Jesus Christ’s Apostles Agreed With Him

Would it surprise you to learn that Jesus Christ’s apostles never once contradicted Him in their doctrinal stand and teachings, that they all spoke with one voice and saw clearly eye-to-eye in all matters of faith and truth?  One might quickly reply, “Well, that goes without saying.  Of course all the apostles fully agreed with all that Jesus Christ said and taught.”  And, of course, that is true.  They did fully agree with everything Jesus Christ taught as divine truth.  But would it surprise you to learn that many “Christian” ministers and preachers today contradict Jesus Christ in their teaching and spiritual instruction?
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I give you a prime example of where many ministers and preachers flatly contradict something Jesus Christ taught as eternal divine truth: “And, behold, one came and said unto Him ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do that i may have eternal life?’  And He said unto him….’If thou wilt enter into life KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS'” (See Matthew 19:16-17).  Surely no apostle would agree with that statement, would they?  Jesus Christ must have been way off base with that remark.  After all, isn’t that working for one’s salvation?  And salvation isn’t of works, is it?  Isn’t that what the apostle Paul plainly declared in his letter to the Ephesians?
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Most of the confusion in this matter enters in when one misunderstands NOT what Jesus said, but what Paul wrote.  Remember, Peter warned that Paul wrote some things not easily understood by the spiritually unstable and by those who were ignorant of the scriptures.  (See 2 Peter 3:15-16).  Here is the statement of Paul many misunderstand: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast” (See Ephesians 2:8-9).  Now here is what many mistakenly THINK Paul said: “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; NOT OF OBEDIENCE, lest any man should boast.”
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The “works” to which Paul refers is not obedience to God’s holy, eternal commandments, but fleshly works such as keeping the Jewish laws and customs, such as circumcision, animal sacrifices, and the like.  In this same letter to the Ephesians, Paul urges the keeping of the fifth commandment “Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise” (See Ephesians 6:2.  And in the previous chapter (chapter 5), Paul had written “But fornication (violation of the seventh commandment)…or covetousness (violation of the tenth) commandment, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (verse 3, chapter 5).  In other words, don’t break either of these commandments, not even once, at any time!  “For this ye know that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolator (a violation of the first and second commandments), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (verse 5, chapter 5).  Or, in other words again, one must keep God’s commandments in order to receive the gift of eternal life.
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So what is Paul clearly saying?  He is saying that one must KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS in order to have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God, the major part of that inheritance being the inheritance of eternal life.  Paul shows himself to be in total agreement with Jesus Christ’s statement to the one who asked Him “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
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“For by grace are you saved through faith….”  Faith in what, in whom?  Faith in Jesus Christ, believing what Jesus said and taught and acting upon that belief, not merely believing He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
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To the believers in Galatia, Paul wrote: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (lewdness), idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (contentions, quarreling), emulations (stirring up envy or jealously in others), wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkeness, revellings, and such like, of the which I  tell you before, and I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things (and notice how many are the breaking of the Ten Commandments), SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (See Galatians 5:19-21).
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Paul states plainly and clearly, break these commandments and you will not inherit the kingdom of God, that is, we must keep God’s commandments in order to be granted the gift of eternal life.  Some will argue, “Well, if one must DO something in order to be granted eternal life, then it is not really a gift!”  Well, friend, some gifts do require the recipient to DO something in order to obtain the gift.  One must accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to obtain the gift of eternal life.  One must believe Jesus died for our sins in order to obtain the gift of eternal life.  Where does one get the erroneous idea that a gift cannot require the recipient to do something?  God GAVE ancient Israel the Promised Land, but they had to DO something to obtain that gift.  (Read Deuteronomy Chapter One).
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One must OBEY Jesus Christ in order to obtain the GIFT of eternal life.  “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Ghost (Spirit), whom God has given TO THEM THAT OBEY HIM” (Acts 5:32).  One MUST have God’s Holy Spirit in order to inherit eternal life and God’s Spirit is given ONLY to those who obey Him, for without and apart from having God’s Holy Spirit one cannot possibly obey both the spirit and the letter of the law.
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And, of course some will now argue, “But we are not under the law,” ignorant of what the apostle Paul meant when he employed that
phrase in his letters to the believers in Rome and Galatia.  When using that phrase in the letter to the Romans, Paul means believers are not under THE PENALTY of the law since Jesus Christ has died in our place, taking the penalty upon Himself.  When using that phrase in the letter to the believers at Galatia, Paul means we are not obligated to keep the Mosaic customs of circumcision, animal sacrifices, and the like.  To be continued….
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Christ’s servant (Galatians 1:10),
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Donald Wiley
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