To Cut Straight, to Handle Aright

Strong’s Greek 3718, 3718 orthotoméō (from temnō, “to cut” and 3717 /orthós, “straight”)

1. properly cut straight (on a straight line), i.e., “rightly divide” (correctly apportion). The word that is translated “rightly dividing” is “ορθοτομουντα (orthotomounta)”, which has the literal meaning of “to dissect correctly”. “Rightly dividing” portrays this act of paying meticulous attention to small individual parts that make up the whole. The rendering of “rightly dividing the word of truth” puts the emphasis on exegesis (cutting “out” from the body) rather than eisegesis (injecting “in” to the body).

2. dropping the idea of cutting, to make straight and smooth; Vulg.rectetracto, to handle aright: τόν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας, i.e., to teach the truth correctly and directly, 2 Tim.2:15.

The differences of the Law and the Mystery programs are too important to be neglected by believers today. One of the main reason’s denominational churches neglect this difference between the two programs is because the apostle Paul is not given his rightful place in Scripture. Paul is usually looked upon as a second-class apostle by most of Christendom today and by those scholars who represent denominations. But the Bible makes it very clear that Paul is to be taken seriously,

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

God tells us through Scriptures and through Paul that he’s our apostle. The twelve are not our apostles. Paul is our apostle.

1 Cor.14:37-38 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

If you don’t believe these statements of Paul, you can remain ignorant, and you can remain in darkness as to what God is doing in this grace age and how He is operating today.

Remember this, Paul is the one whom Christ saved in Acts 9. He took him into Arabia for three years of training in the special ministry that Christ had called him to. Christ would frequently appear to the apostle Paul over this period of time in order to reveal new truths concerning God’s purpose for the Gentiles. This new truth was unheard of before. It was never heard of back in the Old Testament, neither in the Gospels or in early Acts. This truth that Paul shares in his writings is called ‘the revelation of the mystery’. Paul uses this term nine times to define the process of revealing or unveiling the mystery of this body of new truth. Why is it a mystery? Because up till now it had been hidden in God, completely unrevealed to the world, but now through revelation, it was given to the apostle Paul so that he can reveal it to humanity. So, to understand the difference between these two programs, and to know how to cut it straight and handle it rightly, is of utmost importance.

Rom.16:25-26 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my 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, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

This verse is loaded with new material and instructions. In it, Paul announces that he is dispensing a new gospel and a new doctrine that we’ve NEVER heard of before. He mentions that this new material has the power to stablish you (to stabilize you) in the knowledge of how to have a relationship with God and to understand what God will be doing in the earth from this point forward. He is announcing new truth which we are to follow. So why are we always going back to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the early part of Acts? Why are we always going back in the Old Testament and trying to make it speak to us and advise us? Yes, these books have value for our learning, and they teach us about God, about His character and His great plan, but they DO NOT contain the right truths for us today; those truths that instruct us how to live and move and have our being in God, that teach us about the body of Christ, about Church and family relationships, about practical living and about our future and destination! Our truth, our gospel, our doctrine, it’s ONLY found in Paul’s writings and ONLY these contain the revelation and instruction for our lives and our living today.

Now what are these new truths that were revealed to Paul, and that he now reveals to us? Let’s list some of the more prominent truths in the rest of this article.

1. The Dispensation of Grace

First of all, let’s look at the name of the dispensation that we’re living in. Paul reveals it in Ephesians.

Eph.3:1-3 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you ward:  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; …

This dispensation of grace started with Paul’s conversion at about 35AD, so it’s been active for a little less than 2000 years already. We know it started with Paul’s conversion as he clearly states that he was the first convert into this program and that the Lord started a pattern of grace through Paul’s salvation, (1 Tim.1:16).

2. The Gospel of Grace

The second thing given to Paul was the truth about the gospel of grace. It is a gospel that no one knew about previously. It states the following in Acts,

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Today we are saved by the gospel of grace (Rom.1:16). This is a completely new and different gospel from the one that was being preached in Paul’s time, known as the gospel of the Kingdom (Matt.9:35, Matt.24:14). Where the Kingdom gospel was preached to the Jews, to prepare them to receive the Kingdom through faith in the identity of Christ and through works like obeying the law and water baptism, the Grace gospel was preached to all men (Jews and Gentiles), to save them into the body of Christ through faith in the cross work of Christ without works, since Christ had done it all for them, (Eph.2:8-9).

