Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Gospel of Doing or The Gospel of Believing?

In Galatians Paul calls his gospel “The Gospel of Christ,” thus those who believe “The Gospel of Christ” were called “Christ-ians.” Paul made it very clear that his gospel was not like any other gospel. In Galatians 1:11-12 we read:

The gospel which was preached by me is not according to a man,
because I neither received it from a man, nor was I taught it (by a man),
but (I received it) through a vision (revelation) of Jesus (the) Christ.

Paul, unlike the Saul in Acts, does not describe that experience – so do not project Saul’s words into this story. Paul opened Galatians (1:1) with a claim that sets him apart from the other apostles -- his “apostleship” is completely different.

Paul, not an apostle through men nor through a man,
but through Jesus Christ and
God the Father who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

The other apostles received their apostleships prior to the resurrection. None of them were given “The Gospel of Christ.” According to Paul, he was preaching a gospel that no one before him had ever heard. Below is a description of Paul’s Gospels from Romans 3:21-22.

But now, without the Torah (Law), the righteousness of God is revealed,
being witnessed by the Torah (Law) and the Prophets,
even the righteousness of God, through faith in (the resurrected) Jesus Christ,
to all and on all who believe.

According to Paul, one becomes “righteous” by “believing his gospel” and “having faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ.” As I pointed out above, according to Paul, God did not reveal this gospel to Yeshua, the Jesus of history or the twelve apostles he personally called. So what did they preach?

Let’s begin with the apostle Peter, who according to other New Testament accounts, saw and was taught by the resurrected Jesus (Luke 24:45 below):

And Jesus opened their understanding,
that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Below is an account from Acts 10:34-35:

And Peter opened his mouth and said,
“Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons;
but in every nation he that fears him and
works righteousness is acceptable to him.”

In the Gospel of John, one of the last New Testament books written, we find these words (5:29-30):

Do not be surprised at this, for the time is coming
when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
and they that have done good things
shall come forth unto the resurrection of life;
but they that have done evil (things),
unto the resurrection of judgment.

Now let’s see what Yeshua, the Jesus of history, taught. In Matthew 25:46b we read:

. . . the righteous shall go away into eternal life.

Who are “the righteous”? They are the ones who “did acts of righteousness” – in Hebrew the word translated “righteous” is “tzedaqah.” Jesus answered the question above in Matthew 25:34-36. The “righteous” are the ones that “did the acts of tzedaqah” below:

They gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, took in a stranger,
clothed the naked, visited the sick and went to those in prison.

That is what Peter meant by “works righteousness” and John called “doing good things.” The difference between “The Gospel of Jesus” and “The Gospel of Paul” comes down to this:

According to Jesus, people that “do good works” are “the righteous.”

According to Paul, people that “believe what he said” are “the righteous.”

I hope you found this informative and thank you for reading it. Please share and discuss it with others.

Jim Myers

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