Jesus’ Gospel? Paul’s Gospel? Are they different? Or are they complementary? Is Paul’s Gospel ‘his’, or is it God’s Gospel embraced by Paul? Are Paul’s writings (and the other apostolic writings in the New Covenant Scriptures) what Jesus alluded to in John 16?
I was asked this question in an email recently:
“Another question, some at hrm [Hebrew Roots Movement/Torah pursuant folks] say there is the gospel of Jesus vs the gospel of Paul. Basically they teach that Paul wrote his own gospel even though Jesus clearly stated after his death burial and resurrection there would be more to come(information).”
My response (edited and expanded for this venue):
That’s a great question! In John 16, Jesus says this:
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Jesus is clearly telling His disciples that there is more truth to come that they, on that side of the Cross, could not, would not understand.
The Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and His Perfect High Priesthood all needed to be in place before the fullness of the Gospel of Grace could be explained.
With the implications to the Law and Israel’s relationship with it and with God, when you think about it, it kinda had to be Paul to receive that revelation of the Gospel of Grace.
Paul was a Pharisee of the highest reputation, knowing the Law inside and out. For him to embrace the Gospel of Grace, which he proclaimed to be ‘his’ Gospel, was huge. To address that question real quick, Paul, by the end of his letter to the Romans states that it is ‘his’ Gospel, not in an ‘I thought it up and created it’ way, but in an ‘I now embrace this Gospel of Grace as my Good News, applied to my life – the New Covenant, superior to the Old Covenant for which I had such passion’ way.
Note that in Romans 1, Paul says this:
16 For I am not ashamed of >>> the <<< gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
At the beginning of the letter to the Romans it is ‘the’ Gospel, and the letter to the Romans is a treatise on our
>>> need <<< for the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, the
>>> supply <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike, and the
>>> results <<< of the Gospel for Jews and Gentiles alike.
And Paul expertly weaves the proper use of the Law and the application and superiority of Grace throughout – at the end proclaiming, as a former Pharisee Law-keeper, that this is *his* Gospel – a Gospel that he embraces *himself*, after having gone through the issues of Law and Grace point by point throughout the letter (and also in his other letters).
Now read Paul’s closing comments in Romans 16:
25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations,
>>> according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— <<<
27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
So the Gospel that Paul preached was not a gospel apart from Christ’s, but Paul’s and the other apostolic New Covenant writings were the fulfillment of what Christ said in John 16.
Paul minces no words here when establishing the source and authority for what he was teaching to the Galatians:
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.
12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it,
>>> but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. <<<
13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16
>>> was pleased to reveal his Son to me, <<<
in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
One thing to note here, as well, is that Jesus said that the Spirit of Truth would point to and glorify Christ – not to point to and glorify the Law, but to Christ, which is what Paul and the other apostles do all throughout the New Covenant Scriptures.
God was no longer relating to mankind – nor was He desiring mankind to relate to Him – through the Law, but through the Work and Person of God in the flesh, Christ Jesus.
So Paul (and the others) were not writing their own ‘gospels’; they were carrying out the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in John 16 – they were receiving that further information that could be understood on the side of the Cross where they now lived and we do too – revealing what was actually accomplished at the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and with the High Priesthood of Christ – and writing it down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The point of this post is to show that Paul does not contradict the Gospel of Christ, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explains it.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (from John 16)
Paul, in particular, expertly goes back to the Law and the Prophets and shows how the Old Covenant shadows give way to the New Covenant realities in Christ.
So the next time a Law ‘keeper’ tries to tell you that Paul’s Gospel is either ‘misunderstood’ (those who try to twist Paul’s words to support Torah observance for believers) or a ‘different’ gospel from Jesus’ Gospel (those who reject Paul’s writings outright), point them to John 16!
(I found the illustration at a pro-Islam think tank site, btw. Funny, they use the same arguments that HRMers tend to use!)
Grace and peace to you in our Lord, Jesus Christ!
Other articles of interest:
- Millennial Prophecy – Measuring Unrevealed Prophecies in Light of Revealed Truths
- Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement – An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley
- The Law of Christ – Defined and Defended
- Tzit Tzit For the Believer In Christ?
- 12 Undeniable Truths That Drive Law ‘Keepers’ Crazy
If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE. For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page. General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE. Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE. Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable. May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.
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