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Sabbath: Paul’s Authority and the Gospel — 16 Comments

  1. Some of us might be separated into two categories, those that want change and those that want no change. The decision is easy for me. The Apostle Paul had a similar situation in the church at Galatia to contend with. Of coarse Paul being a man of extremes and the opinions between the Christens and the Judaizers was a bit more than just differences of opinion. Paul had credentials to support his position. We on the other hand use the majority rules, for most of our decisions. We can be very thankful that God makes all the ultimate decisions. This has little to do with choices that we make other than there will be two possibilities in the very end. Change or no change. Life or death.

    • I do not mind change and in fact change in many ways is inevitable. Perhaps the issue is more about what kind of change are we accepting. Change in harmony with life or change that is against life? Does our understanding of Scripture give us the power of discrimination?

  2. During Paul's time, thus in Roman times, a bondservant or slave was considered the owner’s personal property. Slaves actually had no rights & their owners could kill them as they wished. In using the word 'bondservant' Paul really knew his relationship with God that he had to do what God wanted, unquestioningly, & that being God's slave he was entirely at the disposal of, his master: God.

    But we the believers of today are joyfully embracing a concept of priding ourselves in our freedom & would never identify ourselves as a bondservants. But Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) & the selfish values of earth are of no consequence in heaven.

    With the advent of human rights, liberals are slowly growing in number in our church bringing on challenging subjects from the top at the GC all the way down to our local churches & in the end eclipsing the gospel of salvation. God help us! Holy Spirit take over & let the conservatism that puts forward Your gospel of salvation steadfastly hold on to the truth of the old as it is in the bible.

    Let's consider ourselves bondservants or slaves of Christ because as we are told in 1 Cor. 7:22 we were called in the Lord & were bought with a price so we shouldn't become slaves of men. Our allegiance is due to Him alone. As bondservants, we renounce other masters (Matt. 6:24) and give ourselves totally to Him (Matt. 16:24).

    “Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

    • While I agree that the bond-servant example provides considerable food for thought, it is perhaps a little presumptive to apply it to the liberal/conservative divide in the current church. If we look at the big picture ideas surrounding the letter to the Galatians and the related narrative found in the book of Acts, we find a liberal/conservative battle taking place then. The Judaisers were trying to keep the early Christian Church Jewish, maintaining the status quo, while Paul was preaching what was to them a liberal Gospel not bound by the ceremonies and cultural practices of the past. The church council eventually decided that the gentile converts to Christianity: "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." Acts 15:29.

      In terms of what the conservatives of the day were asking, this was a very liberal decision, and we know that at the time it was not accepted by everyone in the church. Even after that decision the influence of the conservatives was still felt. In fact it could be said that Paul's trip to Rome came about when he attempted to take part in a ceremony to appease the Jewish element of the early church.

      A wise theologian made the quote in my hearing many years ago that "All that is old is not gold; all that is new is not true!" It is probably a good idea to follow Paul's advice; "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil". 1 Thes 5:19-22.

    • Also in it not necessary consider liberal/conservative...it is right or wrong. But, remember that being enslaved to Christ, is not the same as some of the human race TRIED to justify slavery. And they TRIED to use the same Bible to justify slavery. Because as most of you know that in ALL of this human race history, the inhumanity of man to man has stained the human record.

      Christ established an ethic that if followed, human slave trade would have banished, however, it 2017 and look were we are...

  3. I fail to see the current application of a bondservant as relative to our choices. Our identification of being free depends on what type of freedom you are seeking.

    • Mind stirring comment by Maurice that is indeed & in continuing in that line, let me briefly share what was rolling in mind to say what I said.

      The approval of same-sex marriage "somewhere" as reported 2 days ago in many media outlets made me say to myself, 'let not conscience (coz their leader left it to the lawmakers' conscience) but Holy Spirit lead our church on some of the issues to be deliberated at the coming 2020 GC.

      Times do change in various aspects of our lives but the gospel of Jesus Christ & the salvation never; & this is the old I talked about.

      In Paul's time, they'd their conservatism/ liberalism challenges in the form of circumcised/ uncircumcised but fortunately for them the Holy Spirit prevailed & they soldiered on amicably. Relating the old times to today, living in an ever-changing culture or world (coz culture to man is like a pond to a fish, thus we swim in it & it's the lens which we see the world thru) with the never-changing gospel; how do we embrace the two without losing sight of Christ?

      As the world changes, the mission filed changes & churches will change (we are seeing churches changing). How do we preach Christ in the culture/ world (devoid of the gospel) without being captured by it? May the Holy Spirit take over!!!

      V19 "Do not quench the spirit" & how can we quench the spirit? 1)by rejection of Him, 2) doubts, 3) indifference, 4) or even distractions. In the midst of many things drawing our attention, the church is to provide an environment where the flame of the spirit can burn brightly so it doesn't get extinguished. Church should impact the community. However, evil & deception does rear it's head even in a spiritual setting; so in (v21) "testing/ examining all things," what test standards will be used - God's or other?

