Gospel or not, that is the question
I can not imagine there is anybody who says they follow Christ who knowingly or deliberately follows a heresy. Men become convinced of their beliefs with strong convictions based on what they have come to know. Yet we know there are many false teachings in Christendom. Even though there is a multitude of people chasing after these false teachings, they are convinced they are following a true teaching of scripture. But alas convictions do not make truth. Truth is truth because it is true, even when men by the multitudes reject it for that which is false, it is still true.
Paul say to those he preached the gospel to they are saved if they keep in memory his gospel. If they do not keep to his gospel, if they some how stray from his teachings, they will have believed in vain.
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
I in my heart of hearts believe I am in keeping with the gospel Paul preached on my web site The Gospel According to the Gospel. Even though this is my conviction, it doesn’t make it true. As I stated earlier, convictions do not make truth.
I have watched as others have wrestled with my beliefs as I have communicated on my blog. To be honest, I am not sure if it how I share these beliefs, the beliefs themselves or a combination of both. I have been taken back by others insistence that I have somehow strayed from the gospel of Paul. Such conclusions seem ironic to me, since it is the teachings of Paul that has persuaded me of my beliefs.
Most reactions to the gospel I advocate are strong indeed. Strong not in a confirming manner but a condemning manner. It is my desire to lay out for my detractors, who are concerned that I have separated myself from the gospel Paul preached, what it was that Paul preached. I hope those who are close to me and those who are afar, who have been offended by my zeal by my insistence I have the true gospel of Paul, will take the time to read this lengthy abbreviated gospel of Paul to clear me of any accusations of being in a state of spiritual duress. That I might once again gain the respect of those I love and not be seen as a tragedy and a thing to be pitied. But rather rejoice with me in zeal and fervor for the one true gospel of scripture. Click the below link for the rest of this post.
Before I start discussing what Paul taught, it will serve our purposes to discus from what source he preached the gospel. Paul did not preach out of some rough draft New Testament. When he said he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, he was not speaking of our New Testament gospel.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Paul wrote this in the book of Romans at a time in which he only anticipated going to Rome and preaching this gospel of Christ. In the last chapter of Acts we find Paul finally preaching to the Romans the gospel of Christ. The testimony of the account is true, Paul was preaching from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. He was not preaching from anything we could remotely consider our New Testament documents. Paul’s gospel of Christ is the Law of Moses and the Prophets. It is this gospel that Paul was not ashamed of.
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
There is no testimony in scripture that any of the New Testament preachers, evangelist or Apostles taught the gospel of Christ from any other source than from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. I hope this is a settled matter and we can move forward.
Not wishing to depart from Paul’s teaching, I believe what he has written concerning this gospel of Christ. Furthermore, being consistent with the presentation of Paul’s gospel from the Law of Moses and the Prophets, I believe that a righteousness of God apart from the Law is witnessed to by the Law. In doing so, I am acknowledging part of Paul’s gospel from the Old Testament.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
How can anyone convince me I am not following what Paul preached, when I advocate from the Law of Moses, a righteousness from God is proclaimed? Later you will see how Paul ties this righteousness into Christ, which I too advocate.
We know Paul believed there is a righteousness from God found in the writings of Moses. But what did Paul preach as this righteousness of God from Moses? Paul like many other New Testament writers uses Abraham as his example of the gospel.
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Paul taught from Moses’ writings that Abraham was credited righteousness apart from the Law (just like us) in the fact that he was imputed righteousness before the command was given to be circumcised. God gave Abraham circumcision as a seal in his flesh of the righteousness that he had by faith, through grace and not by works. There is more discussion of this in our gospel, but I will move on for brevity sake.
Am I not in the right to not only believe this teaching of Paul’s gospel but proclaim it? Why should I be considered off course when I recognize and preach this gospel as Paul did?
Paul teaches from the writings of Moses that the gospel was announced in advance to Abraham. This too I declare and defend on my blog.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
In the writing of Moses Paul sees our gospel first being preached to Abraham. Which goes hand in hand with the seal of credited righteousness in circumcision. Has the gospel I have come to believe strayed from that of Paul’s teaching?
I advocate that circumcision is not just a sign of imputed righteousness for Abraham but all of his seed. I further advocate that our gospel does not teach of imputed righteousness from Christ on, but from Abraham on. Paul speaking of the people of Israel says they rejected this righteousness from God. It was definitely given to them, but the people rejected it. It was given to them and they had the seal of this righteousness in their flesh, but they sought a righteousness that was not from the promise but from the Law.
