Not Man’s Gospel
The apostle Paul was a strong teacher of the word of God. Paul did not tow the party line. He did not preach what others told him to preach. The apostle Paul preached the gospel which came to him by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Let all Christians learn from Paul’s examples.
Consider Paul’s former life in Judaism. Paul was instrumental in violently persecuting the church, trying to destroy the church of God. He was well respected among his Jewish peers. Paul was truly “zealous . . . for the traditions” of his fathers. You might say Paul, before his conversion to Christ, towed the party line of the traditions of Judaism. He held so strongly to the traditions of the leaders, he was willing to see innocent people thrown into jail for believing in Jesus Christ.
However, the paradigm by which Paul lived changed greatly after his conversion. Paul recognized the Lord had set him apart, calling him by His grace. The Lord revealed Jesus to Paul so Paul could preach to the Gentiles. Take notice Paul did not turn to the other apostles for understanding and knowledge. Instead, Paul traveled to Arabia and then back to Damascus. After a span of three years, Paul went to Jerusalem. Instead of Paul turning to the apostles and asking, “What must I be believing and teaching?” he instead turned to the Lord. As Paul wrote, “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12, ESV; cf. Ephesians 3:3). Paul stopped preaching what man told him to preach. He now began preaching what God told him to preach.
All who profess to believe in Jesus Christ must stop believing what they are told to believe, and start believing what the Bible teaches. Many fallacies, misunderstandings, and even doctrinal errors persist because some people choose to believe what they are told to believe. It is like the man saying, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Some people do not want to be confused by what the Bible teaches.
No Christian should be satisfied with the statement, “This is what we have always believed” or “Just take my word for it.” Consider the following reasons why all Christians must always ask for Bible verse and Bible scriptures:
- God, not man, has given us all things which pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
- All scripture has come from God, not man, and equips us for obedience (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- God, not man, has given us a pattern of sound words to follow (2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 2:1).
- God has never given man permission to alter His word. Regarding the law which God gave to Moses, He said, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2, ESV). The end of the book of Revelation contains the following warning: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19, ESV). Even the prophets of old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).
If we follow the example of the apostle Paul, then we will neither bind where the Bible does not bind nor loose where the Bible does not loose. If we are going to say something is wrong, then we must have Bible authority or teaching. As we said earlier, God does not give us the authority to add to or take way from His word. If we say to someone, “Well, this is wrong or that is wrong,” then we need to stand ready to show the supporting Bible verses in their proper context.
There is a need for evangelists, pastors (elders) and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). God has given us these role “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). However, those who teach are to teach God’s word. They are not to bind or loose which God has not bound or loose. They do not teach their own doctrine and positions. Their role is to share God’s word, to teach God’s word to other fellow Christians.
Just as the apostles set out to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and not man’s gospel, so to should we establish within our hearts the desire to believe and follow only the doctrine and teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles.