Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 13
May 29, 2011
Dayton, Texas
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<086> Thesis: For Cephas and John to extend their right hands of fellowship to Paul made it impossible for opponents to claim that their "doctrine" was an accurate representation of the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ. Introduction: It cannot be overstated that Paul's version of the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ is a message that completely eliminates any, and every, linkage between the Justice of God and the efforts of fallen human beings to establish themselves as "just". This is Paul's point in Galatians, chapter two, when he claims the support of James, Cephas, and John in the preaching of this Gospel to the non-Jewish world. It was our goal in our last study to show that James, being the first listed by Paul as one who extended his right hand of fellowship, was not in any way opposed to Paul's explanation of the Gospel in spite of the way men have reacted to his own letter in the New Testament. In that letter he said, multiple times, that a man was "justified by works" and not by "faith" alone, but his focus was clearly upon the question of the nature of "faith" itself within a context of people making professions of believing things that did not affect their behavior. A "faith" that does not produce a commensurate response in the person "believing" is not biblical, or saving, faith. Therefore, no one is "justified" by such a faith and, alternatively, everyone who is "justified" is justified by a faith that "works". Thus, by extension, "justification" is by "works" when it is clearly understood that those "works" are simply the outworking of a legitimate "belief". The danger here is that people will often argue for required "works" that have nothing to do with the promise of God to justify him/her that believes. The Bible only defines one "work" that is directly tied to this promise; the "work" of ceasing to work. Hebrews 4 says that anyone who has really entered into the "rest" God provides in the Gospel has ceased to work. This would mean, then, that anyone who was still "doing works" in order to be "justified" was simply revealing that he/she was the object of James' letter and rebuke. This evening, we are going to look into those others who also extended their "right hands of fellowship": Cephas and John.