The Life & Work of Paul

Paul’s Conversion. To Jesus, the Law of Moses was only a special form of God’s covenant with Abraham on the basis of faith or confiding trust, a form not expressing Jehovah’s full purpose of grace, but only so much of it as Israel was morally ready to receive at the time it was given through Moses.

Jehovah. While Elohim is God as the Creator of all things, Jehovah is the same God in covenant relation to those whom He has created (Cp. 2Chron. 18:31). Jehovah means the Eternal, the Immutable One, He Who WAS, and IS, and IS TO COME. The Divine definition is given in Gen. 21:33. He is especially, therefore, the God of Israel; and the God of those who are redeemed, and are thus now "in Christ". We can say "My God," but not "My Jehovah", for Jehovah is "MY God." http://levendwater.org/companion/append4.html

 

Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, “Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:”

 

Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”

 

He read it ever in its spirit, in the light of its most general principles, which he saw in the great precept, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God…and thy neighbour as thyself”: on these given principles “Hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Such discrimination (Discrimination is action that denies social participation or human rights to categories of people based on prejudice) of relative values in the Law struck at the legal principle in its use, which assumed that each clause was binding in itself. On this principle Pharisaism rested; and it was a true instinct which had led its sons to feel that it and the prophet of Nazareth could not live side by side. Hence Christ was a judgement between two radically contrasted principles and spirits in religion. For the moment it seemed that Jesus and His gospel of Jehovah’s character and inner purpose of love, as the standard by which His Law was to be read, were condemned as blasphemous by Jehovah’s own verdict through the highest authority in His Holy People. But when it appeared that Jehovah’s judgement had really vindicated Jesus, on the apostolic testimony to Him as risen; and when the quality of the new life visible in the fellowship based on faith in Him seemed to confirm that testimony, the problem of Gospel versus Law, in the sense of Pharisaic legalism, pressed urgently for a solution.

The simple minds of the disciples of Jesus, who had never been legalists at heart, though deferential (submissive) to “the wise” or teachers of the Law, and whose consciences had responded instinctively to their Master’s attitude towards it in practice, did not feel the problem acutely at first as a matter of theory.

It was only when they were confronted by the cases already referred to, when the spirit of the Messianic Kingdom http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm was conferred apart from formal acceptance of the Law through circumcision—men being brought by Divine act within the covenant simply by faith in Jesus as Jehovah’s Messiah—that it came home to them practically, and demanded action which meant Yea or Nay to the Divine leading manifest in such facts.    

“Who are we that we should resist God?”  were the words in which they yielded to the logic of Divine fact; although, as this course of events proved, with tacit reservations greater or less, according to degrees of prior sympathy with legalism in theory.

But it was otherwise with Paul, or Saul, as he is first called in the narrative of Acts. Although born outside Palestine, at Tarsus in Cecilia (Northwest of Antioch, the great capital of the Roman province of Syria and Cecilia), and actually a Roman citizen by inheritance from his father, he had been reared in a Pharisaic home, and later was trained as a rabbi at the feet of the famous Gamaliel in Jerusalem. “As touching the righteousness (rectitude = rightness of principle or conduct; moral virtue) which is in the Law, found blameless,” is his own verdict on his life at that time. But while such was the outer aspect of his state, his inner experience was one of profound dissatisfaction and unrest, owing to conflict between desire and outward conduct. The moving record of this division of soul, impulse, and conscience being at war stands written in Roman’s 7, a psychological picture not surpassed in power and insight by the similar and longer self-analysis in Augustine’s confessions. The gist of it is this:

The Divine Law, sounding “Thou shalt not” in his heart when desire prompted him toward indulgence of “the flesh” or sensual principle, in some form or other, brought “sin in the flesh” to conscious light; nay, more, it also aggravated it psychologically, by making more self-conscious sin’s rebellion to the Law of God, which the reason of “the inner man” itself recognised and rejoiced in, as “holy” and “good.” That was a terrible paradox; but its full misery lay in this, that the Law thereby proved in the sinner’s experience not the means of deliverance or salvation which Pharisaism assumed it to be, but, rather, the means of deeper condemnation for his complicity with “the Law of sin,” in the flesh. That is, the holy Law given by God to be “unto life,” did in fact, owing to the pathological condition of man as he is, work unto death. The result, then, of Saul’s passionate effort to reach this peace of conscious harmony with God’s will by the aid of God’s Law was summed up in the despairing cry, “Who shall deliver me” out of this dreadful impasse due to the power of sin in the flesh? And the one answer he found in the end was this: “Thank God, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

However; the struggle through which this was reached was a tragically acute one, both for himself, and for the People or Church of Christ.

For Paul was not the sort of man to yield easily, even when he felt the inherited belief on which he stood giving way beneath him. He had leaned the whole weight of his soul’s concern for acceptance with God upon the Law; and once he realised it was failing him he no doubt struggled hard to save the situation. It was probably at this point that the church’s testimony to Jesus as, “Saviour of his people from their sins” struck into the course of his soul’s experience. We cannot be sure whether he had himself seen and heard jesus in the flesh, although there is some reason to think that he had.

 

2 Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore [why] henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.         

   

As a Pharisee he would in any case fiercely resent Jesus’ attitude toward the Law; and he must have accepted Jesus’ condemnation by its guardians as God’s judgement on him as a blasphemer. The very form of His death would be to Saul a confirmation of this; for did not the Law declare, “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree”? Hence when the bold argument of Stephen, the cultured Hellenistic Jew, against his fellow Hellenists—some from Saul’s synagogue, if not Saul himself—brought Him to martyrdom, Saul indirectly participated.     

