Sunday, January 10, 2021

789. Paul Persecuted - for Teaching Against the Law and the Temple

It’s often assumed Paul was persecuted because he believed in Jesus. But the bulk of Paul’s persecution came from Jews who opposed his teachings about salvation and righteousness coming by faith alone, apart from works, and that Jews had been freed and redeemed from the Mosaic law through the finished work of Jesus. Even the early church leadership (James and others) believed there was a different gospel for Jew and Gentile, and many believing Jews still assumed Gentiles were considered unclean—as the law declared. Keep them away from the temple so it wouldn’t be defiled!

During the early decades after the resurrection, when the church was still growing in their knowledge of the truth, even the apostles didn’t completely understand the fullness of the gospel, although God’s Spirit would reveal things to them … often from what we call the Old Testament—the only Scriptures they could reference. Paul and some of his companions were a major force in sharing the more complete truth of what was accomplished through the blood of the cross—for both Jew and Gentile.

The church today continues to struggle with a mixed message of faith and religious rules, while trying to establish theology and doctrine based upon their own assumptions about the Bible writings. Just as in the early years of the church, we’re not growing in the knowledge of “the Bible,” but we’re all growing in the knowledge of the truth found in the Person of Jesus Christ, as we receive it from the Holy Spirit.

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