The Gospel That Paul Taught
Throughout the church world today Pastors, Bible Teachers and Evangelists have proclaimed what they consider the Gospel that Jesus taught but is what they teach really the good news of the Kingdom of God? In this lesson I want to show you the difference between the Gospel as given to the Jews through the Apostle PETER, and the Gospel given to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul. Jesus never preached the Gospel of Salvation, as is preached in most churches today. He introduced the Gospel of the Kingdom that he declared to be a present reality at the time of His ministry. It would seem that very few people understand that the scriptures reveal more than one Gospel, and the difference between them is most remarkable. Now for many, this statement will be considered heresy, because they have been told there is only one Gospel.
Consider these facts. The Greek word for Gospel is EU-ANGGLEION. The prefix EU means WELL or GOOD, as in Matt 25:21. The word ANGGELION means a message, and is connected with the word "LOGOS." 1Jn 1:5. So the Bible definition of the word ‘Gospel’ is "A Message of Good News." The first four Books in the New Testament are called "Gospels," but this is not to be considered an exclusive use of this word. In Rom 4:3 it speaks of the Gospel that God brought to Abraham. Gen 12:3. Then there is the Gospel Gabriel brought to Zachariah in Luke 2:10-12. Paul speaks about the Gospel of The Circumcision in Gal 2:7, and also the Gospel of The Uncircumcision. In the book of Revelation there is The Eonian Gospel, to name just a few of the Gospels that are mentioned in the Bible. How interesting it is to note that in none of these "Gospels" is there mention of judgment or a burning eternal hell as part of the message. The Gospel is all Good News.
In Gal 2:1-9 Paul says,
"Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. ‹This matter arose› because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. ”
Peter delivered the Gospel of the Circumcision to the Jewish people. They were the people of the Circumcision that Paul writes about in his letters. Paul delivered the Gospel of the Uncircumcision to the Gentile nations. Because of the divergent nature of these two Gospels, it was necessary for the Lord to use two separate men to deliver these messages to men. The separation of these two messages and the men involved, is outlined for us in Gal 2:1-9 which we just read.
It is obvious that Peter, James and John all recognized God’s choice in the matter, so that Paul was sent to the Gentle Nations, while Peter was sent to the Circumcision. Peter was impressed that the Lord had chosen Paul who was not one of the original twelve apostles that were His chosen witnesses to the Jews. It will help you to understand this if you know that the Jewish nation did not represent all the twelve tribes of Israel. As a matter of fact, ten tribes of Israel were separated from the Jews in the Old Testament and were called The House of Israel. Read my article on The Lost Tribes of Israel.
It was because of this that Paul found it necessary to establish the basis of his Apostleship with the original twelve even though it did not depend upon the winning of a vote by men, or of the church. The Lord Himself chose all the original disciples, and this is very important to remember. But after He returned to the Father, the Church did the choosing of those who functioned in special ministries and have continued to do so even to this day. Many are being called in this day, much like Paul, who are not a part of the religious establishment and have been trained in the school of the spirit for what the Lord has for them to do.
So Paul makes it very plain, that he was an apostle, not ordained by men but ordained by God, neither was he taught by man but by the spirit of God taught him in the Arabian Desert. This put him on the same level as those who were the original disciples. The next matter that needed to be clarified was the authority for the Gospel that he preached. The other Apostles, who had been with Jesus and had listened to His teaching, felt they had an advantage over those who had not been so involved. However, it is obvious their understanding of what Jesus said was still lacking, especially concerning the events of the cross. It was not until after Pentecost that many things became clear to them.
Paul of course was not among these men, being at that time a persecutor of all who followed Jesus. It is because of this that he needed to establish his authority for the Gospel he preached. He declares quite plainly in Gal. 1:11-12,
“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Paul testifies, that after God called him on the Damascus road he did not confer with flesh and blood, but went to Arabia where he received revelation directly from God without human instruction. Thus he proved his Apostolic authority flowed direct from God, according to Gods predetermined good pleasure. In Gal 1:15-17 Paul said,
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.”