 

Acts 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

 

Indeed, we can well imagine him finding vent to his own restlessness, due to the Law’s effect on himself, in such zeal against One who treated it only as a transient phase of God’s dealings with his People—one who declared the time to be near when God should dwell with his People in another and more real way than in the Temple made with men’s hands, with which much of the Law was bound up. But if so, his zeal brought the young Pharisee no relief: rather, the memory of Stephen’s peaceful death in the spirit of his master did but add to the impression produced on his subconscious by the joyous and loving life of the fellowship of Jesus’ disciples. Hence he plunged in deeper into repressive acts against those who impugned the immutability of the Law given through Moses; for how could Divine Law be other than absolute and final to the last jot and tittle?

The assumption that no relative element can exist in anything that has Divine sanction; would be, excluding though it does, room for the progressive revealing action by the Holy Spirit, as Stephen urged once and for all, must be duly noted as that which underlay Paul’s action. Paul’s error, as he found it to be on this point, and an abiding problem in the philosophy of religion, may remind us from the first of the universal interest of his religious development. On the road to Damascus he was in fact agitated by the problem touching Jesus and the Law, as alternative forms of God’s self-revelation. This was involved in Jesus’ claim to be, after all, in spite of the crucifixion, as God’s Messianic Son.      

Certain elements in Jesus’ teaching and character as forced on Saul’s attention by the confirmatory fact of the life of His followers, based on faith in Him as approved of God by restoration to personal activity after death, kept plying his soul with pricks of conscience. This seems implied by the words “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou Me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”—like an ox against the guiding hand of its master.

 

Acts 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

 

With Paul too, as with the older apostles, the solution came by the logic of the facts  in the first instance: the knot was cut by the sword of the Spirit, rather than untied. The Lordship of Jesus as verily God’s Messiah was brought home to his immediate spiritual intuition in a way that virtually settled this issue between two alternate forms of God’s self-revelation, along with other vital issues then preoccupying his soul. By an experience, the outer and temporary form cannot and need not be defined, “It pleased God to reveal His Son” in the earnest and sincere Pharisee, with a self-evidence which he could never thereafter doubt. Jesus was seen on His own merits as “Son of God,” the image with human form of the invisible God, and for that reason as possessed of an absolute Spiritual authority over the conscience. So his filial (befitting a son) type of devotion to the heavenly Father was the very essence of real obedience—that of the undivided will of the inner man—and became the standard by which the legal type of obedience, which did not unite the heart in complete loyalty, must be judged, not vice versa. In a word, Jesus’ holiness was one in the Spirit, even when not in the letter also; and He Himself was the inspirer of the similar free loyalty in others, as a “life giving Spirit.”

 

2 Corinthians 3:6, 17

06 Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

 

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/firstandsecondadam.htm 

 

II Paul’s Gospel. The Law and Christ Crucified. Such being Paul’s line of approach to Jesus as the Christ, two things from the first marked his special apprehension of the Gospel:

1.      A clear sense that it superseded the Law in principle.

2.      Bound up with this, a new emphasis on the crucifixion.

Hitherto, the crucifixion had been regarded simply as due to Israel’s sinful un-readiness to accept such a Messiah as Jesus, and as the means of bringing it to heartfelt repentance on this issue, and so to forgiveness of sins. But Paul saw it as having a deeper meaning in relation to the kind of righteousness which was truly well-pleasing to God. Such righteousness was non-legal in quality, resting on a right attitude of soul toward God—the filial one—and not on merit acquired by human effort or “works,” i.e., obedience to specific precepts. it was the “righteous ness of God” as provided by God’s grace in the gift of His Son and appropriated by the pure receptivity of faith, as personal trust or reliance upon God’s grace in Him. Such faith was akin to that of Abraham. By it he became a “friend of God” and the recipient of the covenant of faith, to which the Law was added only later, in consequence of Israel’s un-readiness to live on the level of its forefathers’ more personal type of religion. “The righteousness in Christ” (i.e. union with Christ), as distinct from the law of Moses, was thus continuous in principle with that enjoyed by Abraham.

What then of the authority of the Law? And how was transition from its jurisdiction, now seen to be an episode in the Divine Dispensational Plan for training the People of God, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/dispensationalplan.htm to come about without the Law seeming to be set aside arbitrarily or to be belittled even in its Divine aspect? That the Law in its Mosaic or legal form as “letter” commanding form outside, rather than as “Spirit” or internal inspiration to the will, had in fact proved unable to “make righteous,” Paul himself had proved by his own experience. Only Spiritual union with Christ had availed to free him from “The law of sin” working *In the flesh.” “For what the Law could not do in that it was weak (ineffective) through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as an offering for sin (or to deal with sin), condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordinance (or righteous intent) of the Law might be fulfilled in us who walk…after the Spirit.

 

Romans 8:3—4

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.     

        

Such was Paul’s joyous experience of the fact that Christ had proved strong where the Law had proved weak (ineffective), namely, in bringing sin’s usurping to the judgement of death in His own Person, in that He at the crucifixion “died once for all to sin,” and so proved its sway to be an illegitimate one .

 

Romans 6:7, 10

07 For He that is dead is freed from sin.

10 For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. 

 

As a result, it was possible for those united with Christ as Lord to share His death to sin, which was practically one with its death as lord over the human will.

