I came to a profound realization about 4 weeks ago that has completely shifted the way I interpret the Bible, overnight. Whether this piece of information is true or false, I'll leave for the reader to decide, but I feel it is important for all to see, especially since so many people here seem to have taken interest in the meter.
[glow=][Gal 2:7-8 NASB20] 7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter [had been] to the circumcised 8 (for He who was at work for Peter in [his] apostleship to the circumcised was at work for me also to the Gentiles)[/glow]
It has come to my attention that there are likely two gospels, not one. Peter and the other 11 apostles were given the gospel of the circumcised to share with the believing Israelites of Judea.
Paul, on the other hand, was given the gospel of the uncircumcised to share with the Hellenized Israelites of the Northern Kingdom who did not integrate with Judea (simply called Greeks), and to the gentiles.
If the above is true, then I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding these two gospels within their own individual contexts.
Under Paul's gospel, salvation came by faith alone: [glow=]Believe that Jesus died for all sins, was placed in the tomb, and was raised on the third day.[/glow] There are no works involved in this gospel. No water baptism, no circumcision, no keeping of the Law in any shape or form.
The same cannot be said about Peter's gospel to the circumcised. Faith is fundamental to both gospels, but in Peter's gospel, works were necessary and were to be executed from a position of faith. This meant belief in Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God, as well as water baptism and circumcision as an outward demonstration of faith. It was expected of Jewish believers under Peter's gospel to keep the Law from a position of faith. This gospel is also known as the Gospel of the Kingdom.
These are two different gospels for two different groups of people: Israelites and gentiles. Israelites were to keep the Law, while gentiles were never under the Law in the first place. Furthermore, Paul made it clear that a believer under the gospel of grace was never to attempt to keep the Law, as it would bind up their faith. The book of Galatians addresses this issue directly.
This has profound implications which I will not explore here. There is simply too much to be covered, and I'm still working through the implications myself. Nevertheless, if this distinction is true, then Paul's epistles are to be understood separately from the rest of the New Testament. The epistles of Peter, James, John, Hebrews, and even the book of Revelation were addressed to the circumcised believers, not the uncircumcised. I believe it is the blending of these two gospels that have created a great deal of confusion within Christianity for the last 2000 years.
As a believer in Christ, you each have the individual right and responsibility to ask God about this. Do not take my word for it. You need to examine these ideas on your own. So ask God for clarification and keep the two gospels in mind the next time you study New Testament scripture. Test these ideas and compare/contrast the outcome to what you have been taught by your present pastor. If you truly desire the truth, then God will make sure you will find it.
The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.