Where does Paul’s deception lead?

In our earlier blog, we had seen how the letters of Paul were contrary to what Christ taught. Many ignore the contrary teachings of Paul as just a misunderstanding of Paul’s letters. Here we will look deeper into the false doctrine of Paul and how it leads many astray from the true doctrine of Christ. This is so important because these doctrinal differences can cost salvation.

difficult_path

Matt 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Paul’s easy path to pseudo-salvation

According to Paul, Christians are saved by God’s grace through faith and not by any works they do (Eph 2:8-9).  The only thing that is required for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 10:9-10). This excludes their effort to be righteous otherwise it will not be grace and counted as debt (Rom 4:4). This doesn’t mean they aren’t righteous because faith is imputed for righteousness (Rom 4:5). All the other good works they do are work of God in them for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13).

This is one of the reasons Paul uses the analogy of adoption where God adopts Christians for which they can’t do anything to get adopted (Gal 4:5).

Jesus Christ’s difficult path to true salvation

According to Jesus, we must be counted worthy by God to attain salvation (Luke 20:35). To become worthy, we must practice righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees to enter the kingdom of Heaven (Matt 7:21-23; Matt 5:20). Jesus is very serious about the requirement of being righteous and holy (Rev 3:4-5). We are required to be sinless to abide in His house (John 8:34-35). Jesus even taught to cut off anything that causes us to sin to become righteous and holy. This includes even our own eyes, hands and feet (Matt 18:8-9). The way that leads to life which Jesus taught is through a narrow gate and difficult path (Matt 7:13-14).

This is one of the reasons Jesus uses the analogy of born again where we are required to be born of God (John 1:13; John 3:5), being without sin (John 8:34-36).

Where does this lead to?

Those who follow Paul’s teachings will have faith but no works required by Christ to enter life. These followers of Paul will insist on the grace of God from Paul’s letters. They teach that God will make them righteous by imputing their faith when they are saved and transform them slowly to be Christ-like. They teach that no one can be holy and righteous as expected by God, hence they are clothed by His righteousness by just having faith.

Those who follow teachings of Christ will have faith with works and obey what Jesus taught. They insist on the requirement of each one’s righteousness and holiness to enter life. Unless a person is fully transformed to be born again by not sinning anymore, they cannot be saved. They teach that Jesus came into this world, living a normal life in the flesh as a human showing that man can live holy and righteous as expected by God. It is only because of our righteousness and holiness we will be allowed to enter into His kingdom.

Conclusion

Paul’s letters deceive many to assume that they are in the path towards eternal life if they commit fewer sins than what they committed previously, which they consider as a sign of God working in them and they are growing in holiness and righteousness. Jesus, however, preached zero tolerance towards sin. He instructed to even cut our body parts that cause us to sin so that we can enter life without sinning than to commit sin and enter hell as a whole.

