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Jesus v Paul (Part 1 of 2)

by lee thriepland  
7/25/2018 / Bible Studies

Jesus v Paul (Part 1 of 2)

Many people, usually atheists, Jews or Muslims, say that the apostle Paul taught in opposition to Jesus and that Paul's teachings often contradict the teachings of Jesus. An attack on the Bible, it’s authors and its teaching from such groups is not really that surprising, however, what is much more shocking and disturbing to me anyway, is there are actually many professing Christians who also claim this and some Christians even reject Paul's writings out of hand because of this. Yes Christians rejecting PAUL. It's sad to see. I've even spoken with people christians, that consider Paul a false prophet and even go as far as calling him an ANTICHRIST…There are even debates over WHO started christianity, Jesus or Paul…Paul being credited by these people as the originator of Christianity which they claim is different than what Jesus had started with his mission. I can’t understand how christians can reject a man that was led by the Lord to become the apostle to those that were not Jews which includes myself .

Paul wrote 13 books in the NT(14 if you include the Book of Hebrews that some do credit to Paul having written) that's basically half of the NT. So a person who rejects Paul also means the rejection of half the NT. These people certainly have a very different Bible than the one that I use.


There are 2 main arguments against Paul. The first being Paul taught lawlessness. That he taught that we are no longer under the law.

Romans 6-14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

This being claimed to be in direct opposition to Jesus who said that heaven and earth would pass away before the law would. (heaven and earth still being very much not passed away therefore the law remains)

Matthew 5-18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

The second argument against Paul is that he taught a workLESS salvation. That a person is saved by faith ALONE and a person is not required to do any works to obtain salvation.

Romans 3-28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 3-20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Galatians 2-16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

So the claim is Paul preached a lawless and workless gospel. Very different than the one Jesus preached.

Some people reject Paul based on both of these arguments while others reject him on one or the other.

Before we look at both arguments and show that they are both in fact incorrect and fallacious there are some things we MUST understand. They are VITAL to understanding both the teachings of Jesus and of Paul and the apparent differences between them.

Different Jesus

Paul DID preach a different Jesus than the Jesus that Jesus himself preached...Now before those that reject Paul say see there you go even you admit it Paul taught different than Jesus or those that defend Paul say i'm just pretending to defend Paul while actually i'm really attacking him. This is only a difference to certain a point.

Most people who reject Paul fail to correctly divide the word of truth and or they totally misrepresent both the positions of Jesus and of Paul.

Jesus was a Jew. During his ministry he preached to Jews. He came for the Jews, to be the promised Jewish Messiah. As a Jew Jesus was under the law of Moses. Jesus lived by and under this law. He taught this law, he often corrected the Jewish understanding of the law as well but that's a separate issue. He preached that he was the Messiah who had come to redeem Israel. He also preached a Messiah that must die and ultimately be rejected by the people that he came for. BUT very importantly he preached that he would rise again.

It is quite right, Paul does not teach THAT Jesus. He most certainly did not preach a Jewish Messiah who was to BE rejected and would rise again. Paul preaches a saviour Jesus, a Jesus that had BEEN rejected HAD died but HAD risen, Paul preached a RISEN Christ, the one who has overcome death through the resurrection. The saviour not just for the Jews but for the gentiles also. A glorified Christ. This in no way should be looked at in a negative way but a BLESSING. This did not contradict Jesus it exalted him.

Jesus the man had risen and become a quickening (life giving) spirit.

1 corinthians 15-45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Paul preached a different Jesus because Jesus had changed….yes I know the verse

Hebrews 13-8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever……

I don't really have to show the error in equating the man Jesus and the risen christ with this verse do I?? I know for some I will but that isn't for this writing. Suffice to say Jesus was once a child, he didn't preach the word so very clearly this does not mean Jesus did not change ..WHO he is never changes….he is the son of God...

Anyway…. So back to the point

So yes Paul does preach a different Jesus. ….to a certain point.

But Paul is actually not unique in this preaching of a different Jesus notice that Jesus himself teaches something VERY different regarding the disciples own preaching to the disciples after his resurrection than what he taught them before.

Before the resurrection Jesus stated that he had been sent ONLY for the lost sheep of Israel.

Matthew 15-24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach his word he told the disciples NOT to go to any gentiles.

Matthew 10-5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

So if we reject Paul and go by the teachings of Jesus before the resurrection then the gospel, the word of Jesus is NOT for non Jews like myself.

However and this is the vitally important part to take notice of. AFTER the resurrection Jesus himself changed his OWN teaching. Not Paul….JESUS changed it.

