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St Paul the Apostle
Teachings of Paul
St Paul the Apostle authored 1/4 of the New Testament. By reviewing his letters (Epistles) to the churches he established, I assembled a summation of his teachings. I did not use his pastoral letters, as I might publish a short Hub about those sometime in the future.
The Apostle Paul said he was called by God to reveal His Son to the world. Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. If He was not, then Christianity is meaningless. Jesus is the image of God—the firstborn of all creation. By Him, through Him, and for Him—all things were created. He is before all things and in Him all things exist. He is the Head of the Body of Christ and the Church. Christ lives today through the lives of Christians.
Paul the Apostle concedes that all humans have sinned. That is why we must be justified by faith in grace through the Redeemer—Jesus Christ. It is by His shed blood on the cross that we might be saved—by His sacrifice for us. By faith in Jesus we may be forgiven our past sins. We may be reconciled to God through His Son. This does not mean we may continue on in our sinful ways. We must throw off the shackles of sin and be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. We must not let sin reign in our lives or obey its lusts. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God through Christ is eternal life.
Those who are baptized into the faith become sons and daughters of God and all are equal regardless of their station in this world. Though Christians are now in natural bodies—which are but dust—they will be resurrected after death into spiritual bodies—which are heavenly. The mortal Christian shall become immortal. We have treasure in these earthen vessels. Our outward person is perishing, but our inward person is renewed day by day. St Paul proclaims that the gospel (good news) is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—rooted and grounded in love. You may comprehend the infinite love of Christ which surpasses all human knowledge. You may be filled with the fullness of God. True, the old you was corrupt according to the lustful flesh; now be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Become a new person—set apart to serve God.
St Paul writes that God has called certain people from among us for His purpose; that those He foreknew are predestined to be Christians. Paul says he is persuaded that nothing can separate Christians from the love of God which is in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is God who works in Christians for His good pleasure. God is rich in mercy because of His great love for us. By grace Christians have been saved through Faith—this is a gift from God. This gift cannot be obtained through your own works—lest you should boast. Christians are members of the household of God. God intends that His manifold wisdom shall be made known to the Church, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians have access to God through Jesus.
You Are the Temple of the Holy Spirit
Christians are not to serve the lusts of the flesh, because the desires of the flesh are opposed to the desires of the Holy Spirit of God, which dwells in us. The Holy Spirit will help you overcome your weaknesses. God will not be mocked—if we serve our flesh, our reward shall be corruption; if we serve the Holy Spirit, our reward shall be everlasting life. We will set our minds on one or the other; and this determines what our end shall be.
Paul the Apostle teaches that you are the temple of God and if you defile His temple you will be destroyed by God. Glorify God with your body. We should cleanse ourselves of all filthiness and become holy (set apart for God's will and purposes). Christians are to present their bodies as a living sacrifice; setting aside fleshly desires; not conforming to the ways of this world but instead—being transformed through the Holy Spirit. This is our reasonable service to be acceptable to God.
We Wrestle Not With Flesh and Blood
The works of the flesh include adultery; sex outside of marriage; homosexual sex; lust; lewdness; wickedness; deceitfulness; theft; extortion; greed; jealousy; envy; gossiping; backstabbing; covetousness; maliciousness; selfishness; boasting; pride; hatred; murder—those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul goes on to say that the wrath of God will be visited upon those who practice sorcery, blasphemy; who are untrustworthy, unforgiving, bitter, unloving, unmerciful; those who use filthy language, foolish talk, evil speaking, coarse jesting, and liars. He advises us to abhor evil. Do not let your understanding be darkened, and be alienated from God, because of ignorance or a blind heart.
The Christian is at war not against flesh and blood—but against dark demonic powers filled with wickedness that inhabit the Earth. We must beware false teachers who pretend to be ministers of God but are truly ministers of Satan—the great Deceiver of humankind. He is the evil prince of this world who sows disobedience among humankind, deceiving them to give in to the desires of their flesh. St Paul the Apostle teaches to gird yourself with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith—to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the wiles of the Devil. We are not to be tricked by the cunning craftiness of deceitful men. We must bring every thought into obedience to Christ.
Christians are to warn the unruly, but always be patient with them. We are not to be deceived by those who oppose or exalt themselves above God. We are to withdraw from professed Christians who are disorderly or sexually immoral, and not keep company with them—so that they might be ashamed of their conduct. We are to admonish them to repent (to be contrite and change their ways). But we may keep company with non-Christians who are immoral—otherwise, we would all have to live in monasteries and convents. Walk in wisdom toward non-Christians. Their god is their appetites—they set their minds on earthly things. Have no fellowship with the darkness but instead expose it for what it is.