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Malcolm
5 months ago

Hi Felix
I came across this post when it came up in my Google search for something else. It is an interesting argument, so I stopped by to read.
Rather than argue the theology with you, as you are probably more of a scholar than I am, I’d like to ask you some questions from a different angle, if I may?
First of all, whilst you say that “many ignore the contrary teachings of Paul as a misunderstanding”; I’m sure you’ll agree that through the centuries, the vast majority of Christian theologians have not seen any conflict between the teachings of Paul and Jesus; people who’s passion is to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, who have studied the original Greek and read widely on the subject have not raised the issue you say is there staring them in the face. Why do you think not?
It’s clear that the early church fathers, who compiled the New Testament as we now have it, were confident that Paul spoke with an authority that they saw as divine inspiration; but we can go further back still. It is almost unanimously agreed that Luke wrote both one of the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. And we know from there that Luke travelled widely with Paul as well as being well acquainted, presumably, with all that Jesus taught and with what the apostles in Jerusalem were teaching. Don’t you think that somewhere along the line Luke would have thought “Hang on, this is all wrong Paul!” And of course, Paul was eagerly back in Jerusalem with the church there when he was arrested.
Luke tells in Acts 11, corroborated by Galatians 2, that Paul went to Jerusalem to check out his understanding of the gospel with the original disciples of Jesus. That was after 3 years, and then again after 14 years to “communicate to them the gospel” that Paul was preaching. If there had been an issue, don’t you think Luke would have mentioned it? Instead, Paul claims, “they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship that we should go to the Gentiles [ie with the gospel]” Gal 2:9 And on the strength of that he feels confident enough to tell the Galatians that “if even an angel from heaven preaches any other gospel than the what we have preached let him be accursed” Gal 1:8
Then another thing that puzzles me is, if Paul and Jesus were not in agreement, how was Paul able to do the miracles that he did? Jesus performed miracles to demonstrate his authority “Which is easier to say: ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘arise and walk’?” Matt 9:4-7. Luke tells us in Acts 19 that “God worked unusual miracles by the hand of Paul…” Why, if his teaching was out of line, would God do that?
Felix, my final concern is that if we start unpicking Scripture, thinking “I don’t understand this so it must be wrong”, or “This seems to me a contradiction so something must be not from God” we end up on very unstable ground. Who decides what is Truth? Isn’t he whole plan of having the Bible that it is God’s stable and dependable word amidst a see of chaotic opinions about religion? After all, why should you trust what the gospel writers SAY Jesus said, and dismiss what Paul says Jesus told him through the Spirit.
Anyway, I’d be interested to hear your reply. God bless.

Malcolm
5 months ago
Reply to  Felix Immanuel

Thanks for the reply Felix. The fact you don’t accept the inspiration or authority of many New Testament books explains why you are able to argue the way you do. Of course, claiming that the synoptic gospels can be mostly trusted on the basis of the testimony of three witnesses isn’t quite fair as most scholars believe the similarities probably arise from their having copied from one another or from a different common source. You don’t have three completely independent testimonies.

Anyway, I’ll leave you to you views.

Maybe a final point is that naming someone a “liar” is much stronger than implying they may have been theologically mistaken. To me Paul doesn’t come across as a manipulator or deceiver. I’m not sure why, as someone extremely passionate and well versed in Jewish theology and with a great career ahead of him in that, he would suddenly dream up a whole new theory to dupe people with and be willing ultimately to die for it.

I believe in the inspiration of the New Testament, and I don’t see unexplainable contradictions there. “Apostle” simply means “one sent with an authoritative message” and I believe Luke’s account of the Damascus Road event that changed Paul’s life. I believe in the redemptive plan that Paul describes, and the beautiful language he uses to describe Jesus having been appointed Head over all things.

It saddens me that you discount so much of what the Lord continued to do and teach after his ascension through the Holy Spirit who He sent. But I’m glad that you acknowledge that Jesus was truly the Son of God, because most people on your path also deny that, even though it is the most important truth of all. Amen?

Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Felix Immanuel

Wow! Thank you for this article and your response. For the last several years, after leaving the “man-made” building I have been led to the TRUTH concerning the Bible. It always confused me concerning Paul’s teaching and how they did not align with those of CHRIST JESUS. Recently, reading in Revelation 21:14 I read.this;
(Revelation 21:14 MLV) And the wall of the city has twelve foundations and upon them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. There is only 12 apostles, not 13! What happened to Paul here? The more I prayed for HOLY SPIRIT guidance, the more I began to see all the contradictions between what CHRIST JESUS taught and HIS disciples verses what Paul taught. Is this the reason we have today throughout the world so many different “Christian”.denominations with so many viewpoints on what FATHER GOD desires of us? I have found that what we have been taught in this world is
99.9% the lies of Satan taught by men with “good intensions.” But, FATHER GOD does not care about our good intentions. Please read the story of Uzzah in the Old Testament in 2 Samuel 6:1-7 and 1 Chron. 13: 9-12. Seek the TRUTH
through the Holy Spirit not any man