The Pauline Legacy — Our Heritage

by Pastor Robert Hanna

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In the dispensation of the Grace of God, there is little understanding of its significance on the part of fundamental Christian believers. There is one particularly evident reason for this lack of comprehension: ignorance of the identification and ministry of the Apostle Paul. Unless one recognizes the distinctive message committed to Paul, one is left in darkness and confusion as to his spiritual standing, purpose, and destiny as a child of God.

Fact: While ministering in His fleshly presence on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ addressed and instructed none but the nation of Israel (Rom. 15:8; Matt. 15:24).

Fact: Saul of Tarsus (archenemy of Christ and persecutor of His church) was saved and appointed to become Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 15:15,16; 11:13; I Tim. 1:12,13; 2:7; II Tim. 1:11).

Fact: Paul became the exclusive dispenser of a secret revelation given to him by the heavenly seated Christ (Eph. 3:1-9; Gal. 1:11,12; II Cor. 12:2-4). The only way Christ speaks from heaven is through the Apostle Paul.

Fact: Under Paul’s ministry the Church which is the Body of Christ was established according to the revelation of the mystery (Rom. 16:25,26; Col. 1:23b-27).

Fact: The Church which is the Body of Christ is composed of both Jew and Gentile, the law as a wall of partition between Jew and Gentile having been taken out of the way (Rom. 10:4; 6:14).

As our apostle, Paul makes two statements that clearly steer us in the direction of discernment in understanding Scripture. (A)—”All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). (B)—”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).

All Scripture is written for our enlightenment but not all Scripture is written to us nor about us. We must study all Scripture in the light of Paul’s epistles. Only in the letters of Paul do we find direct instruction as members of the Body of Christ.

Paul’s distinctive message and ministry must be recognized in order for believers in this dispensation of Grace to know their relationship with God. Once this is accomplished, we find that our identification with our apostle is manifold. He is much more to us (as members of the Body of Christ) than our apostle. He is our example (Phil. 3:17), he is our minister (Col. 1:25), he is a father figure and instructor (I Cor. 4:14-16).

The letters of Paul are directed to believers who have been saved under the Gospel of the Grace of God in the dispensation of the Grace of God. Paul calls this gospel “my gospel” (Acts 20:24; Rom. 2:16; Rom. 16:25; II Tim. 2:8). As our mentor, Paul enlightens us regarding our spiritual relationship and responsibility. We are to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Eph. 4:1). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without” (Col. 4:5). Paul prays for us, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17).

Our apostle urges us to totally dedicate ourselves in the service of Christ (Rom. 12:1). He affirms that we will “suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29; II Tim. 3:12). We are assured of enablement to perform the ministry to which we are appointed: “For the love of Christ constraineth us….” “I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me” (II Cor. 5:14; Phil. 4:13).

As the believing remnant in this dispensation of God’s grace, we are to engage in the “Ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18,19), speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God (Eph. 2:8,9), and redeeming the time (Eph. 5:16) until we receive our final and glorious inheritance (Col. 3:4). “And so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thes. 4:17).