The Wonders of His Grace

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer” (Phile. 1:1).

Paul’s letter to Philemon is a masterpiece of Christian correspondence. It is a prime example of how to deal with a sensitive issue in the proper manner. In the New Testament the epistles mark a new form of revelation. As we know, in time past the will of God was made known through the law, the prophets, the Psalms, and the Gospel narratives. When God introduced the format of the epistles, He adopted a more personal and direct method to communicate His will.

Like the facets of a diamond, this particular letter is a demonstration of God’s grace from different perspectives. The narrative opens with an affectionate greeting—”Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer.” Paul had a special place in his heart for Philemon, having led him to the Lord. This joyous occasion probably took place while the apostle resided at Ephesus, where it is said “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:10). This is what Paul means when he says with all humility, “albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides” (Phile. 1:19).

Little wonder he addresses him, not simply as “beloved,” but “dearly beloved.” So Paul and Philemon had a very special relationship, but grace doesn’t take advantage of a brother in Christ on the basis that a debt of gratitude is owed. Grace is never presumptuous; it always takes into consideration the feelings and preferences of others.


The story of Philemon unfolds against the backdrop of slavery. Sadly, slavery was a fact of life in biblical times. There were at least four ways to become a slave: If a thief was unable to pay restitution he became the property of another; parents often sold their children into slavery; a man could sell himself into slavery to pay a debt; and one could be born into it. For the sake of the gospel Paul never advocated the abolition of slavery, but he did perceive the gospel would eventually eradicate it, which indeed it has for the most part.

Since slavery was woven throughout the fabric of the ancient world, it should not seem unusual that Philemon was a slave owner, even though he was a believer. While we tend to envision slaves chained together treading through the mud pits of Egypt, many were trusted servants who were given a wide range of responsibilities in their master’s affairs. This was the case with one of Philemon’s slaves named Onesimus. A seemingly trustworthy member of the household, Onesimus took advantage of his position by stealing from his master and fleeing from Colosse. Consequently, Paul says to his friend in the faith, “Which in time past [he] was to thee unprofitable” (vs. 11).

Why Onesimus ran away we are not told. Surely it could not have been that Philemon was a cruel taskmaster. Quite the contrary, he had the reputation of being an honorable man. In fact, his faith and love are crowning virtues in these opening passages. Paul says of him, “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love” (vs. 7). Philemon had received the saints into his home to worship, and, if nothing else, he was at least fair with his servants. It seems more probable that Onesimus had rebelled against his master who had faithfully shared with him the good news that Christ died for his sins.1

What’s in a name? Back in biblical times names had great significance attached to them. Onesimus means profitable or helpful. But he was anything but helpful. He was a rebellious sinner who hardened his heart against God, betrayed his master’s trust, and ran away. You can run from God, but you can’t hide! God has unique ways of bringing the sinner and the gospel of salvation together. In this regard, I have had more funerals than I care to remember over the years, but one thing I’ve always been conscious of at such occasions is the providence of God. With one turn of the wheel, God alters the path of a sinner who would rarely darken a church door, to bring him under the sound of the gospel.

Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, relates this account from his years of ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England:

Some three years ago I was talking with an aged minister, and he began fumbling about in his waistcoat pocket, but he was a long while before he found what he wanted. At last he brought out a letter that was well nigh worn to pieces, and he said, “God Almighty bless you! God Almighty bless you!” And I said, “Friend what is it?” He said, “I had a son—I thought he would be the stay [support] of my old age, but he disgraced himself, and he went away from me, and I could not tell where he went, only he said he was going to America. He took a ticket to sail for America from the London Docks, but he did not go on the particular day he expected.”

This aged minister bade me read the letter, and I read it, and it was like this: “Father, I am here in America. I have found a situation [employment], and God has prospered me. I write to ask your forgiveness for the thousand wrongs that I have done you, and the grief I caused you, for, blessed be God, I have found the Savior. I have joined a church here and hope to spend my life in God’s service. It happened thus: I did not sail for America the day I expected. I went down to the Tabernacle to see what it was like, and God met with me. Mr. Spurgeon said, `Perhaps there is a runaway son here. The Lord call him by His grace.’ And He did!”