 

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

However; Paul goes further than this He relates Christ’s crucifixion to the |Law, not only along this line of profound religious experience, or moral mysticism, but also along another, in which it has been and is harder for most to follow his thought. To him however; there was a link between the two, in the fact that the Law in one aspect, namely, its human or psychological effect, is closely bound up with the very quality of sin as conscious, and so the more sinful, being now rebellious against the will of God Romans 7:7—25.  

 

Romans 7:7—25

07 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

08 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. [eager desire] f For without the law sin was dead.

09 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

 

That being so, it is needful in a sense to “die unto the Law” also—as having legal claims on one—by union with Christ, in order to be joined to Him in His new life not only of freedom form sin’s power to tempt into further sin toward God.

 

Romans 74--6

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

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.

 

Compare Romans 6:10-23

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

But also of emancipation from the realm of Law altogether, as the form in which God’s will is done. “For I through the law” writes Paul (Galatians 2:19 Forward) “died unto the Law, that I might live unto God”—on a new plane of motive and with a new type of obedience, i.e., the filial (relating to, or befitting a son). “I have been crucified with Christ [unto the Law]; yet I live [unto God]; and yet no longer I; but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh [here on earth] I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself up for me”—and in so doing has inspired the believers with a new principle of obedience, namely, love as the motive power by which faith takes effect. Galatians 5:6 “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word (or end), even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:14

 

Galatians 2:19--21

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

 

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

 

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

 

The Christian Salvation and the Saviour. Here we have in germ Paul’s whole gospel, which in emphasis and idea is a message of salvation, i.e., the making of life what it has in it, according to God’s creative intention, to become

(“life that is life indeed”). To this positive full idea, redemption and reconciliation are relative. http://godsplan.org.uk/christtheredeemer.htm of these two, redemption is the most comprehensive, expressing the process by which all that stands between the soul and its inheritance of joint life with God, “eternal life,” is done away with. Its first stage, sometimes called broadly and prophetically “redemption,” is on its objective side Christ’s worth par excellence. It roots in the crucifixion, for redemption is “by His blood” (life poured forth in sacrifice for others). On its subjective side it is reconciliation. Reconciliation is primarily of men to God, since God Himself takes the initiative in giving His Son to produce this effect in men. Yet, of course, there is a sense in which this actual relation of God is affected for the time by a man’s attitude toward Him.  

 

2 Corinthians 5:19—21

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For He hath made Him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

 

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.    

 

A synonym for this first stage, in terms of righteousness in “rightness” with God, is justification, or God’s own declaration that a man is in a right relation or attitude to himself by faith (of the type of Abraham’s). This for Paul is fundamental and contains in germ, in promise, and potency all that follows in the unfolding experiences of redemption, to wit, sanctification and redemption (i.e. of the body) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htm.   

 

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

 

Romans 8:23 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.

 

Compare Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

 

Thus, justification contains sanctification implicitly [implied]; and sanctification means the progressively full realisation in moral act and habit of the religious relation once and for all assumed in justification, namely, the filial Christ-centred, instead of the self-centred attitude, to which corresponds adoption on the part of God.

 

The Sphere of Salvation: The Church. We have seen how intimately related to his experience of the need and fact of salvation was Paul’s view of Jesus as God’s appointed Saviour. How, then, did he interpret to himself, and set forth for others, the nature of Christ’s saving personality? Acts tells us that after his conversion Paul forthwith proclaimed in the synagogues at Damascus Jesus’ Divine Sonship, as revealed in his own experiences.

 

Galatians 1:16 To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [Christ] among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

 

Jesus had done for the ex-Pharisee what bitter failure had taught him that nothing—not even God’s Law—could do, but only the personal intervention of God in revealed form, namely, in One Who could manifest God’s grace in saving power, because He Himself shared God’s very nature. Jesus, then, the absolute Spirit-anointed of God, was God’s Son in the in the fullest and most absolute sense possible, consistently with the unity and ultimate sovereignty of God—which Paul as a loyal Hebrew, always reserved for God the Father as distinct even from the “one Lord” of men, Jesus Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 8:5—13

05 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

06 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.

07 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

08 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

09 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 Wherefore, [why] if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

 

“All that God had been expected or could be expected to do for man in the field of man’s spiritual or moral experience had been done by Christ.” Thus he was in the sphere of salvation, the specifically religious sphere, practically equivalent to God. It was in Jesus, as His vicegerent (deputy), that “God had wrought salvation for His People” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/ethicalimplications.htm in the absolute and final sense, and so had completely revealed Himself “In the face of Jesus Christ.” This was the personal form of “The Glory” (Shekinah), whereby in the O.T. theophany’s God had appeared to men. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/stars.htm  All this Paul meant to express by calling Jesus the Son of God, One Who stood to God in a uniquely close relation, as of a perfect Son to a Father whose nature and will He shared: and this relation Paul carried back to the pre-temporal order; (Occurring or happening before the existence of time) ere, the Creation of the [fallen] World. http://godsplan.org.uk/pastpresentfuture.htm

In so thinking, Paul probably used certain conceptions in which it was natural that he should see a new meaning in the light of his fresh experience in Christ. It is thus that we can best account for the fact that he nowhere explains or tries to establish such categories as he applies to Jesus, but takes them for granted, arguing that it is to him alone that they of right belong on his own merits, as he had lived and worked among men. Among such categories was the “Wisdom” of God, already described in personalised fashion in Proverbs 8, which seems by Paul’s day to have been identified with “the image,” or the self-expression in a form apprehensible to finite beings (able to be perceived by a sense or by the mind), of the invisible God, according to man’s Creation in Genesis 1(Compare Col 115—17).

