Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(II Timothy 2:15)
The Covenant Gospel and Paul’s Gospel of Grace
Why are we here?
We continue to review and respond, in depth, to this question put forth in our Bible study a few weeks ago. Is there more than one gospel in effect today?
I have decided to lecture on this topic because of its significance and because there is a great deal of confusion in the church today in relation to this subject matter.
We have not drifted away from teaching the book of Revelation.
Before Jesus substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection, mankind was divided into two groups: Jews and Gentiles; and this at the Creator God’s good judgment.
The Old and New Testaments both make this very clear and give cause for this distinction. It was the covenants the LORD God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and with their descendants through Moses. These covenants were for the nation of Israel alone and these covenants separated her from all other nations on earth, making God’s chosen people absolutely unique in their standing and relationship with their Creator God.
The nation of Israel was segregated from all other peoples by the Mosaic Law and by her special relationship with the One who calls Himself the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
The important distinction between Jews and Gentiles is maintained consistently throughout the Bible:
16: For is not the fact of your going with us the sign that I and this people have grace in your eyes so that we, that is, I and your people, are (what) separated from all other people on the face of the earth? (Bible in Basic English Version)
16: And you are to be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy and have made you separate from the nations, so that you may be my people. (Bible in Basic English Version)
1 Chronicles 17
21: And what other nation in the earth, like your people, did a god go out to take for himself, to be his people, making his name great to be feared, driving out the nations from before your people whom you made free and took out of Egypt
(Bible in Basic English Version)
The Apostle Paul reaffirms this Bible teaching in the New Testament:
11: Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;
12: that ye were (read now carefully) at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the (what?) covenants of the promise, (therefore in a position) having no hope and without God in the world.
That’s as plain as daylight is to darkness my friends.
Gentiles are not, never were, included in the covenant promises God made to Israel.
God divided mankind into two groups, Jew and Gentile, and this actually began when He called the man Abram, to leave his home, and his family, and directed him to go to, “the land which I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
Abram took God at His word. He believed God.
This is not the same as believing in God. Even Satan believes in God people.
Abram acted on faith. To say this differently, his belief became a “living faith.”
So if you’ve been following the previous Bible lessons, then you’ve read this information before. Jesus did not have a ministry to gentiles during His earthly ministry. There are a few gentile exceptions recorded for posterity in the book of Matthew and other places in Scripture, but that is exactly what they are EXCEPTIONS.
For those who are not sure what an “exception” is: an exception is someone who is NOT included in or does not fit into a general rule, pattern, or judgment.
Previous lessons cover this in greater detail and are available for viewing @ HBSGROUP.Blogspot.com
Now I know this teaching may be difficult for some of you to understand.
I get that. Believe me. You’re not alone and take comfort in knowing this.
The twelve apostles were puzzled concerning salvation apart from the Law and Paul’s writings to the gentiles especially. Peter wrote:
II Peter 3
14: Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,
15: and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother (who is this) Paul, according to the (what) wisdom given him, (Paul did not receive the doctrines of grace from the twelve or from any man. Paul received the revelation about salvation by faith alone from the risen Lord) wrote to you,
16: (read carefully) as also in all his letters, speaking in them of (what) these things, (these things which Peter and the other eleven were not privy too and were not indoctrinated with) in which are some things hard to understand, (now pay attention) which the untaught and unstable (do what with) distort, (but they don’t stop there) as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, (to what end) to their own destruction.
17: You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the (what’s the next word) error of unprincipled men and fall away from your own steadfastness.
18: but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…
There is much wisdom in that last verse and more than a hint for the rest of us.
From Adam to Abraham is roughly 2,000 years.
From Abraham to Jesus Christ, where the LORD God is interacting primarily with His elect, the Jews, (with some exceptions), is approximately another 2,000 years.
Therefore, all the Old Testament prophets are writing to the covenant nation of Israel.
After the LORD God promised King David that his throne would be established forever in the Davidic Covenant, what do you suppose every God-fearing Jew was earnestly seeking? Answer: the promised Messiah
Old Testament passages such as these which follow speak of the promised King and Kingdom. And, once again, every God-fearing Jew was aware of them!
7: There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of (who) David and over His kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then and (for how long) forevermore. (Who shall accomplish these things?) The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
5: “Behold, the days are coming,” declared the LORD, “When I will raise up for (who) David a righteous branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.
6: “In His days Judah (the nation of Israel) will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’
44: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure (how long) forever…”
But once the Messiah arrived, these devout Jews believed the Messiah would:
Be a descendant of King David
Gain sovereignty over the land of Israel
Gather the Jews from the four corners of the earth and return them to the land
Restore them to full observance of Torah Law
Bring peace to the entire earth
Knowing this may help you understand why the Jews rejected Jesus as their king.
He did not fit the “mold” of King David.
So, when Pilate asked the angry crowd, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15)
Throughout the gospel accounts, Jesus Christ and His disciples went throughout the land, “preaching the gospel of the kingdom,” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35), and promising that the kingdom is at hand to the Jew only. (Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:7)
The point I’m making is this. The preaching/teaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom continued long after Jesus accession, as I’ve shown you beginning with the previous Bible lesson. Fifty days after Jesus’ crucifixion, the twelve are still preaching the Covenant Gospel to Jews only at the Feast of the Pentecost.
And this practice continues well into the book of Acts.
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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