Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10
May 8, 2011
Dayton, Texas
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<080> Thesis: The Gospel is the same, it is the audiences and messengers that differ. Introduction: When it comes to the biblical presentation of the Gospel, we must understand that there are multiple debates over both of the key words: by "grace" through "faith". We must also understand that all of these debates are driven by the resistance of men with agenda issues that compel them to ignore the details of the contexts wherein they "find" their "proof". For example, in those debates, one of the most misused texts is James' "faith without works is dead" thesis (James 2:17, 20, and 26). It is easily established that James wanted to convince his readers that it was unconscionable to claim to "believe" something that did not yield a commensurate response. But, with that in hand, many have concluded that various and sundry law-keeping practices are essential elements in the "faith" requirement of the Gospel, arguing that "if you really believe, you will ... ". The problem with that false argument is that the Bible clearly teaches two specific things about "faith without works is dead": first, that "faith" is always related to highly specific content; and, second, that "content specific faith" has an identifiable "commensurate response". So, in regard to the faith of the Gospel, the question boils down to two: what, specifically, am I to "believe", and what, specifically, will happen if I do? The first aspect of the question is answered by Paul's succinct statement that Christ died for our sins. That He rose again on the third day is not a part of the Gospel, per se, in that the resurrection was designed as a validation for faith, not as an integral element of the "death for sins" (Romans 4:25). Thus, the "Gospel" is a "good news declaration" that everything that sins generate/have generated, in regard to the breakdown of union with God, has been addressed by the death of the Christ in terms of God's willingness to forgive and justify. That means that we must next ask what "faith" in that good news declaration will produce in terms of a commensurate response. The answer is found clearly in Hebrews 4:2 and 10. This context identifies the particular response of faith so that one may legitimately say "if you really believe, you will stop doing any 'work' that is designed to get God to accept you". This evening, because many do not understand, or believe, what I have just said, we are going to look into what Paul told the Galatians about what the "seemers" in Jerusalem "saw" in terms of just what it was that God "entrusted" to Peter and Paul.