 

Proverbs 8 King James Version (KJV)

01 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

02 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

03 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

04 Unto you, O men, I call; and My voice is to the sons of man.

05 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

06 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of My lips shall be right things.

07 For My mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to My lips.

08 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

09 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

10 Receive My instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

13 The fear [Reverence] of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

15 By Me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

16 By Me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

17 I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me.

18 Riches and honour are with Me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and My revenue than choice silver.

20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

21 That I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

22 The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old.

23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth?

26 While as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth:

28 When He established the clouds above: when He strengthened the fountains of the deep:

29 When He gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth:

30 Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him;

31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and My delights were with the sons of men.

32 Now therefore hearken unto Me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

35 For whoso findeth Me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.

36 But he that sinneth against Me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate Me love death.

 

Colossians  1:15—17

15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

 

Such is surely the impression produced by the passage in;

 

Philippians 2:5--11

05 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

06 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

07 But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

08 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the crucufixion.

09 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus [Christ] every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

where Paul sets forth Christ as one who had originally stooped from a state in which he was “in the form of God”—a being to be classed with God as Divine—to assume man’s estate as one of relative self-humbling. But it was because He had so acted, instead of ambitiously grasping by direct means at “equality with God” in  outward glory, that God has “yet further exalted Him” (i.e. beyond the former state) so as to give Him as a free gift the Name that is above every name, that of universal Lordship, such as belongs to God the Father Himself by His very nature. Yet this enhancement of the Son’s pre-incarnate glory, gained as it was through such filial devotion to the Father’s will, redounded (have a good effect) also to that Father’s greater glory.

1) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/stars.htm  2) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm  Philippians 2:9—11 above.

This is a soaring speculation, but one rooted in profound insight into the nature of moral greatness, the glory of service in love, or the principle of noblesse oblige; it involves a distinctly Christian conception of greatness, which has changed the human moral standard for the noblest members of our race.

 

Mark 10:35—45

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto Him, saying, “Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.”

36 And He said unto them, “What would ye that I should do for you?”

37 They said unto Him, “Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand, in thy glory.”

38 But Jesus said unto them, “Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with?”

39 And they said unto Him, “We can.” And Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptised withal shall ye be baptised:’

40 But to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.’”

41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, “Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.’

43 ‘But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:’

44 ‘And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.’

45 ‘For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.’”.

 

We have yet to see how in his own person and subsequent career Paul, the bond servant, exemplified the supreme principle of self-forgetful love and service which had shone so bright in the Lord Who had won His passionate allegiance. But before turning to this topic, we must describe yet another aspect of Paul’s Gospel which largely inspired his untiring ministry.

Thus far we have viewed Paul’s Gospel of Salvation chiefly in its individual aspect, because that was the side in which it first found him and transformed him from foe to Apostle. But while intensely individual in experience, as befitted the apostle of personality in contrast to Law, his Gospel was, in fact, nobly universal and corporate in its range, a message of fellowship in love. This comes out strikingly in the glorious Psalm of love in (1 Cor 13).

 

1 Corinthians 13

01 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

02 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

03 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

04 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

05 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

06 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

07 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

08 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

09 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

It is strangely overlooked by those who regard Paul as the partisan (Jewish resistance) of faith as compared with love. There is little doubt that Paul, who speaks with such contrition (sincere and complete remorse for sins committed) for having blindly persecuted the church of God, had from the first been deeply impressed by the life of the church, the Temple of God’s Messiah, with its intense fellowship in brotherly love. Once, then, he had tasted life within, as the very grace of Christ, as well as the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit of adoption spread abroad in it, it was he, above all others who expounded the idea of the church in all its fullness of meaning, as the fulfilment of God’s purpose of boundless goodwill toward mankind, brought out on a plan or “mystery” of surpassing wisdom.

In so doing he sketches the first real philosophy of history, in virtue of his experience of standing at the very heart of things. He is united to God, the Creator of all, in Christ, His revealed mind. (Compare 1 Corinthians Chapters 1&2.)

 

Especially Corinthians 2:6, 11 16

06 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/spiritualmaterial.htm

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

 

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

 

Ephesians 1:3—14

03 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  http://www.godsplan.org.uk/jehovah%27sword.htm

04 According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: http://www.godsplan.org.uk/spiritualmaterial.htm

05 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/hebrew.htm

06 To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/stars.htm

07 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; http://godsplan.org.uk/christtheredeemer.htm

08 Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; http://www.godsplan.org.uk/bookofproverbs.htm

09 Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: http://www.godsplan.org.uk/restoration.htm

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/stars.htm

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of TRUTH, the GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thetruth.htm

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/godcontrols.htm

 

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

 

It was he who conceived and developed with great richness of application the idea of the Church as the body of Christ, a social organism of persons unified by one animating spirit and directing mind pictured as centred in its head, Christ its Lord.. This unity of life he speaks of with wondering awe as the supreme “mystery,  of which the human the unity of human marriage is another type.

 

Ephesians 5:23—32

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;

26 That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/evilproblem.htm

 

And the unity is so intimate and reciprocal that the whole organism, made up of head and members, he even terms “the Christ.”

