Let’s look at an example of God making a difference:
If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you: how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (Ephesians 3:2-3).
If one wants to be an approved workman he must begin by understanding what God’s program is for today. This can be known only through the ministry of Paul. The “dispensation of the Grace of God” was given to Paul for us. This dispensation was a “mystery” (secret) that was made known to Paul by divine “revelation.”
God clearly makes a distinction regarding Paul’s message. He gave to Paul a revelation “which was kept secret since the world began [or, in ages past]” (Romans 16:25). This revelation stands in contrast to Peter’s message which had been “spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began [or, in ages past]” (Acts 3:21).
Note the distinction: one message had been spoken through the ages (eons), and the other had been kept secret through the ages. A message that had been spoken through the ages, and a message that had been kept secret during the same period obviously can’t be the same message. God clearly gave Paul and Peter different messages.
To make note of this distinction is to learn to make a difference where God makes a difference.
Not only did God make a difference between the message of Paul and Peter, but between their apostleship as well.
For I speak to you gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the gentiles, I magnify my office (Romans 11:13).
… The Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me [Paul], as the Gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter (Galatians 2:7).
C.I. Scofield made this comment concerning Paul’s distinction:
In his writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk and destiny of the church. – Scofield Reference Bible, page 1252.
William R. Newell has also said,
The failure or refusal to discern the Pauline Gospel as a separate and new revelation and not a “development from Judaism” accounts for two-thirds of the confusion in many people’s minds today as regards just what the Gospel is … You can judge any man’s preaching or teaching by this rule – Is he Pauline? Does his doctrine start and finish according to those statements of Christian doctrine uttered by the Apostle Paul? – Paul’s Gospel
We find our instructions as members of the Body of Christ in Paul’s letters: Romans through Philemon. We cannot just arbitrarily take truth from the writings written to others and build an approved life. Remember the words of Paul in Romans 2:16.
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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