Two Face the Gospel
Some will rationalize that the gospel had evolved during the fist century church and that works was thought to be needful in order to be saved. Just as the Jews wrestled with the question of whether or not gentiles should follow the Law of Moses or not. We can see this debate played out in the book of Acts. The prevailing opinion was gentiles should not be troubled with the Law of Moses.
Act 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
Why would they not trouble the gentiles, well because their message in the book of Acts and all of the New Testament is we are not justified by the Law.
Act 13:38-39 KJV 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.
So some contend that those passages that speak of works in some form or another in scripture are earlier understandings of the gospel and are really lesser gospels than other books. In common terms, don’t hang to much on what James say, rather put your hope more in what Paul says. James just didn’t understand the gospel when he wrote It, like Paul did when he wrote much later. Is this the way we should be looking at scripture, as something that need to evolve in the fist century?
The bottom line of scripture is we are not justified by obeying the Law of Moses. It says this in scripture in so many ways I would hate to have to recount them all. BUT… then there are those many scriptures that speak of obedience to God or there is no salvation. I hate to say it, but it is true. There are those many scriptures that speak of needing to endure, keep the confidence, not live in sin, not live according to the flesh. If all of these verses are found in James does it mean that we can ignore them, as some would contend?
So what is the answer to this Two Face Gospel? Before I answer this let me help make answering the question even more difficult to answer. Did you know that Paul did not have a new revelation given to him by Jesus. Yes it is true he got his gospel by revelation of Jesus but he did not have Jesus teach him a truth outside of what he already had in the Law of Moses and the Prophets. .
Gal 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Some would justify their position of an evolving gospel in the fist century because Paul had not yet preached his revelation when James wrote his epistle. This is a position of some of those on the grace side of Two Face. Funny thing is Paul never once quotes this expected new revelation in scripture. Not ever. What Paul testifies to as the gospel is not any parchments that he wrote the new revelation from Christ on as some suppose. Instead over and over again Paul quotes the one thing the grace crowd supposes is irrelevant to the Christian. Paul’s gospel that he quotes over and over again is the Law of Moses and the Prophets. In fact if you go to the last chapter of Acts at the very last part, you will see Paul preaching about Christ and the Kingdom of God, not from his supposed new revelation, but from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. If one wants to do a little more reading, when Paul is saved from the Jews in Jerusalem and held in prison what hope do you think he puts his hope in. Some in the grace crowd think Paul would say his new revelation, but this is not true. Paul put his hope in the Law of Moses and the Prophets.
Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
In fact all of the church had only the Law of Moses and the Prophets for their gospel. Sorry, scripture does not support any new revelation outside of what is already given in, you guessed it, the Law of Moses and the Prophets. So we can conclude that our gospel is not based on a new revelation best understood by Paul as dictated to him by Christ. Our gospel according to the gospel says Paul’s revelation was a new understanding of what he already had in the Law of Moses and the Prophets.
Since this is true, was there still some evolution of the gospel? Did Paul understand the Law and Prophets better than James? The problem with this idea is those troubling verses concern man’s responsibility in salvation are not all found in the book of James. In fact Paul, the champion of grace, says the same things James and Hebrews says. So this makes the issue even more confusing.
My next post will look at the Two Competing Gospels and get down to the one true coherent gospel where grace does not conflict with works. Want to know when I post my conclusion, take the guess work out of it and simply follow The Gospel According to the Gospel.