“Now” said he, as he folded up the letter and put it in his pocket, “that son of mine is dead, and he is in heaven, and I love you, and I shall do so as long as I live, because you were the means of bringing him to Christ.”2

While some may conclude that Onesimus ended up in Rome by chance, Paul seems to suggest it was according to the providence of God when he says to Philemon: “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever” (vs. 15). Interestingly, the apostle tells us Onesimus departed, but he does not give us the sordid details of his sinful ways, which were best left unsaid. A good lesson for us to remember!

As Onesimus made his way to Rome he apparently came under deep conviction of his sin. He may have had his liberty, but he was still in bondage to his sins. Unable to function with the heavy burden he was carrying, he recalled that the saints at Colosse had been praying for the Apostle Paul who was a prisoner at Rome. Therefore, he may well have sought out the apostle. Whatever the case, Paul had an opportunity to lead Onesimus to the Lord (vs. 10). He was wonderfully saved by the grace of God! Grace reached down and unshackled him from the burden of his sins.

Centuries later, John Newton, that once old wretched slave trader who was also saved by grace, wrote a hymn to which each of us former Onesimi can surely relate:

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.

“I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”


Although some seem to think that grace gives us a license to sin, quite the opposite is true. It teaches us to deny ungodliness and to live righteously in this present evil age. The actions of both Paul and his new convert illustrate this—grace changes lives. Like anyone who comes to Christ, Onesimus looked back on his past life with regret. Clearly he had shared with the apostle how he had wronged his master (vs. 11 & 18). A life touched by grace is always characterized by honesty. It was now his desire to set the record straight with Philemon in spite of the consequences, but how to accomplish this was another matter.

Here the apostle intercedes for his new friend. He could have merely instructed Onesimus to return home, throw himself on the mercy of his master and pay restitution. But instead Paul acts in accordance with the mind of Christ. He offers to pay the debt on behalf of Onesimus. “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it” (vs. 18 & 19). That’s grace! Grace is acting on behalf of another who is unworthy and undeserving. If Onesimus got what he rightfully deserved, he probably would have been put to death, or at the very least endured hard bondage the rest of his days.

But Paul makes a compelling argument to Philemon. “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds” (vs. 10). The law commanded, “this do and thou shalt live,” but grace beseeches—I beg you! Philemon forgive Onesimus for the wrong he has done, “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). Then the apostle adds:

“Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly” (vs. 13 & 14).

Paul could have reasoned that the slate of Onesimus was wiped clean; therefore, I will use him here at Rome to minister to my needs. Think how much more I will be able to accomplish in the Lord’s work if I retain him. Surely Philemon will understand! But Paul valued the fellowship of Philemon far too much to take advantage of him. The apostle knew that Onesimus was the property of his friend, thus he would allow him the courtesy of making that decision. You see, grace always does what is right.

It literally takes years and years to earn the respect of others, but it can all be destroyed in a moment of time. This is why it is so essential to maintain a consistent godly testimony, as exhibited by the apostle. In his book, Ten Mistakes Parents Make with Teenagers, Jay Kesler describes a conversation he had with a young lady at a Youth for Christ summer camp:

This particular camp was in Ohio and after one of the services some kids came forward, but one young woman was having a difficult time so the counselors asked me if I would speak to her. We sat down in the front row of the Chapel, and through many tears her heartbreaking story began to unfold. She’d been molested by her father since she was four years old. She had never told anyone about this and carried a great sense of guilt, as though she were to blame for her father’s actions.

As she told me her story, I noticed that both of her wrists were scarred. (If you work with youth today, you see these marks often.) “Tell me about your wrists,” I said. “Well, I tried to kill myself.” “Why didn’t you do it?” I asked. Killing yourself is a relatively simple thing if you really want to do it. If it is just a bid for attention, the attempt is usually feeble. She said, “Well, I got to thinking…we have a youth pastor at our church….”

