Pages

Categories

Archives

Meta

essay: Paul’s Reversionism

May 6, 2015

Paul’s Reversionism.
1. Paul’s wrongdoing was far greater than sin. Wrongdoing is far worse than sin because it includes grieving, quenching, and lying to the Holy Spirit. There are over 365 verses on Paul’s wrongdoing. Paul had just finished writing Romans and Galatians and then went out and violated the concepts related to them. This occurred in 58 A.D. The prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon) reflect his recovery from reversionism.
a. You must never let Christian experience get you out of fellowship. Behind Christian experience must be true doctrine.
b. True doctrine demands true experience. Today most believers have no concept of the spiritual life and are under punishment and trying to compensate for that punishment by gaining the attention of God by their works.
c. When you get into punishment and reject rebound, it is inevitable that you will come up with false doctrine.
d. Paul’s failure was wrongdoing, and it was quite a while before he rebounded. When he rebounded, he was purified from all wrongdoing, and that is the only thing that kept him from the sin unto death.
e. It was God’s will for Paul to be the pastor of the Roman church. But Paul went to Jerusalem instead, and that was the beginning of wrongdoing.
f. Paul failed miserably because he became emotional about Jerusalem and the Jews there.
(1) There is no emotion in the spiritual life. There is emotion only as a result of the execution of the spiritual life. Emotion is designed to appreciate our thinking, but not as a part of spirituality.
(2) Paul got into bad emotion, emotional legalism. He entered into reversionism through emotion.
(a) Bad emotion is one of the greatest distractions as a part of reversionism–emotional revolt of the soul. Paul entered into emotional revolt of the soul and resulted in locked in negative volition.
(b) Paul would not do the will of God under emotional revolt of the soul. He had soul blindness.
(c) Emotion in itself is not bad, not sinful, or immoral, but bad emotion redirects our thinking and crowds it into the area of garbage in the soul. It leads to a sentimentality that takes a higher priority than anything else in our lives. Being sentimental is normal, but it has a great danger related to it–soul blindness (becoming a holy roller).
(d) Bad emotion is a part of wrongdoing. You can become emotional about something that pushes doctrine right out of the stream of consciousness. Paul became spiritually blind from bad emotion.
(3) The spiritual life is a system of thinking. Paul tried to compromise with the Jewish holy rollers, but there is no compromise with them. No one has good experience in the spiritual life until they are qualified, and the qualification is Bible doctrine in the soul.
g. Paul wrote Col 3:25 after he rebounded, “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of that wrongdoing, and there is no partiality.” Paul came close to dying the sin unto death because there is no partiality in the righteousness of God.
h. Paul wrote, “whose god is their emotions” in Phil 3:19 after he rebounded.
i. Introductory Principles.
(1) You cannot evaluate experience without Bible doctrine, that is, biblical theology.
(2) Bible doctrine as epignosis circulating in the stream of consciousness through the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26) must precede proper fulfillment of the protocol in the plan of God.
(a) A wrong thing done in a wrong way is wrong. Paul took a vow that violated everything he wrote in Romans and Galatians.
(b) A wrong thing done in a right way is wrong. When Paul took a Nazarite vow, that was a wrong thing in this dispensation but it was done in a right way for a past dispensation. The only legitimate vow for the Church Age is the marriage vow for the believer who gets married. That vow is the only reason for having a ceremony.
(c) A right thing done in a wrong way is wrong. Paul personally wanted to take to Jerusalem the great offering that had been collected for the poor believers.
(d) Only a right thing done in a right way is right.
(3) The spiritual life of the Church Age is unique. It never existed prior to Pentecost and will never exist after the Rapture of the Church.
(4) Paul entered into the first stage of reversionism, called reaction and distraction, through an emotional desire to return to Jerusalem. He wanted to preach to them. He used the offering for the poor as his excuse to go back. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and had no business going back to Jerusalem. They had James, John, Peter, and the other apostles there. They did not need Paul.
(5) His frantic search for happiness would be to offer a Nazarite vow, part of the legalism of the Mosaic Law, which Paul had rejected and taught in the epistles to the Romans and Galatians.