1 Cor.15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

That’s the gospel friends! The message of the good news of grace that saves us. These verses explain what Jesus Christ has done, and that He has accomplished everything necessary to save us. This is the message that activates faith to cause you to believe. The instant you respond to that faith, to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again for your justification, you are saved.

Unlike the Kingdom gospel which required faith and works of obedience, there is nothing you need to do of yourself in the Grace gospel. There is no works of obedience you can do to earn salvation on your own. It is Christ’s righteousness imputed to you as 100% grace! It’s a gospel of grace and this was unheard of in Paul’s day. It was a new gospel for a new dispensation. This gospel is not related to or associated with the nation of Israel.

Another interesting fact about the Grace gospel is that Paul says three times that this gospel was his gospel. He mentions it in Rom.16:25 above, and also in the two Scriptures below,

Rom.2:15-16 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)  In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

2 Tim.2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

Do you think that Paul was conceited because he says, “my gospel”? Certainly not! Paul simply states that the gospel that Christ gave him was different. Its message and conditions were different from the gospel which the 12 apostles taught. It was also a message for a different time and a different group of people.

3. The Body of Christ

Another new truth revealed to Paul was information about “the body of Christ”. We know this is from Paul because nobody else ever knew about, spoke of, or wrote about the body of Christ before Paul came on the scene. Paul was saved in Acts 9, and its only after this and in his writings that you hear of this name.

Rom.7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; …

1 Cor.10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Cor.12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Eph.4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

4. The Catching Away (aka the Rapture)

The next new truth given to Paul was about the rapture, the calling up of the body of Christ.

1 Cor 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Here’s a truth that’s been hidden in the mind of God since before the foundations of the earth, but it’s now revealed to Paul to share with the believers of his gospel. Everything that was revealed to the apostle Paul is a mystery, and this is no different. Nobody in Paul’s day has ever heard or read about this. It was not prophesied, it was not written in the Torah, it was not mentioned by any scribe or teacher. Only Paul ever mentioned that one day we will go up to meet Christ in the air and it is prior to the prophesied tribulation. Israel’s 12 apostles only knew about Christ’s return, and that Christ would return at the end of the tribulation. They never had a clue about the rapture of the Church.

5. Holy Spirit Baptism

Paul was also given new truth about the Holy Spirit baptism. There is a big difference regarding this topic between the dispensations of Law and Mystery.

1 Cor.12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Notice, the verse refers to a spiritual body [of Christ] that we are placed into when you are saved. The Spirit of God takes you out of your position of Adam and baptizes (immerses and identifies you) into the new spiritual body of Christ which is His Church. That takes place the moment you’re saved. This is brand new revelation that Paul teaches. The Jewish apostles knew nothing of this concept.

6. Water Baptism

Another change that the 12 apostles struggled with was that Paul taught of ONLY ONE baptism. What baptism is that? Spirit baptism that places you into the body of Christ at the moment you are saved. For the 12 it was always TWO. The 12 apostles could never separate baptism from their gospel. Consider the instructions and order of the Kingdom gospel:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Notice that after a Jew repented, they had to be baptized in water. Water baptism was a requirement in the Kingdom gospel as it was for the cleansing for priesthood (Exo.19:6), something that ALL Jews had to do:

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

After water baptism, they could receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit to begin the fulfilment of the new covenant according to Jer.31:31-34 and Ezek.36:24-27. This was ingrafted into the gospel, into the minds and into the teachings of the 12. Now Paul comes along and says that in his gospel and doctrine, water baptism is no longer required and that there is only one baptism:

1 Cor.1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Eph.4:4-5 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, …

Paul teaches that this one baptism is the baptism performed BY the Holy Spirit (without human hands) in order to immerse the believer into the body of Christ. There is no water involved, there is no priest or pastor or elder involved. It is a supernatural event that happens at the moment of salvation.