Oh no, I thought, now I’m going to hear an ugly story about her getting involved with some youth pastor. But that wasn’t it at all. She said, “He’d just gotten married before he came to our church, and I’ve been watching him. When he and his wife are standing in line at church he holds her hand. They look at each other affectionately, and they hug each other right in church. One day I was standing in the pastor’s study, looking out the window and the youth pastor walked his wife out to the parking lot. Now there was only one car in the parking lot; nobody was around; nobody was looking. And that guy walked all the way around the car and opened the door and let her in. Then he walked all the way around and got in himself. And there was nobody even looking.”

That was a nice story, but I couldn’t make the connection between that and her problem of incest and suicide. So I asked why this seemed significant to her. She said, “Well, I just got to thinking that all men must not be like my dad, huh?” I said, “You’re right. All men are not like your father.” “Jay, do you suppose our youth pastor’s a Christian?” “Yes,” I said, “I think he probably is.” “Well that’s why I came tonight. I want to be a Christian, too!”

Why did she want to trust Christ and become a Christian? Because she saw a believer being affectionate and respectful to his wife—when he thought no one was looking. That’s the power of a consistent life in Christ.3


The love that Paul and Philemon had for each other was mutual. Thus, he beseeches his friend on the basis of “love’s sake.” This was another opportunity for Philemon to demonstrate his love for the Lord and his apostle. So it is touching to see how Paul desires that Philemon receive Onesimus as himself. In short, “If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself” (vs. 17). The grace and kindness you would show to me when I visit, show to our beloved Brother Onesimus. Put him up in the best lodging, give him my seat at your table, and provide for his needs, as you have done so generously for me. Accept him, even as the Father has accepted us in the Beloved. That’s grace!

In essence the aged apostle says to Philemon, Onesimus may have departed from you wearing the garments of a runaway, thieving slave, but I am sending him back to you clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, receive him, “Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?” (vs. 16). The gospel transforms lives! Onesimus returned a trusted servant and a steward of the mysteries of God with whom Philemon could now fellowship. As the hymn writer has said, “Grace ’tis a charming sound!”


  1. Pastor Kurth feels that Philemon may have neglected his responsibility to witness to Onesimus, which is certainly a possibility. Either way, the end result is the same, the providence of God was at work (See Pastor Kurth’s article: “Satan’s Devices”). May we challenge you to be a Berean (Acts 17:10,11).
  2. Spurgeon’s Sermons, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vol. 10, Page 320.
  3. Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories and Illustrations, and Quotes, by Robert J. Morgan, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, Page 276.

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Judge Not — Judge All Things

How often, in our efforts to “stand” for the truth and “withstand” error, we have been taken to task with the use of such Scripture passages as “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1) and “the servant of the Lord must not strive” (II Tim. 2:24).

These passages taken by themselves and out of context can induce weak believers to great irresponsibility, but it is our purpose in this article to examine the Scriptures as a whole and see what they have to say about judging others, or judging what they say or do.

The Scriptures have much to say about judging others and several synonyms are used. Since, however, one Greek word, “krino” is most often used in discussing this subject, and since this is the word our Lord used when He said, “Judge not,” we will deal only with those passages in which this Greek root “krino” (to judge) and its derivatives, “anakrino” (to judge strictly) and “diakrino” (to judge thoroughly) are used. In this way there can at least be little or no “strife about words.”

If the interpretation so often placed upon our Lord’s words, “Judge not,” were consistent with the Scriptures as a whole, we would not—indeed, should not—have had a Scofield, a Darby, a Calvin, a Luther—or a Paul, for those who interpret it thus surely would have taken strong exception as Paul and Barnabas “had no small dissension and disputation” with the Judaizers who had come to Antioch, seeking to bring the Gentile believers there under the Law, or as later at Jerusalem, Paul “gave place by subjection” to these same Judaizers, “no, not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with [the Gentiles]” (Acts 15:2; Gal. 2:5).

As to the root word “krino,” (to judge), it should be observed at the outset that some of the passages using this word urge us not to judge, while others teach as strongly that we should judge, indeed, that “he that is spiritual judgeth all things” (I Cor. 2:15), so that the interpretation of any Scriptural statement on judging must be determined, not by any “private interpretation,” but in the light of the context and/or of related Scripture passages.


“Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1).

