You can also find more details in the
Bold To Speak The Mystery
Bible Study Newsletters.
If you have been wondering what the difference between what we (GBCRM) teach through the Word rightly-divided and
what most other churches (what I call “Historic Christianity”) teach, this message is a good starting point.
Here are a few of the highlights:
So contrary to the teachings of Historic Christianity, the Bible’s main purpose is to explain how God is going to re-establish His Glory throughout the created Universe. God is going to re-establish His Glory on Earth through a redeemed humanity called the Nation of Israel in accord with His Prophetic Program as revealed in the non-Pauline Scriptures. And He is going to re-establish His Glory in the Heavenlies through a redeemed humanity called the Body of Christ in accord with His Mystery Program as revealed in the Scriptures of Paul. This is the only way the whole Bible can be understood and appreciated in all of its fullness.
Here is the main slide:
|GOD'S OVERALL PLAN REVEALED IN THE BIBLE TO RESTORE HIS GLORY THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE|
|God's Purpose||To Re-Establish His Glory on Earth||To Re-Establish His Glory in the Heavenlies|
|God's Program||Prophetic Program|
Spoken about since the world began
Kept secret since the world began
|God's People||Nation of Israel||Body of Christ|
|Revealed in:||Non-Pauline Scriptures--OT, Gospels, Acts, Heb-Rev||Pauline Scriptures--Romans - Philemon|
|Manifests:||The Righteousness of God|
in Saving His Friends and Destroying His Enemies.
Salvation = National Physical Deliverance from National Enemies
|The Righteousness of God|
in Saving His Enemies Because He Has No Friends.
Salvation = Personal Spiritual Deliverance from Sin and Death unto Eternal Life.
|Blessings are:||Based on Friendship|
Justified by Faith plus works. Covenants
|Based on Enemy Status|
Justified by Grace through Faith. Riches of Grace
|Forgiveness of Sins:||Israel's National Forgiveness of Sins,|
which calls for repentance and confession.
|Personal Forgiveness of sins based solely on faith and grace.|
This book has been a big problem for Historic Christianity. Martin Luther evidently removed it from his bible! Of course, while we are eternally grateful to Martin Luther for re-discovering some of Paul’s distinct Gospel, he threw away the rest of Paul’s distinct apostleship. Once we rightly-divide the Scriptures, however, we discover a wonderful book, that was written especially for the believing remnant going through the Tribulation Period, looking to enter into Israel’s long-prophesied Millennial Earthly Kingdom.
Once we realize that James is writing to those who are participating in God’s Prophetic Program (which had been spoken about since the world began) to re-establish His Glory on Earth through the Nation of Israel whereas Paul is writing to those who are participating in God’s Mystery Program (which had been kept secret since the world began) to re-establish His Glory in the Heavenlies through the Body of Christ, we see that everything else falls in place.
So, unless the context demands otherwise we are going to read James based on these principles:
When we keep these things in mind, the book of James opens up, blossoms and prove to be everything Paul says the non-Pauline Scriptures should be when rightly divided in Rom. 15: It strengthens our patience, gives us comfort and increases our hope because when we see God faithfully working in the Nation of Israel’s Prophetic Program, we can rest assured that He is just as faithful to us today in the Body of Christ’s Mystery Program. We can leave James in our bibles!
We continued our study of the Book of James yesterday not only to learn about what God says through James specifically, but to also learn how we are to use the non-Pauline Scriptures in general. It is very important to appreciate that God is not manifesting, putting on display, shining the spotlight on the same thing in His Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel (of which James is a participant) as He is manifesting, putting on display, shining the spotlight on in His Mystery Program with the Body of Christ (of which Paul is a participant). Understanding this difference in context is extremely important if we are going to avoid confusion and despair when we use the non-Pauline Scriptures and instead receive patience, comfort and hope (Rom. 15:4).
