Friday, August 21, 2009

Paul’s Gospel

I’d have you to know, brothers,
regarding the gospel delivered by me,
that it is not of man.

I did not receive it from man,
nor was I taught it;

it came by a revelation from Jesus Christ.
Gal. 1:11-12

Paul’s wonderful gospel brought to light certain truths that had not yet been revealed – even to those who were apostles before him. For example, Paul taught that all forms of worship which are not spiritual in nature are vain. Paul’s stated mission was to make man’s worship of God acceptable to God (Rom. 15:16). How? By preaching the gospel so that men could repent of their vain ways, be sanctified by the holy Spirit and, so, offer acceptable worship to God.

Throughout human history, people of every culture have worshiped God, but being ignorant of the true God, mankind’s worship has been useless. But in Christ, we can at long last offer acceptable worship, for he sanctifies us by the Spirit of God. Jesus came to make us and our worship acceptable to God through the Spirit. “Those who worship,” said the Master, “must worship in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24).

Before Jesus came, God overlooked much of man’s ignorance, “but now,” preached Paul, “He commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Spiritless worship is vain and must be repented of, if one hopes to please God and be saved in the end. Spiritless religion is Godless religion, regardless of what men call it. Whether Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, or Christianity, no religion is of God without the sanctifying presence of the holy Spirit.

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