Monthly Archives: July 2012

Paul's infirmity of the flesh issue

Paul’s infirmity of the flesh issue

Gal 4:13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

Those who do not study the whole word tend to think that Paul had some sort of ailment which he is referring to. Well this is simply not the case at all. When we study the travels of Paul in the book of Acts we will notice that while he was visiting in Lower Galatia at Lystra some of the Jews from Antioch and Iconium stirred up the crowd against them and stoned Paul, who they left for dead. After being raised from the dead he went to Derbe the next day and preached. So the fact that he did not look so good after being stoned to death the day before does not mean he was suffering from some sort of sickness.

Acts 14:8-21
Acts 14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:
Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
Acts 14:20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

In writing this though there was something that had not sunk in before and that is once Paul was finished teaching on Derbe he went back to where they had almost ended his teaching career once and for all. Even the threat of death did not deter Paul.

 

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No Mosaic Law

     Recently I was listening to someone speak quite well on the simple fact that we were never under the law of Moses. This is something that well simply because we debate so much about it in the body that I had forgotten all about being true. It is funny that for a period of time a handful of years ago, prior to hearing a grace message, I read the bible and saw that I was a gentile. I then came to the logical conclusion that if I was a gentile, I was not a Jew and if  I am not a Jew then I am not under the Jewish law which came through Moses. I know that it had to be the work of the adversary to help Christians try to incorporate and adopt the law has the foundational backbone to their belief instead of the liberty in Jesus which we are to walk in.

     It is odd how we hear that the law, though it is of God and has glory, is meant to kill and we embrace it. Kind of like snuggling up in bed with a hungry 30 foot python thinking that it must be trying to keep war by wrapping itself around you over and over. Eventually it is going to try to eat you up. Many fight to post the law in public facilities without realizing that though they are good moral conducts to follow, by focusing on trying to keep them and constantly being in ones face they are going to empower the very thing we want to prevent.  Paul taught the Corinthians that the strength of the law is sin. (1 Corinthians 15:56)

     The point I am trying to make is that many go through the scriptures and try to identify themselves with the gentiles, which makes sense, and then also with the Jews, which frankly according the Jews you are not welcomed to do. If you were never a Jew then there is nothing wrong in seeing what they went through and how God moved in their lives but keep this in mind that the majority of the bible was written by Jews for Jews. Luke was a gentile, yet even the gospel according to Luke is all about the ministry of Jesus, which was exclusively to the Jews. Even as you read the book of Acts take note that Peter and the other apostles never ministered to anyone outside of the Jewish community, except when God had drawn him to Cornelius. This was several years after the resurrection of Jesus and note that they still observed the customs and law of the Jews.

     When you read Peter, James, John, Jude there is great information in them but they were written for Jews by Jews who kept the law with the understanding that it was not the law that could save them but Jesus. Paul on the other hand was given the ministry to the gentiles and in his writings he tries to emphatically declare that the gentiles are not to adopt the Jewish ways or law. How many times have you heard a sermon or any teaching involving the law or the promises of God towards the Jews based on the Jewish covenant and were told that we get to partake in them as well. Paul would have told the person teaching it to go to hell and those who listened fools. That is how much he was against the gentiles being influenced by Jewish law, and yes he declared both in the bible though King Jimmy tones it down. (Galatians 1:9 , Galatians 3:1)

     So why in the world would we place a burden upon our shoulders that even the twelve agreed with Paul should not be placed upon us because they and their forefathers could not bare it? Almost every time in life we are our own worst enemies. Even some of the things Paul wrote were to the Jews because as was his custom he would visit the synagogue first to preach the gospel and then to the gentiles. Paul kept many of the Jewish customs because that was a part of who he was but he had complete understanding that they did absolutely nothing to make him better, or more special, especially in his relationship with God.

     I had heard a few say that all some people want to preach is a Pauline message and I have to say Amen. There is nothing wrong with reading all the word and gaining as much revelation as you can about our Papa. Growing in wisdom is something all of us continually need to do, but also as Paul puts it we need to rightly divide the word. Identify what is being spoken to whom and why, then see what truly applies to us. Thinks about the day you got saved. I know the majority can say they were relieved, happy, felt close to God, had prayers answered and all because they knew God instantly as a loving Papa. Then the vast majority got religion and the relationship became estranged since we were no longer fully trusting and relying on God knowing that we had nothing to add.  If we better understood Paul’s message then we would never of experienced this roller coaster relationship nor the generations to come.

     This is just something to think about. The Jewish faith is beautiful. Their traditions and customs are wonderful to observe, but they have nothing to do with you as a gentile. There is nothing of the Jewish faith that can save you, Christ alone did that.