Paul says that this is the only baptism necessary for the member of the body of Christ. Water baptism has no real part in this dispensation because we are not called to be priests and do not need that ordinance to be cleansed for priesthood. Can you see the enormous difference again between these two programs? If you do not recognize these dispensational changes and you try to mix up Scripture and practices, you end up with a huge mess! No wonder we have such arguments and controversy in the denominations today. Let me again remind you what Paul says about his unique apostleship and authority:

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

1 Cor.14:37-38 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

7. The Blinding of Israel

Paul was also given a new revelation about the fall and temporary setting aside of Israel, and her blinding. Peter, James, John, and Jude didn’t know anything about this event until Paul brought it to light.

Rom 11:7,25 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded …  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

During the early part of the Jewish assembly in Acts (chapters 2-15), they did not know Israel would be set aside. As a matter of fact, it was completely against prophecies that they knew. They knew that the Gentiles would be blessed BECAUSE of Israel (Gen.12:1-3). Peter eventually acknowledged that Paul’s teaching was correct at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:11) because of the vision of the sheet and the change of order in the baptisms at Cornelius’s house in Acts 10. After Peter ‘locked the Kingdom’ with his statement in Acts 15:11, having received the Kingdom keys from Jesus earlier in His ministry (Matt.16:16-19), Paul could boldly declare that Gentiles were now saved by God’s grace without Israel’s Kingdom program. This was a major turning point in how God would now operate. No Jew would ever have dreamed that God would set them aside, blind them and save Gentiles by grace alone.

8. The Abolishing of the Law

Another new truth exposed by Paul was about the abolishing of the Law of Moses. During Paul’s day the believers of the Jewish assembly were all under the Law, practicing its requirements daily. However, Paul was now teaching that when you get saved, you’re no longer under the Law and no longer have to carry its guilt and condemnation.

Eph.2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; …

Col.2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances [the Law] that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; …

Rom.6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

9. The Judgment Seat of Christ

Something else I think is very important to mention that only Paul taught as a new truth, was about the judgment seat of Christ. The judgment seat of Christ is only for believers of the body of Christ. Believers will be judged and rewarded based upon their relationship to the mystery revelations given to Paul! In other words, if you ever expect to get rewarded one day when you stand before Christ, it will be based on how you responded to, and followed, and believed, and shared the unique revelations of the dispensation of grace. There’s a lot of people today that do a lot of good things, but these things are according to the Kingdom program which is NOT how God is working today and neither is it rewarding you today. For example, you might think that baptizing someone in water today is good and spiritual because it was done in Acts, but water baptism is meaningless in the grace dispensation. Doing it has no heavenly reward and that work will just be burned up like wood, hay or stubble at the Bema Seat Judgment. God declares through Paul’s teachings that your rewards will be relative to your relationship with THE MYSTERY PROGRAM, because that’s how God is working in the world today. It’s your faithfulness to the mysteries that will determine your rewards at the judgement seat of Christ.

Rom.2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Notice the above verse! It says, “according to my gospel, AND the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, …”. The gospel and the preaching of Christ according to the mysteries revealed by Paul are inseparable. They belong together. A person is eternally saved through believing the gospel message, but their rewards in heaven are directly connected to their faithfulness to the mysteries. Practicing Kingdom doctrine will result in works that relate to wood, hay and stubble according to the verse below:

1 Cor.3:10-15 According to the grace of God, which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

This cannot be stressed enough in this day as there is a lot of ignorance in the Church today. Just ask any Christian today if he has heard of the revelation of the mysteries that Paul taught. They will probably respond with, “Huh? Say what?” It is sad to say, but I can presume that 80% of church goers today do not know about the “preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery”. They are all still trapped in the Kingdom program, following the Law program taught by Jesus in His earthly ministry and the 12 apostles. They are still focused on water baptism, spiritual baptism, speaking in tongues, healing ministries, prophesying, and building their own spiritual kingdoms which have very little to do with God’s grace program today. They can still be saved (according to 1 Cor.3:15, assuming they responded to the pure grace gospel), but most of their works will not be regarded as gold and silver and precious stones on ‘that day’.

10. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

To Paul was given another new truth regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament they didn’t experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit as we do today. The Holy Spirit would just come upon a person to give them strength or wisdom for some purpose and then He would leave again. Today, the Spirit’s ministry to the body of Christ is clearly explained only in Paul’s letters. In the books of Romans through Philemon, the Spirit’s workings are well documented, mentioning how He resides permanently within us, how He helps us when we pray, how He helps us when we study by illuminating our mind, how He comforts us, witnesses, guides us, and how He works in us to lead us in a daily walk to sanctify our natural lives and ultimately how He will take us home one day. Below are a few Scriptures that document the unique ministry of the Holy Spirit revealed by Paul’s writings:

Eph.1:13; Eph.4:30; Rom.8:26-27; Tit.3:5; 1 Cor.12:13; 1 Thess.1:6; 2 Cor.13:14; Rom.15:13; Gal.5:16-18; Gal.5:19-26; 1 Cor.12:4; 2 Thess.2:6-8; 1 Cor.2:10-13

11. Equality of Jews and Gentiles

Paul was the only one to teach the new revelation of the equality of Jews and Gentiles. Before Paul was on the scene the Jew was first. The Jew was favoured in God’s plan since His covenant set up with Abraham (Gen.12:1-3). But Christ’s new truth given to Paul now brings Jews to the same level with the Gentiles today. Unlike in the Gospels and in early Acts, today, there is no difference between Jew or Gentile.

Rom.10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Gal.3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Eph.2:14-16 For he is our peace, who hath made both one [Jew and Gentile], and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both [Jew and Gentile] unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

So, by Paul’s letters we know that the Jews are not the favoured nation today. We know that the gospel message today is valid for ALL men of all nationalities. We know that the body of Christ is being made up of people from all walks of life. When we (the body of Christ) go up in the rapture, God will once again deal with Israel and they will again be first when His Kingdom program is reactivated at the beginning of the Tribulation.

12. The Bread and the Cup

Another truth given to Paul was the ‘Lord’s Supper’. The instructions and purpose of this ordinance that the body of Christ would hold was different to the Passover that Christ observed while on earth with His disciples. Paul received the truth from Christ that the Lord’s supper was not a formal observance and feast as with the Jewish Passover, but that it was given to him by instruction to be a type of memorial; a reminder of the death, burial, resurrection, and soon return of Jesus Christ.

When we gather with fellow Christians and have meals with them, we do so around Christ’s finished cross work. The Bible says that we should do this “until He [Christ] comes.” (1 Cor.11:26). Partaking of the bread and the cup is not supposed to be a formal affair. In its true context, it can be observed when we meet and eat with fellow Christians, fellowshipping around God’s Word whenever it is convenient for us. It is not some mindless ritual, it is not some strict ceremony, it is not the Passover, and it is not a church activity with a wafer and a sip of grape juice, as people commonly assume. It is the assembly of people who value God’s Word, believe in Christ’s finished cross work, and embrace the liberty of the grace life. Lastly, and in the spirit of the occasion, we should naturally take care regarding how we go about in observing the Lord’s Supper and learn from the Corinthians’ actions, not abusing the occasion with selfishness and other forms of carnality.

13. Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Another truth given to Paul was the new method of interpreting Scripture by rightly dividing. The Law program was designed specifically around Israel, so when the grace program was revealed it needed a very different body of truth. The Gentiles were never expected to adopt the Law, the ordinances, and the observances of Israel. As a matter of fact, it was a failing system and Peter mentioned the following:

Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples [the Gentile converts], which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

The grace doctrine is a very new doctrine and very different to the Law. It is crucial that one ‘cuts’ the Scriptures straight, in order to divide the content of the Law from the content of grace. The two doctrines cannot mix, and right division is imperative to keep the doctrine sound. Unfortunately, many denominations have not recognized this crucial instruction of Paul to divide the Scriptures, and thus, by mixing the two doctrines it has caused great confusion in the Church, contributing to the many differences and disputes in doctrine, faith, and practices in Christendom today.

2 Tim.2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Rightly dividing is necessary because of a new body of truth revealed to Paul. This new body of truth needs to be kept separate from God’s earthly purpose for Israel. You have to keep them separated.

14. Christ’s Resurrection

Paul also learned a new truth about the resurrection of Christ. Paul wrote more truth about the accomplishments of the resurrection than any of the other New Testament writers. During the Kingdom program, Jesus explained to His disciples that a time was coming that He would be rejected by Israel and killed, but after 3 days He would rise again. The meaning of this was not understood by the disciples (Luk.18:34), and even when Mary and the other woman saw the empty tomb and returned to the disciples with the news, they did not believe them (Luk.24:9-11), even though Jesus had told them He would rise. So, everything about the resurrection was revealed by what Paul received from the risen Christ as he laid it out in the grace doctrine.