 

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

 

It has, i.e., one principle of life, the Divine Spirit, concentrated in the head ad flowing from Him to all His members. “For in one Spirit were we all baptised into one body…and were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  It is, we observe, in closest connection with the church and its supernatural or truly Divine life that Paul develops his thought about the Spirit of God, now revealed in new and fuller form as the Spirit of Christ. It is the source of the fresh grace--(gifts or charisms)—which mark the church of Christ, as distinct from that of Moses “in the wilderness,” and which was the basis of the organisation of those ministerial functions, in the widest sense, by which it edifies or builds itself up in love under the headship of Christ. It is that Spirit which constitutes the Spiritual body one in a more marvellous way than even the animal body, which is its visible analogy (functional similarity between anatomical parts without similarity of structure and origin). http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htm  Nay the personal head, Jesus Christ, is Himself not complete in His Christ-ship, His life-giving function, until His potential fullness has found realised expression in the corporate life of the new humanity, the church, which is thus the complement alike of His nature and historical experiences, particularly His saving sufferings.

 

Ephesians 1: 22--23

 22 And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm

 

Ephesians 3:20--21

20 Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm

 

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in My sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church:

 

Philippians 3:10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm

 

In this noble and profoundly ethical mysticism—for it is the basis of His most practical exhortations to Christ-like living—we have the explanation of Paul’s teaching on Christ as the Spirit or life-saving principle of the new form of the covenant, as distinct from the old form as law or “letters,  and of the new form of God’s People as Christ’s Church or body.

Jesus as the Second Adam http://www.godsplan.org.uk/firstandsecondadam.htm  “heavenly” or spiritual in nature, causes men to share His own Spirit-nature; and in the power of that old dynamic inspiration enables them to will and to do after God’s good-pleasure.

 

Philippians 2:12—30 

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.

20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.

24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.

25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/armyofgod.htm

26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.

27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.

29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:

30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

 

In “working out” or realising the potential energy of the germ of salvation, as the Christ-life implanted in them by faith, or union with Him as Head, they are but giving free course to the “mind” or Spirit of Christ (Phil 2:5), which is “working in” the body and its members to ever fuller unfolding of its transforming possibilities of Christly character—“the fruit of the Spirit.

 

2 Corinthians 3:17—18

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

Romans 12:1--21

0I I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

02 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. http://godsplan.org.uk/god%27spurpose.htm

03 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

04 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

05 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one member’s one of another.

06 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

07 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or He that teacheth, on teaching; http://www.godsplan.org.uk/teacher.htm

08 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

09 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; http://godsplan.org.uk/education.htm

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Galatians 5:16—24

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh http://www.godsplan.org.uk/spiritualmaterial.htm  

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

 

Philippians 4: 8--23

08 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/timewewereheard.htm

09 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 

Here we have too the ground of Paul’s wonderful hopefulness touching moral transformation in all those once really united to Christ in the Spirit. When actual persistence of habits and “fruits of the flesh” confronted him in his converts, as they often did in ways which today, amid standards of a Christian tradition of living, would awaken doubt as to those indulging in them ever having been in Christ, Paul simply calls on them to awake to the inconsistency of their actions with the underlying impulse and trend of their soul as united to the Head, made “one Spirit” with the Lord.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9—11

09 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty [freedom]; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

 

Galatians 6:6--18

06 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

07 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

08 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

09 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross [crucifixion] of Christ.

13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross [crucifixion]  of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

 

He never doubts but that, with the aid of the other members of the Body, the ailing member will be made whole again, or “saved” into healthful life by the power of Christ. 

 

Galatians 6: 1--5

1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another

5 For every man shall bear his own burden. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/howtostudy.htm

 

III Paul’s Missionary Activities With His Writings.

Early Preparation. After the first days of enthusiastic proclamation to his Jewish compatriots at Damascus of the new light from heaven that had smitten so suddenly and transformingly on his Spiritual vision, it seems that Paul—like his Master Himself after his baptismal experience—felt the need for retirement into solitude, in order to ponder and assimilate more deeply the full meaning and practical implications of that Divinely given vision. Christ had laid hold on him; but Paul had not yet adequately apprehended “the fact of Christ” and the range of the Gospel. Indeed, Paul’s life was to be a “moral and mental growing up in him.”

 

Phil 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

 

Ephesians 1: 17--23

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: http://www.godsplan.org.uk/bookofproverbs.htm

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,

20 Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

 

Ephesians 3:16—21

16 That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/knowledge.htm

20 Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

 

Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the TRUTH in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ:

 

So he “went away into Arabia” for meditation, and he returned to Damascus to resume his public testimony to Christ and His Salvation (Gal 1:17), with added power (Acts 9:22).

 

Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

 

Acts 9:22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. http://godsplan.org.uk/luke.htm

 

This stirred up such resentment among the Jews that he had to flee for his life; and thereupon he seized the chance of going to Jerusalem to visit Peter http://www.godsplan.org.uk/episteofpeter.htm, doubtless to learn more of the historic facts of Jesus’ life and teaching http://www.godsplan.org.uk/teachingofjesus.htm. But again Jewish resentment, this time on the part of “Hellenists” like himself, as formerly in the case of Stephen, drove him ere long from the hearth alike of Judaism and the church 

 

Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

 

Acts 9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

 

And now he sought his native Tarsus. There, and in the northern part of the Roman province of Syria-Cilicia, he carried on an apostolate of some ten years, a period often forgotten, but one which no doubt had a great influence in shaping and confirming his distinctive gospel by the lessons of experience, to which Paul, like the other apostles, gave due need as to the leading of the Spirit working in and through them. Hence when Barsabas, who had already befriended him in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27), came to seek his assistance in the new mission which had arisen at Antioch, beyond the Holy Land altogether, through the spontaneous preaching of certain Hellenists of Stephen’s type, and was now under Barnabas’ supervision, Paul was fully mature in his principles and practice and prepared to cooperate.