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Again Paul says they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, did not submit to the righteousness God gave them. Isn’t this warning for all believers? Isn’t this why Paul wrote Galatians?
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Am I guilty of believing another gospel when I advocate that Israel was given righteousness by God and they rejected it? Am I guilty of following another gospel or perverting the one of, it by grace and not works?
Paul keeping with his understanding of the gospel preached in the writings of Moses asks a question. His rhetorical question asks, if the credited righteousness that David speaks of is for the circumcised only.
Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.
Paul goes on to explain how Abraham was reckoned with imputed righteousness before his circumcision after he quotes David. But Paul makes an even clearer statement of this when he says that we uncircumcised gentiles are include in the blessing of Abraham and this through Christ.
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Even the promise of the Holy Spirit is tied directly to the blessing of Abraham. I believe this is the gospel Paul expounded on in the last chapter of Acts. Am I guilty of leaving the gospel Paul preached because I believe the testimony, that the blessing of imputed righteousness given to Abraham and his seed has now come to us gentiles? This is a very important statement and needs to be emphasized. Paul was not teaching the blessing of Abraham has now come on Jew but the gentile only. The testimony of Paul’s gospel is not to Jews and gentiles, but gentiles. For Paul considered the Jew to already have the gospel that he is preaching from found in the writings of Moses. They were already included in the covenant of imputed righteousness. (By the way the writer of Hebrews considers them to have the same gospel we do today.) So am I unlike him if I believe the same?
Paul even makes a beautiful summary of this when he says that Christ took the symbol of imputed righteousness and became of minister of it. That’s right, Paul taught that Jesus became a minister of circumcision to confirm the promise (imputed righteousness) to the fathers. Interestingly Paul does not teach that Christ fulfilled this promise of credited righteousness. Instead he teaches that Christ as the minister of circumcision confirmed it. Not only did Christ give a confirmation of this promise of imputed righteousness, Christ ministers to us gentiles too. We gentiles may through this ministry of circumcision praise God for His mercies towards us gentiles as we are included in the blessing of Abraham.
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
Paul speaking of us gentiles, says we too are now sealed with the seal of righteousness, but this seal is not in our flesh but on our hearts. The location may have changed with the better covenant coming through our minister of circumcision, but the meaning is still the same. Circumcision still is a sign of God’s imputed righteousness to us who believe. We are sealed by our minister of circumcision by the circumcision of Christ. Just as Abraham and the Jew were promised a credited righteousness that was confirmed by Christ, so we too now can say God has credited us a righteousness we do not deserve.
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Paul speaking to the gentile believers who are now circumcised in the heart by Christ, who is our minister of circumcision, says we are now the circumcision. It is no longer just the Jew who is the circumcision of God, but us gentiles too.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Paul in keeping with his gospel, reminds us gentiles that we were once uncircumcised, that we not being part of the covenant of circumcision were separated from the commonwealth of Israel. We did not participate in the covenants of promise, which Christ as the minister of circumcision confirmed to the fathers. We being uncircumcised were without hope and without God. We did not share in the grace of God in His imputed righteousness that He gave to the people of Israel in the seal of circumcision.
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But praise God we are now part of the common wealth of Israel. We are grafted into the family of Abraham by our faith in the promise of righteousness that comes to us as Christ seals us with His circumcision. Our hearts are made new and now we can live for Christ in newness of life. For me, I want to rejoice at God’s goodness to us. The joy I feel in my heart as I contemplate His gospel for all mankind I can not express. And some would think that the God of the Old Testament is cruel and angry.
But we who now rejoice in the work of Christ in our hearts, as we are now included into the blessing of Abraham, can now praise God for the love He has shown towards us in the continuity of His gospel in the whole of scripture. We can praise Him that we are now children of Abraham by the seal of circumcision on our hearts.
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Paul quotes his gospel when he says to us gentiles, we can rejoice with God’s people who already had the covenant of imputed righteousness. We through Christ are include with the people of God in His mercies and credited righteousness. The fathers have their promise of imputed righteousness confirmed by the better covenant. Yet some how, some will say that I have strayed and left the gospel that Paul preached because of what I advocate on my blog. Yet I have not quoted anything that did not come from the teachings of Paul. Nor have I expounded on anything other than that which would have been Paul’s gospel from the Law of Moses and the prophets. So am I still to be considered as one who has strayed from the gospel of Paul?