Below are a few references that Paul provides regarding the significance of the resurrection,

  • Rom 1:4 (declared to be the Son of God with power)

  • Rom 6:5 (so we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection)

  • 1 Cor 15:17 (and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins)

  • 1 Cor 15:21-22 (by man came also the resurrection of the dead…so in Christ shall all be made alive)

  • Phil 3:10 (that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection)

15. The Greatness of Salvation

Paul learns and writes about the greatness and the richness of salvation. Salvation in this age of grace is explained by Paul in much richer detail than in any other period of time. Paul highlights multiple things that take place in your spiritual life at the moment you put your faith in the gospel. (See the list of a few of them below.)

In addition to this, we also learn from Paul that the forgiveness we receive at salvation is unconditional, (Eph.4:32). In comparison, Jews didn’t have total forgiveness. They kept having to go to the temple to offer up sacrifices. For us, once we are saved, we are always saved, absolutely forgiven by the blood of Christ from our past, present, and future sin. This is such liberating news. No other religion on the face of this earth offers salvation and forgiveness so freely. There is always a price to pay, something to do or something to sacrifice.

Things that happen when we get saved! (Let it WOW you!)

  • Our body becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost. 1 Cor.6:19

  • We are accepted in the beloved. Eph.1:6

  • We are adopted into the family of God as God’s sons. Gal.4:5

  • We are baptized into Christ’s body by the Holy Spirit (this is not water baptism!). 1 Cor.12:13; Rom.6:4; Gal.3:27

  • We are buried with Christ. Col.2:10-12; Rom.6:4

  • We are elected (chosen), (only those IN Christ). Eph.1:4

  • We are forgiven. Col.3:13

  • We are given spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor.12:1-31

  • We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Rom.8:11; 2 Tim.1:14; 1 Cor.3:16

  • We are justified. Rom.5:1; Rom.4:5

  • We are reconciled to God. Rom.5:10; Eph.2:13

  • We are sanctified. 1 Cor.6:11; Acts 26:18

  • We are saved by Christ. Rom.1:16

  • We are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Eph.1:13; Eph.4:30; 2 Cor.1:21-22

  • We are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Eph.2:6

  • We become a new creature. 2 Cor.5:17

  • We become a servant of God. Rom.6:22

  • We become an ambassador for Christ. 2 Cor.5:20

  • We become an heir of God. Gal.3:29; Rom.8:17

  • We get Heavenly citizenship. Eph.2:19

  • We have access to God’s grace. Eph.2:8

  • We have an inheritance. Col.3:24

  • We have our name recorded in the book of life in heaven. Phil.4:3

  • We have peace with God. Phil.4:7

  • We are dead to sin, but alive unto God. Rom.6:1-2; Rom.6:11; Rom.6:14

  • We receive a blessed hope. Tit.2:13

16. Our Heavenly Destination and Inheritance

Information about our heavenly inheritance cannot be found in the Old Testament or in the Gospels. It is revealed only by revelation through the apostle Paul. Our inheritance is the part of our salvation that happens in the future, either when we die or are raptured up.

Eph.1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest [guarantee] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Col.3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Now this is important, don’t confuse your inheritance as a child of God today in heaven with Israel’s inheritance on earth when they enter into the Millennial Kingdom. They are not the same. We will reign in heaven and they will reign on earth. Our destiny and our home is in heaven and theirs is on earth. Why do you think God changes our bodies into glorified bodies that will have the nature and the ability to operate in the heavens?

Eph.2:5-7 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)… **now get this** …and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Phil.3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Tim.4:18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.