 

Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

 

Matthew 10:5-6

5 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.

 

Acts 13 King James Version (KJV)

01 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

02 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, “Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them”.

03 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

04 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

05 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

06 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: http://www.godsplan.org.uk/doctrineofdemons.htm

07 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

08 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

09 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.

10 And said, “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”

11 ‘And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. ‘”And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.

15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

 

16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.

17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought He them out of it.

18 And about the time of forty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness.

19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, He divided their land to them by lot.

20 And after that He gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

22 And when He had removed him, He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also He gave their testimony, and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”

23 Of this man's seed hath God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

24 When John had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, “Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose”.

26 “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”

 

27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning Him.

28 And though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired they Pilate that He should be slain.

29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. [Note: not a cross]

 

30 But God raised Him from the dead:

31 And He was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto the people.

32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

34 And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.

35 Wherefore He saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

37 But He, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

 

38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

39 And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;

41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.

43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

 

44 And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

45 But when the Jews [Pharisees, Sadducees &c] saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, “I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

 

50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

 

First Missionary Journey: Admission of Gentiles. Into the exact sequence of Paul’s activities, and of his relations with the older apostles in connection with his liberal views as regards non-Jews into the Church of Christ on equal terms with Jews, apart from circumcision—hitherto regarded as the condition of full standing within God’s covenant—it is hardly needed here to enter. But the opinion may be expressed in passing, that Paul had already taken steps to safeguard his distinctive Gospel against misunderstanding in the apostolic circle itself; and so against any danger of hindrance from the quarter, even before he and Barsabas went on their great pioneering journey beyond Syria-Cilicia, first to Cyprus and then to the cities of South Galatia.  

 

Galatia 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

 

But the agreement reached in private between them and the “pillars” of the mother church—Peter and John, along with James the Lord’s brother, the permanent head of the local community—which meant a division of spheres work, “the circumcision” and the gentiles respectively.

 

Galatians 2:2—10  

02 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

03 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

04 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

05 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

06 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

07 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

08 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

09 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

 

This agreement was not as yet publicly recognised by the generally conservative Jerusalem church. Thus even before the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas, as it seems, a difficulty arose in the relations of the two branches of the church, the Jewish and the Gentile, on the border line question of intercourse at meals. This was an issue raised by Caste in India (Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a lifestyle which often includes an occupation), between those ritually “clean” and “unclean” or “untouchable,” and became a burning one, owing to the coming to Antioch of certain “from James.”

 

Galatians 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

 

These brought the public opinion of the Jerusalem church to bear on the consciences of the local Jewish Christians and caused even Peter, then on a visit to Antioch, and after him Barnabas too, to change their more liberal practices of teaching Gentile believers as full brethren in Christ in the matter of table fellowship. It was a matter on which Jewish tradition and feeling were strong; and no doubt Peter and Barnabas felt it expedient to defer to Jerusalem feeling when the issue of habitual practice (in contrast to such an exceptional case in (Acts 10:1—11:17) was thus raised. However; Paul stood firm as a rock and exposed the inconsistency of the line taken.

 

Galatians 2:11--21 

11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

 

Second Missionary Journey. Paul began his second missionary journey. He seems to have had Ephesus, the capital of the Roman province of Syria, already in view as a new advanced base for yet more world-wide missionary work. But after revisiting his converts in South Galatian, and in his zeal for unity in Christ’s one church between those whom “the middle wall of partition,”  “the Law of ordinances,” had once divided, he was diverted by Divine intimation to the road leading northwest toward Europe.

 

Acts 16:6--10

06 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

07 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

08 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

09 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

 

This was the foundation in of churches in Philippi, and Thessalonica in Macedonia; and his relations to the latter gave rise to the earliest of his extant pastoral letters, written in Corinth in the winter following (51—52 A.D.).  These letters are simple applications of his Gospel to certain practical problems which had arisen for his inexperienced converts in his own enforced absence, due partly to their belief that their Lord might return at any moment, so that some even neglected working for their daily bread; and partly to unenlightened views of conduct, especially in sexual purity, not befitting love to a Holy heavenly Father, and to men and women as His children.

 

Epistle to Galatians. To this same stay of eighteen months at Corinth may be assigned the circular letter to the Galatian Churches. Judaism type Christians from outside, probably from Jerusalem, were undermining the loyalty of these churches to Paul’s Gospel of Spiritual freedom from the Law through all-inclusive faith and obedience directed toward Christ and His new Law of love, under the inspiration of His Spirit in their hearts. The ostensible plea (plausible) seems to have been that such was well enough to begin with, but that obedience to the Law, and the right of circumcision as sign of incorporation into the People of the Law, were needful to a more mature and normal Christianity.

 

Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

 

This virtually challenged Paul’s form of Gospel and so his apostolic authority, which the interlopers represented as derived from the older apostles, not co-ordinate with theirs.  What added to Paul’s indignation at this challenge was its specious-ness and its using against him his very magnanimity (is the virtue of being great of mind and heart) in commending the concordat—as though it meant his owning to a human authority over his Gospel—and in circumcising Timothy, a half Jew by birth; whereas, in fact, he had done it for the sake of the Jews whom his mission might bring him, lest they should say that Paul forbade the national covenant sign even to born Jews.

