Spiritual Light

instructions in the faith for spirit filled believers
This book contains perhaps the most needed understanding for God's people today. Prompted by the word of the Lord this book analyzes what the Bible says about the most fundamentally important aspects of Jesus' saving work. Precious understanding revealed by a loving God for His people!
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Book Contents
Title Page
Original Introduction
Introduction to the 3rd Printing
My Credentials
Chapter One
The Third Commandment
Credentials for Chapter One
Marriage - Taking the Name
Spiritual Adultery
Like All the Nations
For Our Admonition
Chapter Two
The Sacrifice of Christ
Credentials for Chapter Two
The Sacrifice of Christ - The Copy & the True
An Important Detail - Where was Christ Sacrificed?
The Witness
Chapter Three
Conversion and Baptism
Credentials for Chapter Three
Two Gospels
Circles - The Body of Christ
Same Wrong Error - Sufficiency of Christ
Chapter Four
Salvation and Works
Credentials for Chapter Four
Ignorant and Unstable
Hebrews - Hope - Kept by Power
Glorified - Two Rocks (Rom 10:9-10)
Acts 16 - Saved Through Faith
Error in the Name of Truth
Remnants of Works - Conclusion

Spiritual Light


For three years after his Damascus road encounter with Christ and subsequent spiritual baptism, Paul spent his time in deep prayer and study in the Arabian Desert region (Gal. 1:15-18). Having discovered himself warring against the truth of God because of the understanding he had received from human instructors, he refused to seek the counsel of men, be they rabbis, apostles, or whatever. He had learned, as no other man had learned, the vanity of dependence on tradition, however long established, or wise men, however revered and capable. He had learned that he must receive his instruction from God or run the risk of discovering himself opposing, in devotion to God, God's own truth. And when Paul did begin to proclaim the gospel, his message not only challenged sinners but it also challenged the spiritual fiber of believers. If angels had been a part of the believing community, Paul's astonishing gospel would probably have challenged them as well. As for Paul, he uttered a curse upon any creature in heaven or earth who would dare teach anything contrary to his doctrine (Gal. 1:6-12).

The earliest believers had from the beginning known that only those Jews who believed in Jesus would be saved from the coming wrath. The end result of an unbelieving Jew, they knew well, would be the same as the uncircumcised Gentiles. But they steadfastly affirmed the distinction, as the Scriptures and Jesus himself had done, between the Gentiles and the chosen people of God, to whom, alone, the promise of the Messiah was given. They would have drawn a picture like this:

But Paul's revelation was that there was no longer any distinction in God's sight between Jews and Gentiles, for "all have come short of the glory of God." Outside of Christ, all were sinners, and the only Jews that now existed in God's sight are those who had been circumcised in heart by the Spirit (Rom. 2:28-29). Paul's diagram would have been like this:

Paul commanded his converts to cling to this simplicity of Christ (2Cor. 11:2-3),

"for he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God."

(Rom. 2:28-29)

The earliest believers could easily receive Paul's teaching, "for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body," but many of the same people staggered at the rest of his sentence: "whether we be Jews or Gentiles" (1Cor. 12:13).

Add to this, the fact that Paul taught that Christ is the end of the Law, and you can imagine the opposition Paul faced from within the ranks of the Jewish believers, besides the usual hazards of a missionary evangelist preaching a crucified and resurrected Lord.

In practically every one of Paul's letters, this issue is mentioned. In some of them, it is Paul's major concern.10 The following lengthy excerpt from the letter to the Gentile assembly at Ephesus is an excellent example of Paul's declaration of the Gentiles' privilege to receive Christ, and, as it is often the case, what Paul does not say (in brackets) is as instructive as what he does say:

"Wherefore, remember that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh (who are called 'Uncircumcision' by that which is called 'the Circumcision' in the flesh made by hands), that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus [Paul intentionally omits anything else] you who sometimes were far off [from God] are made nigh by the blood of Christ [another intentional non-reference to the Law]. For he is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [the Law] between us, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in himself of twain [Jews and Gentiles] one new man, so making peace, and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body [the body of Christ, not the nation of Israel] by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby, and came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews]. For through him we both have access by one Spirit [and nothing else] unto the Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit [alone].

For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles [had Paul not preached a gospel for the Gentiles, the Jews would not have caused his arrest in Acts 21], if you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me toward you, how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote before in new words, whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 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, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs [with the Jews], and of the same body, and partakers of His promise [to Abraham] in Christ by the gospel. Wherefore, I was made 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."

(Eph. 2:11-3:8)

Try to imagine the radical nature of Paul's doctrine to the orthodox ear of his time. To the earliest believers, almost entirely Jewish, the Gentiles were "dogs" (in Jesus' words), considered to be so unclean that they were unfit even to eat with or visit. Yet Paul was declaring, contrary to everything he or other Jews had ever been taught, that spiritually "there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek" (Rom. 10:12a). For Paul to say that these uncircumcised foreigners were now one with the saints of Christ, "fellow citizens" of God's kingdom, and partakers of Abraham's blessing, was the purest heresy, even blasphemous, to most Jews, including Jewish believers. They would have considered Paul's doctrine to be demeaning to their God-given heritage and contrary both to the Scriptures (as they understood them) and the example of Jesus himself, who preached only "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

The promise of God was to Abraham and to his children, and for Paul to claim that God had sent him to the heathen to preach Christ seemed heretical and utterly indefensible. But God had revealed to Paul that Abraham's children were not those that came from his flesh but those who demonstrated the same kind of faith Abraham had. And if those who had faith happened to be uncircumcised, what of it? Paul pointed out the indisputable fact that Abraham was justified by faith while he himself was still uncircumcised (Rom. 4:9-10). Paul further explained that Abraham

"received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they be not circumcised, so that righteousness might be imputed unto them also, and the father of circumcision to those who are not just of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised."

(Rom. 4:11-12)

God is the one who persuaded Paul to believe that the only children Abraham had are those who have faith in Christ. Some of Abraham's physical descendants did have faith, but those who did not were not his children (cp. Rom. 9:6-8). Jesus hinted at this truth during a heated exchange with certain Pharisees:

"They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said unto them, If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; Abraham didn't do this."

(Jn. 8:39-40)

The Jews of this period considered any uncircumcised man to be permanently separated from the blessings of Abraham, and they cannot be condemned for thinking so. Jewish believers also understood the standing of Gentiles before God to be that way, based on their understanding of Jesus' ministry, certain Old Testament Scriptures, their traditions, and the fact that God, up to that time, had given the promise of the holy Ghost to no one but Jews who loved and kept the Law.

But when God, first of all, baptized Cornelius and his household with His holy Spirit, and then sent Paul to declare that Abraham's heirs were those of every nation who demonstrated Abraham's kind of faith (Gal. 3:6-9), a new light began to shine in the world.

Before that time, Gentiles had been taught that if they wanted to receive the baptism of the Spirit, they must first be circumcised (i.e., become Jews) and submit to all the ordinances of the Law of Moses, including John the Baptist's water baptism in Jesus' name. But God's revelation to Paul, and to Peter at Cornelius' house, was that all God required of Gentiles in order for them to receive the promise of the Spirit is obedient faith in Jesus. It was a gnat which many a Jew had great difficulty swallowing. For Paul to teach that Cornelius and other redeemed Gentiles were Abraham's children, while many Jews were not, was the sheerest nonsense to them, completely contrary to all truth that God had revealed up to that time, as they understood it.