Are The Teachings Of Paul Against The Teachings Of Jesus? A Closer Look At The Words Of Jesus & The Pauline Revelations (Epistles)



Looking at the teachings of Jesus in the four Gospels (the books: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John), there seems to be a very wide gap between what Jesus taught and what we see apostle Paul teach in his epistles.
For instance, in Matthew 6:14-15 we see Jesus saying “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
However when Paul wrote his epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, he said something that looked like an opposite of what Jesus said. He puts his this way:
Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Col 3:13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 
He urged believers to forgive others not so as God will forgive them but because God has ALREADY forgiven them.
Again, in Matthew 19:16-22, a young man asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. In His reply Jesus said:
Mat 19:17 ……Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 
Mat 19:18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 
Mat 19:19  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 
Mat 19:20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 
Mat 19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 
Mat 19:22  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 
Jesus recommended a complete keeping of the Law and philanthropy to that young man. A few years later Paul was asked a similar question alongside his companion Silas by a Prison warder, and here is what they replied:
Act 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 
While Paul recommended just Faith in the Son of God Jesus to be all that is needed to be saved and have eternal life, it seems as though Jesus Himself recommended works alone to be all it takes.
Is Paul then a false teacher? Are his teachings truly in contradiction to Jesus’ own? Should we disregard the writings of Paul completely or is there something we are not getting clearly as a church when we look at the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Paul? Let’s go further.
To truly understand why Paul wrote the things he did, we need to first of all understand that the Bible is a book of progressive revelation which was never complete until the very last book of the Bible. That means until we have read it through to the very last book and gotten witnesses from its numerous authors, we cannot turn “a statement” in it into a basis for Faith, a doctrine.
This is because the book was written in such a way that you will find the explanation and confirmations of the things you read as you proceed to the very end. So taking a statement from Jesus in the book of Matthew alone and establishing it as a doctrine will not be the best thing to do until you have read through the other books.
Why is this so? Because before His death (in the Gospels), Jesus said He had many things to say (bring to understanding, explain, teach) to His disciples concerning the things he had already said to them before and things to come. But He couldn’t say those things to them because the disciples couldn’t bear them then. He however said the Holy Spirit, when He has come to live in them, will teach, explain and show them those things He couldn’t due to their inability to bear them them then.
Joh 14:25  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 
Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
The word “remembrance” Jesus used in that verse 26 above is actually better translated as “understanding”. That means what Jesus meant in that verse is that the Holy Spirit will bring to their understanding the things Jesus said while He was physically present with them. He (the Spirit of God) will give them the revelation, the explanations of His words beyond what the average man could understand. Verse 25 of that John 14 above makes this clearer.
While talking with His disciples again in John 16, Jesus reiterated this one more time to show how relevant it is for the Spirit (the one who explains everything) to come live in them.
Joh 16:12  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 
Joh 16:13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 
Joh 16:14  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 
Joh 16:15  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 
The Holy Spirit shall show them things to come. The words “things to come” in that verse is not talking about “visions, dreams etc.” It is actually talking about the “death, burial and resurrection of Jesus” which was to come immediately after Jesus finished those statements. Those events are what Jesus meant there, not some distant future things.
In other words, the Holy Spirit will reveal to the disciples the mysteries of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. That is, why Jesus had to die, was buried and resurrected. The things He did for us via His death, burial and resurrection. The benefits His death brought for us such as grace, peace, righteousness, justification, etc. These are the things to come which the Holy Spirit would teach and have the disciples pen down in their letters to the church.
It is these “things to come” that apostle Paul devoted his time to know and Jesus by His Spirit revealed them to Him as he looked diligently into the Old Testament scriptures and prophecies concerning Salvation. This revelation of the finished works of Christ which Jesus Himself by His Spirit brought to Paul’s understanding was what inspired him to boldly write the things he did in all his epistles.
Eph 3:1  For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 
Eph 3:2  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 
Eph 3:3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 
Eph 3:4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 
Eph 3:5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 
Eph 3:6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 
Eph 3:7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 
Eph 3:8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 
Eph 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
He went on to explain how come about this his revelations and teachings again in Galatians 1:11-20. Here is how he puts it:
Gal 1:11  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 
Gal 1:12  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 
Gal 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 
Gal 1:14  And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 
Gal 1:15  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 
Gal 1:16  To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 
Gal 1:17  Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 
Gal 1:18  Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 
Gal 1:19  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. 
Gal 1:20  Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 
Now to confirm that the things Paul wrote in all his epistles are true, James, Peter and John, the pillars of the church, gave him the needed support. Paul called this support the right hand of fellowship to go share his Gospel revelations with the gentiles. A kind of saying “go ahead brother Paul, we are behind you because these things you teach are true.”
Gal 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 
In his own epistle, apostle Peter further confirmed this:
2Pe 3:15  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 
2Pe 3:16  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Notice how Peter did not only confirm a single epistle of Paul but all of them at the same time. Read that verse 16 again. He gave witness to EVERYTHING Paul said and wrote in ALL his epistles. That is to show that everything Paul said in all his epistles were correct.
So when next someone wants to make you believe that Paul was wrong or is a false teacher, be steadfast in your faith and rebuke them. Paul’s teachings are never against the teachings of Jesus. They are actually the continuation and explanations of what Jesus would have us the church to know today. There are no errors in those teachings. The Spirit of God made sure there was never an error in them so the church won’t be misled today.
I hope this blesses you. Now lift your hands to the Father and thank Him for the entire revelation of His Word, His Son, to us.
Glory to Jesus our King eternal.

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