Martin Luther despaired of the Book of James and removed it from his Bible. He thought it contradicted Paul’s Gospel that Luther loved so much that guaranteed him justification by faith alone, without works. But then he read James, who said, no, justification is by faith plus works. Confused, anxious, despairing, Luther tore James out of his Bible. But the answer is so simple that one wonders how a mind as great as Luther’s could miss it. The simple answer is that when James uses the general terms like salvation, justification and righteousness of God, he is not using them in the same way that Paul uses those terms. As with all words, these are just general words that require a context to explain their specific meaning. Paul uses these terms to refer to personal salvation from sin and spiritual death (separation from God), ie., justification unto eternal life. James, however, uses these terms to refer to Israel’s national salvation from persecution and physical death that comes from their national enemies, especially during the Tribulation Period, ie., justification unto life in the Kingdom.
Paul manifests the Righteousness of God in Saving His ENEMIES Because He Has No Friends! James manifests the Righteousness of God in Saving His FRIENDS and Destroying His Enemies. Paul explains how individual Israelite sinners were justified unto eternal life: By Grace Through Faith Without Works. James explains how God deals with His friends (godly Israelites on friendship status before Him: ie., those who have been saved by faith without works unto eternal life), and how they will be justified by faith plus works based on this friendship status at Christ’s 2nd Coming, not for participation in eternal life (they already have that!) but how they will participate in Israel’s national salvation in the Kingdom. James explains how God faithfully and righteously deals with His friends in Israel’s Prophetic Program. Paul explains how God has always (going all the way back to the Fall of Adam) dealt faithfully and righteously with His enemies (ungodly sinners on enemy status before Him), manifesting it today in the Body of Christ’s Mystery Program, which is based on the Good News of the Death and Resurrection of Christ as revealed to and through God’s worst enemy: Saul, our Apostle Paul. James explains how God deals with His friends. Paul explains how they became His friends in the first place.
Once we recognize this, everything else falls into place. We don’t have to pick between Paul and James. We can embrace both for our learning unto patience, comfort and hope. The Book of James is especially instructing the believing remnant going through the final 7 years of Daniel’s Time Schedule (the Tribulation Period) on how to conduct themselves as a group to be declared right at Christ’s 2nd Coming to participate in the National Salvation of Israel lived out in the earthly Kingdom. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s message:
Today's message generated some very interesting points. So I thought I would share two of these with you while the message was still fresh in our thinking.
THE BELIEVING REMNANT AND PHYSICAL DEATH IN THE TRIBULATION
A SURPRISING CHANGE IN WORDS
Someone else noted the surprising change of words at the end of James 1. In v. 22, James says, But be ye doers of the WORD. But in v. 25 he says, But a doer of the WORK. What is this “work?”
This “work” then forms the basis for the “works” spoken about in the last half of James 2.
Hopefully this adds helpful insights into the Book of James and God’s faithful fulfillment of national Israel’s Prophetic Program
On Sunday we continued our study of the Book of James. One of the highlights came when we contrasted the Love of the Law and the Love of Pauline Grace. James says that the Law is carried to completion in the saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (James 2:8). The Law calls on it adherents to consider themselves and treat others the same way they want to be treated. That is easy, super-easy. Nothing to it. This is the minimum righteousness that God was right to expect from His human creation. In pole vaulting terms, the Law sets the bar really low level of the 1 ft. mark.
Religious systems tell us the Law is hard to keep, so hard no one could be expected to keep it. It is the high measure of God’s righteousness, they say. But neither of these assertions are true. The Law is not the high measure of God’s Righteousness! It is the low measure of what man’s righteousness ought to be. It is the righteousness God was right to expect from His human creation. The Law should not have been difficult according to God and Moses in Deut. 30:11-16. Of course, after 1500 years of living under the Law, even with God’s innumerable benefits, Israel proved once-and-for-all that fallen humanity can’t produce even this low level, easy righteousness because of sin.