17. The Two Programs of Heaven and Earth

The following is just a bit more detail on the previous point called: “Our Heavenly Destination and Inheritance“. The lower heavens and the earth have been defiled, corrupted by the sin of pride and rebellion. Satan was cast out of (the third) heaven after his act of rebellion and took occupancy of (the lower) heavens (Isa.14:12-14). Later, Satan also became the prince of this world when he led Adam and Eve to sin against God and thus brought mankind under his dominion (Gen.3:1-6). Since both realms are now corrupt, the plan of God primarily involves the cleansing of heaven and earth by using two programs – the Kingdom program to reclaim the earth and the Grace program to reclaim the heavens. At the end of the plan (the fulness of the times, Eph.1:10), the whole creation once again can be filled with the glory of the Lord of creation. See Col.1:16-20

While the physical heavens and earth were created in Gen.1:1, Scripture also implies these as two programs, one representing the Jews who will inherit the earth (the earthly Kingdom) and the second, the body of Christ who will inherit the heavenly places. The scripture below is a very subtle clue that shows that God had this all pre-planned in ages past. (Since we today have the full revelation of the Word, we can clearly see how this was planned out by God before the ages began). The stars represent the Grace program, and the sand represents the Kingdom program. Notice how both these programs originate from the faith stream* that began with Abraham.

Gen.22:15-17 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,  And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and has not withheld thy son, thine only son:  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

See also Genesis 13:14 (sand), Genesis 15:4 (stars), Genesis 26:4 (stars), Genesis 28:14 (sand) and Hebrews 11:12, Romans 9:27

*The Faith stream is a term I use to describe the calling out of ALL peoples through all the ages who responded by faith to the gospel that God provided in their lifetime in order to obtain right standing, (Rom.4:3).

Now, with this in mind, notice how the following scriptures confirm the destinations of these two programs.

Gospel of the Kingdom (faith and works): Destination, EARTH

Job 19:25-27 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Jeremiah 3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

Matthew 6:9-10 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

(See also: Acts 1:6; Acts 3:21)

Gospel of the Grace of God (faith without works): Destination, the HEAVENS

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Colossians 3:2-3 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

2 Timothy 4:17-18 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.  And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

In the last verse above, Paul, who being a Jew and very aware that the Jews destination was the glorious Kingdom of Christ on earth, shows that he was divinely transferred into the “grace program” as he says that he will be preserved for the Heavenly Kingdom.

18. The Count of Apostles, 12-Apostles versus 1-Apostle

I won’t spend a lot of effort on this point as it’s pretty clear. The Kingdom program started off with an official count of 12 apostles. See Matt.10:1-6

On the other hand, there is the Grace program that only has one official apostle, Paul.

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

Unlike other translations, notice that the KJV refers to the word, “the“. This indicates that Paul is the ‘one and only’ apostle to whom God revealed the mysteries of the Grace program. ALL doctrine for the body of Christ is revelation from the risen Christ given exclusively to Paul, who would communicate it to the body of Christ.

19. The Churches

Paul was also given truth about a new Church ‘structure’. The body of Christ is an entity that one will not find anywhere in the Old Testament, in prophecy, or in the Gospels. It is unique revelation introduced for the heavenly program.

Matt 16:15-18 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The Jewish assembly is built upon the rock. It is not built upon Peter as the character, but rather, the Jewish church is built upon the ‘confession‘ of Peter, the faith confession that Jesus is the Son of God. This confession is the primary requirement of the Kingdom gospel; a Jew must recognize and confess that Jesus Christ is their Messiah, the Son of God. This church is based on a physical Kingdom which is made up of a specific land deed, a physical throne (of David, Luk.1:32), and has the structure of a King and His subjects.

With regards to the Grace program, the Church is based upon the confession of what Christ has done for us, not who He is. It is defined in a more spiritual essence as being the body of Christ where Christ is the Head of the body, and its members are co-heirs with Christ. There are no physical details involved like ‘land’ or a throne, but everything is spiritual, from our inheritance to our blessings. See 1 Cor.12:27; Eph.1:22-23, and for a more detailed review, read Ephesians, chapters 1 and 2.

20. Signs and Wonders

Another revelation introduced by Paul within the mystery program is the way that God will interact with people. God showed Himself with great signs and wonders during Israel’s program, but this all changed in the new grace dispensation. God’s miracles, signs and wonders are specific for the Kingdom of Israel. Wherever they would go, signs and wonders would follow. The nation was initially built upon the mighty exploits of God who showed the 10 plagues in Egypt, then led them out by parting the waters of the Red Sea and displayed His fearful presence with lightning and earthquakes on Mt. Sinai. The Jews became familiar with how God presented Himself and identified themselves with God’s miracles.