(6) In 55 A.D. Paul wrote the Galatians. In 58 A.D. he wrote to the Romans. Paul contradicted what he wrote by what he did, by an experience he would have in Jerusalem.
(7) Paul’s experience in Jerusalem was operation boomerang plus emotional revolt of the soul. This is as far as Paul went before he rebounded.
(8) Paul evaluated past experience of legalism before the theology of Galatians when he took the vow in Jerusalem. He took the vow in obedience to James, the Lord’s half brother, who was also appointed an apostle along with Paul to replace Judas Iscariot, 1 Cor 15:3-8. James and Paul were great friends and knew the Mosaic Law better than anyone else who ever lived besides Moses himself.
(9) Paul’s wrongdoing was the first four stages of reversionism.
j. After failing, Paul warns us to “Be wise” in Eph 5:17, “Therefore, stop becoming fools [emotional about the spiritual life], but keep on understanding what is the will of the Lord.”
(1) Paul never gave up just because he failed. There is no place for giving up in the spiritual life.
(2) Paul was not ignorant of doctrine, but emotion had taken over control of his soul. The foolish believer is the believer under emotional revolt of the soul with scar tissue in the soul.
2. Paul’s wrongdoing included nine failures.
a. Paul was still at Corinth and wrote to the Romans and declared that he knew it was God’s will for him to become the pastor in Rome. He went to Jerusalem instead.
(1) Rom 1:13, “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far), in order that I may obtain some production among you also, as among the rest of the Gentiles.” Paul knew it was God’s will for him to come to Rome.
(2) Rom 15:24, “Whenever I go to Spain, I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while.” Paul thought going to Spain was God’s will for his life, but it was not. God’s will for Paul was to go to Rome and stay there, not to pass through Rome. The only way God could get Paul to Rome was in chains. Paul did not yet understand that where he is going to end up is Rome. Rome was the key, not Spain. Paul needed to get to Rome and stay there.
(3) But Paul steps out of the geographical will of God in his thinking, Rom 15:25, “But now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.” Paul is stubborn. He is walking out on the will of God because of emotion. Emotion hinders the will of God for our life. Peter and others were serving in Jerusalem. They did not need Paul. Paul rationalizes blessing instead of his own punishment, because he is emotional now. He starts justifying things that are not right. Paul was using the monetary gift to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem as his justification for going back.
(4) Rom 15:28, “Therefore, when I have finished this [trip to Jerusalem], and have sealed to them this production, I will go on by way of you [believers in Rome] to Spain.” Paul was ignoring God’s will for him to go to Rome. We do not know if Paul ever made it to Spain, but we do know that it was God’s will for him to go to Rome. God wanted Paul to go to the center of the world. Those who had the spiritual gift of handling money could have taken this gift to Jerusalem. Paul wanted to take the money so he could use it as leverage to have his say in Jerusalem. This was wrong motivation.
(5) Rom 15:29, “I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness [PLEROMA] of blessing from Christ.” Paul understands that he needs to be in PLEROMA status when he arrives at Rome. He is not in PLEROMA status yet.
(6) Rom 11:13, “But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.” Paul was thinking straight when he wrote this and was confused in his thinking by the time he got to Romans 15:25. Instead of magnifying his ministry he went to Jerusalem on an emotional jag.
(7) From Corinth, Paul went to Ephesus, Acts 19:1, and stayed there for two years. A riot eventually drove him out of Ephesus and he headed toward Jerusalem after seeing the Greek churches one more time.
(a) At the end of two years in Ephesus, Paul makes the following statement, Acts 19:20-21, “In this manner on the basis of power from the source of the Lord [Acts 1:8, the filling of the Holy Spirit] the word kept on spreading and kept on having power. Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in his human spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, ‘After I have been there, I must also see Rome.’” Verse 20 was the peak of Paul’s ministry prior to his reversionism. This change of itinerary from what Paul wrote in Rom 15:25 shows he is beginning to become confused. Instead of teaching in Rome, Paul says he only wants to see Rome. Paul is talking like a site-seeing tourist, and he is no tourist. He is thinking one thing and saying something else.