Now, what about Pauline Grace and the Love it calls for? Is it the same as the Love that the Law called for? Man-made religious and theological systems don’t like Pauline grace. They tell us it is easy and call it cheap. But they are wrong. Pauline Grace is the most difficult and costly thing that ever existed: It required God giving His Son at the Cross for sinners. They tell us to go under the Law, which, they say, is more costly and demanding. But is this true? Does Pauline Grace accomplish less than the Law?
Let’s answer this question by comparing the Love that the Law expects humans to produce through the flesh with the Love that Grace expects from believers that God Himself produces through the Spirit. Remember, the Law called for its adherents to do something easy: Just consider themselves and then treat others equal to the way they want to be treated. Now, is this the same Love that Pauline Grace calls for? Absolutely not. Listen to Paul explain the Agape Love of Grace: Let each esteem the other BETTER than themselves; Look not everyone on his own things but everyone (look) upon the things of others. Pauline Grace says: DO NOT CONSIDER yourselves but consider others. And then do not treat them equally to how you want to be treated but treat them better than yourself in the way Christ treated you and them at the Cross (Phil. 2:1-8)!
Whereas the Law set the pole at the lowest level possible, say the 1 ft. mark, yet doesn’t give its adherents the power to clear even that, Grace sets the pole at the highest level possible, say the 50 ft. mark, and then empowers believers to clear it. Let’s summarize the differences:
Paul brings this out in Rom. 13:10 where he writes that (Agape) Love is the fulfilling of the Law (Rom. 13:10). Erring Historic Christianity claims that Paul is telling us here to ignore everything he wrote in the first 12 chapters about not being under the Law but under Grace—throw that all away—because now in chap. 13 he is telling us that we are under the Law and need to use that as our measure of righteousness. What nonsense. That is absolutely not what Paul is saying. In fact, Paul is saying the exact opposite of that. It is because the believer is under Grace that produces Agape Love that makes it so that he doesn’t ever need to go back to the Law again. Grace accomplishes infinitely more than anything the Law ever demanded.
Let’s think about this by returning to our pole-vaulting metaphor. The Law sets the bar at the low level 1 ft. and fallen humanity cannot even clear that because of sin. Grace sets the bar at the high level of 50 ft. and then catapults the believer over it because of righteousness. Now, if you just cleared the 50 ft. is anyone going to say: “That’s all well and good, but you have to go back and prove you can clear the 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40 ft. bars as well?” Of course not. That would be ridiculous. If you cleared the 50 ft. high bar, then you automatically clear all the lower bars!
And that is what Paul is saying in Rom. 13. Of course, the 50 ft. bar is really the million-trillion-trillion miles bar because Pauline Grace isn’t the measure of human righteousness; it is the measure of God’s infinite Righteousness. And if you meet God’s infinite righteousness (in and through Christ) it goes with saying: You automatically meet any lesser human righteousness that the Law demanded. Paul’s point is not that the believer needs to go back to the Law. That would be just as ridiculous as the pole-vault referee demanding that the pole-vaulter who just cleared 50 ft. go back and clear the 1 ft bar as well. It would be foolishness. And that is the teaching of an errant Historic Christianity that rejects Paul’s distinct apostleship that provides the Grace that produces Agape Love.
Rather, Paul’s point is that based on the Agape Love Grace produces YOU DON’T NEED TO EVER AGAIN RETURN TO THE LAW. Grace accomplishes infinitely more than the Law ever demanded. Therefore, being under Grace automatically fulfills anything that the Law ever required.
On Sunday we continued our study of the Book of James, asking the question: Was Abraham Justified By Faith PLUS Works? And we found that the answer is no and yes. One of the biggest mistakes we make when studying God’s Word is to assume that the non-Pauline writers, like Matthew and James, have to use certain words in the exact same way that Paul uses them. But this is absolutely wrong, we wouldn’t treat any other book in the world with such disrespect. I remember reading a book about the Color of Blue. It contained all kinds of things about the Color of Blue: Songs, poems, scientific essays, etc. The book was about the Color of Blue, and everything in it had to do, well, with the Color Blue. Now, what if someone came along reading the book and said he was going to assume that the book was really about the Color Green and read it in that way. That’s ridiculous. The songs or poems or scientific essays wouldn’t work anymore, and all of us would with one mind and one mouth would protest that to do so was the height of folly and probably question the readers mental state.
