Part 8 of 22 –
My 60-page study series titled “How to Approach the Bible” would be of help to anyone who seeks to understand the absolute uniqueness of Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), applying to “the church which is His (Christ’s) body” (Eph 1:22b-23a) today. It will help clarify the tenets of what Paul, “the Apostle to the Gentiles,” refers to as “the faith” (1Tim 4:1) under the new paradigm of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2, KJV).
The tenets of the previous dispensations clearly contradict Paul’s grace gospel and that is fine because they are not intended for or applicable to the members of “the body of Christ.” The tenets of Paul’s message of “dispensation of the grace of God” for today differ significantly from those instructions for
that pertain to “the gospel of the kingdom.” God gave Moses “the Law” for Israel (John 1:17a), while Paul was given the “gospel of the grace of God” for the Gentiles (Eph 3:1-5). Paul then wrote this to the grace believers in Israel , “…for ye are NOT under the law, but under GRACE.” (Rom 6:14). Rome
Paul’s frequent use of the term “but now” helps us identify some of the significant differences we enjoy today under “the gospel of the grace of God.” Note these wonderful “but now” statements of fact below.
Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery (Gk., musterion, secret plan of God) which hath been hid from ages and from generations, BUT NOW is made manifest to his saints:
Romans 16:25-26 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my (Paul’s) gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 BUT NOW is made manifest…
Romans 3:21 BUT NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…
Romans 7:6 BUT NOW we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Romans 6:22 BUT NOW being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
1 Corinthians 12:18 BUT NOW hath God set the members every one of them in the body… 20 BUT NOW are they many members, yet but one body.
1 Corinthians 15:20 BUT NOW is Christ risen from the dead…
Ephesians 2:13 BUT NOW in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, BUT NOW are ye light in the Lord….
I want here to clarify what Paul calls “the faith.” Christians today need to acknowledge that the Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman for this day of “the administration of grace” (Eph 3:2, NIV). Paul is God’s messenger to “the body of Christ” as Moses was God’s messenger to the Nation Israel.
Paul says he “laid the foundation” of our faith, which “is Jesus Christ” (1Cor 3:10-11). This new gospel message was first revealed to Paul whose epistles give us the meaning of the many life saving and life changing blessings that are derived out of Christ’s cross, blood, death, and resurrection. By His cross men may be redeemed, justified, saved, sanctified and glorified.
Paul, unapologetically, was the first declarant and defender of “the faith.” “The faith” consists of a core of doctrines that establish the fundamentals of Paul’s mystery gospel message and teachings for the members of “the body of Christ” to this day. The fundamentals of the faith are built upon this distilled and concise list of core items. I’ve taken the following from a paper by George Estill.
“Let’s look at fundamentalism. So what exactly are are the fundamentals? Lists will vary but this is the one I found most often.
1. The inerrancy of the autographs (original writings) of the Bible (2Tim 3:16)
2. The virgin birth and deity of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:23)
3. The substitutionary view of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrificial death (1Cor 15:3)
4. The Bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (1Cor 15:4)
5. The imminent return of Jesus Christ (1Thes 4:17)”
Sadly, among the apostate denominations, sects and groups, many of these basic core items of the Christian faith listed above have been abandoned by those in authority. Most often those in authority hold these fallen away views quietly, without the knowledge of their church members. If one would dare to inquire of their pastor they might be amazed at what of these items he does not actually believe. They have abandoned key points of what the fundamentals that the Apostle Paul calls “the faith.” Having no faith in the miraculous power of the living God, they are left with a false and empty shell of a gospel that is totally impotent. Paul said this would happen.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from THE FAITH, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1Timothy 4:1)
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2Timothy 4:3 KJV)
“The faith” (1Tim 4:1, above) that many have abandoned is a term that Paul uses referring the vital core of “sound doctrine” (2Tim 4:3, above) for “the church which is His body.” Paul received this gospel message, not from men or “the Twelve.” Rather, Paul received this by direct revelation from the ascended Christ’s appearing to Paul (Gal 1:12) from the time of his first three years in Arabia (Gal 1:17), immediately following his conversion on the road to
, and then and continuing to appear to Paul (Act 26:16). Damascus
“The faith” includes doctrinal truth that is the very basis of all that we receive “in Christ.” “The faith” is solely based upon Christ’s cross as the basis of our salvation, which is received “by grace through faith alone” in the shed blood, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ…without any works requirement.
It is by faith alone that believers are counted righteous by God. “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of (from and with) Christ, the RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF GOD BY FAITH:” (Philippians 3:9 (KJV)
The believer’s life now is “hid with Christ in God.”
“For ye are dead, and YOUR LIFE IS HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD.” (Colossians 3:3 (KJV)
Believers are ever “in Christ,” secure, never to be lost or aborted. “(Jesus said) And I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE; and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, NEITHER SHALL ANY MAN PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND.” (John 10:28 (KJV)
Being in Christ, believers are covered by all that is of Christ, including His shed blood. Through faith in Jesus’ shed blood we receive the absolute total “forgiveness” of ALL our sins.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES” (Colossians 2:13 (KJV)
The word “all” here is the Greek word “pas,” meaning “absolutely all” -“all sins at all times.” Thus, faith in His shed blood yields us total forgiveness of sins – past, present, and future. “In whom (in Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “The faith” says, by His blood we have a “helmet of salvation” (Eph 6:17, 1Thes 5:8) This faith “helmet of salvation” helps us keep our heads as we may fail and succeed multiple times during the process of God’s ongoing life-time work within us (Philip 2:13) to sanctify us in our daily living.
Then also Jesus’ resurrection is seen to be the assurance of our blessed hope (expectation) of resurrection (1Cor 15:15-17) by rapture, being “caught up” to heaven for eternity with Him (1Thes 4:17).These are some of the key doctrinal points that apply to all those who would believe today under the terms of what Paul’s calls “the dispensation (or administration) of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2).