For the past several months I've been posting on Facebook what I call, "Grace Nugget of the Day." This is a little blurb about new covenant grace life. I usually do not post a Scripture reference as I wish people to dig that out for themselves. However, I could as everything I post is very Scriptural. I guess most people don't look for the Scripture and some totally ignore any Scripture and just argue with me. However, that's fine!
The past several days I've posted about the importance of Paul to the Early Church, actually implying just how important he was to not only past history, but to us as well as we continue to walk out this current new covenant life. Jesus used Paul nightly to form the "New Way" of the new covenant. Matter of fact in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul states that "The old way brought death; the new way brings life." That's pretty powerful insight!
When I stated on Facebook that Paul brought the revelations of new covenant grace to the Church not Peter, James and John some argued. However, some asked some good questions. The best question was simply, "What difference does it make?" Friends, this simple fact is very essential in understanding the New Testament and it's teachings on new covenant grace. For example, when I wrote about me not teaching people to repent I received a lot of flack! Maybe, right now, your eyebrows are raised too. Firstly, many do not know what the word, "repent" really means. In its context and in its Greek meaning it has nothing to do with sin. Rather, it simply means to change your mind about God. In other words....you do not believe in God's love for you. I tell you to "repent." What I'm really saying...."Hey Dude...God loves you so very much. He's done so much for you and even if you never believe in Him his mind and heart is still set on you. So REPENT! That's right...change your mind about what you think about God! Pretty simple isn't it? Yet, many just relate this to sin and leave it there. This is NOT the new covenant that Paul taught the Church!
Therefore, when we get onto threads like this, the words of Peter come up in Acts 2:38, "Each of you must REPENT of your sins and turn to God," So here is Peter, on the day of Pentecost, just 50 days after the Resurrection of the Lord telling people to repent of their sins. So, it's completely understandable about why people would ask me, "But Larry, Peter said...to repent of their sins!! What about that?"
This subject is way too deep to fully explore in this blog. I'm thinking about a future book, called "The Great Sin Conspiracy" where I can dig much deeper into the subject. However, the key here is that Peter, at this time, didn't know and understand the new covenant. None of the early Fathers did, including James and John. It was all so new! They were actually leading the Early Church of the day into just another extension of Judaism even leaving behind the Gentiles. A short time later, Paul, after he was raising havoc on the Church had his Damascus Road experience. He "repented;" changed his mind about Jesus and went to the Brothers telling them about what happened. He even began to preach about Jesus. The Brothers pretty much rejected Paul at this time, actually not trusting this guy who just a short time earlier was persecuting the Church. I'm certain they thought, "SURE you're a Christian???"
Shortly after this Paul left Jerusalem and hid out in the Arabian desert for 3 years. There he met with Jesus. The Lord converted this Pharisee of the Pharisees and forever changed his life. Paul was downloaded the fullness of the new covenant with the instructions of bringing it to the Church. He soon went back to Jerusalem and there told the Brothers about all that had happened. Thankfully, they accepted Paul and his new-fangled teaching! Friends, Paul brought total chaos to the Church of the day! Humm.. I'm thinking that he still does!
I'll end this all here, but when people tell or ask me about Peter teaching repentance from sin in Acts chapter 2, my answer is pretty simple....PETER DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT! He had not been exposed to the revelations of the new covenant yet. That didn't come until much later when Paul came back to town!
Now, I'm certain some religious folks will not like what I've just written here. However, no matter...it's true. And unless they understand this truth, they, like Peter of the day before Paul's teaching the new covenant, will be mixing the message of grace with law. Friends...that dog don't hunt!
Grace and peace!