Thursday, May 25, 2023
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).
Can today’s Scripture deliver someone from absolute stupidity before he or she literally perishes in it? (Yes!)
Re-read Ephesians 2:11,12. In “time past,” God dealt with mankind on the basis of physical circumcision (Jews, Israel) and physical uncircumcision (Gentiles, nations). While this “middle wall of partition” was in place (see verse 14), God’s blessings and salvation were on the circumcision side (cf. Romans 9:4,5). Christ’s earthly ministry belongs in “time past” (see Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8).
Beginning with the Apostle Paul—the “but now,” Christ’s heavenly ministry—the Lord eliminated “the middle wall of partition” (see Ephesians 2:13-18). Now, the nations of the world approach God, but not through the nation Israel, for Israel is now fallen. Read Romans 11:11-14. We come to God via Paul’s ministry (Bible Books of Romans through Philemon), faith in Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins (see 1 Corinthians 15:3,4). In “the ages to come” (Ephesians 2:7), God will use us the Church the Body of Christ to glorify Jesus in the heavenly places as He will utilize the nation Israel to exalt Jesus in the earth (Ephesians 1:8-12,19-23; Ephesians 2:6,7; Colossians 1:16-20). “Time past,” “but now,” and “the ages to come” is how to “rightly divide the word of truth.” Remember, note it well (!): principles in effect during time past may not be true today, so be careful, lest you misapply to yourself non-Pauline (outside of Paul’s epistles) Bible truths that are no longer true!
Also, we can view Jesus Christ from two perspectives. Firstly, Peter preached Him according to prophecy: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Secondly, Paul preached Him according to mystery: “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,…” (Romans 16:25,26). “Prophecy” versus “mystery” is another way God “rightly divides the word of truth.” Let us elaborate….