Thursday, December 1, 2011

This faith, that faith, or which faith

What is the faith that Paul was preaching to Jews in Galatians 1:23?  Did Paul preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to Jews, but the Gospel of the Grace of God to Gentiles only?  Or was Paul trying to convert Kingdom believers and bring them into the Body of Christ?

Galatians 1:23
But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

Again, like any passage of scripture, the context of the passage, including when it is written is very important! The book of Galatians (which is arguably the very first of our Apostle's 13 books written) takes place very early in his ministry; and also takes place during the transitional period of the book of Acts. This is important because our Apostle dealt first and foremost with the Jews in the synagogues in the areas that he travelled.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

And what is it that you must first convince the Jew of? That Jesus of Nazareth was their Christ! Paul could not go on to explain his gospel, about Christ dying for their sins, before first convincing them that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. And that is what he is both talking about, and what he did early in his ministry with Jews!

Acts 9:19-22
And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

As far as "the faith" of Galatians 1:23...

Notice in the immediate context of the verses, our Apostle is in "Judaea," which is a territory filled with Jews.

Galatians 1:22-24
And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.  And they glorified God in me.

Acts 9:26-29
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians [Jews from the area of Greece]: but they went about to slay him.

These churches of Judaea were the Jewish, Messianic, earthly-kingdom believing, little flock churches that Paul called the "church of God" earlier in the chapter. And although these Jews were already trusting Jesus as their Messiah, Paul was still dealing with and trying to save unbelieving lost Jews in those territories.

So when the Jewish believers who had already trusted Jesus as their Messiah had heard that the man who was their chief persecutor is now preaching "the faith" that he once destroyed, they glorified God in him. But what does he mean by "the faith?"  He simply means JESUS! The focus of faith in either program, both the kingdom program, as well as the current Grace program, is the person of our LORD JESUS CHRIST!

Peter, who preaches Jesus according to the Prophetic kingdom program...

Acts 3:16-21
And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Paul simply preaches Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery grace program!

Romans 16:25
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.

So whether it was during Prophecy or during our present Mystery program, the object of faith is always our Lord Jesus Christ!

Acts 26:22-23
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha! 

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