FACT NO. 1—That the Bible MUST be rightly divided in order for it to make sense. Notice what it says: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the Word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). This is one of the cardinal rules for interpreting the whole Bible. Neglect of this rule or a faulty use of it will lead to only one result, CONFUSION, since our God is not the author of confusion.
The reason for a right division of the Bible is because of God’s two distinct purposes: (1) His purpose concerning Israel and the world according to PROPHECY, and (2) His purpose concerning the Gentiles in this present age according to the MYSTERY revealed to Paul. God doesn’t want us to confuse the teaching of these two purposes. He has very graciously given us the key for a proper understanding of this.
FACT NO. 2—That the DISTINCTIVENESS of Pauline truth is a most important doctrine of the Bible. The risen Lord Jesus Christ revealed His heart and His mind to the Apostle Paul: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it but by THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST” (Gal. 1:11,12). “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward; how that BY REVELATION He made known unto me the MYSTERY…” (Eph. 3:2,3).
This proves conclusively that Paul did not preach what the 12 Apostles preached. Rather he went up to Jerusalem to TELL THEM of the special gospel of grace that Christ gave to him (Gal. 2:2). He preached Jesus Christ according to the REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY which was kept secret, hid in God (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:9). He was the Apostle to the Gentiles and magnified his office (Rom. 11:13).
FACT NO. 3—That the gospel we are to preach is called the Gospel of the grace of God. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD” (Acts 20:24). This is God’s only message for the lost in this present age. We are to follow Paul as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1). In his writings ALONE do we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the Christian.
Some other important aspects of grace are:
1. We are saved by GRACE—Eph. 2:8,9.
2. We are justified freely by His GRACE—Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7.
3. His GRACE is sufficient for us—II Cor. 12:9.
4. We are not under Law but under GRACE—Rom. 6:14,15.
5. This age is the age of GRACE —Eph. 3:2.
6. We are to approach the throne of GRACE in prayer—Heb. 4:16.
FACT NO. 4—That the Bible definitely teaches that water baptism was and is a part of Israel’s religion (Heb. 6:1,2; 9:10). It was for the remission of sins and was by sprinkling (Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38; Ezek. 36:25).
In this age there is only ONE baptism, not two: “One Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM” (Eph. 4:5). This baptism is the placing of the Christian into the Church, the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit: “For by one SPIRIT are we all BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Cor. 12:13). This baptism takes place once for all at the time of salvation.
The Apostle Paul was not sent to baptize with water: “For Christ sent me NOT TO BAPTIZE but to preach the gospel…” (I Cor. 1:17). Only a change in God’s purpose would necessitate a statement like this. There is no importance attached to water baptism, today. It is not a part of Christianity and only causes confusion.
FACT NO. 5—That we must understand the two-fold ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. During His earthly ministry He ministered exclusively to Israel: “But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL” (Matt. 15:24). His whole ministry to the Nation was under the Law of Moses (Matt. 5:17; Gal. 4:4,5). Christians are not under the Law so we are not to live according to Israel’s teachings.
During His present ministry in Heaven, He is ministering according to what He revealed to the Apostle Paul. He is saving men according to His gospel of Grace. He is at the throne of grace making intercession for us (Rom. 8:34). We are to live in Paul’s epistles where pure Christianity is found. This is not to say we should neglect the rest of the Bible. It is ALL for us but not all TO us (I Cor. 10:6,11).
FACT NO. 6—That SIGNS belong to the Nation of Israel and its religion: “For the JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN, and the Gentiles seek after wisdom” (I Cor. 1:22). Speaking in tongues is a SIGN: “Wherefore TONGUES are for a SIGN, not to them that believe but to them that believe not…” (I Cor. 14:22).
In Jesus’ day, those who sought after signs were called an evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39). The eight miracles of the Gospel of John are properly called SIGNS, which included the rising of Lazarus from the dead; and in the commission of Mark 16:15-18, water baptism is associated with SIGNS. This is proved in the book of Acts because everywhere water baptism is mentioned a SIGN is mentioned in the immediate context.
This present age is a signless age. We have been blessed with all SPIRITUAL blessings in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph. 1:3). This is where the emphasis lies for the Christian.
FACT NO. 7—That the COMMISSION the Church, the Body of Christ, is to work under, is found in II Corinthians 5:14-21 and Ephesians 3:9. The Kingdom commission of Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18 does not belong to God’s present grace purpose. The message of reconciliation has been committed to US, the Body of Christ.
1. The Christian would begin to perceive and grasp the deep things of God (I Cor. 2:10-12).
2. There would be a wonderful growth into spiritual maturity and adulthood (Eph. 4:12-15).
3. He would become a faithful steward of the mysteries of God (I Cor. 2:7; 4:1,2).
4. He would possess the Biblical answer to Satan’s false cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, Modernists, etc. They all borrow some aspects of Israel’s religion.
5. A mighty revival would take place if Christians would get back to Pauline truth.
My friend, if you are not saved, the grace of God invites you to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. You are a sinner and need to be saved (Rom. 3:23). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31). “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). It is infinitely better to receive Him and spend eternity in Heaven than to reject Him and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire!