From who do we receive our knowledge about how The Lord wishes to be reached in this Age of Grace? Do we care? Are we concerned?
In the Old Testament, there were extremely strict laws about how one was to worship in the Temple. Those laws were disclosed to the prophets; the leaders of the Jews, to Moses….with those who chose to disobey the rules immediately being put to death by God Himself.
Today, our bodies are the Temple of God. The old Temple has been destroyed, as it was prophesied.
And ..there is a way that He wants us to approach Him, just as He had guidelines for those in the past.
The rules are not set out in the same manner…but through a chosen minister set apart for us today.
An example given us so that we do not err as we follow His path… while our bodies are here on earth. The example is… of Paul’s life, while he followed Christ.
(The religion I followed, until “seeing the light”…taught me to “try” and walk as Jesus did.
I cannot walk as Jesus did…no matter how hard I work at it, for Jesus was an Orthodox Jewish Man-God while here on earth. He was sent to Israel. He followed the Law, as His Father told Him to do. Yet my religion overlooked this important fact, and I blindly tried to follow the instruction…which leads to deep sorrow, failure, guilt, constantly seeking forgiveness….all the things that Christ Jesus died on the cross for….as He gives this gift of grace to us Gentiles….only AFTER Israel spurned Him…rejected Him….crucified Him….not recognizing their Savior at His manifestation. We have salvation…the moment we believe. Belief plus nothing. We have been given everything we need. God lives within us! How many others have been in, are in… this same predicament each and every day? Not recognizing these basic truths?)
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John relate His story while He was on earth. While He was reaching out to His chosen people, Israel. While He was offering them the kingdom, if only they would know who He was.
They do not teach us about The Secret…The Mystery…that Gentiles would be brought into the Royal Family. They did not know about it. (This plan was kept secret by God through the ages….and finally revealed in ONE Apostle. Paul. Who describes himself as the biggest sinner who ever lived.)
We cannot follow their instruction. Gentiles…are not…Orthodox Jews.
And so we see Paul.
(Israel benefited from having not only Christ Jesus in person, but also the 12 Apostles.)
After Jesus’ death and resurrection…God anointed one man to go to the Gentiles. To ALL men, and preach the Good News of His Gospel. (Never forget that the original 12 were forbidden to go to anyone BUT Israel.)
The Apostle Paul.
In Acts 22:14-15, Paul is chosen by God to “know His will.” He was chosen to “see the Just One.” (Thus satisfying the decree that an Apostle MUST have actually seen Jesus Christ.
Paul…is chosen “to hear the voice of His mouth.” (Imagination fails,when contemplating the three years that Paul spent in the desert…unlearning all he knew of Jewish tradition and religion…learning the precepts of The One that he previously denied!
He learned the Gospel from the very Mouth of God.
And then…he was appointed “to be a witness unto ALL men of what you have seen and heard.”
His former religious zeal…was transformed into a passion for Christ Jesus, about whom he immediately stepped out and preached. (Through “the simplicity that is in Christ.”)
Paul was told then to “depart for I will send thee far hence into the Gentiles.”
How very plain. Yet, how complicated man makes this gospel.
(This writer never, never discussed religion. Perhaps minimally, the scriptures.
Yet, after a series of complex surgeries…I awoke in recovery and could only say to every person who entered my space..”did you know that the Apostle Paul is our apostle in this Age of Grace?”
Can you imagine the looks I received? The reactions noted? I could not stop saying these words. Some docs, some nurses agreed and said so. Several nurses took their breaks sitting with me, their bibles in their hands. They carried their bibles to work with them! Who would have known!
Others …ran for the hills. A person came in from the chapel services, and told me that “it is only your opinion” about Paul. This, in self righteous tones…advising me to enroll in a bible study course at the University so that I could learn the truth.
Good advice for one in very poor condition, lying in a hospital bed…trying to recover from major surgery…and who asked for a chaplain. I pray that she will have a change of heart…)
But from that day onward, this aging woman is directed to continue saying those words. Only the Holy Spirit could cause this action, for it comes from..my very core.
We are not bound by those strict laws of the past. Our inner love for our neighbor…has supplanted external fences and boundaries, for we are bound by love. Charity. This love covers the Law. So says Jesus.
Read the Epistles… asking for your/our in-dwelling Holy Spirit’s wisdom and lead. (We are in this together.)
Prepare to “delete” many past understandings from your memory bank.
Let the Apostle Paul show you how to walk…how to follow, even as he “follows Christ Jesus.”
We are commanded to do so.
And will be judged at the Bema Seat…not for our sins, for they have been/are/will be forgiven…but for our acts on earth.
Were they carried out for God’s glory? Or…for our own prestige and rewards on earth?
Prepare yourself. There will be some who receive rewards, and others who watch their mis-directed deeds disappear, in the flames of judgement. When the truth of our actions is exposed for what it was.
We all fall short of His Glory. But there is still time to follow the example that God gives us, through Paul.
Use that time wisely.