Are we really Christians if we ignore what Paul wrote?

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Ministerial Association

A while back, someone I have known for over 65 years dismissed Paul’s writings as being simply his opinion. They reasoned, Paul was not inspired by God and his writings should be regarded as full of insight, but not definitive teaching.

The apostle Paul wrote most of the epistles (at least 13) we have as our New Testament Canon.

They further cite Paul who wrote “I, not the Lord.” in 1 Corinthians 7:12, forgetting that he also wrote: 1 Corinthians 9:1 (NIV) Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely, I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

I offer this thought: When Paul wrote “I, not the Lord, am giving you this command,” he was basing his observation and words on the principles Jesus taught. As extensive as Jesus’ ministry was, He did not articulate everything regarding the Christian life. (John 20:30-31). Jesus commissioned the apostles to carry on His ministry after His ascension, and that is why we have a God-breathed Bible, “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:17

Paul also wrote this: 1 Timothy 3:14 (NKJV) These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And also: Galatians 1:20 (NKJV) (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)

Peter even implores Christians to heed Paul’s writings and issues a warning: 2 Peter 3:15 (NIV) Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Paul spoke directly about what is Christian behavior. To the church, those called out, he wrote what it is to live the Christian life of freedom. Galatians 5:13 (NIV) You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Paul also wrote about walking by the Spirit of God: Galatians 5:22 (NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and selfcontrol. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Even in the Old Testament the Preacher wrote: Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV) Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Can we call ourselves Christians and ignore what Paul was inspired to write? 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NIV) Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

Jim Squires preaches at the church of Christ in Glendive. He is active in the community, in Toastmasters and the Glendive Ministerial Association.