the upper room discourse in John’s gospel, but it is incomplete. Why? Because Jesus had many other things to say which could only be revealed after He shed His blood, rose from the dead, and ascended back to His Father. All Paul’s letters, on the other hand, were written TO ALL BELIEVERS, both Jewish and non-Jewish, except Hebrews of course. Remember what we learned about CONTEXT in part 1. If you really want to grow fast in your Christian life, read all Paul’s other letters which are written TO us.
Roll Away The Stone: The Law
The names, “Peter, James and John” consecutively mean, “Stone, replace (or usurp) and grace,” respectively. There’s a message in their meanings. Did you ever notice that they always appear in that exact order? Their job was to “Replace the law with grace” in the lives of the Jewish people, who had been under the law of a Moses for 1500 years. It was primarily these three men that were called to do so. The Gentiles, on the other hand, never needed the “stone” rolled away because they were NEVER UNDER LAW. Never, that is, until some Judiazers told them they needed to obey the Ten Commandments now that they were saved.
The Council Of Jerusalem.
The Council of Jerusalem was held 15 years AFTER the mass conversion at the home of the Roman Centurion, Cornelius. They discussed the issue of the FALSE doctrine that Gentiles needed to obey the Law. They concluded that, since Jesus fulfilled the Law, NO ONE, NEITHER GENTILE OR JEW, IS UNDER THE LAW. That should have been the end of the story. But the debate is raging even today.
Folks, this issue was supposed to be settled way back in the 1st century! Sadly, it has reared it’s ugly head again in these last days, just like in Galatia. Paul’s entire letter to that Church was written to address this issue. Looks like man really hasn’t changed in 2,000 years. He still wants to think there’s something he can “DO” to inherit salvation.
My prayer is that more theologians today will revisit Galatians. Once again, the church needs to have the stone–THE LAW–rolled away and the “VEIL” removed from her face. Yep. The law has crept in by stealth, like the parable of the fig tree planted in the vineyard.
(For more on that topic follow the link below:
Jewish people of our day who are not saved need to be warned and protected from the dangers they face right now. Here’s a good example:
When you read Hebrews and see things like, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…” it is not written TO you, Church. The writer is addressing Jewish people, the “Almosts” who turned their back on Jesus. They had NOT accepted Him as their Savior. But the worst part is, they went back to the animal sacrifices of the temple. This is trampling the blood of Jesus underfoot, considering it of lesser value that the blood of bulls and goats!
As you can well imagine, God was NOT PLEASED! Had He not just sent Beloved Son to die the most horrific death in history? HE IS THE FINAL AND ONLY ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE FOR SINS! There is no more forgiveness by offering bulls and goats. God closed the door on that system. Jesus is THE ONLY ONE we can present to the Father so that our sins can be FOREVER CLEANSED.
(For more on that topic, follow the link below:
Paul covered topics in Hebrews 6 & 10 that were aimed at Jewish people. Of course, these chapters are the ones that law-centric people love to talk about to scare the living daylights out of people in an effort to get them to live holy lives. They threaten you with the loss of your salvation if you stray from God. No one, not even the Jews today, can go back to temple sacrifices anymore because THERE IS NO MORE TEMPLE. END OF STORY!
So don’t be fooled or bullied by well-meaning preachers. Be knowledgeable. Know who is being addressed. Understand which Covenant is being discussed. Study the historical events which prompted the writing of the letter. Don’t fall prey to those who would place you back under bondage to the law. YUK!
I hope this study has been helpful. You need not be confused by obscure passages that have been misunderstood, misused, even abused and misapplied to the Church to call into question your salvation. Set your mind at east: YOU ARE ETERNALLY SECURE. NOTHING and no one…NOT EVEN YOU…can pluck you out of His hand.
Please proceed to Part 16 by following the link below. This is the final part of our study. We will end by discussing a few more passages that are obscure and have often confused the Church:
Posted by Susan Deschaine at 6:13 PM
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