Jews “require a sign“, as stated in 1 Cor.1:22. They believed in truth, but they wanted their own verification system—a supernatural system of verification. They wanted supernatural evidence manifested in a miracle as a ground for their belief in contrast to God’s revelation.

Matt.12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

Matt.16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

John 6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

On the other hand, when it comes to the body of Christ, God does NOT work (by default) in this manner, however, this is not to say that God does not still do miracles in our day and age. This is completely in His prerogative to do. It is just NOT His default way of working today.

Our faith is NOT based on signs and evidence, but rather on faith (alone). We, today, have the AWESOME privilege of being able to walk in the completed glory of God’s full revelation, His completed plan of redemption and restitution of His creation, and His completed canon of Scripture.

1 Cor.13:8-10 Charity [love] never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Why would one want to get evidence of a temporary wonder or miracle if one can trust in the fully exposed revelation of God regarding His plan of redemption. Paul writes to the body of Christ that when, ‘that which is perfect‘ (referring to the completed Bible), is come, then we will not need any more evidence, and that the miraculous is going to cease, to stop, to disappear! We now have the complete Word of God, His full revelation. There is now no longer need to prove His presence, His love, His faithfulness and His plan.

21. Prayer

The risen Christ revealed to Paul that prayer would no longer be based on the Law covenant agreements made with Israel. Prayer would change as we moved from Israel’s dispensation to the body of Christ. Let’s have a look at what the Word reveals.

Matt 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

How many of us have prayed this prayer and it hasn’t happened? There’s a reason why it hasn’t happened. It belongs to the Kingdom program! You are not in the Kingdom program!

John 14:13-14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

If you shall ask anything in my name I will do it“. A lot of people’s faith has been devastated because their prayer was not answered and things didn’t happen as they expected. But know this again, these are promises made to the Jews in the Kingdom program! Did you see the conditions attached to it? Just like anything from this time, it is attached to conditions because it is attached to the Law. If you do this, God says, He’ll do this. If you do that, God says, He’ll do that. It is part of the requirements of the covenant God has with Israel. We are NOT under that covenant, and God does not have anything to fulfil in this regard. These promises in the Bible are spoken to Israel and they are not for you!

For us, the body of Christ today, Paul says,

Rom 8:26-28 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he [the Spirit] maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Helpeth our infirmities“. If our prayers were answered like those of Israel, why would we even need to go through infirmities? God will help us through infirmities and trials, not take them away from us. “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit maketh intercession for us“. It seems we don’t even know what to pray for. Shouldn’t we be more reliant on the Spirit and not jump so quickly into prayers by asking God to change this or do that without even consulting what His purpose and will is for our situation.

Paul writes,

Phil.4:6-7 Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The passage above points to the fact that when we pray, we can have peace with God, but this peace is linked with faith. There is no promise in this Scripture that God will answer your prayer (like He promises to Israel!) No! The verse is informing you that you can ask, in actual fact, it is saying that you can appeal, and exhort and urge and plea, but it all must be connected with ‘genuine‘ thanksgiving, not demands or ultimatums. The thanksgiving and resulting peace are part of the outflow of faith, faith that knows innately that God is in complete control and will provide the outcome of that situation to be what He knows is for your best at that time. Will God hear your prayer? Of course He will! Will you know that He will answer based on your expectations? Absolutely not! He might answer you, He might not*, He might do it a different way, He might delay it. Should this be of concern? Do I need to continue to bear the weight? No, never! Once you have prayed, it is in God’s hands, and all you can do from then on out is trust Him and thank Him. Will you know that He has your best in mind and will always remain in control for your good? Absolutely He will! He loves you more than you will EVER know! God knows better, and He wants us to learn how to trust Him and leave our petitions with Him. He can handle it any way He wants to, but one thing He does promise is that we can have peace that God always does what’s right. Amen.

* PS: Even when God does not answer your prayer, it is an answer to prayer. When God does nothing to change a circumstance, then the act of doing nothing is what is best for the situation. God knows best. Have faith!