 

Acts 16:1--3

1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

 

Such disingenuous (lacking in frankness, candour, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous) features of the attack explain the vehemence (intensity) of his tone in this burning apology for his apostolate and sincerity all along. In it we have alike typical Jewish lines of argument to meet Jewish minds (Galatians 3:10—22; 4:21—31), hammer like blows of appeal to sheer spiritual facts. (Gal 3:1—5), and solemn asseverations of the authority of his Gospel and his consistency in applying it in different circumstances (Gal 1:1—10; 5:1—4; 11forward), Running through all, too, is an affectionate,  fatherly tone of yearning concern for the loyalty of his children to the Gospel and to him as a direct witness. The appeal covers the whole gamut of human emotions. It indicates the rich humanity of Paul, when we take the pains to read between the lines of the allusive, broken, and often ejaculatory pleading of what is emphatically a letter, in its changing but always personal modes of address. It reveals its writer, on certain sides, more than anything else.

 

Epistles to Corinthians. In Paul’s next extant letters, those to the church at Corinth some four years later (56 A.D.), we meet, besides challenge of Paul’s full apostolic authority stirred up by Judaist interlopers, a whole range of new problems due to the non-Jewish and typically Greek mentality of a large section of local converts. “The Greeks,” says Paul, “seek after wisdom,” in the sense of philosophy as the rationally understood; such was the main source of dissatisfaction with and deviating from Paul’s own way of presenting the Gospel at Corinth. Some who so felt contrasted with it the more idealistic way in which even Apollos, whom Paul generously recognises as fellow worker, had followed in Paul’s footsteps in the interval, using his Alexandrine culture of the Philonic (Philo) http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4493400?sid=21105525011231&uid=2&uid=3738032&uid=4  type in his exposition of the same message which Paul had put more bluntly to the conscience, with its sense of moral failure and guilt, in terms of “Christ and Him Crucified” as the sum of personal salvation. Others, however, prided themselves on having struck out a fresh line of “wisdom” or superior insight (gnosis) into the true doctrine of Christ, which cut it away altogether from the moral genius of Biblical religion. Stressing its intellectual suggestions, they threw it into a different perspective altogether, making it an ideology with little or no reference to the realism of the will and moral personality, in a world where the intimate relations of body and spirit must be harmonised and not ignored.

This attitude led to egotistic individualism, devoid of love as the ruling principle of the Gospel. Against it, as well as other abuses of the experiences and doctrine of the free Spirit of God, as the source of all spiritual gifts, Paul uttered his sublime prophetic outburst on love as the supreme spiritual reality, gathering up with itself its sister graces of faith and hope, and abiding throughout all partial and passing forms of human “knowledge” of things Divine. “Knowledge puffeth up; love buildeth up,” in the sphere of moral personality—the final reality in God or man. 

 

Paul’s Use of Terms. In expounding his thought to converts wont to use a terminology rather different from his own in its association and shades of meaning, Paul, with the tact of a great missionary, adopted certain words and phrases current amongst those to whom he wrote. Paul held firmly that Biblical religion had nothing to learn from the worship of “demons,” adopted no positive conceptions, as distinct from illustrations, as from such a source.

We shall find in his letters henceforth constant reminders of the problems of adaptation to the forms of a new and largely non-Jewish world of thought and training—problems which every missionary today, especially amid ancient civilisations like those of India and China has to face and solve.

 

 Epistle to Romans. The second of Paul’s letters to Corinth is full of passages revealing the very heart of the man, in his profound and sensitive humanity, and of his personal religion.  But we must hasten on to the last of the letters of his period of missionary work as known to us, that in which he was engaged mainly in vindicating the Gospel as God’s final message for man as man, against all who would make it appanage (grant) of Judaism and of religion as Divine Law.

The Epistle to the Romans, written to a church with which he had no personal relations, is not so much a letter as comprehensive manifesto of his Gospel in various relations, It is meant at once for Jew and Gentile, setting forth Paul’s thought in broad outline, and striving particularly to justify God’s providential dealings with both in history, on the basis of the sovereign freedom of Divine grace, in His successive dispensations or methods of treating man in bulk rather than individually. Overlooking this fact has led to much misreading of its predestination and election, with grievous results for Christian doctrine.

It embraces, however, almost every aspect of Paul’s theology and religion in a wonderful synthesis, throwing light both backward and forward over the whole of his teaching. It illuminates too, by its very structure, the way in which he was wont to apply his theology to daily conduct, and to root even the most practical details of the latter in the former as inspiration and as a source of motive power.  We have already noted how he deals with moral inconsistency in the daily “walk” of Christians, not by falling back on the legal principle for help, but by calling on them to think again and realise their essential standing as united by faith with Christ Himself, in the Holy freedom from sin’s thraldom (the state of being under the control of another person),

achieved by virtue of His Spirit’s power working within. But in a central section of this Epistle (Chapters 6—8), he sets forth the theory of this experience of personal unity between Christ and His members, in a way which shows that his profound moral mysticism had not been grasped in certain quarters, and that his doctrine of justification and sanctification as alike by faith (in Paul’s sense of the word) had been travestied into a condoning of moral laxity, later known as antinomianism.

Travestied = a grotesque or farcical imitation for purposes of ridicule.

Laxity - relaxed

Antinomianism =In Christianity, an antinomian denies the fixed meaning and applicability of moral law and believes that salvation is attained solely through faith and divine grace.

