Sunday, November 22, 2020

782. Paul Opposed Peter to His Face

In Galatians Chapter 2 we find the story as told by Paul about how he opposed Peter to his face … and in front of other people of whom he considered to be hypocrites. You see, Peter would live like the Gentiles (apart from the law) and he would hang-out with them, which God had revealed was perfectly fine. But when certain men from James showed up, Peter would separate himself from the Gentiles for fear of these people and their lawful doctrine which opposed the truth of the gospel. It’s as if Paul was telling Peter he should know better than to try to blend in with the Jewish hypocrites, including false brethren who were deceiving Gentiles into believing they needed portions of the law to be mixed with faith in Jesus.

 We can begin to clearly see Paul’s writings reflect an opposition to the teachings brought forth from some of those that were associated with the church in Jerusalem, where James was considered a leader. The letter written to the Galatians is centered around the freedom both Jew and Gentile have in the New Covenant, and it was a different gospel than what was coming from the Jerusalem church.



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Sunday, November 15, 2020

781. Paul and James: The Elephant in the Bible Room

Christian theologians have always been concerned about the elephant in the room – the quandary or controversy regarding what appear to be conflicting statements by Paul and James about justification, salvation and righteousness. This week, we continue looking at the apparent differences or viewpoints between them and how it does not take away from the truth within the Bible as a whole or Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. Interestingly, both men use Abraham as the example to make their case (examples in Romans 4 and James 2). They both quote Genesis 15:6 about how Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.

Paul dives into a much longer explanation, using the context that Abraham was declared righteous by faith before any work was performed, including circumcision … when he believed God would provide a child. Whereas James jumps out of context to when Isaac was taken to the altar. If one is going to tout a mixture of faith plus works when it comes to salvation, those who hold to James’ view will need to be much more specific on exactly what type of works or action is needed to maintain their justification. That ingredient is always missing, leaving people in doubt and fear instead of peace.



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Sunday, November 08, 2020

780. Faith, Works and Justification: Did Paul and James Disagree?

We’ve all seen it. Time and time again, Paul declared the gospel is based upon justification gifted freely by faith, through the blood of Jesus, apart from works. James said something that appears to be quite the opposite. Bible teachers will fear such a contradiction diminishes the validity of the written pages and therefore, may affect the credibility of the entire Bible and bring doubt to the truth of Jesus Christ.

Teachers and ministers begin to feel the need to try and explain that there was no disagreement between the two, and that their views simply complimented each other … as both legalistic and grace teachers put their spin on trying to assure people that Paul and James were in perfect harmony. Both guys use Abraham to make their case for justification but even their context from the Old Testament is different. We attempt to bring a different perspective in considering they were not in agreement at all, and yet it takes nothing away from the truth of Jesus.



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Sunday, November 01, 2020

779. Paul, James and the Gentile Dilemma

Following up on last week’s look at Acts Chapter 15, there was great debate among Jewish believers as to whether non-Jewish people (Gentiles) should be required to follow the law of Moses as they were coming to belief in Christ and getting saved. After all, Gentiles had no relationship with that law and now it was presenting a dissension among those who felt the law was still a necessary component with Jesus added to it. James appears to reach a compromise which was accepted between both parties … or was it? We’ll discover the possibility this controversy would continue and the debate between law and grace was just beginning as we look at various passages in the weeks ahead.



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Sunday, October 25, 2020

778. Grace or Works: The Apostles Vs. The James Gang

This week’s program dives into Acts chapter 15 where Peter, Paul and others met with the Jerusalem church council which included James and former Pharisees. The apostles were making the case during a heated debate that God was saving the Gentiles and receiving the Spirit freely. The council had accepted that Gentiles could be saved, but believed they needed to be “brought into the fold” by including and applying the law of Moses with the newfound life given by God’s Spirit.

The debate was about choosing whether salvation is by grace through faith alone … or whether works of the law needed to be included. In the end, James spoke on behalf of the church board with a surprising change of opinion—or judgment—by saying the Gentiles should not be troubled with keeping the Mosaic law. Although not everyone agreed, the revelation being brought forth was that Gentiles would not be brought into the old way of law, but that Jews were also freed from it. It couldn’t be a grace/law mixture for one group (Jews) and not the other (Gentiles).



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Sunday, October 18, 2020

777. Giving Freely Without Obligation

If we’re giving because we feel it’s a requirement, then it’s not really giving. If we’re trying to love because we believe we are commanded to do so, then it’s not really love. However, when we begin to realize and believe in the perfect love God has or us as He demonstrated through Jesus and the cross, then we can truly begin to love in the same way God loves us. And giving is born from this kind of love. It makes no demands and yet seeks to help others in need without keeping a record of wrongdoing.

Godly giving through grace doesn’t seek self-reward or payback, but expects nothing in return. But our desire to give isn’t based upon religious requirements which preach you are to “give everything” or “surrender all to God.” It comes from within a new nature and a clean heart, gifted to us and received as a new creation in Christ.



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Sunday, October 11, 2020

776. "Giving Verses" Out of Context

We’ve communicated many times over the years about giving generously, born out of the same love God has shown to us. But when believers haven’t been told about their identity in Christ or have failed to grasp they are the righteousness of God by faith, then sometimes ministers will use various Bible verses out of context to try and motivate them into giving. It can come from a place of guilt or greed while convincing people it’s a part of the gospel. We look at a couple of examples of more verses without the context from 1 Corinthians 16 and Luke chapter 6.



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