It is also interesting to note that Paul received his revelation outside the Holy Land, among the heathen or Gentiles. The mutual independence of Peter, the Apostle to the Circumcision, or to the Jews and Paul, the Apostle to the Uncircumcision, or the Gentiles, had to be clearly established. This was done through three meetings they had together. The first meeting was private in nature as they shared together their own dealings with the Lord and was designed to establish a basis for mutual understanding. Paul said in Gal 1:18,
“Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother.”
The second meeting was somewhat official and is outlined in Gal 2:1-10. In this instance God had spoken to Paul and told him to communicate to the twelve the Gospel that was entrusted to him. As a result of this meeting, these "Pillars" of the Church at Jerusalem, Peter, James and John, issued a formal recognition of Paul’s teaching and Apostleship on behalf of the Jewish Church. Such recognition by men was but a human formality and did not in fact legitimize Paul’s message or his authority; however, it did establish first hand knowledge of what Paul’s Gospel was. Jesus had said, "He is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name.” As a result all that the other apostles could do was to publicly recognize this divinely chosen vessel.
The third time that Paul and Peter met there was an open confrontation over the question of Gentiles having to conform to Jewish Law and Culture. You must remember that the Jerusalem conference had already recognized Paul’s message and authority and allowed the Gentile converts freedom from the Law by their own decree. Acts 15:19-20. The Lord had previously taught Peter in a most unusual way that he should make no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Acts 10:1-29. Now Paul challenges Peter openly for his present behavior because he was denying the very truth he claimed to believe. He was refusing to eat with Gentiles being in fear of those of the Circumcision. Gal 2:12. Even Barnabas was influenced by Peter’s behavior. So Paul brings a public rebuke to the apostle Peter accusing Him of living as the Gentiles do and yet demanding the Gentiles live as the Jews do. (verse 14) This results in the charge that Peter had built again what he once pulled down. This makes him a transgressor and Christ a minister of sin. v17-18. Paul begins to outline the Gospel of Grace that was entrusted to him, even though he knows it will put him at variance with those of the Circumcision.
So just what is this revelation that the Lord gave to Paul and how does it differ with what Peter was teaching? There were THREE main truths made know to Paul in Arabia.
1. The GOSPEL OF GOD, mentioned in Rom 1-1.
2. The MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL. Rom 16-25.
3. The DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY. Eph 3:3 & 9.
The Gospel of God was "promised before" through His holy prophets, in the scriptures. Paul said in Rom 1:1-2,
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son”
It concerns the justification of the nations, (heathen) on the basis of God’s promise to Abraham that through his seed which is CHRIST would all the nations be blessed. Rom 4:9-10. and Gal. 3:8. When Paul understood that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, he realized that he was the heir of Abraham’s promise. Paul knew the Old Testament scriptures so all he needed was to receive light and understanding from the Holy Spirit and his viewpoint was changed to include Christ as the center of all God’s purposes. The first four chapters of Romans show how well he was taught the Truth by the Lord.
The Mystery of the Gospel or the Secret News or the Hidden Mystery is the message of Reconciliation. The message of reconciliation was latent in the scriptures and was silenced or hushed up but in the Gospel of God it was a distinct item of promise and prophecy. The truth was there but its lips were sealed so that being mute it could not draw attention to itself. But when the fullness of time had come, the long silence was broken, and Mercy and Truth declared the all consuming passion and Love of God.
When God created that first Man in Genesis 1:26-28, He created the whole human race. All men were latent in Him. In that Man was the germinal force to produce all of mankind out of himself, just as a grain of wheat contains within itself a whole crop to be produced from it. This MAN was told to be FRUITFUL and replenish or Fill the earth. We are not speaking here of the Man formed from the dust of the ground but the one who was in the beginning with God and was GOD. John calls him the LOGOS or the WORD that is the CHRIST.
