Jesus’ Words and Paul’s Words

By Arthur Licursi

Part 1 of 2 – “The Controversy”

“The Controversy” is a term used by Cornelius Stam in his book by the same name to essentially describe two views of the Bible. Portions of this paper are drawn from the thought of his book. The controversy asks; whose words in the Bible are specifically addressing the members of the predominantly Gentile “body of Christ” today?

Today there continues to be this “controversy,” one sees “Pauline truth” for “the body of Christ” has been marginalized by the church at large today, while many so-called Fundamentalists have joined the liberal modernists in their gross misinterpretation of Bible truth for us today, in this age of “the dispensation of grace of God” (Eph 3:2).

In discussing the controversy, they typically ask; “Which should bear the greater weight with us, the words of Jesus, or the words of Paul?” At first it may seem right that Jesus of Nazareth’s words should be above Paul’s words, but as always, we must let the Bible interpret itself, in context, to answer this question.

At its core, the error is that many Christian preachers and teachers today exalt the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth’s, spoken by Jesus’ in His earthly ministry and directed to Israel exclusively (Matt 15:24). They fail to note that Jesus spoke other, different, words when He as the ascended Christ spoke directly to and commissioned His “chosen vessel” (Act 9:15), the Apostle Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles in this age.

For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I (Paul) AM THE (singular) APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES…” (Romans 11:13)

The ultimate question this leads us to is this; Do Jesus of Nazareth’s words and instructions that He spoke while on earth actually apply to us as believing members of “the body of Christ today?” Here below Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God to address this very question.

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, THOUGH WE HAVE KNOWN CHRIST AFTER THE FLESH (in His flesh body ministry on earth), YET NOW HENCEFORTH KNOW WE HIM NO MORE.” (2 Corinthians 5:16)

These above are profound words. Let’s look carefully at this verse. Here Paul is essentially saying; “THOUGH WE HAVE KNOWN CHRIST AFTER THE FLESH (as the man Jesus of Nazareth in His earthly ministry), YET NOW HENCEFORTH KNOW WE HIM NO MORE (because He is now “the resurrected Spirit of Christ” who lives within every believer (see also Col 1:27).”

 Most today fail to see that; NOWTHE LORD IS THAT SPIRIT: and where the Spirit of the Lord (Lord Jesus) is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

A change occurred when the Lord “became the life-giving Spirit” in resurrection (1Cor 15:45). The Lord is within every believer’s spirit.

Those believers in whom the “Spirit of Christ” indwells in this day enjoy the new relationship paradigm (Rom 8:8-10). Paul introduces us to a new kind of relationship with the Lord – called “the mystery” of the dispensation of the GRACE of God” (Eph 3:1-5). The “Spirit of Christ” has been dispensed or administered into the believer’s spirit. Now we have no need of an external “Law” because we now have Christ as the inner “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” He is in us to spontaneously speak to us the words we live by day by day – never being contrary to the revealed written “word of God” from Paul for “this dispensation of the grace of God.” We are free of the old relationship under “the Law of Moses” that was given to Israel and which Jesus of Nazareth upheld for Israel .

We today are the members of “the church, which is His body” (Eph 1:22b-23a). We are free to walk according to “the (indwelling) Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2a) as our “Head” of “the body” in which we dwell. Thus, Paul wrote that it is… Christ IN YOU the hope of glory” ( Col 1:27).

In our interpretation of the Bible it’s critical to note to whom Jesus of Nazareth specifically came to and addressed – Israel; but then note who was excluded – the Gentiles. Jesus of Nazareth specifically said He came only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mat 15:24), not to the Gentiles.

“But he (Jesus) answered and said, I am not sent but (except) unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel .” (Matthew 15:24)

In fact, Jesus had already specifically told His “twelve” disciples not to go to the Gentiles.

THESE TWELVE Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, GO NOT INTO THE WAY OF THE GENTILES, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But GO RATHER TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.” (Matthew 10:5-6)