“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Paul challenging the exaltation of Peter, James, and John

[This post is not meant to be critical or derogatory toward Peter, James, and John. But, I believe it is an accurate illustration of how easy it is for the gospel to slip away. As Paul wrote to the Jewish Christians, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Heb. 2:1).]
Gal 2:1  Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
Gal 2:2  And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputationG1380, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
Gal 2:3  But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
Gal 2:4  And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
Paul wisely went privately to Peter, James, and John to get their conference and to keep away from false leaders who would desire to create havoc in the church, sowing discord among the brethren.

Gal 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Not under the false brethren did Paul and Barnabas and Titus subject themselves, but they suffered under the condescension of Peter, James, and John. And that for many hours. Paul was a new-comer, not of the original twelve who walked with the Messiah. Paul was an outsider. He had also been a feared, terrorizing persecutor. But, after proving himself trustworthy for fourteen years, he should have been welcomed into the apostolic GC. He and his helpers were like Jones and Waggoner at the Minneapolis general conference of 1888. They were accepted out of cordiality; but they remained looked down upon. Paul and company were viewed as Gentile sympathizers, easier goers with the gross behavior of the heathen. They were treated as Gentiles, not true blue-blooded, hard-liner descendents of Abraham and the righteous laws of Moses.
Strong’s G1380 δοκέω dokeō
“Be accounted”, “(of own) please (-ure)”, “be of reputation”, “seem (good)”, “suppose”, “think”, “trow.”

Paul’s five times repeated useage of G1380 in his letter to the Galatians indicates a rebuke to a potential tower of Babel being built in Jerusalem at that time, the fifth useage being, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Gal 6:3). Depending on reputation before people and country-club ethics was an alarming departure from the even playing field that Christ put in the church was a root and that would quickly grow all the way to heaven, contesting and shaking its fist in the face of Michael, the Lord Sabaoth, the Prince of heaven (see Dan. 8:10,11; Rev. 13:5,6).
Gal 2:6  But of these who seemedG1380 to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemedG1380 to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

Paul is saying that the three pillars of the church, the humanly exalted Peter, James, and John, added nothing to Paul’s authority simply due to their reputation among the people or their status as original disciples of Christ. Paul came by revelation, and status or  reputation are no match for revelation. Paul’s mission was to stop their Babylonian Judaizing of the gospel.
Gal 2:7  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
Gal 2:8  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Paul is granting to the pillars that God has worked with them. But, he also adds that God accepts no man’s person; He never applauds a man or reverences a man. His creatures are His servants and He alone should be exalted and praised. Solomon ran into this same problem and fell into oblivion. The gospel Solomon had preached and the church he had raised up died out because he accepted the people’s praise of himself. This same danger existed by the saints’ praising the great work that God had accomplished in the three pillars. It had been pastor appreciation month after month, year after year. Therefore, God sent Paul to put an end to the exaltation of a human or of a cadre, a “holy” human heavenly trio.
Gal 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemedG1380 to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Gal 2:10  Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Paul here is telling the Galatian believers that he forbore with the pillars courteously yet respectfully in public, all the while that he was appalled at their hypocrisy.
Gal 2:11  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
Gal 2:12  For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
Gal 2:13  And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
I believe this last verse is where we get the idiom, “got carried away with…” The lack of consecration and scriptural guidance was so pervasive at the top, and the power of influence by the pillars was so thick, that even Paul’s assistant got caught up in the hypocrisy! Paul was furious with them over this! He put a stop to it immediately, no matter if he was a nobody in the capital church. He had gone there by the power of God, and, by comparison, the power of men would be like a house made of straw before a tempest.
Obviously Jesus, from the heavenly holy place, sent His servant to correct a real problem in His other servants, just like He sent His Old Testament prophets.
“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” (2Sam. 12:7-12).
“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.” (1Ki. 18:17-20).
“And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1Ki 22:24  But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.” (1Ki. 22:19-28).
The exaltation of men has been Satan’s number one tool to destroy the work of God in the earth. And this same danger is the Lord’s main object of observation and examination. This is how Satan eventually destroyed the church—the exaltation of the bishop of Rome. Riding on the back of Peter’s popularity, the church fathers rode to the top of humanism, using human perceptions of greatness instead of God’s definition of greatness, which is smallness, self-sacrificing love. Instead of coming to grasp reputation and applause, Christ came despising that.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8).
How did Paul reveal the root of the problem with Peter, James, and John? The gospel and justification by faith.
Gal 2:14  But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Gal 2:15  We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
Gal 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Now Paul infers their abandoning the gospel that Christ gave them and making Christ appear to be the progenitor and teacher of, and inspiration behind, their hypocrisy that was following after humanistic Judaism.
Gal 2:17  But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Gal 2:18  For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
To the big three everything was becoming a pretense, and the church was blindly following right behind them! The real experience of the Spirit was fading away. Only the truth of justification by faith was the antidote for this emergency. And a big dose of this Paul gave them, just like a prophet would. Dogmatically, dictatorially, authoritatively, disciplinarian-like, the apostle to the Gentiles, who had returned from battling with the all the hosts of darkness, toughened in the truth and strong in faith, rebuked all of the General Conference men, and reiterated the true foundation of the life in Christ. Paul was the Lord’s internal affairs officer. And like David before Nathan, they all recognized the voice of God in their former little brother. They repented and humbled themselves before God and Paul.
Gal 2:19  For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Gal 2:21  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Thank the Lord for a prophet and the power of rebuke! And thank the Lord for His forbearance, and justification and restoration through faith in His loving self-sacrifice.


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