Are The Teachings Of James, Peter & Jude Against The Teachings Of Paul? Did The Apostles Really Teach A Different Message From Paul?


In the shallow reading of the writings of James, Peter, Jude and Paul, it seems as though the teachings of the first three apostles always contrasted with that of the later.

Growing up, I really battled with this “seeming” disparity between them. I saw Paul as “the apostle of Grace” while Peter, James and Jude were the “apostles of Works.”

O lazy man that I was! Had I bent down a little more, had I put in a little more effort to study the scriptures, I would have seen clearly that there are no contradictions in the scriptures, especially in the matters of salvation.

All three apostles (James, Peter and Jude) never contradicted the teachings of Paul, they rather expatiated them to really hit the points home to their different audiences.

Before taking a closer look at the different topics of the scriptures to which each of the apostles gave his opinion, it is important to note that Peter strongly validated the writings or teachings of Paul, without any exceptions. So those fighting the glorious gospel of the eternal redemption we have in Christ which was committed to Paul, are simply doing that at their own peril.

Take a closer look at the following verses:

2 Peter 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.

Did you notice how Peter strongly approved Paul’s message to be of God? All his messages, without any exception.

Was it only Peter that gave this approval among the apostles?

Take a look again at the following scriptures.

Galatians 2:7-9

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that gospel of uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles)
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.

Notice how Paul specifically mentioned James, Cephas (Peter), John and others (verse 7) which may have included Jude, to have heard his gospel and given him the right hands of fellowship?

“The right hand of fellowship” in Galatians 2:9 simply means “an approval”. It is equivalent to how we will tell someone today “Go ahead!’’ ‘’Ride on!’’ etc.

If Peter, James and Jude who obviously was a part of the others gave apostle Paul their right hands of fellowship publicly (before the entire congregation), how then do you think they will write books contradicting his doctrines? That would be damaging to their own reputation.

Now take a look at some of their teachings below and see how they align with each other.

ON ETERNAL SALVATIONu

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord

Paul says he is persuaded (fully aware, totally convinced, so sure) that nothing shall be able to separate us (the believers, those who are born again) from the love of God in Christ forever!

Did the other apostles say a different thing? Let’s check their writings.

Jude said:

Jude 1:24-25

24 Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen

According to Jude, God is able to KEEP YOU FROM FALLING and will present you FAULTLESS on the last day, with exceeding joy.

By “you’’ here, he meant the believers, those who have received the salvation that God offers and are born again. Did you see how that aligns with Paul’s message?

See what James has to say:

James 1:16-18

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
18 Of His own will begat he us with the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

In the reading of James 1:17, one would think the apostle is talking about material gifts from God, until you pay close attention to that verse and the one that followed after.

By taking a really close look, we see that he used the singular word “gift” not “gifts” to specify what he was talking about, and in verse 18 he plainly let us know he was referring to Salvation.

So, according to James, when God gives you the gift of Salvation, he doesn’t turn back and collect it from you, no matter what.

Why doesn’t God do that?

It is because James has already told us that in the character of God, there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

In other words, God doesn’t change, neither does he take back his gift of Salvation from anyone. If he gives it to you, it is yours forever!

In his own epistles, Peter further gave credence to this fact:

1Peter 1:3-5

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In describing the salvation that God offered us by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Peter called it “an inheritance undefiled, incorruptible, that FADETH NOT AWAY.”

He then goes on to say that this salvation is reserved in heaven for you WHO ARE KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD unto the last day.

In other words, the believer is kept by God forever. He cannot be lost. He has received an eternal salvation. A complete redemption from sin and Hell.

That is the same thing Jude and James said. They all validated Apostle Paul’s message of eternal salvation. They even expatiated it by stating clearly that the believer is kept by God forever. Just like the Master Jesus Himself stated:

John 10:28-29

28 And I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 5:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.

Nothing can be clearer! The believer is kept by God forever. He is eternally saved. Glory to God!

                           ON GRACE, FAITH, WORKS AND JUSTIFICATION

Another area where people quickly assume Paul teaches a different message from that of the rest, is on the area of Justification.

So you hear them say, ‘’Paul teaches Justification by Faith and Grace while James and other apostles teach Justification by works’’. Nothing can be further from the truth!

What James taught concerning justification in James 2:14-26 is not really in opposition to what Paul taught about the same subject in Galatians 3:6-14 and Romans 4.

The key to understanding these portions of scripture is to realize that both men were speaking to different audiences.

Paul in his writing was speaking to the Roman and Galatian believers, people who were already born again by faith in Christ but somehow got into believing that it is their personal works, not that of Christ, that will justify or save them before God.

Being Gentiles, they started believing if they adopt the Jewish law, they’ll be justified.

Paul had to correct that ideology before they become a god unto themselves or start seeing themselves (not Christ) as their own Lords and Personal Saviours.

James on the other hand wrote his own admonition to a Jewish audience who after hearing the gospel assumed that works were no longer relevant. They started being unkind to one another, maltreated the poor etc.

James then goes on to remind them that though Abraham had faith (believed in God), yet nobody knew he had it till he offered his son Isaac to God. So his faith was justified (or rather seen) in his offering of Isaac (works).

It’s just like today, if you came across a guy that is living carelessly, robbing, raping, fornicating and living all kinds of life, you will never believe that guy is a believer or born again. No matter how many times he says it.

Why? Because his actions doesn’t show it. In other words, his works doesn’t justify his faith. That is because even without being told, you know that there is a way Christians should live in order to showcase that Christ who is in them.

That is why Jesus said….

Matthew 5:15-16

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

So you see that when you look closely, you will find out that Peter, James and Jude did not contradict Paul in their teachings. They rather threw more light on them. The apostles taught the same thing Paul did, however, to a different audience and with different words and methods.

I hope this blesses you.

Glory to God.

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