(b) Paul received a warning in Ephesus, being chased out of town by a riot started by Demetrius. (Demetrius went to Jerusalem and helped to stir up the riot there.) God chased Paul out of Ephesus because he was losing his leadership due to his desire to go to Jerusalem. After the riot Paul went to Macedonia and Greece, Acts 20:1-2. Then Paul went to Philippi, and then to Troy, Acts 20:6.
(c) Paul acknowledges he is receiving direct messages from the Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem, Acts 20:22-23, “And now, having been chained by the agency of the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit has already warned me, saying that chains and stress wait for me in every city.” God the Holy Spirit spoke directly to Paul because the canon of the New Testament had not yet been completed. Paul was not bound by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem. Paul was already under divine punishment and he is saying so. No one understood better than Paul how painful divine punishment is. Paul is such a strong person that he is willing to take the punishment in order to do what he wants to do emotionally. He correctly evaluates himself as under punishment from the Supreme Court of heaven. This warning had to be given to Paul because he had entered into a terrible state of carnality and the depths of wrongdoing. If God did this for one Church Age believer, He will do it for all. No matter how we fail as believers, God’s love for us never diminishes.
(d) Paul was trained on three missionary journeys and teaching at Corinth and Ephesus in preparation for becoming the pastor-teacher of the Roman church. God wanted Paul to go to Rome in 58 A.D. and take over the Roman church and stay there.
b. Paul’s first human warning not to go to Jerusalem is found in Acts 21:4, “After finding the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem.” This is a Spirit-filled congregation warning Paul.
c. Paul’s second warning is in Acts 21:8-11, “On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven [one of the original seven deacons responsible for the daily distribution of food to the earlier believers in Jerusalem], we stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And having come to us, he took off Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, ‘This is what the Holy Spirit says: “In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”’”
(1) None of the Philip’s daughters with the gift of prophecy warned Paul. Why? Their spiritual gift functioned toward women, but not to men. The answer is found in 1 Cor 14:34, “Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak;” and 1 Tim 2:11-12, “Let the women receive teaching with all subordination. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” A woman can only be blessed in responding, but not in leading. It is evil for a woman to be in a pulpit as a teacher of the word of God. Women have a phenomenal ability to teach children and should do so. The pulpit is no place for the woman.
(2) The prophet Agabus gave Paul a very dramatic warning using Paul’s own belt, not the four virgins. All of these believers knew the will of God for Paul’s life.
(3) Agabas was going back in his prophecy to what God the Holy Spirit had said to the apostle Paul. The same message given to Paul was given to Agabas to warn Paul.
d. The third warning is found in Acts 21:12-14 from the believers who traveled with Paul and the believers of Caesarea. “When we heard this, we as well as the local residents attempted to persuade him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be chained in prison, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, saying to ourselves, ‘Let the will of the Lord come to pass!’”
(1) Paul is not seeing God’s viewpoint; he is only seeing his own viewpoint. He emphasizes himself–you are breaking my heart. This is emotion out of the will of God. Paul places emotion before doctrine. He is not thinking at all. He is out of the will of God and in a state of wrongdoing. Emotion weakens the believer; doctrine strengthens the believer. People who get on an emotional high cannot be reached by anything that is true or correct. Emotion puts a wall around you that makes you stupid regardless of how much wisdom you have. When a person gets emotional, you cannot counsel them.
(2) Emotion destroys perspective of the future. The believer in a state of carnality anticipates the wrong things. To be accurate about our future or our present, we must have doctrine circulating in our stream of consciousness. The believer overcome by emotion loses the doctrinal perspective of the will of God. Paul was in a state of self-sympathy. Self-sympathy is an emotional function of thinking that we may die in a good cause and dramatizing ourselves emotionally.
(3) Paul’s statement that he is ready to die at Jerusalem is a true but dumb statement. It is emotion before doctrine rather than doctrine before emotion. Our death is the decision of the will of God. Paul has become a holy roller, and forgotten that God picks the time, place, and manner of our death. He should have known he would die in a Gentile capital, not a Jewish capital. Even for Paul to think he would die in Jerusalem was strictly emotional and wrongdoing.