But there was another Man named Adam formed of the dust of the earth who was placed in the Garden of Eden. This man also had the power to procreate but on an earthly level. This man through disobedience looses his divine perception of God and himself and enters into a world that is hostile to him. However because of his seed his disobedience flows on to affect all of his offspring. Paul says, "Through the one man’s offence, death was passed upon all men." Rm. 5:12 However, this same representation and headship exist in Christ. Both Adam and Jesus represents the human race on two different levels, the Earthly and Heavenly. Each Man imparts his own quality to the whole race. The first Adam was a living soul and in him all die. The Last Adam is a Life Giving Spirit and in Him ALL were MADE ALIVE. Adam sinned and through the one offence brought condemnation on ALL MEN. In the same way through Christ’s obedience He brought Life and Justification to all men. Rom 5:18-20. When Adam sinned it contaminated his seed and thereby all mankind was contaminated as a result. In the same way, Christ Sanctified All through the offering of his BODY once and for all. Heb 10:10. Therefore for ALL, death has been destroyed that we might LIVE; each in his own order.
The reconciliation of all through the death of Christ is the very foundation of Grace. Neither ADAM nor CHRIST is a substitute for all men, but each stands for the whole human race. The human race is represented in both Adam and Christ because of their position as Heads on both the earthly and heavenly planes. Paul’s knowledge of the Dispensation of the Mystery could not have been known except by revelation from the Lord. He speaks in humility of these wonderful truths in Eph. 3:7-8,
"I was made a minister according to the gift of the Grace of God given to me by the effectual working of His mighty power. Unto me, who am the least of all the saints is this GRACE given, that I should preach among the Gentiles, the UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world HAS BEEN HID IN GOD, WHO CREATED ALL THINGS BY JESUS CHRIST."
In order for Paul to understand the Truth of the Dispensation of the Mystery, Eph 3:9, Paul is "caught up" to the third heaven, and hears Unspeakable Words. Paul said in 2 Cor 12:4,
“And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) 4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
Paul heard things that he categorized as being UNSPEAKABLE. The rest of the verse does not appear in the old manuscripts. What does he mean by UNSPEAKABLE? Divine truth is of such a quality that our language is totally inadequate to give expression to it.
Paul is transported to the dispensation of the Fullness of Times and sees heaven and earth reconciled. Remember Christ is Head in both the heavens as well as the earth. We must understand that the heavens and the earth refer primarily to man who consists of a part that is spiritual and therefore associated with the heavens and a part that is earthly. These are the heavens and the earth that must be reconciled through Christ. For in the beginning He was the Word but the time came when He became flesh and lived among us so that we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth. He is the Savior of All Men (1 Tim 4:10), because He is the Head of every man. 1 Cor 11:3. HE is the Savior of the BODY Eph 5:23 because HE is the HEAD of the body. Eph 1:22. He reconciles all Principalities and Powers, Col 1:20 because He is Head of all Principalities and Powers. Such a revelation staggers the imagination, and overwhelms us with a Vision of the Majesty of Him who sits upon the throne, working all things after the counsel of His own will.
What, then, is the Gospel of the Circumcision?
In Gen 17:9-14, the covenant of circumcision was made with Abraham and his seed after him for their generations. The Israelites, who are the descendants of Jacob, were "set apart" from all the Nations of the earth by the rite of circumcision. It is these who are the Circumcision of the New Testament. The first five books of the New Testament are taken up largely with this people. It was declared by their prophets that the Messiah was to come and that He would be born in Bethlehem. However, the nation of Israel into which He was born rejected Him and the religious leaders set about to kill him. It is recorded, "He came unto His own (people) but His own received Him not." However it soon became evident that even though Jesus began by dealing with the people of Israel, the scope of His mission was far greater than any of the circumcision realized. Twelve men were selected to be His disciples from this people, and to them He shared many wonderful things. It is most important to note the commission given to these twelve disciples in Matt 10:1-6,
"Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. "
Also remember Christ never went outside the Land of Palestine in His earthly ministry. Only Two Gentiles were blessed during His ministry, the centurion who was a proselyte and the Syro-Phoenician woman. When she asked for help she was told that it is not meet to take the Children’s Bread and give it to DOGS. As a Gentile, she was told she did not qualify to receive the "Children’s Bread."
