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Does Mid-Acts Right Division Worship Paul?

By Justin Johnson

The Bible has very clear commands that we are to worship God, and only God, not Paul.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3

“‘For thou shalt worship no other God: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” – Exodus 34:14

One of the evidences that Jesus claimed he was the God of the OT is when we see him accepting the worship that the Law reserved only for God. [This indicates that either Christ was an idolater filled with pride, or He was the True God; by faith, we choose the latter.]

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him:” – Matthew 2:11

“And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” – Matthew 8:2

“And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him.” – John 9:38

God’s Spokesmen

Meanwhile, God speaks to mankind at sundry times through different men as His instruments (2 Peter 1:19-20, Heb 1:1, 1 Cor 12:5).

For example, when the Israelites were enslaved to the Egyptians, the Lord heard their cry and brought up Moses to lead them out of captivity. Moses was God’s messenger, he was God’s servant. As God spoke to Moses, he delivered the commandments of the Lord and the Israelites were attentive to his every word as it was from God.

For thousands of years following, God’s prophets and messengers encouraged Israel to do all those things written in the ‘law of Moses’ (Joshua 23:6, 1 Kings 2:3, Mal 4:4). Even Jesus himself wrote that he came to fulfill all that was ‘written in the law of Moses’ (Luke 24:44). Yet it was clear that no one worshipped Moses, for it was not Moses who created those laws, but merely Moses who delivered them. Moses was God’s servant revealing the word of the Lord.

It was by Moses that God ushered in the divine dispensation of the Law, whereby God would hold men accountable.

Likewise, it was by Paul that God ushered in the divine dispensation of Grace, whereby men would be delivered from judgment and wrath apart from the law.

Paul As God’s Spokesman

Paul says, “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me” (1 Cor 9:17).

The message Paul called “my gospel” was “kept secret since the world began” and so was not included in the law of Moses or the prophets (Rom 16:25).

Since the message given to Paul was by revelation of Jesus Christ, Paul had all authority to preach the mystery message, not known before (Gal 1:11-12; 1 Cor 14:37; Eph 3:1-2).

Paul, Our Apostle

Paul is our chief apostle in this dispensation. Paul’s writings hold the previously hidden information now to be revealed to us about God’s separate plan and purpose for the Body of Christ. Just as Moses who, in time past, was to be the dispenser of the law of God to Israel and to teach them of God’s plan on the earth.

Understanding that Paul had a distinct message about the cross of Christ helps us to understand why Paul says:

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” – Rom 11:13

He indicates that he was the first to be saved in this dispensation as a “pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Tim 1:16).

Knowing that Moses was not to be worshiped, but was only the dispenser of God’s law, prophets would encourage men to follow the “law of Moses”. Likewise, those of us who are under grace and not under the law should be exhorted to hear the word of Paul as it is in truth the word of God (Rom 6:14, 1 Thess 2:13).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” – 1 Thess 2:13

So we do not worship Paul, but Christ made Paul our pattern of salvation, our chief apostle, and gave him the hidden wisdom of God, about our purpose in Christ. In testimony of the God who gave him the hidden wisdom that he taught, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to ‘be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ’ (1 Cor 11:1, 1 Cor 2:7-8).

We look to Paul as our pattern and apostle, but to Christ as our Savior, Head, and Lord, who alone is worthy of all worship and praise.

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Published: September 29, 2005
Last Modified: March 23, 2016
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