Some Things to Notice About Paul’s Epistles


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Some things to notice about Paul’s letters: (as well as those other epistles of the apostles and writers of the New Testament corpus:

First, a simple observation, but one that, nowadays, is often lost on those among the various churches that style themselves to be of the one catholic body of Christ: Paul was writing to Christians.
This should be obvious, but at times, it is not for many who are professing Christ, for as they come to the warning passages in these epistles, they often forget that Paul begins and ends his letters to the churches with this assumption (if the inspired writing of Scripture may be said to contain assumptions by those who were moved along by the Holy Spirit to pen God’s divine words to His church; I contend strongly that such assumption, or presuppositions, are inherent and purposed of God for our edification)
The second thing to notice in Paul’s letters is that he is writing to churches.
The frequent use of plural pronouns in the letters cannot be ignored, nor the particular use of direct address to the churches that begin many of his letters, and permeate them throughout, nor the direct allegories concerning the structure and membership of the church, especially in its local form.
The third thing to notice, in a general overview which is addressing only specifics such as this one, is that those assumptions, or presuppositions, which I strongly asserted above are definitely intended by God to be present within the body of the letters, is this: Paul did not assume that all those he addressed, either individually or corporately, were making the true confession of faith in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, though he always weighted this assumption with that love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This gives us the reasons for many of the warning sections, which, in a synopsis statement by Paul, may be understood as if indeed you continue in the faith (that is, the body of Christian doctrine which comprises all things for our rule of knowledge and practice in living out the grace of God which is in Christ Jesus), as in Colossians 1:23. He indeed does give even stronger warnings, but as said, this statement can be taken as a synopsis of those warnings. The assumption is that those who do not continue in the faith are not of the faith; the certainty, in any harmonious considerations of God’s teaching through Paul’s writings, is that those who are called to be saints will indeed continue in the faith, since it is God who both wills and works within them to do of His good pleasure.
Therefore, the last thing to focus on in such a short article as this, regarding Paul’s letters, is that He strongly affirms that doctrine of the saints indeed persevering, not because of any valor or value in their character or actions, but by the sovereign keeping in the love of Christ and all Christian graces of the God who cannot fail to keep His own covenant for His people which He made within Himself. Paul powerfully asserts that powerful working of God to keep His people because of His being their God – God cannot lie, and Paul shows that the character of the God who saved those who are His saints, or called ones, is the sole basis for not only the burgeoning of faith in their regenerate natures, but also for the completion of their salvation. He asserts that all things, however we may regard them according to the flesh, are working together for those who love God, and nothing created can separate them from the love that God has given to them and holds them within.
Peter states of Paul’s letters: “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:15-18).
It is just here, as with all the Scriptures, the apostle Peter states, that those who have a form of knowledge which is no knowledge at all twist the truth of God so out of context that it is distorted beyond recognition.
First to be sacrificed in such false knowledge is their own salvation, for there is no salvation apart from the true knowledge of God in the Scriptures, all of which speak of His Son, our Lord.
I say, above, first to be sacrificed, but it may well be that the error of the first part is rather that they serve the creature rather than the Creator; that is, they deny God’s sovereignty in all things, and especially in the matter of salvation and ongoing sanctification, while affirming man’s responsibility in such things to that point where God is made a helpless bystander waiting to see if they will keep themselves in His love and faith, citing numerous passages that state we must make our calling and election sure(which indeed is true, but not as they perceive it), and other imperatives which are not to be seen as man dictating to God that which He surely does, but obeying God out of a sincere faith from a goodconscience from a heart made pure to love God and brethren with that lovethat has been poured out in our heartsby the Holy Spirit (1 Timothy 1:5: Romans 5:5; cf. Ephesians 2:10). Such do not rightly divide the word of truth – they do not count the precious promises of God to either rule over their own efforts which proceed from that faith given by God’s grace, or to keep them zealous for good works despite their flawed attempts: It is not too strong a thing to say that such false believers have no understanding of God’s grace whatsoever. Subverting the commandments of our Lord to a place above even Him (as if God would contradict Himself), as said before, they place the created creature in the primacy over God, and that this is very much done in Paul’s epistles by these people shows that not only do they not know the grace of God, but that they truly have no knowledge of God as sovereign.
I listed various elements of Paul’s letters to show that disharmony of those who twist his (and other Scripture) words out of context, for when all these things (and this is very basic) are considered together, by God’s Spirit enlightening the understanding of those He has infallibly called to be saints in the formation of local bodies of His church universal, such errors cannot stand. Harmony in reading and study and meditation of our Lord’s Scriptures – the analogy of the faith – leads to those sure conclusions by which He both states His glory and holiness, and gives us to be able to show some of that inestimable radiance of His perfection through our yet-flawed lives, as we progress in this pilgrim’s progress, together.
Grace and peace in the love of God in Christ Jesus,
SDG – Bill
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About lalvin1517

I'm married with two children and pastor McCall Baptist Church in McCall, Idaho.
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