Our Lord’s words here have, of course, to do with judging persons (obviously for what they do or fail to do), but Verse 5 indicates that they have reference to a certain type of critic, “Thou hypocrite,” or one who has a “beam” in his own eye, while criticizing the “mote” (any small, dry particle) in his brother’s eye. Such a critic would surely not be the “spiritual” person of I Corinthians 2:15. Thus Matthew 7:1,2 is a warning that if you are too quick to judge others, you may expect others to judge you. The parallel passage in Luke 6:37,38 brings this out even more forcefully. Paul, also, in Romans 2:1, says to those who hypocritically condemn others:

“…wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”

In Romans 14:4-13 the Apostle has an extended exhortation on such readiness to judge others. Dealing with the friction between those on the one hand who feel free to “eat all things,” and those on the other who are convicted that they should only “eat herbs,” he says:

“Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth; for God hath received him” (Ver. 3).

In Verses 10,12 he urges those on both sides to refrain from criticizing each other since all of us—each one individually—will one day give a personal account to God:

“But why dost thou judge thy brother?1 or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?2 for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

“So then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

And he concludes:

“Let us not therefore judge one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Ver. 13).

It is important to note that all this has to do with judging one another as to way of life; indeed, Romans 14 has to do with judging one another in matters not specifically dealt with in the Word of God. Such judgment should be left to Christ, at whose “judgment seat” we shall all one day stand. In the same vein the Apostle says in I Corinthians 4:5:

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

Let us then rather be criticized than to criticize, rather be judged than to judge—except in matters where God has given us the clear knowledge of His will. To the Galatians, for example, who had been enticed to go back under the Law after Christ had so gloriously set them free, the Apostle wrote:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

And then he proceeds to tell them in stern language how they will belittle Christ, and what the results will be if they continue in their course.

Thus too, he writes to the brethren at Colosse, this time urging them not to accept the criticisms of those who would bring them under the Law:

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

“Which are a shadow of things to come, but the Body [i.e., the substance] is of Christ” (Col. 2:16,17).


But where God has clearly made His truth and will known believers should judge between truth and error, not only “standing” for what is right, but “withstanding” what is wrong (Eph. 6:11,13), and this often involves “judging” and “withstanding” persons involved. Using the same root, krino, the Apostle says:

“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (I Cor. 2:15).

The truly spiritual man is so far above the wisest sages of this world, yea, so far above the mass of Christians with whom he comes in contact with, that he can understand them, but they can never quite understand him.3 It is a sad fact, however, that in the Church today, as in that of Paul’s day, there are so few, comparatively, who are truly spiritual and truly qualified to judge. Referring to the senseless and shameful contentions among the Corinthian believers, Paul wrote:

“I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (I Cor. 6:5).

Here he reprimands them because there is not one man among them who is spiritual enough to reprove the wrong and defend the right.

Indeed, Paul himself, an eminently spiritual man of God, once found it necessary to rebuke Peter publicly, even though Peter had been used of God to bring thousands to Messiah’s feet before Paul had even been converted. Read the passage carefully:

“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

“For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles; but when they were come he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the Circumcision.

“And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him, insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation [hypocrisy].

“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Gal. 2:11-14).

Surely this must have been embarrassing to Peter, but who can deny that Paul was right in thus dealing with this crisis, stepping in immediately to rebuke Peter’s hypocrisy in going back on the great truths which God had revealed to him with regard to the oneness of Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ. Paul’s action was not only right; it was necessary lest Peter “build again” the wall of separation between Jewish and Gentile believers which he himself had helped to “destroy” (Ver. 18 cf. Acts 15:9-11).

While Paul, in I Corinthians, deals with judging in the context of spirituality, he is not the first in Scripture to declare that God’s people should, when truly qualified, judge others. When Christ Himself was judged by His antagonists, He said:

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

Surely our Lord indicated by these words that His hearers should judge—fairly and rightly, though “hypocrites” (as in Matt. 7:1-5 above) should take care not to judge at all.