In all this, this is why Paul could say our faith in the work of Christ on the cross, making us gentiles eligible for God’s mercy, now makes us children of Abraham.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
And again Paul says,
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
To what degree have I gone beyond what Paul preached from the books of Moses? Is there any source I have drawn from that did not come from Paul? Even though all of scripture testifies to these truths I have clearly stuck to what Paul wrote, so that I might demonstrate that I do follow the teachings of Paul.
Paul speaks a lot of the faith of Abraham in his gospel found in the books of Moses. It is for my belief in this faith that Paul teaches, that many think I have strayed from the gospel. Not sure of who wrote the book of Hebrews, some say Paul, but it is worth mentioning what is said about this faith, that we say we share with our father Abraham.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.
The best definition we have in scripture concerning faith says faith is believing in things hoped for. I would aagree it is the evidence in our lives of this hope not seen. Is this not what Paul teaches us in his gospel found in the writings of Moses? Is not this hoping in what is not seen what Abraham was commended for?
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Paul describes to us the type of faith that Abraham had. His description of his faith matches the definition of faith. Abraham hoped for what he did not have. He hoped in a promise that was unfulfilled concerning him being the father of many nations. God gave him a hope and he believed in this hope from God. How can I say faith is anything other than hoping for what we do not have? If Paul taught this from his example of Abraham shouldn’t I too accept this?
Paul speaking of the justification that comes by faith says, we have access in our gospel by things hoped for, and we have the evidence of these things in our lives so we rejoice in this hope.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
I get accused of leaving the gospel Paul preached, yet Paul himself says we are saved into a hope. To Paul, our gospel was first promised to the descendents of Abraham and it was their hope. Christ confirmed this promise to them and through Him we are included into this promise. For this reason we praise God for His mercies.
I see in Paul’s gospel a hope of a future salvation. I contend our gospel teaches we are to keep our hope sure to the end by living out our faith. Because I say we hope for these things, I am accused of being the one who has left the gospel of Paul. Yet Paul taught we are saved into a hope. He asks in another place, who hopes for what he has? He concludes we wait patiently for what we do not have, when we are saved into this hope.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
I know this is one major area of contention for those who have come in contact with my beliefs. But shouldn’t I stay true to the teachings of Paul? Shouldn’t I like Abraham not doubt the promises of God that were confirmed by Christ that I now share in? Am I wrong to say I hope for what I do not yet posses? How am I guilty of leaving the gospel of Paul when preaching this on my website? How am I worthy of rebuke for believing faith really is hoping in what we do not posses? How am I worthy of rebuke for believing faith is the evidence in our lives of this hope that we wait patiently for?
Doesn’t it make sense that Paul would says believers can abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit, that was made available to us in the first place through the blessing given to Abraham?
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Paul speaks of believers waiting for the hope of righteousness. This he says we do by faith, which is hoping for what we do not have, this is why it is by faith.
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Again Paul says,
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Paul teaches us that we are partakers of the gospel if we hold fast to the hope of our gospel. Paul teaches we are saved into a hope, hoping for what we do not have, waiting for our hope to be fulfilled, and we remain in this hope of our gospel if we are not moved from this hope.
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
And for all of this I am accused of leaving the gospel. Yes, I have left a certain gospel, but I have not left the gospel of Paul.
Paul teaches believers to put on the helmet of the hope of salvation. This armor is for the believer not the unbeliever.
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Even though many at the altar have been told they have received eternal life, Paul tells Titus a known believer that his gospel is a gospel which has a hope of eternal life. Paul says this is according to faith of God’s elect.
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Again he says to Titus, that believers are justified by grace and made heirs to the hope of eternal life. And for believing this, I stand judged by those who say I have gone off the deep end and now believe a gospel that was not preached by Paul.
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
I will not mention all the testimony of Hebrews and Peter and Jude concerning this gospel of hope. I will not mention to you how they speak of our future salvation, since I am to long winded and I am defending my position from Paul’s gospel. But I encourage you to email me if you wish for the references to this same gospel found in the books of these other writers. I believe with my heart of hearts that I have remained true to the gospel Paul preached when I say we have a future day of redemption, a day when we will be given our salvation, our righteousness, our eternal life.
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, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
I know I am bucking the system when I advocate what I do. I know I subject myself to criticism because I am asking others to please look at what I have come to understand about our gospel. I know my insistence in the truth I believe can and does come across as arrogant. I am at a loss as to how I can help others see what I see in scripture without myself having a strong confidence in what I believe. Is it this strong confidence that have in what I believe that offends? Or maybe I do a terrible job of sharing my message. Perhaps my message is just offensive. But I do not say all this just so I can say, I know something you don’t.