 

IV Last Things. Closing Experiences. Between this Epistle written to Rome and the second main group, written from Rome after an interval of some three years, came a series of dramatic experiences, illustrative of Paul’s greatness of soul. His last visit to Jerusalem (57 A.D.), in the interests of especially cementing the unity in the one Church of Christ between Jew and Gentile by practical proof of love on the part of the latter in the form of relief for “the poor saints” at Jerusalem; his arrest through the enmity of Jews (positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will) from Asia; his trials before Roman courts and detention in prison in Caesarea; his appeal to the supreme court at Rome, and his heroic voyage on thither (All described in Acts 21:15—27:44)—all these had no little effect upon the perspective in which he now looked out upon the world, and upon the Gospel as God’s Plan of Salvation for meeting its needs, alike in their diversity and essential oneness.

 

Epistles to Colossians and Philemon. As illustrating the sort of mental diversity through which men of varying traditions interpreted the Salvation of which they had tasted in Christ, we have the letter to the Colossians, who lived on the border of the province of Asia , were ascetic (practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline) scruples as to foods in relation to religious purity, and also a belief in the hierarchy of angels able to obstruct free access to God even through Christ, possessed certai souls with nervous fears alien to the “liberty of the children of God.” This gave occasion to Paul to unfold his high theory of the person of Christ and of His all-sufficiency more fully than before; while the beautiful personal note to a member of this church, Philemon, illustrates alike its writers Christian courtesy and his wise handling of a pressing point in Christian ethics, namely, the all-pervasive fact of slavery, viewed in terms of actual conditions. For the lot of the church was a difficult one. It found itself in the midst of social institutions which could not abruptly be denounced without precipitating a conflict on what was, after all, only a second issue—secondary because the world was not expected to continue in its existing order, but was to be suddenly transformed by the return of Christ.

 

Epistle to Ephesians. Closely related, in time and outlook, to Colossians was the second of Pal’s great manifestos on the Gospel generally, an open letter to all his churches in the province of Asia, known to us as Ephesians and referred to in Col 4:16 which was to be passed on to them after being read by the neighbouring church of Laodicea. 

 

Colossians 4:16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

 

The theme is universality in idea of the church as the body of Christ, and its transcendent, destiny, namely, humanity as made new and filled with the Divine fullness of God latent in its Head, Jesus Christ

 

Ephesians 1:1—10

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all Spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

6 To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;

8 Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: http://www.godsplan.org.uk/spiritualmaterial.htm

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: http://www.godsplan.org.uk/dispensationalplan.htm

 

Ephesians 3:14--21

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/knowledge.htm

20 Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

 

In it all artificial barriers of race and condition of sex are, in principle, done away with, but the fruits of this can be realised only by a moral process of growing up into the Head in all things, as provided by all gifts of ministry and self-edification through the Spirit. But this forms the incentive for zealous pressing on in the path of a Christly “walk”(Eph 4:17).

 

Ephesians 4:1--16

0I Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

02 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

03 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

04 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

05 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

06 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

07 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

08 Wherefore He saith, “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

09 (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might [full] fill all things.) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm

11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 

Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

 

Pastoral Epistles: 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus. And now we are nearing the end alike of Paul’s earthly life and his vision of human Salvation. The so called Pastoral Epistles to Timothy and Titus add little to our impression of Paul’s personality and work. The present writer still inclines to the view expressed by him elsewhere, that they are genuine as a whole, and not only in a few fragments. On that assumption they show Paul continuing the correction of erroneous semi-Jewish, semi-ascetic fancies (as in Colossians), especially the denial of the resurrection body, a denial due to a dualistic prejudice against matter as such. Against such claims to superior “knowledge” he sets a truly religious life of love, on the lines of the pattern of “wholesome” moral instruction already given in his own teaching and example.

 

Epistle of Philippians. But whatever view we take of Paul’s relation to the Pastoral Epistles, the swan song of his Spirit is the intensely personal and spiritually gallant letter to his loved church at Philippi, the first fruits of his mission to Europe. “Rejoice in the Lord always”:  such is its note. He has but sight hope, humanly speaking, apart from what he feels may be best for his converts (Philippians 1:22—24) of escaping “the lion’s mouth” for long, as far as concerns his earthly life but what of that?

 

Philippians 1:22—24

22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

 

2 Timothy 4:6—8, 16, 18

06 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

07 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

08 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.

16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

He will only be the sooner with Christ, in more immediate fellowship, which is “far better.” He feels himself in the act of being “offered as a libation” ( Libation was part of ancient Egyptian society where it was a drink offering to honor and please the various divinities) upon the sacrifice and service of his converts faith; and the thought gives him joy, which he calls on them to share and not to cast down.

 

Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

Philippians 2:18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

 

And so he passes from our view, a victim of Jewish enmity using Nero’s appeal court as its tool. he died probably by beheading, as was his right as a Roman citizen, rather than by such an ignominious death (disgrace, shame) such as befell Peter and many more a year later in 64 A.D., when they were made scapegoats for the public suspicions as to the sourc3e of a great fire in Rome that summer. Truly a triumphant end to a career of constant triumph in the train of Christ his Lord.

 

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

 

And what was the end of human history as Paul saw it stretching away into the mists that envelope all human knowledge of things in space and time? sooner of later, this, the Kingdom Of God fully realised among men, when the Divine life, eternal in quality in the redeemed as in the Redeemer and His Father, shall have cast out death and replaced it in all its forms. Then shall the vice-regency of Christ the Son, be merged in the soul all-inclusive sway of the sovereign father,

that God may be all in all.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:24--28

24 Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27 For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, [Christ] then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him [Jehovah] that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.  http://levendwater.org/companion/append4.html