In I Corinthians 6:2,3, the Apostle declares that believers will one day “judge the world” and will even “judge angels,” basing upon this fact his exhortation that they should be able to judge in matters pertaining to this life (Ver. 3) and reproving them for their inability “to judge the smallest matters” (Ver. 2). And in Verse 5, as we have seen, he speaks to their shame that there is not even one among them who is spiritual enough, and therefore respected enough, to judge between his brethren.

Thus God calls upon His people, not merely to judge others, but to be such as are qualified, morally and spiritually, to judge in matters concerning truth and error or right conduct and wrong.

Thus he instructs Timothy and Titus, both truly spiritual men of God, to act in situations in which it is necessary to judge. To Timothy he writes:

“Them that sin4 rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (I Tim. 5:20).

And again:

“…reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2).

Likewise, to Titus he writes:

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I have appointed thee” (Titus 1:5).

“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision;

“Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Vers. 10,11).

Not just anyone would be qualified, spiritually and morally, to judge the recalcitrant believers to whom Timothy and Titus ministered, but these two men of God were thus qualified and the Apostle instructed them to do so firmly.

This brings us to a most important consideration appertaining to us all.


In Paul’s well-known passage on the Lord’s Supper, he warns against partaking of this sacred memorial in an unworthy manner (I Cor. 11:27), as some of the Corinthians were indeed doing. “Let a man examine himself,” he says, “and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (Ver. 28).

Indeed, it was because they had been so irresponsible in this matter that it had become necessary for God to discipline them. Many among them were “weak and sickly,” and some had even been taken away in death (Ver. 30). This would not have been necessary, the Apostle declares, if they had judged themselves (Vers. 31,32), each one carefully examining himself in the presence of the Lord so that he might be in the proper spiritual condition to celebrate the death of Christ for sin. Concluding his remarks about living so that they could partake of this remembrance in a worthy and sincere manner, he says:

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

“But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Cor. 11:31,32).

Whatever one’s dispensational views of the celebration of the Lord’s death at “the Lord’s table,” all of us should surely take the Apostle’s exhortation here to heart. If we would judge ourselves God would not have to discipline us for our irresponsibility and we would be in a better position to serve Him as those who are truly spiritual.

This writer is keenly aware that the mere fact that a man judges others does not of itself indicate that he is truly spiritual. Indeed, one who judges himself and is truly spiritual will not be quick to judge others. Yet, should it not be our desire to be truly spiritual so that we might correctly “judge all things” (I Cor. 2:15) and, thus judging, “stand” for what is Scriptural and right and “withstand” what is unscriptural and wrong, even when, in so doing, it is necessary to withstand those who teach or practice what is unscriptural and wrong?

Away, then, with the use of such passages as II Timothy 2:24 and Matthew 7:1 merely as excuses for irresponsibility and for the criticism of those who seek to stand true to God and His Word. Let us rather consider prayerfully all that God says about judging, that we might truly please and honor Him.


  1. i.e., the one who feels he may eat all things.
  2. i.e., the one who feels he should not eat all things.
  3. The writer’s book, True Spirituality, deals at length with this subject.
  4. The present active participle, i.e., those who persist in sin.

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Berean Searchlight – April 2000

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Seven Basic Bible Facts Every Christian Should Know and Believe

FACT NO. 1—That the Bible MUST be rightly divided in order for it to make sense. Notice what it says: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the Word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). This is one of the cardinal rules for interpreting the whole Bible. Neglect of this rule or a faulty use of it will lead to only one result, CONFUSION, since our God is not the author of confusion.

The reason for a right division of the Bible is because of God’s two distinct purposes: (1) His purpose concerning Israel and the world according to PROPHECY, and (2) His purpose concerning the Gentiles in this present age according to the MYSTERY revealed to Paul. God doesn’t want us to confuse the teaching of these two purposes. He has very graciously given us the key for a proper understanding of this.

FACT NO. 2—That the DISTINCTIVENESS of Pauline truth is a most important doctrine of the Bible. The risen Lord Jesus Christ revealed His heart and His mind to the Apostle Paul: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it but by THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST” (Gal. 1:11,12). “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward; how that BY REVELATION He made known unto me the MYSTERY…” (Eph. 3:2,3).