Well, we should afford the Bible with at least as much respect as give to any other book. You see, Paul’s Epistles are about the Color Blue, but James’ Epistle (and all the other non-Pauline Scriptures) are about the Color Green. Paul and James are part of two different programs that are revealing two different things about God, His Glory and His Righteousness. Paul, as a member of the Body of Christ’s Mystery Program, is revealing or manifesting how God is going to re-establish His Glory in the Heavenlies. James, as a member of the believing Nation of Israel Prophetic Program, is revealing or manifesting how God is going to re-establish His Glory on Earth.
And God is using Paul’s Scriptures to reveal or manifest the Righteousness of God in Saving His Enemies Because He Has No Friends. God is using the non-Pauline Scriptures (including James) to reveal or manifest the Righteousness of God in Saving His Friends and Destroying His Enemies. Paul’s Scriptures explain how an ungodly sinner on ENEMY status before God participates in PERSONAL SALVATION FROM SIN AND SPIRITUAL DEATH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE.
James (and the other non-Pauline Scriptures), however, explain how a believing FRIEND in Israel’s Prophetic Program at Christ’s 2nd Coming participates in ISRAEL’S NATIONAL SALVATION FROM THEIR ENEMIES AND PHYSICAL PERSECUTION AND DEATH UNTO LIFE IN THE KINGDOM.
So, when Paul talks about Abraham’s justification, he is referring to how Abraham (as an idol worshipping Gentile, an ungodly sinner on ENEMY status before God) was justified before God for participation in Personal Salvation From Sin and Spiritual Death unto Eternal Life: BY FAITH WITHOUT WORKS (Rom. 4:1-5: Gal. 3:6). This is how everyone since the Fall of Adam has been saved spiritually. If you are saved, this is how you were saved.
When James talks about Abraham’s justification, however, he is referring to how Abraham (as a believing FRIEND of God) was justified for participation in Israel’s National Salvation from their Enemies, Persecution and Physical Death unto Life in the Kingdom: BY FAITH PLUS WORKS. For Abraham, this would be the city built without hands—the New Jerusalem.
So, was Abraham justified by FAITH PLUS WORKS: YES … AND NO
In reference to his participation in Personal Salvation from Sin and Spiritual Death Before God: ABSOLUTELY NOT: NO NO NO. IT WAS FAITH WITHOUT WORKS!
In reference to his participation in Israel’s National Salvation from Their Enemies, Persecution and Physical Death (esp., in that Tribulation Period) at Christ’s 2nd Coming: ABSOLUTE YES. IT WAS BY FAITH PLUS WORKS.
Paul explains the former. James (and all other non-Pauline Scriptures) explain the latter.
Last Sunday we looked at James 2 and answered the question: Was Abraham Justified By Faith PLUS Works? We found that with regard to justification unto eternal life, the answer is a resounding and definitive and absolute: NO, NO, NO! This week we supported that conclusion further by looking at the historical account of Abraham’s life in Genesis 11-15.
The single-most important thing to understand is that Paul and James are not manifesting, revealing, making known the same thing. The Pauline Scriptures manifest how God, through the Riches of His Grace, saves His ENEMIES (ungodly sinners on enemy status before Him): This is Personal Salvation from sin and spiritual death before God; Justification unto Eternal Life WITHOUT works (Rom. 3:21-25).
