Saturday, July 25, 2015

"by the gospel"

"Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it (the mystery) is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.   Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;   And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ..."  (Eph. 3: 5-9)

What is meant by "partakers of his promise in Christ"?  Would not even the Hardshells be inclined to interpret this as relating to their eternal salvation?  What does it mean to be saved if it does not involve partaking of God's promise in Christ? 

However, when the Hardshell reads "by the gospel" he is at once prejudiced against the idea that eternal salvation is involved in becoming "partakers of his promise in Christ."  He must do one of two things.  He must either give up his anti means position or twist the words, take them out of context, and make them to deal with a mere temporal salvation.

John Gill wrote the following in his commentary:

"Now all these promises, and all others, are in Christ, yea and amen, safe and secure; and it is through being in Christ that any come to partake of them; and that by the means of the Gospel, as these Gentiles were to do, and did: the Gospel is a declaration of what God has promised in covenant to his people; this was carried among the Gentiles, and was made effectual to their participation of the things contained in it."

The other problem that Hardshells have regarding these inspired words of the Apostle is the fact that Paul says that all his preaching was for the purpose of enlightening all.

"to make all men see—Greek, "to enlighten all" (Eph 1:18; Ps 18:28; Heb 6:4). "All" (compare Col 1:28)...the same word used above (Ephesians 1:18), “the eyes of your heart being enlightened.”
 And what did Paul say in that companion passage in Colossians 1: 28?

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

Combining these verses we see that Paul preached with the purpose of warning, teaching, and enlightening and that his audience, the ones to whom he was sent and who he addressed, were "all," and "every man." 

These verses destroy Hardshellism. 

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