This proves conclusively that Paul did not preach what the 12 Apostles preached. Rather he went up to Jerusalem to TELL THEM of the special gospel of grace that Christ gave to him (Gal. 2:2). He preached Jesus Christ according to the REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY which was kept secret, hid in God (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:9). He was the Apostle to the Gentiles and magnified his office (Rom. 11:13).

FACT NO. 3—That the gospel we are to preach is called the Gospel of the grace of God. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD” (Acts 20:24). This is God’s only message for the lost in this present age. We are to follow Paul as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1). In his writings ALONE do we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the Christian.

Some other important aspects of grace are:

1. We are saved by GRACE—Eph. 2:8,9.

2. We are justified freely by His GRACE—Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7.

3. His GRACE is sufficient for us—II Cor. 12:9.

4. We are not under Law but under GRACE—Rom. 6:14,15.

5. This age is the age of GRACE —Eph. 3:2.

6. We are to approach the throne of GRACE in prayer—Heb. 4:16.

FACT NO. 4—That the Bible definitely teaches that water baptism was and is a part of Israel’s religion (Heb. 6:1,2; 9:10). It was for the remission of sins and was by sprinkling (Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38; Ezek. 36:25).

In this age there is only ONE baptism, not two: “One Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM” (Eph. 4:5). This baptism is the placing of the Christian into the Church, the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit: “For by one SPIRIT are we all BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Cor. 12:13). This baptism takes place once for all at the time of salvation.

The Apostle Paul was not sent to baptize with water: “For Christ sent me NOT TO BAPTIZE but to preach the gospel…” (I Cor. 1:17). Only a change in God’s purpose would necessitate a statement like this. There is no importance attached to water baptism, today. It is not a part of Christianity and only causes confusion.

FACT NO. 5—That we must understand the two-fold ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. During His earthly ministry He ministered exclusively to Israel: “But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL” (Matt. 15:24). His whole ministry to the Nation was under the Law of Moses (Matt. 5:17; Gal. 4:4,5). Christians are not under the Law so we are not to live according to Israel’s teachings.

During His present ministry in Heaven, He is ministering according to what He revealed to the Apostle Paul. He is saving men according to His gospel of Grace. He is at the throne of grace making intercession for us (Rom. 8:34). We are to live in Paul’s epistles where pure Christianity is found. This is not to say we should neglect the rest of the Bible. It is ALL for us but not all TO us (I Cor. 10:6,11).

FACT NO. 6—That SIGNS belong to the Nation of Israel and its religion: “For the JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN, and the Gentiles seek after wisdom” (I Cor. 1:22). Speaking in tongues is a SIGN: “Wherefore TONGUES are for a SIGN, not to them that believe but to them that believe not…” (I Cor. 14:22).

In Jesus’ day, those who sought after signs were called an evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39). The eight miracles of the Gospel of John are properly called SIGNS, which included the rising of Lazarus from the dead; and in the commission of Mark 16:15-18, water baptism is associated with SIGNS. This is proved in the book of Acts because everywhere water baptism is mentioned a SIGN is mentioned in the immediate context.

This present age is a signless age. We have been blessed with all SPIRITUAL blessings in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph. 1:3). This is where the emphasis lies for the Christian.

FACT NO. 7—That the COMMISSION the Church, the Body of Christ, is to work under, is found in II Corinthians 5:14-21 and Ephesians 3:9. The Kingdom commission of Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18 does not belong to God’s present grace purpose. The message of reconciliation has been committed to US, the Body of Christ.


1. The Christian would begin to perceive and grasp the deep things of God (I Cor. 2:10-12).

2. There would be a wonderful growth into spiritual maturity and adulthood (Eph. 4:12-15).

3. He would become a faithful steward of the mysteries of God (I Cor. 2:7; 4:1,2).

4. He would possess the Biblical answer to Satan’s false cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, Modernists, etc. They all borrow some aspects of Israel’s religion.

5. A mighty revival would take place if Christians would get back to Pauline truth.

My friend, if you are not saved, the grace of God invites you to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. You are a sinner and need to be saved (Rom. 3:23). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31). “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). It is infinitely better to receive Him and spend eternity in Heaven than to reject Him and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire!