Daily Archives: 12/25/2013

Was Paul saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom?

WAS PAUL SAVED BY THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM? DID PAUL EVER PREACH THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Was the Gospel of Grace in effect when Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) was saved? On the basis of Saul’s statement in Acts 9:5—“Who art thou, Lord?”—some have argued that he was saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom. Did Paul ever preach the Gospel of the Kingdom? Are they correct in asserting this? Let us search the Scriptures and see what God says in His Word, and not worry about the idle speculations of man.

The Gospel of the Kingdom was a part of Israel’s program. Did Paul ever minister on “kingdom ground” in any part of the book of Acts? No. Unlike Peter’s message in Acts 3:19-26, Paul never preached a message offering Israel her kingdom (for instance, read Paul’s sermon in Acts 13, which offers forgiveness now without Law-keeping [verses 38-39], unlike Israel’s future forgiveness in Acts 3:19).

During the book of Acts, Paul preached Jesus was the Son of God, Christ/Messiah (Acts 9:20,27,29; Acts 13:25-39; Acts 17:2-3; Acts 18:5; Acts 19:4; Acts 26:22-23; et cetera), probably using Daniel 9:25-26 to show the timing of Messiah’s crucifixion, and how it matched with the time of Jesus’ death (proving that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah, for He fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy on time). Paul then proceeded to preach to Israel how her now-rejected Messiah had gone to the Gentiles through his ministry, and was now doing something separate from her prophetic program. This was how Paul’s ministry to Israel operated in the book of Acts. The book of Acts confirms that Paul never offered Israel her kingdom, so Paul could not have been saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom. He could not have preached a Gospel that had not saved him. Paul did not preach the Gospel of the Kingdom because his ministry was completely separate from that message and program.

In Galatians 1:15-16, Paul writes, “[15] But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:…” In 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul wrote, “And last of all he [the resurrected Jesus Christ] was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” Paul was not a part of Israel or her program. God “killed” Israel, as one would take the life of a pregnant woman, and He delivered her unborn child, in this case, Saul of Tarsus (Paul). (Look at the “stillborn” birth Job longed for in Job 3:16, “Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been….”). Again, Paul could not have been saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom, for its program had begun to diminish by Acts 9 (the time of Paul’s salvation).

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 12:31-32: “[31] Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [32] And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Saul/Paul encouraged the murder of Stephen, and he was guilty of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost. After all, Jewish Saul was leading the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ (Acts 7:57-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-5; Acts 22:3-7; Acts 26:9-11; et cetera). Paul wrote that he was a “blasphemer” in 1 Timothy 1:13. Paul was saved, but he blasphemed against the Holy Spirit! How was Paul saved? He could not be saved in Israel’s program, for it would contradict Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32. Nevertheless, God opened our Dispensation of Grace, a program separate from Israel’s program, in Acts 9, and saved Saul/Paul. Saul/the Apostle Paul could only be saved if God interrupted Israel’s program with a new program. Paul was saved in our dispensation, not in Israel’s program. A new dispensation was in effect in Acts 9, so a new gospel had to also be in effect in Acts 9 beginning with Saul. Refer to the previous paragraph.

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:13-16: “[13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Paul’s salvation is a “pattern” for every person who would believe on Jesus Christ after he did in Acts 9. “That in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Something new began at Paul’s salvation in Acts 9. Paul was the “first.” The first of what? The only sensible answer is the first member of the Church the Body of Christ. He was the first individual to be saved apart from Israel’s program. There had to have been a new program in Acts 9, otherwise Paul could not be saved (go back to our comments about Matthew 12:31-32). Paul’s salvation is our “pattern.” Are we saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom? No, then according to 1 Timothy 1:15-16, neither was Paul. Paul was saved the same way we are: Paul was saved by the Gospel of the Grace of God, the same Gospel by which we are saved today.

Paul declared in Acts 26:15-17, repeating what happened in Acts 9: “[15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,”

Paul saw “things” in Acts 9—note, the plural word. He did not simply see the ascended Lord Jesus, He saw at least some of the grace doctrines. Remember, Jesus Christ even said He would appear to him in the future and show him additional revelations (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:1). Based on our previous statements, we know that Paul had the Gospel of Grace in Acts 9, for by it he was saved. Remember, in Acts 13, he was preaching salvation by faith without law and forgiveness right now through Jesus Christ (verses 38-39)—that message would not be valid in Israel’s program. At least some of the mysteries for the Dispensation of Grace were revealed to Paul in Acts 9, right on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:16)—he did not learn everything in Acts 9, but some “things” were revealed to him.

Paul considered himself to be a member of the Church the Body of Christ. The rapture of the Church the Body of Christ does not involve Israel or her prophetic program. No believer in the Gospel of the Kingdom had the hope of the rapture; believers in the Gospel of the Kingdom were part of Israel’s program, and they had to endure the Tribulation as Jesus taught in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Paul had a hope to be included with the members of the Church the Body of Christ at the rapture. He says “we” not “you” throughout 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18—Paul included himself in the rapture, which is exclusively Body of Christ doctrine (verses 15,17). In fact, Paul said, “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13)—Paul did not use the pronoun, “you,” meaning he included himself in the Body of Christ. Paul talked about God blessing us with “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3)—this is the Body of Christ doctrine, and when he wrote that God “blessed us with all spiritual blessings,” he included himself. “For we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:30)—Paul included himself in the Body of Christ.

