“Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you” hew (Matthew chapter 28 vv19,20)
Such was the great commission: to relay the teaching of Christ to the nations. If any teaching should arise that should appear to contradict His teaching it is to be rejected – it is not the Gospel but heresy. If therefore one imagines the Apostle Paul to be contradicting the moral or juridical teaching of Christ, then that thirteenth apostle’s writings should be rejected; he should be regarded as an infidel. But as my book endeavours to demonstrate, Paul’s teaching does not in any way contradict the moral teaching of the Master; the way many have interpreted him is another matter. But he is indeed the thirteenth apostle (Matthias replacing Judas as #12) and there is an aspect of Christ’s teaching as received by the twelve which Paul DOES subvert at the risen Christ’s command: matters pertaining to the constitution of the people of God.
In terms of Paul himself, Jesus will not have indicated there were to be thirteen apostles: He opted for twelve for a reason (cf. Mt19:28). Likewise, the Lord had not explicitly taught that the Gentiles were to receive the same nature of spiritual blessing as the Jews: it was a shock to everyone; not least Peter (Acts11:17,18). All this relates to the subject of my first book: the fellowship pertaining to the secret (plan) hidden in God (the Father) from the previous age (cf. Eph3:9-12). Paul refers to it as “MY gospel”, being the revelation of a mystery which has been kept secret since the world began” (Rom16:25). Or as he wrote to the Colossian church:
The mystery which has been HIDDEN FROM AGES AND GENERATIONS, but now has been revealed to his saints, to whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY AMONG THE GENTILES, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col1:26,27NKJV)
Once the full implications of this mystery are grasped, God’s broader providence towards all people of good will may be perceived. Such should bring joy to many without detracting at all from the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom, concerning which (as Paul has just indicated) those who are to be glorified with Christ are exclusively His disciples: those who suffer with Him, dwell in Him and are indwelt by Him – Christ in you, the hope of glory (cf. Jn6:56; 2Tim2:12).
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