(4) It is not God’s will for Paul to even be at Jerusalem, and he almost died the sin unto death at Jerusalem. In emotion, Paul wanted to do what he wanted to do instead of what God wanted him to do. Paul will die in Rome, not in Jerusalem. He was the apostle to the Gentiles, not to the Jews.
(5) Paul made five trips to Jerusalem.
(a) The first trip is mentioned in Acts 9:26-30. During this trip the Jewish Christians were afraid of Paul. Only Barnabas was not afraid.
(b) The second trip is mentioned in Gal 1:18-19, when Paul went to visit Peter and James the Lord’s half brother for two weeks.
(c) The third trip in mentioned in Acts 12:25, when Paul and Barnabas return to Jerusalem after their first missionary journey.
(d) The fourth trip is mentioned in Acts 15:1-29; Gal 1:9, the great Jerusalem council.
(e) The fifth trip is mentioned in Acts 21:15-23:30 we have the wrongdoing of Paul.
(6) What did Paul emphasize after almost dying the sin unto death? Thinking, not emotion.
(a) Phil 2:5, “Let this objective thinking be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
(b) Phil 3:18-21, “For many keep walking, concerning whom I have told you many times, and I tell you now even weeping [he wept because this was his own failure], these are the enemies of the cross [Paul is talking about himself], whose end is destruction, whose god is their emotion, whose glory is their shame, who keep on thinking about earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for our Savior Lord Jesus Christ; who will change into new form the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, according to the power that enables Him to also bring into subjection all things to Himself.” Emotional activity becomes a system of shame.
(c) Paul learned that only Bible doctrine as epignosis in the seven compartments of the stream of consciousness qualifies the believer for genuine spiritual experience. Paul learned the importance of learning doctrine from the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of Scripture, 2 Tim 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching.”
(7) There were three considerations in this matter.
(a) The viewpoint will of God. This is what God wants us to think. Paul was out of the viewpoint will of God. Paul was operating on the basis of his emotions.
(b) The operational will of God. This is what God wants us to do. God wanted Paul to go to Rome, not Jerusalem.
(c) The geographical will of God. This is where God wants us to be. It was God’s will for Paul to be in Rome.
(8) You cannot change people’s minds when they want to go into carnality. You can warn them once. But if they are not willing to listen, leave them in the hands of the Lord. Back off and leave them alone. Believers in emotional revolt of the soul must be left in the hands of the Lord. Paul knows his friends are terribly hurt by what he is doing and he is hurt in his own soul, but it does not change him. Paul’s punishment for his wrongdoing of going to Jerusalem is that he will never be a pastor in Rome, but instead will only be allowed to write epistles.
(9) Paul’s team functioned on the basis of the principles of Bible doctrine applied. After they tried to change Paul’s mind and failed, they stepped aside and let Paul go on and let the Lord deal with him. They did not get their eyes on Paul the man, but lived under the principles of doctrine, which Paul taught to them. They knew that if they condemned the Lord’s appointed leader, then they would be punished. We have no right to criticize any minister who is teaching or doing something that is wrong.
e. Paul’s fifth trip to Jerusalem, Acts 21:17-26.
(1) Acts 21:17-23, “And when we arrived in Jerusalem, the brethren received us with praise. And on the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders [leaders of the Jerusalem church and pastors from the local area] were present. After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, ‘You see, brother, how many tens of thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; and they have been informed about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to live according to the customs. Therefore, what is to be done about it? They will certainly hear that you have come. Therefore do exactly what we tell you to do.’”
(a) James was the half-brother of the Lord and did not become a believer until he saw his half-brother in resurrection body. James became the leader of the Jerusalem church. James and Paul were the two leading experts in the world on the Mosaic Law. On a previous visit Paul spent fifteen days with only Peter and James, Gal 1:18-19. James, Peter, and John recognized Paul as an apostle, Gal 2:9. Paul was not an apostle to the Jews and had no need to go back to Jerusalem.