Rather than not going to the gentiles as previously commanded, Jesus explicitly tells his disciples to do that very thing he had previously stated not to do. Go to ALL nations.

Matthew 28-19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Luke 24- 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Clearly Jesus was no longer ONLY sent to Israel. The resurrected Jesus was not just for the Jews but for EVERYONE.

If you ask a christian who believes we are still under the law if they follow the mosaic law most will say yes I do. Now ask them if they still offer animal sacrifice, the overwhelming answer at least in my personal experience is they will say NO. Then ask them why they do not. Again the overwhelming answer will be because Jesus is the sacrifice and we no longer have to offer animal sacrifices. So even they admit that some things DID in fact change when Jesus died and rose again . So to say that we must remain under the law because otherwise this is opposite to what Jesus taught BUT that the sacrifices have been ended is actually an illogical, hypocritical and a self defeating argument. Jesus did change the law ...but only certain PARTS of the law have been changed. That's simply wrong.

If Paul didn't preach this Jesus, a Jesus that Jesus himself taught a Jesus for the Gentiles then Christianity is incorrect and gentiles like myself would have to convert to Judaism and Judaism rejects Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore the Jesus that Jesus preached to the Jews should be rejected because under the understanding of judaism he would not be the Messiah. To reject the Jesus that Paul preaches means actually that we should reject Jesus as the Messiah.


So let's look at the law. Was Paul the one who “removed” the law? Did Paul really teach lawlessness?

As we saw Paul did teach that we are no longer under the law.

Romans 6-14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Although this is used by mainly Muslims and Jews, there are a small group of christians that reject Paul based on this argument,albeit a much smaller group than reject Paul based on the second argument . Only those that would claim that Christians are in fact still under the law use this against Paul. Those that do so claim that Jesus himself taught that the heavens and the earth would pass away before the law did as we already saw.

Matthew 5-18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

However when we look at this verse there is very clearly a “either or” statement being made. We have 2 TILL’s

Jesus most certainly says that the law would not pass til heaven and earth pass but then we have a TILL all be fulfilled. So the law would either not pass until the heavens and earth pass which clearly has not yet happened or TILL all be fulfilled.

Notice just one verse earlier Jesus stated that he had not come to destroy the law, simply get rid of it as we know the heavens and earth would pass before the law would. No Jesus hadn't come to simply remove the law by force or destruction ...but by FULFILLING the law and the prophets.

Matthew 5-17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fullfil.

The law COULD be removed if it was fulfilled as the verse very clearly states .

Fulfil in verse Matthew 5-17 is the Greek word πληρÏω pléroó and means fulfill or to complete.

When Jesus was crucified on the cross with one of his statements before he died Jesus proclaimed.

John 19-30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

The Greek for finished in this verse is τελÎω teleó this also means to fulfill,to complete, to accomplish but also with a connotation that there is a rolling over to the next level,one stage complete and onto the next.

Jesus himself again taught this to his disciples

Luke 24- 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

That he must fulfill all what was written about him which included his death and subsequent resurrection.

Luke 24- 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

Jesus fulfilled,completed, accomplished what was written in the law and the prophets and so moved onto the next level. Beyond the Levitical law..

He became the high Priest, however Jesus was not a Levi, and seeing only Levites could be priests Jesus could not have been high priest under the Levitical law. Therefore it was necessary that with the changing of the priesthood there be a change of law. (see my writing is Jesus melchizedek for more information)

Hebrews 7-11- If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?12 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

So the law changed not because of Paul but through necessity of Jesus a non Levite from the tribe of Judah has been made high priest.


Paul far from teaching lawlessness in fact teaches a CHANGE of law from the Mosaic law to the law of Christ.

For those that are not under the law of Moses but are now under the law of CHRIST.

1 Corinthians 9-21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

Matthew 22 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

There are just 2 to love God with all our hearts,soul and Mind and a NEW command.

John 13- . 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Jesus taught to follow HIS commandments

John 14-21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14-15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

And countless other verses

This is supported by the apostle John who tells us that we must keep the commandments

1 john 2-3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1 John 3- 1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

But he also tells us EXACTLY what these commands are …and they are not the 10

1 John 3-21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given you

For love fulfills the law.

Romans 13-8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Romans 13-10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Galatians 5-14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Galatians 6-2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

The law of Christ is to love God and to love one another. Through this all is fulfilled.

We love God when we love his son

Christs law is Love.

Paul in fact did NOT preach lawlessness and DID preach the law of love the law of Christ just as Jesus did.

In Part 2 I will look at Paul’s teachings of workless salvation.

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