Part 4 of 25

A New Gospel - for the “Uncircumcision”

In previous installments of this study we saw that mankind’s inherent sinful condition is the root cause of his suffering in the world. Yet, for a brief moment about 2,000 years ago, while Israel was still under “the Law” dispensation, there was some relief from suffering for a relatively small number of people. That relief came by the hand of Jesus Nazareth during His ministry on earth, and also by the hand of “the twelve” during the early Acts period, in the form of the miraculous healings and deliverances they performed.

God’s Son, Jesus, had become incarnate in the human body given Him by Mary, daughter of Heli. During His brief ministry on earth He repeatedly announced to the children of Israel that “the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2 et al). This everlasting kingdom of heaven on earth had been promised by God for Abraham’s seed. The kingdom had been prophesied of, repeatedly, thousands of years before Jesus’ birth. Under the promised kingdom the nation Israel would receive their King and be a blessing to all the nations of the world (Gen 12:2).

God’s Son had come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, as “the Son of man,” that is in the form of a mere man. Though He was the eternal God, He came without fanfare, born into a humble setting, such that few would likely receive His proclamation that He was the Son of God and “the kingdom of heaven was at hand.” Knowing this would be the case; God ordained that Jesus would perform many “miracles” (Greek, “semeion,” meaning, “signs”). These “signs” were to bear witness to Jesus’ God-sent message for “the lost sheep of the house of Israel ” (Matt 15:24), and also bear witness to the power of the promised coming kingdom. Paul wrote; “the Jews require a sign…” (1Cor 1:22).

Though Jesus’ coming and message was unto “the lost sheep of the house of Israel ,” many Christians today cling to the verses of the four synoptic gospels that relate the account of Jesus of Nazareth’s earthly life. They erroneously cling to Jesus’ words and His doings that were seen during His earthly ministry to Israel , as though they apply to “the body of Christ” today. Many Christians today try to regain what Jesus offered at that time to Israel , not realizing that time has past. Today, believers should know that they live under the new paradigm of the new “dispensation of the grace of God (Eph 3:2), not Jesus’ promises or message to Israel .

Today we live under the terms and relationship of the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) that Jesus Himself gave Paul. After Jesus’ had ascended to heaven and entered His present celestial ministry, He then returned to earth to save Paul (Acts 9) and give Paul the new “gospel of the grace of God” for the Gentile “body of Christ” (Eph 3:1-5). The grace terms of “the dispensation of the grace of God” apply to all who would believe and receive Christ and the new way of living…which is “by faith” alone. Under this new gospel there are no more Jews or Gentiles – “all are one in Christ” (Gal 3:28); so the ground is level among all believers who are “in Christ.”

This series discusses the dispensational and relational change in the way God now most often meets the needs of His spiritual offspring today as they suffer and endure the trials of life, whether physical or situational.

The change in dispensations was radical and occurred immediately following Israel ’s final rejection of the Jesus as the Messiah/King and His kingdom. This dispensational change occurred with the events seen in Acts chapter 7, when Israel ’s religious leaders rejected the witness of Holy Spirit that God brought to them through Stephen’s words; they stoned Stephen to death. Israel had already often rejected God the Father repeatedly, then they crucified the Son of God, and now they had rejected the third person of the Triune Godhead – the witness of the Holy Spirit of God through Stephen (Acts 7:51).

Amazingly, immediately following the stoning of Stephen, Saul Paulus of Tarsus , the persecutor of the original “little flock” of Messianic Jewish believers in Jesus, was saved. Jesus returned from the right hand of the Father in heaven just to save Saul (Acts 9:5). The ascended Jesus then gave Saul, now called Paul (his Gentile name), a new gospel message concerning a new God/man relationship for the predominantly Gentile new creation called “the church, which is His body” (Eph 1:22b-23a).

Paul then boldly proclaimed this new and unique gospel that Christ gave him. In Romans 16:25 Paul called this message “my gospel” and “the mystery,” and in Galatians 2:2 “that gospel, which I preach among the Gentiles.” It was at Antioch , after Paul’s missionary mission there, that these recipients of Paul’s mystery gospel message were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26).

With this change in dispensations and gospels from “the Law” to pure “gospel of the grace of God,” we see a new basis of God’s dealing with men. God was interrupting the former dispensation, “the Law,” which God had given to Moses, and the former “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt 4:23) that concerned “the kingdom of heaven” coming to earth, for Israel . This interruption came when Paul received and preached “the mystery” ( Col 1:26-27) gospel, to introduce “the dispensation of the grace of God” for the new creation “body of Christ.”

The time of “the Law” had continued from the time of Moses through the time of the four gospels and into early Acts period, until Paul received this new gospel. Thus, Paul says Jesus was “born of a woman” at a time still under the law” (Gal 4:4). But Paul was given to deliver “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) to all who would receive it.

God’s focus had been upon the children of Israel for over 2,000 years, as His peculiar treasure and as His chosen channel of blessing for the nations of the world. Paul writes of Israel ’s fall from their calling. Romans 11:11b through their ( Israel ’s) fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles ... With Israel’s fall, God turned to the Gentiles. Now God’s focus was upon “the church, which is His body” (Eph 1:22b-23a). Whereas Moses, the prophets, Jesus, and the twelve Apostles, were the messengers of God to Israel only (Matt 15:24, 10:5-6), the Apostle Paul was God’s chosen messenger for “the body of Christ” also referred to as the uncircumcision … the Gentiles” (Gal 2:7-8).  

Paul writes “For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles…” (Romans 11:13). Notice here the article “the” in the phrase the apostle.” Therefore, Paul was not just one of several Apostles, but rather “the one Apostle sent “to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46) to spearhead the introduction of the message of this new “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me (Paul), as a wise masterbuilder, I (Paul) have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

Paul is the one Apostle who “laid the foundation” for all of God’s blessing for suffering humanity, which is Christ, “according to the grace of God given to (Paul).” Paul did have coworkers such as Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and others to carry and spread Paul’s “mystery gospel.”