All the prophets in the Old Testament prophesied concerning Israel bringing instruction and direction and sometimes rebuke to them from the Lord. Israel had become a very proud people and that pride had elevated them in their carnal minds causing an arrogance to develop, which was most destructive. For this reason the four "Gospels" in the New Testament are more a part of the Old Testament than the New Testament. In these books Christ the Messiah is seeking some recognition from the people of the circumcision while calling for them to Repent of their wicked ways. This was like a special visitation of the Messiah Himself seeking to bring them back from apostasy. However, Israel’s response to the coming of the Messiah was to oppose Him at every opportunity. They challenged Him concerning the Sabbath and sought to trap Him in His judgment of a woman taken in adultery. The religious leaders were jealous of His acceptance by the ordinary people and searched for an opportunity to destroy Him. Finally at the instigation of the High Priest, one of the disciples was bribed and made it possible for them to arrest Him. This resulted in a mock trial before the Sanhedrin, which passed the sentence of death upon Him. However because the Jews were subservient to the Romans at that time they had no power to execute Him. Therefore they handed Him over to the Roman authorities.
After the crucifixion of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Peter tells the people in Acts 2:22-24,
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.”
The result of Peter’s words was that the people realized what they had done and asked, “What shall we do?” Peter replies to their question in Acts 2:38,
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
These are the demands of the Gospel of the circumcision. Repentance and Baptism for the remission of your sins and the receiving of the Holy Spirit is the requirement for the Circumcision. Both the Lord Jesus and the disciples called for Israel to Repent. The Greek word for repent is ‘metanoeoo’ and literally means, A Complete Changing of The Mind or to Change Direction. At Mount Sinai God made a covenant with Israel giving them the Ten Commandments, which they vowed to keep. But their history is filled with failure. John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ continued to demand Repentance from Israel, as did the disciples. However, the Gentiles, as such, were not subject to the Law according to Rom 2:14. The Law was not given to the Gentiles as it was to Israel, therefore the breaking of the Law cannot be attributed to the Gentiles. This same situation also applied to Israel before the time they received the Law at Mount Sinai, but from that time on, they became responsible to keep it. So the heralding of the baptism of repentance had no application to the Gentiles. It was Israel who had forsaken the covenants and promises and made void the commandment of God. As a result they were required to repent and be baptized, which brought them to a position where they could believe the Gospel.
The Blessings promised are these, pardon or remission of sins with the promise of the Holy Spirit for regeneration and New Birth. Then there is the hope of the resurrection of the dead and an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom. Having believed the Gospel of the Circumcision, they were then exhorted to "Endure Unto The End", and they would be saved. Matt 10:22. They were also assured that Christ was their High Priests seated at the right hand of the Throne of the Majesty. Heb 3:1-6. And if anyone should be sinning we have an advocate with the Father. 1 Jn. 1:7-10. Many of these scriptures are "misquoted" by today’s preachers as part of the Gospel to the Gentiles.
The Gospel of the Circumcision was heralded by the Lord Jesus and His disciples but was eventually rejected by the Builders of Israel. Jesus said in Mk 12:10,
“The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:”
Jesus quoted the words of the prophet Isaiah in Matt. 13:14,
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;’
At this point the doors of the Kingdom were locked against them, and the KEYS were given to Peter Matt 16:19 which designated him the Apostle and custodian of the Gospel of the Circumcision. In Gal 2:7-8 Paul said,
“On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.”
A further proclamation of this Gospel of the Circumcision began on the day of Pentecost, in accord with the commission given to the disciples in Acts 1:8. On that day Peter declared to the people,
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth a man approved of God among you by miracles and sign and wonders, you have taken by wicked hands and have crucified and slain. But God has raised Him up having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it."
