Thesis #88 of 95 - Through Israel's failure, fullness of salvation, "an inheritance with the sanctified" and the "gift of eternal life" initially understood to be exclusively for the Jews has been extended to people chosen from every nation and succeeding generation.
Thesis #89 of 95 - Such a mystery was known by God (i.e. the Father) but not communicated to any other being until revealed by the apostle Paul who described the mystery pertaining to the Gentiles' unexpected inheritance as "to euaggelion mou" - MY gospel.
Acts26:18 I send you (Paul) to the Gentiles to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the delegated authority (ἐξουσία) of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance with the sanctified by faith in Me.
Acts11:17,18 Therefore if God gave the Gentiles the same gift as He gave to us (Jews) after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I (Peter) that I should stand in God’s way?” When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God appears to have granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”
Rom16:25 Now to him that has power to establish you (Gentiles) according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the disclosure of the mystery which has been kept secret since the world began.
This continues the theme developed in the previous two theses concerning Paul’s unheeded teaching regarding the fact that gospel salvation was only provided to the Gentile nations as a result of the Jews’ rejection of their Messiah – a secret unknown to pre-Apostolic generations (Rom16:25). The reason Paul has not been taken literally in Rom11 vv11,12,15 &30 or comprehended with respect to the providential implications in Eph3:2-10 is that much of Christendom has misunderstood what Jesus, the apostles and Holy Scripture as a whole actually mean by “salvation” in the gospel context. I have been demonstrating that it is not “deliverance from perdition” but in Jesus’ words pertains to “an inheritance with the sanctified” and in Peter’s words involves “repentance that results in Life”. As the Lord also affirmed in His commission to Paul (Acts26:18), it was so that the Gentiles’ eyes might be opened so that they might turn from darkness to light. They could be delivered from the auspices of Satan into the realm of God’s Kingdom. For as a result of the Fall and the influence of “ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου” (Jn16:11), mankind is blind to gospel truth and cannot ascertain it unless divinely aided (Jn6:44).
So, contrary to the prevailing teaching of the churches, God does not condemn mankind for that blindness, for it is innate. Observe the teaching of Christ and His late-appointed apostle. “Jesus said to (the Pharisees) “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains” (Jn9:41). Likewise, Paul – “Where there is no law, sin is not imputed” (Rom5:13). These are fundamental principles of divine law, justice and above all, LOVE. They again have been misconstrued by the many in view of their misunderstanding gospel salvation (summarized by Paul in Rom7:24-25). They therefore believe God is bound to condemn to Hell all who are ignorant of the true gospel. Yet in view of Jn6:44, not to mention historical ecclesiological fragmentation, that would be the bulk of humanity, including many who have understood themselves to be Christian.
The previous 80 or so theses have been outlining why that narrow and frankly barbaric perspective is a travesty of the “Good News of great joy that shall be to all people” – the principal culprit having been Augustine of Hippo. For he was the prime mover in ensuring the Church came to reject any effectual role for natural law, which Eusebius’ and Irenaeus’ testimonies affirm was broadly accepted by earlier church fathers.
Yet the mystery revealed by the risen Lord to Paul was not apprehended even by Peter until he received a vision of the sheet of unclean animals that he was told to kill and eat (Acts11:1-18). Paul had to rebuke Peter for his reluctance even to fellowship with Gentile Christians (Gal2:11-14), affirming that the mystery Paul was disclosing was not something that Jesus had made clear to the twelve.
For at least up to and including the point of Jesus’ sermon at the Mount of Olives, it is evident that even He as Prophet was not au fait with the Father’s plans for the Gentiles or indeed the nature of the age to come (Mt5:18 vis-à-vis Col2:14 ; Mt10:23; Mt24:34; Lk13:26 Mk13:32). Such a Christological observation will be problematical to many – it shouldn’t be (Lk2:52; Acts1:6-7; 1Cor11:3). Nor would it have been such an issue to those earliest Christian writers, virtually all of whom were deemed by the post-Nicene Church to have “tended to subordinationism”. Yet these were men, many of whom will have received the gospel directly from the apostles themselves, the likes of Timothy, Titus and Philemon or their immediate appointees. They had not been dependant on biblical interpretation alone.
They affirmed the monarchical status of the Father within the Godhead and Christ’s consequential (and self-acknowledged) subordination of rank – without in any way denying His absolute divinity and consubstantiality with His Father. So with Paul, I believe “There is one God, the Father, from Whom are all things and for Whom we exist, and one Lord/Master, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and by whom we exist” (1Cor8:6). As for the Lord Jesus Christ’s relationship with elect human beings: “Both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one [ἐξ ἑνὸς], for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb2:11NKJV)
I have had to raise this thorny issue, for a failure to acknowledge the Father’s monarchical status within the Godhead is likely to have been a contributing factor in the churches failing to comprehend Paul’s teaching on “the fellowship of the mystery hidden in God who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph3:9KJV); especially the fact that even after LJC’s ascension and glorification, timings and epoch remain under the auspices of God the Father (Acts1:6-7; Mk13:32)
Although featuring towards the end of my 95 theses, the subject of the Gentiles’ unforeseen access to fulness of salvation in the current age is the fount from which the vastly broader benign providence I have been outlining has stemmed. How it coalesces with the rest of Scripture is outlined in The Little Book of Providence.
Free PDF of The Little Book of Providence HERE
Large-print version suitable for mobiles HERE