But to me some will say anyone who believes will be saved. To that I say you are right, we still will be saved, if we are not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. But you will insist that in places scripture teaches that we are saved. To this I say you are right, scripture in places teaches we are saved. So at last, all of this to show myself a fool. To show myself the fool or scripture the fool, for scripture clearly teaches both. Study it out and see how our gospel is both spoken of as a fact and as a hope. But both are there, even if we choose not to emphasize the one but the other.
So either we have two different gospels and God is double minded or something else is going on in our gospel. Well, something else is going on in our gospel. God has a habit of calling things that are not as if they were. But to this some would insist that God does not do it the gospel, even though it is a New Testament teaching. But I say God does call things that are not as if they were in our gospel. Why do I do this? Because Paul taught this.
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
So why should I be rebuked when I look at scripture and see the full council of God? Why should I be condemned for seeing God keep the unity of His word when I understand in His promises towards us, we can have hope in what we do not have because God calls things that are not as if they were?
For this reason I hold fast to this hope of salvation. I look by faith (hope in what I do not posses) to those things that are unseen and eternal. Just like Paul has instructed believers to.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In many ways I have offended those who are close to me and afar. I have done this with my zeal for God’s word and by what I consider the gospel of Christ. But who can accuse me of not following the gospel of Paul? Who can accuse me of bringing forth a different gospel other than what Paul preached from the Law of Moses and the Prophets? If anything I am severely guilty to a fault in believing the gospel Paul preached.
What do I hope to gain in my confidence of what I have come to believe? Do I continue to have the stance I do just to be contrary? No I do not. I am seeking something in the gospel that I have not been able to find in myself or abroad. I want the power of God in my life and especially in my gospel.
Paul’s gospel did not come with the wisdom of man. He did not want to empty the power of the cross by such a gospel.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Instead Paul’s converts could rest their assurance on the power of God and not some clever oratation. In his gospel Paul did not empty the power of the cross of its power.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
I don’t want my gospel to be one where I am able to persuade men of the truth of Christ and their need for Him. I want what Paul had, I want people’s confidence in Christ to come in the power of Holy Spirit with signs and wonders confirming. So am I again to be found at fault for not only believing what I read from Paul, but to desire the same power of God he had, even though we believe this relationship of the Holy Spirit is for every believer?
I believe we are living in the last days, and I am compelled to be what scripture says we can be. I am compelled to seek that which I contend is available today for the believers.
I get asked over and over again, if I really believe I have come to understand a biblical truth that others have not? My answer offends, but yes I do. Scripture teaches that others by the masses have not understood, so why not today? Jesus said there was not one widow or leper in Israel who received from the prophet what the enemies of Israel received. They, all of them, missed what they could have had in God.
There is another precedent in scripture for this. King Saul did not lead his men into battle when he faced Goliath, even though it was his place. The Army did not do what they were intended to do, even though that was what they were there for. Even the Levites did not set the people straight by declaring the word of God as it was, even though they should have been the closest to God because they served before him. It was one little shepherd boy who heard the truth of God in his heart and not the Levites. It was one little shepherd boy who killed the giant that day and not the army of Israel. It was one little shepherd boy who lead Israel to victory that day and not the king. The whole nation had it wrong, but one little shepherd boy.
Some may think I have gone insane for my beliefs, others that I suffer from grandiosity, but I prefer to think I am following in the footsteps of faith our father Abraham had when he hoped against all hope in the promises of God.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
I like to think I do this as I keep in remembrance the teachings of Paul.
 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
 Romans 1:16
 Acts 28:23
 Romans 3:21-22
 Romans 4:11
 Galatians 3:8
 Romans 9:31
 Romans 10:3
 Romans 4:7-9
 Galatians 3:14
 Romans 15:8-10
 Colossians 2:11
 Philippians 3:3
 Ephesians 2:11-12
 Romans 2:29
 Romans 4:16
 Galatians 3:6-7
 Hebrews 11:1-2
 Romans 4:18
 Romans 5:1-2
 Romans 8:24-25
 Romans 15:13
 Galatians 5:5
 Ephesians 4;4
 Colossians 1:23
 1 Thessalonians 5:8
 Titus 1:1-2
 Titus 3:7
 Ephesians 1:13-14
 Romans 4:17
 2 Corinthians 4:18
 1 Corinthians 1:7
 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
 Romans 4:16