Christ on Earth
and
Christ in Heaven

By CR Stam

It is a sad fact of our times that many people today are not interested in the Bible largely because so few Christians are interested enough to study it deeply. Yet, when rightly divided, we find the Scriptures more relevant than ever to our circumstances and our needs.

One result of this lack of interest is that it is not generally understood that the Lord Jesus proclaimed one message while on earth and quite another after His rejection here and His ascension to heaven.

While on earth He proclaimed what is called "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. 4:23; et al). This kingdom was to be - and will be -- established on earth and would produce a way of life that would bring peace and prosperity and blessing to all mankind. Our Lord enunciated the principles of this kingdom in His Sermon on the Mount.

But as we have seen, the King and His kingdom was rejected and our Lord, in amazing grace, saved Saul of Tarsus and sent him forth as the Apostle Paul, to proclaim "the gospel of the grace of God"  (Acts 20:24).

Never do we find Paul offering the kingdom to Israel - nor could he have done so, for such an offer would have to be made at Jerusalem, from whence our Lord had ordered him to depart immediately when he had first returned to the city after his conversion. (See Acts 22:17-21).

Thus Paul was sent to the Gentiles by the glorified Lord, to proclaim a message of "grace and peace,"  a message which differed greatly from "the gospel of the kingdom," which our Lord had proclaimed while on earth.

Thus the claim that the so-called "great commission" contains our Lord's "last words" is an error, for He spoke again from His glory in heaven, to and through the Apostle Paul (Here the reader should carefully examine 1 Corinthians 11:23; 15:3; 2 Corinthians 13:2,3; Galatians 1:11,12; Ephesians 3:3)

The reason we emphasize this is because some pose the question: "Whose words are the more important, those of Christ, or those of Paul?" overlooking the fact that Pal's words were the words of Christ from His glory in heaven. These words, not those of the so-called "great commission" were His latest words - words of mercy and grace for "this present evil age."

This is the glorious message which God has now committed to us, variously called "the preaching of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18), "the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4), "the gospel of the glory of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24) and "My [Paul's] gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest..." (Romans 16:25,26).

We should not leave this subject without reminding our readers that our Lord wrote no book. Thus His words recorded by Paul are no less inspired or authentic than those recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and it is most important to bear in mind that while the four so-called "evangelists" recorded His words spoken while on earth,  Paul proclaimed the message of grace which He committed to him later, from His glory in heaven.

excerpt from " The Sermon on the Mount and The Gospel of the Grace of God" (p 17-19)
written by CR Stam
1983 Berean Bible Society

   

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