Matthew, James and all the non-Pauline Scriptures, however, manifest how God, through the Grace of the Abrahamic Covenant, saves His friends (i.e., those enemies who had already been justified by faith without works in Israel’s Prophetic Program): Participants in Israel’s National Salvation from the curses of the Law and physical persecution and death (especially in the Tribulation Period) before Christ at His 2nd Coming; Justification WITH works unto life in the Kingdom
When God justified Abraham unto eternal life WITHOUT works in Gen. 15:6, contrary to common assumptions, Abraham’s walk had not been characterized by obedience but by disobedience. Some go to Heb. 11:8 and say, “See, Abraham was justified by faith PLUS works—he believed and immediately obeyed by going to the Land of Canaan!” But is that what really happened? Remember, Heb. 11 was written for a specific purpose, which is stated in the first 3 verses of the chapter: FAITH. The writer is showing that what remains before God when everything is said and done is faith and those things done in accord with it. For the believer, God throws away everything done in disobedience and unbelief. He only keeps the things that belong to faith. And thank God for that!
|First Time: Gen. 11:32-32||Second Time: Gen. 12:1-5|
|God's Instructions||Did Abram obey?||Did Abram obey?|
|Go out of your country||No||Kind of...|
|From your kindred||No||No|
|From your Father's house||No (Father took Abram!)||No (Father died)|
|Go to the land I will show you.||No (stopped at Haran)||Yes (but then leaves it to go to Egypt (Gen. 12:10-17); gave large part of his land to Lot (Gen. 13); hands his wife over to foreigners twice; and had a child with Hagar (Gen. 16)|
The historical account speaks for itself. When God justified Abraham by faith righteousness unto eternal life, Abraham life had not been characterized by obedience to God but by disobedience to God. This is not to disparage poor Abraham. This just shows that Abraham, Moses, David, all the Old Testament saints, and us too—are ALL JUSTIFIED BY FAITH WITHOUT WORKS before God. If this weren’t the case, none of us would be justified before God at all. When everything is said and done all that will remain for any believer are those things done out of faith. Everything else will be discarded. God didn’t look at the circuitous route Abraham took, meandering around in disobedience. All God retains is the fact that Abraham believed, and that he eventually ended up in the Land of Canaan because of it.
Once Abraham had been justified by faith without works (Gen. 15:6), God then established a covenant (Gen. 15:9-21) with him that codified all the promises He had made to Abraham, especially: I will bless those who bless you; I will curse those who curse you (Gen. 12:3). Or: I will save My friends and destroy My enemies. God made Abraham His friend via the Abrahamic Covenant and gave him a special task that gave him an opportunity to be “justified” again. Having been declared right before the tribunal of God by Faith WITHOUT WORKS, God gave him another opportunity to be declared right or “justified,” this time before Christ at His 2nd coming, whereby he could receive the privilege of living out the eternal life he already had in the Kingdom/New Jerusalem. The city made by God.
The task God asked His Fried Abraham to perform was to display how far God willing to go to save His friends: He is willing to go the infinite length of giving His only begotten Son to die for His friends (Jn. 15:13)! (Of course, if you want to know how far God will go for His enemies, you will have to go to Paul (Rom. 5:4-10)!!)
The point James is making in James 2 with the reference to Abraham’s partial sacrifice of Isaac is that if God was willing to sacrifice His Son to help His friends, then the members of the believing remnant should be willing to do whatever they can to help each other until God the Son returns!
We have now finished our study of the Book of James. We ended up going through the whole book, but we must not forget why we went to James in the first place. We wanted to look at some notoriously difficult passages to see if they become less difficult when we apply the principles of right division we have been learning in our study of Matthew. James 2 was our first test case: Was Abraham Justified By Faith Plus Works? We found the answer is a resounding NO if we are referring to Abraham’s participation in personal salvation unto eternal life. That was by FAITH WITHOUT WORKS as Paul explains! But if we are referring to Abraham’s participation in Israel’s national salvation unto life in the earthly Kingdom, it is an equally resounding YES. That was by FAITH PLUS WORKS.
One of the big problems we have is that we have been brainwashed by Historic Christianity into thinking that the whole Bible reveals just one plan and purpose of God that is centered on man and his redemption. If you assume this, then of course you will assume that when Paul and James use words like “salvation” and “justification,” they must be referring to the same things. But this is not the case.
The whole Bible reveals not one but two plans and purposes of God that are centered on God and His Glory.