The consistent testimony of the Scriptures does not support Paul being saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom. In fact, we can clearly see from the Bible that Paul was saved by the Gospel of the Grace of God, the same Gospel by which we are saved today. Even as early Acts 15 (cf. Galatians 2), Israel’s apostles admitted that Paul had a special Gospel committed to his trust, a Gospel separate and distinct from the Gospel of the Kingdom that the 12 apostles of Israel preached (Galatians 2:7). Again, Paul never preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. Those who say otherwise are simply not reading and believing these plain and simple verses.

Also see:
» When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?
» When did the Dispensation of Grace begin?
» Did the Body of Christ begin in Acts 2?

What about modern-day “faith healing?”

IS GOD HEALING SICK BODIES TODAY AS PEOPLE CLAIM? SHOULD WE SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION DURING SICKNESS, OR JUST LET GOD PERFORM A “MIRACLE HEALING” VIA A PREACHER OR “PRAYER CLOTH?” DOES GOD LOVE ME EVEN WHEN I AM SICK?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Is God healing miraculously healing sick bodies today, as many televangelists assert? If we pray fervently enough, will God deliver us from all bodily illnesses? What does the Bible really say? Should we seek a minister’s help when physically sick? What about prayer cloths and miracle oils and waters? Rather than appealing to church tradition and faith healers, we appeal to the Scriptures, and we will see God’s answer about the matter.

Firstly, there is no doubt whatsoever that God can heal sick bodies because He did it dozens and dozens of times in Scripture.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James 5:14-15). Jesus Christ said, “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18).

We do not question God’s ability to heal all manner of disease and sickness, for the Scriptures are very clear that He can do it. What we question is modern-day claims that He is still performing those healing miracles today. Just because Jesus Christ performed healing miracles in the past does not mean that He is still doing this today. Please note that Jesus Christ ministered to Israel during His earthly ministry (Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8) and James is writing to Israel (1:1)—the verses quoted above do not refer to us Gentiles. “The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Jesus Christ and His apostles performed healing miracles in order to teach Israel doctrine. Throughout Israel’s history, God used miraculous demonstrations to teach Israel that He was in their midst, what He could do for them, and what He would do with them.

Despite the Bible’s healing promises, the Apostle Paul wrote: “[22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23). Not only do lost people suffer physical pain because of the curse of sin, but Christians suffer physical sicknesses, too. Paul admitted that he even suffered physical pain under the curse of sin!

There was no miraculous healing for ill Timothy, whom Paul instructed, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities(1 Timothy 5:23). One of the last verses Paul wrote was, “Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick(2 Timothy 4:20). These were faithful Christian men serving in the ministry, and none of them were healed miraculously. In fact, Timothy was advised to use wine for medicinal purposes. Timothy was sick quite often.

Even Paul himself experienced various sicknesses and infirmities. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: “[8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “[13] Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. [14] And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus” (Galatians 4:13-14). Based on Galatians 6:11, Paul may have had vision problems.

Surely, there was no “healing in Jesus’ name” in these verses! Where is Paul’s apostolic gift of healing? Why did he, Timothy, or Trophimus not claim those healing passages like Exodus 15:26, or James 5:14-15, or Mark 16:18? They knew they did not apply to them, just like they do not apply to us. God is doing something different today. If today’s “faith healers” were really miraculously healing the sick, why are hospitals all around the world filled with the sick and dying? Why do we need health insurance? Why do the “faith healers” wear eyeglasses, visit doctors, and undergo operations at hospitals? Why do the “faith healers” eventually die, succumbing to the ultimate disease (death!)? Their duplicity is obvious. They are deceived and they are deceiving others. Whether they are deliberately or unwittingly misleading others makes no difference; it is still deception and dishonoring to God’s name and Word. It only leads to disappointment and apostasy.

Rather than temporary physical healing, as God promised Israel, today in the Dispensation of Grace, the Lord promises us everlasting spiritual healing. Notice what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Rather than God improving our physical bodies (which “perish” anyway), God is working in our inner man (which is “renewed day by day” by daily Bible study). Furthermore, He will give us new physical bodies one day regardless of what these physical bodies experience.

Read Romans 8:18-25: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Rather than being depressed about physical limitations and infirmities, we can be saved from despair. We need to let God renew our minds by reading, studying, and believing His Word to us regarding those troubles. Those troubles do not have to destroy us! Friend, God still loves you, even when you are sick, for God loved you so much that He sent Jesus Christ to Calvary’s cross to die for your sins (Romans 5:8). You can use this time of suffering to grow spiritually, to better appreciate who you are in Jesus Christ.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, which goes into greater detail about our glorified bodies: “[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Philippians 3:20-21 summarizes: “[20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

The rapture is the day for our physical healing as members of the Body of Christ, and that healing will be permanent. For now, let us remember that we are already “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Everything God can give us, He did so the moment we trusted Christ as our personal Saviour. We did not work for those blessings; Jesus Christ did! We have forgiveness of sins in and through Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

At the rapture, we Christians will be eternally delivered from these bodies of sickness and death, and we will receive new glorified bodies. Until then, God expects us to seek medical help and take medication for our physical sicknesses.

Also see:
» Are the spiritual gifts in operation today? (UPCOMING)
» Should I be filled with the Holy Ghost? (UPCOMING)
» Should I “speak in tongues?”