This resulted in many people asking Peter what they must do in the light of this indictment and he replied,
"REPENT AND BE BAPTISED every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
This resulted in about 3000 who believed the "Good News" and so Repented and were baptized. Acts 2:41-47. The witness continued in Jerusalem and Judea, until the Priests and officers of the Sanctuary, together with the Sadducees, led a persecution against them, and imprisoned the disciples. However in Acts 4:1-4 the number of the converts reached 5000 and they keep multiplying. This continued for about 28 years after Pentecost, at which time the church numbered "Many thousands", or as the Greek states, many tens of thousands. Acts 21:20. Acts 8 says concerning Stephen,
And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
Acts 11:19 tells of the extent of their travils,
"Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord."
The Jewish disciples were scattered to the districts of Judea and Samaria. As they passed through they evangelized with the Word. Then Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ, thus fulfilling the third part of the commission. From this time on the rulers of Israel rejected Paul. This happened around AD 61-63, and Israel was "Blinded", cast away, "Broken Off", and made Enemies of The Gospel. Paul said in Rom 11:7-28.
“What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.”
Paul became a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the Nations or Gentiles. To him was given the task of revealing the Dispensation of the Mystery, in which we live today. During this administration of the Mystery there is a remnant of Israel according to a choice of Grace. These together with the believing Gentiles are jointly blessed in the Church, which is His body.
It is interesting to note that the persecution against Paul started with his visit to Jerusalem in Acts 21. Again the differences in the GOSPEL Paul preached, became a problem for the elders of the Jewish Church who requested that he fulfill all the requirements of the Law for purification with four men from the assembly. This he agrees to do but just before the seven days that were required were finished, JEWS from Asia saw him in the Temple. They stirred up the People so that the Temple guards were called in and the persecution began.
The Gospel Paul Taught
What then is the difference between the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel Paul Taught? There is a fundamental difference between the Gospel given to Peter and the Gospel given to Paul. We must understand this difference if we are going to be able to grasp the far higher calling and blessings of the Gospel that is ours today. If we have not learned the difference between the TWO, then we may well be in the same situation as the saints in Galatia. For this reason we will see what Paul had to say to the church there about the false teaching that had crept in among them.
In Gal 1:6-9 Paul says they have moved from the Gospel he preached to them to a different (Gk HETEROS= implying essential differences) Gospel. So Paul himself makes it clear these two Gospels are not the same. However they are ONE in origin but differ in form and composition. The Greek text makes it plain that this other Gospel was not the same as what Paul taught them. This is important, for if the Galatians simply changed from one Gospel to the other that was basically the same, there would have been no case at all for the Anathema spoken by Paul.
The problem was that agitators, who had traveled up from the Church in Jerusalem and “Perverted the Gospel of Christ”, convincing the Galatians that they had to keep the Law which caused self-righteousness. Paul knew the will of Christ because His Spirit had taught him. He therefore knew that what these Jews were trying to do was of the flesh because the same Spirit that had instructed Paul was not leading them. So strongly does the Apostle feel this, that he pronounces an ANATHEMA upon those who caused the problem. This sentence upon them simply exposes them to the just judgment of God.
Paul’s answer to their problem comes in the form of a series of questions. The first one concerns the manner in which the Spirit was received. "Tell me, did you receive the spirit by the keeping of the LAW, or did you receive the Spirit by faith? When the Galatians accepted Paul’s Gospel they received the seal of God’s approval. When they believed the word of their salvation, God sent into their hearts, the Spirit of His Son crying "Abba Father". Gal 4:6. If the spirit of Sonship came as a result of pure faith then God had established faith as the basis of all future receiving. The seed of grace must be allowed to grow in the soil of its original planting. Faith was to be the crown just as it had been the beginning of their life unto God. Could these people be so lacking in understanding as to suppose that what began in the Spirit could be perfected in flesh?
