ON BEING THE ‘SIDE B’ OF THE LORD’S SALVATION
Study Series: Paul Altered Christ, Part 1
The whole of Christianity regards Paul to be the ‘light to the Gentiles.’ When the Scriptures mention the term Gentiles it refers to everyone else who are non-Jews, therefore, the world outside the nation of Israel. How could Paul be regarded as the light to the Gentiles or the world? It is because that is how he effectively presented himself by claiming the prophecy in Isaiah 49:5-6 to be fulfilled in him (Gal. 1:15/ Acts 13:47). Let us compare these verses and notice how he changed the subject of the prophecy maliciously from being singular (YOU in Isa. 49:6) to plural (US in Acts 13:47):
(Isaiah 49:5-6 NKJV unless otherwise noted)
5 “And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
6 Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…
47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
PAUL MISUNDERSTOOD THE PROPHECY
Notice a couple of parallels on the prophecy of Isaiah and the claim of Paul. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied about Him ‘formed from the womb to be God’s Servant.’ So also, claimed Paul. The prophet prophesied about this Servant of God to be ‘given as a light to the Gentiles’ – so also claimed Paul! Paul really thought that he was the prophesied One who was formed from the womb to be God’s Servant who was given as a light to the Gentiles. Why are we sure that it was not him? Because the One prophesied was PRIMARILY tasked to raise up and restore the preserved ones of Israel, and that is NOT Paul but The Christ Jesus himself!
Paul’s personal conviction shown by his claim above only shows how he believed that he complemented The Lord in His work of salvation. How else did he exude his belief of having complemented The Lord in His work?
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God…
Paul believed that he was able to ‘fill up in his flesh’ what is ‘LACKING in the afflictions of Christ’, and this he was able to do because he apparently received his ministry from God, the same Isaiah prophecy that he really believed to have been fulfilled in him. How else did Paul believe to have complemented The Lord Jesus in His work of salvation?
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Who else boasted to have been mutually crucified with the world by the same cross of The Lord Jesus The Christ but Paul alone? What does the cross of The Savior represent? The cross represents the salvation for man through the sacrificial death of The Christ Jesus. Isn’t this what Paul preached concerning him and man’s salvation? That his sacrifices are significant in filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of The Christ, and that he was also crucified to the world, thus making his sacrifices complementary with The Lord’s.
But wait, can The Lord Jesus who has not sinned ever lack in ‘afflictions’ if He was punished and put to death to answer for the sins of others? Who could ever believe in such a blasphemy? Paul did, and here’s why:
(Galatians 4:14 NASB)
14 and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.
Who felt so elated in thinking that he was received not only as an angel of God but as The Christ Jesus Himself? Paul did! But did not The Savior said that, “he who receives whomever I send receives Me” (Jn. 13:20)? True, but notice how The Christ did not say to receive His messenger as Himself, but that when he is received The Lord is also received – the process is addition and not substitution.
Why do we have to study the inner views and conviction of Paul concerning his belief that he complemented the salvation of The Lord Jesus with his parallel sacrifices? Because his own conviction is the very reason why he took on the liberty of claiming to be the prophesied light to the Gentiles. And being in this status, he believed that he was at liberty to give alternate ways of presenting The Lord’s teachings, a process that actually misled people more than they brought them closer to The Lord’s simple truth.