Understanding My Gospel

The Apostle Paul termed “My Gospel’ and his other teachings a “mystery”. He therefore required Christians to develop knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the scriptures (Col 1:9) to attain spiritual maturity so as to fully appreciate what he was saying.

Paul also stated that “OBEDIENCE of the faith” (Rom 16:26) is a basic requirement of Salvation. Such “Obedience” must be understood and applied in the Christian life (Rom 10:16) for salvation to be achieved.

The ‘Mystery’ of the Gospel

If Paul considered ‘My Gospel’ to be a “mystery”, why then are the modern gospels so simple in their presentation?  Could it be that there is MORE to the True Gospel of Jesus Christ than most Christians have been told or believe? Have the modern gospels replaced “obedience” with tolerance and “love” (Phil 1:17)?

The Apostle Peter’ plainly stated that he found Paul’s teachings “hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:16). He warned that those who ‘wrestled’ with Paul’s teachings would eventually lose their Salvation. Therefore, Paul’s understanding of “My Gospel” is also difficult to understand for Christians who fail to gain the necessary spiritual insight needed:

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as OUR BELOVED BROTHER PAUL also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; {16} As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are SOME THINGS HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, which they that are unlearned and unstable WREST [or wrestle with], as they do also the other scriptures, unto THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION.”

(2 Pet 3:15-16)

The failure of Understanding the True Gospel

Jesus implied in Luke 13:23 that only “FEW Christians would be saved. Salvation is NOT based upon a set of religious beliefs learned through the teachings and traditions of men (Matt 15:8-9). True Christianity is a spiritual journey (Rom 8:1 and Heb 11:13-16) that everyone who accepts Christ as “Lord” must undertake. Each Christian’s faith journey has a beginning (Heb 12:1) and an end (1 Peter 1:9).

This journey cannot commence unless one experiences the New Birth (John 3:3-8). Such an event requires the new-born ‘child of God’ (1 Peter 2:2) to GROW into spiritual maturity, progressing from a:

  • Babe in Christ — (1 Cor 3:1)
  • Child in Christ — (John 13:33)
  • Strong Young Man in Christ — (1 John 2:14)
  • Father in Christ — (1 John 2:14)
  • Good Soldier of Jesus Christ — (2 Tim 2:3).

The image at right illustrates the “born-again” Christian’s transformation from the values of this world to those of God’s kingdom. It also represents spiritual growth.

Acquiring such maturity requires every Christian to have studied, believed and then obeyed God’s words in the Bible. To bring about more understanding, God the Father instructs each of His children (John 6:45) about the many truths that the Holy Spirit reveals to them (John 16:13). 

“Walking in the Spirit” means practical instruction from God

Throughout every Christian’s spiritual journey, they can either “walk in the flesh” or “walk in the Spirit“:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk NOT after the flesh, but AFTER the Spirit.”

Rom 8:1

God the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 6:45; John 14:26) both teach and guide each Christian along the way. In this, Jesus Christ provides the practical aspects of this teaching by having His people undertake “works“. These often involve preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to the lost souls in this world. Evangelizing invariably attracts persecution (John 15:20); however God often confirms what is preached using miraculous signs (Mark 16:20).

Discipleship is a fundamental requirement for Christians

Each maturing child of God is required by Jesus to become a disciple of His (Luke 14:26, 27, 33).

Such submission to Christ ultimately directs God’s child to become a functioning member of Christ’s spiritual body within their local church, as highlighted in the verses below. 

(1 Cor 12:6-18)  “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. {7} But the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit is given to EVERY MAN TO PROFIT WITHAL. {8} For to one is given by the Spirit the [Gift of the] WORD OF WISDOM; to another the [Gift of the] WORD OF KNOWLEDGE by the same Spirit; {9} To another [Gift of] FAITH by the same Spirit; to another the GIFTS OF HEALING by the same Spirit;

{10} To another the WORKING OF MIRACLES; to another [the Gift of] PROPHECY; to another [the Gift of] DISCERNING OF SPIRITS; to another [the Gift of] DIVERS KINDS OF TONGUES; to another the [Gift of] INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES: {11} But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. {12} For as the body [of Christ within each congregation] is one [or ‘unity’], and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

{13} For by one Spirit are we all baptized [through the Spirit baptism – (Matt 3:11] into one body [of Christ’s spiritual body in each church congregation], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. {14} [Because] the body [of Christ in the church] IS NOT ONE MEMBER, BUT MANY. {15} If THE FOOT shall say, Because I am not THE HAND, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

{16} And if THE EAR shall say, Because I am not THE EYE, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? {17} If the whole body were an eye, where were THE HEARING? If the whole were hearing, where were THE SMELLING? {18} But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body[of Christ in the churches], as it hath pleased him.”

Summary

To summarize the above lessons that both Jesus and the Apostle Paul spoke about God’s people MUST:

    • Be “born again” through the New Birth if they genuinely expect to enter into eternal life with Christ.  This has to be an ‘experience’ in much the same way as an unborn child has to exit the protective and nourishing world of its mother’s belly into this world of life’s difficulties, struggles and eventual death.
    • Progress from being a new-born “baby in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1) to a fully matured “father” (1 John 2:14) or a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim 2;3).
    • Produce and store up spiritual “treasure in Heaven” (Matt 6:20-21) throughout their pilgrimage on earth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. 
    • Have this “treasure” represent where one’s heart is (Matt 6:20-21).  If there is no “treasure stored up in Heaven” then there is no salvation.

To ‘profit’ from this ‘treasure‘ (1 Cor 12:7) this requires every Christian to become a member of Christ’s spiritual body within each local church and to work togetehr to perform God’s will (Matt 12:50). 

Such ‘members’ are to seek out their respective ministry of being a Foot (1 Cor 12:15); a Hand (1 Cor 12:15); an Ear (1 Cor 12:16); an Eye (1 Cor 12:17); a Nose (1 Cor 12:17) and various internal organs termed “the uncomely members” of Christ’s spiritual “body” on the Earth (1 Cor 12:23-24).

For the New Birth to take place, it is necessary to understand how this process associates with the True Church of Jesus Christ.

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