The second question relates to the operation of the Spiritual gifts operating among them. What is supplying the Spirit to you and who is operating powers among you? Is it because you are keeping the Law or is it the hearing of faith? Why, because, if faith was the basis of the Spirit’s work, which enriched them and extended their usefulness, was it not obvious that faith would continue to bring the same response! The whole question of faith taught by Paul was no new innovation but is based on an historic precedent. The scriptures recorded Abraham’s experience in days of old. Paul said in Romans 4:3,
“Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
This faith of Abraham that was accredited to him as righteousness was established before circumcision or any of the legal system was instituted. Now this identity of experience, between the believers in Galatia and the ancient patriarch establishes a certain bond, and a kind of kinship, linking them together. Know therefore, that the ones who walk by faith are the sons of Abraham. This link with Abraham adds multiple blessing as Paul says in Gal. 3:8-9,
"The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”
It becomes perfectly clear that the promise given to Abraham anticipated the Gospel of Grace, which would be received through faith. Paul’s Gospel is actually older than both Israel and the Law of Moses because it goes all the way back to the Father of Faith, Abraham. The people from Jerusalem, who were troubling the saints in Galatia, were seeking to destroy their liberty, which they had in Christ. They entered in by faith and were received by faith and blessed by faith yet now they were being told to add Laws to their faith. This is not any different from our experience in the churches we have been brought up in. We were constantly being told we must do this and that and if we didn’t we were made to feel guilty. If a person believes the Gospel today, they are told now you must do this list because God requires it of you. The list of "Laws" may vary according to the particular group you may belong to and their teaching, but it will be imposed and you will be expected to obey.
Paul told us in Eph. 2:8,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
Beloved we are saved by grace and that not of ourselves, unless any man could boast, for it is the gift of God! How comforting it is to know that, "We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus.” And Paul states very clearly in Phil. 2:13,
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure.”
To sum up what has been said, we find that the Gospel to the circumcision, was the Gospel Peter was given for the children of Israel, it said, "REPENT and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which shall be to you and to your children." Their Gospel involved repentance because when they sinned it became a legal issue for they were under the Law of commandments. So being under the Law they needed a Judge to administer the Law, and that is how they saw God. Then if you have a law there must be a penalty, so God was not only their judge, but He was also the one who punished them when they sinned. Therefore the God of Israel was always presented as an angry God who blesses those who do good, but punishes those who do evil.
The Apostle Paul’s commission was to take the "Gospel of God’s Grace" to the Gentiles or the Nations who were never under the law of commandments. Paul said in Rom 2:14,
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
In other words the Gentiles were not put in legal bondage to the Law as a system of Judgment. However, even though the Law was not a binding legal system on the Gentiles, yet they did by nature the things contained in the Law, showing that the Law is universal. But God has now written His law in our hearts and in our minds. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law in every detail and now dwells within us fulfilling the law now in His people. The law for us is not written on pieces of stone but it is written in our hearts, and our sins and iniquities He said, I will remember no more.
So we have a God of Grace and not a God of law. So sin for us, is not a legal issue at all and we do not need a judge and as a result we know God as OUR FATHER. This is why Paul does not speak about repentance and Baptism for the remission of sins at all.
Paul said in Acts 26:19,
"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.
In fact he says there is only ONE Baptism, which is by the spirit into ONE BODY. Gal 3:26-28. Paul said in 1 Cor. 12:13,
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
John said in Matt. 3:9,
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Paul’s statement is very simply, "IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST HE IS A NEW CREATION for old things have passed away and behold all things have become new." 2 Cor 5:17. Paul told the Corinthian Church in 1 Cor. 1:14-17,
“I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
In speaking to the saints in Ephesus he said, "You are God’s workmanship CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS." So there is nothing we can DO to "BE" in Christ, except to believe that our very origin was in Him, that first man in Gen 1:26. Israel had to keep the law in order to please God, but under Paul’s Gospel of Grace, we are SAVED BY FAITH and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Finally it is important to note that the Jewish Church in Jerusalem established in the early part of the book of Acts, had all but disappeared by the end of the same book. The Churches that remained were the Gentile Churches established by Paul. The startling issue here is that for almost 2000 years the Church has been preaching the Gospel that was given to the Jews or the circumcision, complete with a legal system and an angry God who relegates millions to an eternal burning hell if they do not respond correctly to Him. No mortal man can possibly keep the Law, so to him it becomes a Law of SIN AND DEATH. It is CHRIST presence WITHIN US that gives us the capacity to keep the law engraved on our hearts and in our minds.