(b) When James learned that Paul was coming to Jerusalem, he held a dinner party for him. Paul was out of fellowship when he attended the party. He was out of the geographical will of God. The brethren received them gladly, but there was more hypocrisy in that statement than meets the eye. The purpose of the party was to warm Paul up to the suggestion that he take the Nazarite vow.
(c) James compromised with legalism and was ignorant of Church Age doctrine. Paul understood the role of the Mosaic Law in the Church Age, 1 Tim 1:6-11; Rom 3:21-31; Gal 2:20-21; Gal 3-4, but James did not. Both men were very moral, (When Paul was out of fellowship, his morality was never in question.), but only Paul understood the role of the Mosaic Law.
(d) The Jews in the Jerusalem church were zealous for the Mosaic Law but not the spiritual life of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the heritage of the Church Age believer. The Judaizers said you had to believe in Christ, but you had to keep the Law to execute the spiritual life of the Church Age. But the Mosaic Law is not a part of the spiritual life. The Mosaic Law in the Church Age is for both believers and unbelievers, and is not a part of spirituality. The Mosaic Law always leads to legalism. The Mosaic Law compromises the doctrine of the Church Age unless it is understood properly. What are the limitations of the Mosaic Law in the Church Age?
i. It cannot justify anyone before God, Rom 3:20, and 28. The purpose of the Law is to define sin.
ii. It cannot provide eternal salvation, Gal 3:21-26.
iii. It cannot provide the Holy Spirit, Gal 3:2.
iv. It cannot solve the old sin nature problems and the spiritual death at birth, Rom 8:2-3.
(e) The tens of thousands of Jews who had believed and were zealous for the Law were already into false doctrine with regard to the spiritual life. They were not zealous for the spiritual life of the Church Age, but zealous for the Law. They perverted the truth by saying you live the spiritual life by keeping the Mosaic Law. Legalism means confusion and false doctrine plus the false experience, which emerges from this. The Mosaic Law as a part of the spiritual life always produces legalistic believers. The Mosaic Law is no substitute for walking by means of the Spirit.
(f) The same elders who are praising God here after Paul has related everything on his three missionary journeys are the same elders who sent the Judaizers to follow Paul from city to city and criticize him. Their praise is all hypocrisy. They reported that Paul had denounced the Mosaic Law. Legalism responds to its own values and the values of these legalists were wrong. The Jerusalem church was destroyed in twelve years because of this.
(g) Paul never taught the Jews among the Gentiles to forsake Moses. That was a lie. Nor did he teach them to not circumcise their children or observe the customs of the Jews.
(h) James mandated a compromise to Paul and persuaded Paul to listen to and do what the legalists in his church are suggesting. Paul takes bad advice from a very dear friend. James proposes a solution to the problem of how they can keep Paul and his money there in Jerusalem without having a terrible incident and endangering the life of Paul. Paul goes along with this bad advice because he owes his friend a favor, is out of fellowship, and is ignoring Bible doctrine.
(i) How could Paul as a royal priest take a vow that demanded that the Levitical priesthood of Israel be put on a higher plain than the royal priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ? Because he was out of fellowship with God and in wrongdoing. By taking this Nazarite vow Paul was saying that the Levitical priesthood was a higher priesthood than that of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
(j) Nothing is more important than to avoid ever compromising our royal priesthood. We are a kingdom of priests, holy priests, royal priests. For anyone to take a vow (except in the wedding ceremony) is nonsense and a compromise of our priesthood. Paul subordinated his royal priesthood to the Levitical priesthood. This was the greatest possible compromise of his priesthood, his doctrine, his spiritual life and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
(2) Acts 21:24-26, “‘We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses in order that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law. But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from the thing sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.’ Then Paul took the men, the next day, and having purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification [giving notice that the seven days of purification were beginning now], until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.”
(a) The Nazarite vow had to do with purification from wrongdoing, and was no longer operational once Jesus Christ went to the Cross, Num 6:1-21. Shaving the hair off the head and burning the hair of the Nazarite was part of a rebound ritual, but it had lost all of its significance by the time of the New Testament. This was now a legalist sacrifice without meaning. By doing this, Paul would be lying to the Holy Spirit. Ritual purification through taking the Nazarite vow was no longer necessary because as Church Age believers these four men and Paul can use the rebound technique of 1 Jn 1:9.