      Paul had written the Thessalonians here after he had spent time in Berea where there was diligent scripture searching & I would opine here that he was also urging the Thess. to have a heart & mind of Bereans. Could we?

      Paul was bold enough to say "What you have worshiped in ignorance, this I proclaim to you" (Acts 17.23), could we do the same today? May we all be bold & wise as we live & interact with an increasingly hostile & confused culture around us with the greatest news the world has ever known—Jesus Christ, the way, the truth & the life.

  4. "an attack on the essence of the gospel itself." That is what made Paul act. That is why we have the book of Galatians.

    As humans, we have a very difficult time distinguishing between an attack on the essence of the gospel itself and an attack on our preferences, traditions, customs. Oh that we would care more about whether or not a young man is in church than whether or not he has a tie on! Oh that we would gladly embrace people that come to worship in long skirts and long hair in buns, instead of judging them for failing to be modern.

    Jesus said that if He was lifted up, that He would draw all men to Himself. Galatians is a call to put aside our preferences and remember to at times agree to disagree, but most importantly come together to lift up Jesus! There is a world that needs to be drawn to Him!

  5. Let me take this as an opportunity to share a poem i wrote on unity, i hope and believe you will be blessed.

    Let none esteem himself better than the others
    Mouth, hands, legs and still one body
    For thou we are many yet we are one
    One in spirit, One in belief, One in Mission and One in vision
    One in the calling that calls us unto him
    One Lord, One faith and one baptism

    For ye many organs and yet one body
    Yes many Christians but still one Christ
    For the same Christ some preach, Some do teach
    Different gifts are given to each, that we as Christians to others outreach
    And those empty souls with Christ enrich

    We indeed are different but one in Christ
    For while we sinners he died for Us
    He cleansed our souls by the power of HIS blood
    Clean from all filth, dirt and Mud
    And in Christ we must abide, as HE abode in His father and kept HIS law
    We must abide in Christ for this is our role

    We are a chosen generation, A royal priest hood
    Called from the darkness into HIS marvelous light
    Not by Might lest any should boast
    But through Jesus Christ who seeks and saves the Lost

    Christ calls you to Him as individuals
    But to fulfill our purpose we need to work as one
    For going back to history a wise man once said
    You got to go alone if you want to go fast
    But if you want to reach farther you better go as a group

    By this we know that we are Christs
    If to one another we are bonded by love
    Love leading to unity, Unity by one spirit
    Love that fails not, Love that envies not
    Love that boasts not, Love that prides not
    Love that binds us together into one Christian knot

    So yes you are a Jew and i am a gentile
    So yes you are a man and i am a woman
    But thank God in Christ we are one
    Yes we are different in the eyes of the world
    But one in purpose through the power of his word

    We are all of the Father, We are heirs with the Son
    We are children of the Kingdom, We are family we are one

    Yes we are different but one in purpose
    Different in being but one in Christ


  6. What Gospel is Paul referring to in Galatians 1:6? As we continue through the next several chapters the term Gospel has more than one application. Circumcision is the most controversial among all of the Apostles.

    • How were the Galatians deserting God? By turning to a different gospel. Paul is not saying that there is more than one gospel but that there were some in the church who — by teaching that faith in Christ was not enough (Acts 15:1-5) — were acting as if there were another one. Paul is so upset by this distortion of the gospel that he desires that anyone who preaches a different gospel might fall under the curse of God! (Gal. 1:8). Paul is so emphatic about this point that he basically says the same thing twice (Gal. 1:9).


  7. The text in Galatians 1:9 is the question I was asking. Can someone describe or define the gospel that Paul is preaching in this text? Another question in Galatians 1:6, who is the "him" referred to? Someone with more understanding than I have would be helpful.

    • Paul Blanke,

      You wished your question to be answered by "someone with more understanding than I have". I do not make any such claim!

      The "him" in Gal. 1:6 is the one who called the Galatians into the grace of Christ and the one whom they were turning away from. So the pronoun would either refer to God, or to Paul himself who brought them the gospel, or perhaps even to Christ.

      Re "the gospel that Paul is preaching in" Gal. 1:9, you have indicated that "through the next several chapters the term Gospel has more than one application". So the definition of gospel should become clearer as we go through this quarter..

  8. Allow me to point out that it was NOT Paul's plan to have the gospel preached to the gentiles, NOT Paul's plan that salvation be based on faith alone...
    It was Christ plan and mission. And let's all remember that this mission was first given to the Israelite's but they refused it - they sealed this denial by killing Stephen.
    Now salvation to the Gentiles... So Paul is not on a mission of his own. NOT his plan if I might say...

    Thank you..

  9. I guess one question that remains is, can someone define the Gospel that Paul mentions.? I can tell what the Greek word means, euaggelizo, Good news. This like a generic term. Paul being able to speak Greek fluently, should know how and where to apply the word.


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