22. Hope

There’s a difference in hope between the Grace and Kingdom programs. In Acts 1:11 it says,

Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Did you get that? Jesus will return in the exact same way as He left. In other words, He will set His feet down on the same piece of rock on which He stood when He departed. His feet will touch the ground. He will occupy the same place and walk on the same earth as when He left. That’s their hope. His return to the earth, to do away with their enemies and set up his Kingdom.

Luke 1:67-75 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,  And hath raised up an horn of salvation [a symbol of salvation, Psalm 18:2] for us in the house of his servant David;  As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:  That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;  To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;  The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,  That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,  In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

For us, the body of Christ, Paul states the following,

1 Thess.4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The Lord, our hope, is not returning to the earth for us. No. Our hope is that we will be caught up to meet Him in the clouds, and to be taken to heaven, which is our eternal home. Theirs is the earth. Ours is in heaven.

23. Forgiveness

Have you ever noticed the difference regarding forgiveness between the two programs? The Kingdom program, under Law, has a conditional forgiveness, whereas the Grace program does not. Have a look at what the gospel of Matthew says. In the passages below, Jesus is teaching His disciples to pray, but notice the conditional terms of forgiveness as He teaches them,

Matt.6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Matt.6:14-15 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

On the converse side, in the grace program, there are absolutely zero conditions involved. We are absolutely and utterly forgiven of ALL sins, past, present and future.

Eph.4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Eph.1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Col.2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

In Conclusion

Let me end with this little lesson and encouragement. The apostle Peter didn’t know these new truths until Paul shared them with him (and the others). At one point in their ministries, Paul had to rebuke Peter one time because he was wrong concerning the new truth (Gal.2:11-14). In a way we have to understand Peter’s position. He had been well trained in the Kingdom program and now, due to God blinding the Jews and moving His focus to a new grace program, Peter’s whole world (so to speak) was thrown awry. Notice what Peter later writes in his epistle,

2 Pet.3:14-16 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  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;  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.

Peter is slowly being exposed to these new truths given to him by the apostle Paul, but he didn’t understand them. Though he didn’t understand them, he knew Paul’s epistles were inspired Scripture. We could almost say the same today among most believers, the fact that they just don’t realize or understand the significance of what Paul wrote about. When something about today’s dispensation is mentioned to them, they close their minds to it and keep holding on to Jewish truths and promises that they are familiar with. Water baptism, speaking in tongues, quoting Jewish scriptures like, “if you believe you’ll receive“. You can believe all these things, but you’re not going to receive its blessings, because that was doctrine for the Jews and not for the body of Christ today! God is only blessing Paul’s doctrine today.

Remember this, only Paul’s gospel of grace saves today and it’s time we take our stand for our Christ. Just like Moses was used by God and became Israel’s spokesperson, so God used Paul and made him the spokesperson for the body of Christ. If the information I have written in this article is new to you, if you have never heard or understood the importance of Paul’s ministry and writings to the Church today, I pray that you will study this article and dig into the Scriptures referenced in it so that your spiritual eyes can be opened. Make an effort to look at the Scriptures with an open mind. The tragic thing was back in the early days of the Church they had this truth and they lost it (2 Tim.4:14-16). They allowed false teachers to come in and lead them astray.

Phil.2:15-16 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;  Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

That holding forth means you grab it, and you don’t let it go. It becomes part of you, and you let it change your life.

Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers [those who speak against it].

Eph.3:7-9 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.  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;  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:

The mystery program revealed to Paul is the message for all humanity today. It contains the power of the gospel of grace to save the hearts of men. It contains the doctrine that we need to live a life that is pleasing to God and under the direction of His Spirit of life. We learn from ALL of God’s Word, but God Himself provided us today with our own apostle, and through his writings has provided for us all we need for life and godliness in this day and age. It is our responsibility to learn it and to be faithful to it so that we can demonstrate to all of creation that God is wise and loving and is gracious to all who call upon Him.

Credit: This article was inspired in part by a message presented by Jim Devney.


————————————– Featured Contributor ————————————–

Rudi Steenhuis is a guest writer at WWURD and is the administrator of the website The Big Picture (TBP). While residing in Cape Town, South Africa, Rudi’s blog posts and online bible studies focus upon a Dispensational understanding of the Bible while rightly dividing the word of truth.



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