People who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ will be punished with destruction. All human beings will appear before Christ to be judged. God's wrath will be revealed against the ungodly—those who serve the creature rather than the Creator. Each of us shall give an account of ourselves to God when the time comes. The enemies of the cross of Christ shall be destroyed. Paul admits his words may make some feel condemned. But if that might lead any to change their ways whereby they might be saved—he does not regret it but rejoices because of it.
Fight the Good Fight
St Paul the Apostle equates the Christian life with that of an athlete who is disciplined, and trains constantly, so as to win the prize. Our chief aim is to imitate Christ. Use your mind and mouth to honor God. Christians must examine themselves that they are doing no evil but doing what is honorable. We glorify God by obedience—and by sharing the gospel with others. The Apostle Paul teaches that everything that happens to a Christian is for the good—because whatever happens to us, it is for us to be transformed into the image of His Son. If you have received Jesus Christ, walk in Him, that you may become taught, established, rooted, and built up in your faith—abounding in it with thanksgiving. Set your mind on the things above—not the things of this Earth.
We are to choose our words not to please people, but to please God. We are urged to esteem those who minister. We must remember the poor, and God loves a cheerful giver. We must be strong, brave, and do everything we do with love—for God's glory. Our faith is not to be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. We do not look to the temporary things we see—but to eternal things not seen. We walk by faith. Those who take up the walk with Christ are no longer condemned nor do they walk according to the desires of the flesh but according to the will of the Holy Spirit. For Christians, our troubles produce perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope. No one should think highly of himself. Sing with spiritual grace to the Lord. Pray earnestly with thanksgiving.
Paul the Apostle is against divorce and those who are divorced are to remain celibate. Paul does say the highest ideal of life is to remain unmarried because such a person can devote their life on Earth entirely to the service of God and His people; rather than worrying about pleasing their mate.
Body of Christ & Spiritual Gifts
St Paul writes that each of us are given by God—as He pleases—particular spiritual gifts for the express purpose of using these gifts to the benefit of others. These gifts may include wisdom; knowledge; faith; mercy; leadership; the ability to heal; to perform miracles; to prophesy (God speaking through you); to teach; to administer; to encourage others; to give financially; to be able to discern good spirits from evil spirits; to speak in tongues; to interpret those who do speak in tongues. Whatever gifts we have been given, if we do not love—they are worthless. All Christians are members of the same Body of Christ and each member is necessary to the others—none can be done without. We do not all perform the same functions in that Body. We are to suffer together, rejoice together, and weep together.Paul pleads with Christians to be united—not divided—in their minds and their words. Don't get hung up about what you eat or certain days. Do not judge your fellow Christian in these things. Avoid those who cause division in the Body of Christ, contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Their smooth words will deceive the hearts of the simple. May we strive together in one faith and one spirit for the gospel; being of one accord, with the same love.
Instructions for Believers
Christians are to give thanks to God for other Believers. We must love and comfort one another. We are to serve one another and bear one another's burdens. Christians need to pray for one another, that they may be filled with wisdom of God's will and have spiritual understanding; that they may walk worthy of their Lord—fully pleasing Him. Pray that your Brothers and Sisters may be fruitful in their good works; be strengthened; have patience; and partake in their inheritance as saints. Pray that God will deliver them from the power of darkness; that their sins may be forgiven through the blood of our Redeemer. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another. Pray for your Christian Brothers and Sisters that their love, knowledge and discernment may abound; that they may approve of excellence; be sincere; without offense; filled with righteousness—to the glory and praise of God. Pray for your Christian Brothers and Sisters without ceasing.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Love is kind; love does not envy; love is not proud; love is not rude; love is not selfish; love is not evil; love rejoices in truth; love bears all, endures all. The three greatest attributes in the world are faith, hope and love—and love is the greatest of these. Cling to what is good. Be affectionate, diligent, and fervent. Bless those who do you wrong. Do not repay evil for evil. Overcome evil with good. Do not set your mind on high things—associate with the humble. Be full of goodness and knowledge. As the elect of God—beloved—put on tender mercies, humility, forgiveness, and above all—Love. Do not look out for your own interests but look for the interests of others. Let nothing be done because of selfishness or conceitedness. Esteem others better than yourself—as Jesus humbled Himself and was obedient; even accepting death on the cross. Do all things without complaining and disputing. Become blameless and harmless children of God without fault—shining as lights—in the midst of a perverse world. Do this so you may know Him and the power of His resurrection. Be not anxious about anything. Let your requests be known to God. Then the peace of God—which surpasses all human understanding—will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Whatever state you are in: be content. Do not lose heart. Speak the truth. Give to those in need. Impart grace to others. Study God's Word to understand what is acceptable to the Lord. Give thanks for all things to the Father in the Name of His Son. Amen.