(b) Paul was independently wealthy and could easily afford to pay for these men completing the vow. These four men were too poor to purchase the sacrifices to complete the ritual.
(c) James was giving Paul a chance to prove that he still keeps the Mosaic Law as a part of the spiritual life. But Paul had advanced way beyond keeping the Mosaic Law in his spiritual life. However, this is the second time that Paul enters into wrongdoing by taking a Nazarite vow. The first time was in Acts 18:8-18 in the port city of Corinth, Cenchrea.
i. Because of Paul’s deliverance from the Jewish riot in Corinth and the support of Gallio, the Roman governor, Paul continued his ministry in Corinth. Paul was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that he became emotional and placed himself under a vow. The postsalvation spiritual life of the Church Age does not include vows, except the marriage vows.
ii. Paul never completed this vow because there was Levitical priest in Cenchrea to take Paul’s hair and throw it in the fire of the peace offering in front of the Temple in Jerusalem. This was wrongdoing, because had it been completed, it would have placed the Levitical priesthood above the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church Age.
iii. Jesus Christ was not a part of the Levitical priesthood. He was not in the tribe of Levi. He is a royal priest, and we are a kingdom of priests, 1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6.
iv. So the apostle Paul to take a Nazarite vow is not only grieving the Holy Spirit, but it is blasphemy to God the Father and God the Son. Paul was attempting to subordinate the royal priesthood of the Church Age to the Levitical priesthood of the dispensation of Israel.
(d) Acts 21:25, which is quoted from Acts 15:20, was added by James as a special concession to his friend Paul, who attended the council of Jerusalem.
i. James did his dear friend Paul a favor at the council of Jerusalem in recognition of the fact that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. James compromised the position of the legalists at the council of Jerusalem so Paul could continue his ministry. James quotes this favor to Paul in Acts 21:25, and now expects Paul to pay him back by making concessions to him.
ii. Now Paul owes him a favor by participating in the Nazarite vow. By reminding Paul of the decision of the council of Jerusalem in favor of Gentile believers, James was saying to Paul, “Alright, Paul, you owe me one.” But James couldn’t say that in front of the elders of Jerusalem, so he disguises it by quoting his previous favor done to Paul.
iii. Then and only then did Paul give in and take the vow. Paying back a favor to his friend was more important to Paul than the doctrine in the book of Romans and the book of Galatians. Paul fell flat on his face by making a friendship more important than Bible doctrine.
iv. No communicator of doctrine ever has to compromise Bible doctrine in order to gain a hearing.
(e) Acts 21:26, “Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having purified himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifices was offered for each one of them.”
i. Paul paid the very expensive bill for the sacrifices for each of the men and himself.
ii. James was wrong to use the tactic that Paul owed him a favor against Paul, and Paul was wrong to reciprocate out of his friendship for James. For a short time they both tried to elevate the Levitical priesthood above the royal priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Friendships get way out of hand by wrongdoing.
iii. Paul in emotional carnality forgot doctrine. Wrongdoing robs you of your memory. He committed a moral act of sin. He was not punished for his sins, which were already judged at the Cross, but for grieving, quenching, and lying to the Holy Spirit. You can get out of fellowship with God in a state of morality.
iv. Gal 2:16, “Knowing that a person is not justified by the works of the Law (including taking a Nazarite vow), but by faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ Jesus and not by the works of the Law.” Paul taught this three years earlier and now compromises this doctrine. Gal 3:11, “Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident, for, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” Compare Rom 3:20-28, where Paul says that no one is justified by keeping the Law.
v. Paul lost sight of the doctrinal application of sharing the happiness of God. He thought his happiness depended on going back to Jerusalem and seeing old friends and telling them all about his success. We fill our souls with the distractions that destroy our motivation to learn doctrine. This results in divine punishment entwined with sublimation, entwisted with frustration.