When these two plans and purposes are fulfilled, the whole universe will be glorifying God in the way He intended. Understanding this, we will realize that when James uses words like “salvation” and “justification” he is not necessarily referring to the same things that Paul does when he uses these words.
Now that we have ended James some have asked what is the practical application.
This question itself stems from another error of Historic Christianity. They have told us that the spiritual way to use the Bible is to make it our own. Make it all about us. Of course to do this, we throw away God’s content and fill it back in with our own.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. So, what is the practical application that we today as members of the Body of Christ in God’s Mystery Program of this passage, which was written to and about the fulfillment of God’s Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel?
We finished the Epistle of James last Sunday. Based on your responses, we learned a lot and gained a new appreciation for God’s faithful provision for the Nation Israel, especially with regard to the believing remnant of Israel as they go through the Tribulation Period, the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.
We answered a couple of questions:
1. What is the practical application we can take away from James? But before answering that, we need to go back a step. Why do we even ask such a question? It is because we have been brainwashed by Historic Christianity into thinking that the whole Bible is to and about us. But those who rightly divide and appreciate Paul’s distinct apostleship know that this is not true. While the whole Bible is certainly FOR us (otherwise we wouldn’t be studying Matthew and James!), the whole Bible is not written specifically TO and ABOUT us. I remember listening to a famous preacher on the radio tell his audience that they should go to any passage in the Bible that they wanted and replace the name in the passage with their own name, naming and claiming that passage for themselves, making it their own. So, if you are going through some trouble, he said, go to the Psalms, throw away God’s reference to David and replace it with your own reference to yourself, believe and God will do for you what He did for David. Or, if you are a woman who is having difficulty having a baby, go to the passages about Sarah and Hannah, throw out God’s reference to them and replace it with your own reference to yourself, and if you have faith, God will give you a baby. This last example is particularly sensitive for me. I witnessed a women in this predicament destroyed by such teachings. She did everything the preacher said, she had faith, she waited on God, but the months and years went on and still no baby. First, she blamed herself. Then she blamed God. No, this is not spiritual Christianity! This is nothing more than pagan superstition!!
So, in our study of James, we are NOT going to do what these erring representatives of Historical Christianity teach. We are not going to throw away God’s reference to the 12 Tribes of ISRAEL in James 1:1. For instance, and replace it with the Body of Christ or our own assembly or our own names. The Letter James wrote to the believing remnant is written specifically to and about them. We are not going to steal it away from them. We are going to let them have their beautiful and powerful little Letter that will have a direct bearing on how they conduct themselves during the Tribulation Period. James tells his readers, the believing remnant of Israel, to rely on God, to pray, to go to Him for His good things, to study the Word, to support fellow believers, to look for the 2nd Coming, etc. Aren’t we supposed to do all that as well? Of course, we are. But what they will be relying on God for is not what we rely on God for today. What they will be praying about is not what we pray about today. The good things He will give them are not the good things that He is giving us today in the Body of Christ. Their reasons for supporting the brethren are not the same reason we support each other. We are not waiting for the 2nd Coming of Christ, we are waiting for the Rapture to meet Christ in the air. We could go on and on, but I think you get the drift.
So what is the main take away, the main “practical application” we make as we leave the Letter of James and any non-Pauline Scripture for that matter? It is what Paul explains in Rom. 15. When we see God faithfully confirming and fulfilling all the promises He ever made to the Nation of Israel in every detail in accord with His Prophetic Program, we can be rest assured that He will be just as faithful in every detail with His plan and purpose for us as member of the Body of Christ in His Mystery Program.
2. We also had a most excellent question about James referring at that time to the 2nd Coming of Christ being “near” and that the Judge was “standing at the door” ready to return (James 5:7-9). We could go back even farther in time, going all the way back to John the Baptist and Jesus, who both claimed that the Kingdom was “at hand.” Well, it has now been some 2,000 years later, and it hasn’t happened yet! Why not? Of course, only those who appreciate Paul’s distinct apostleship can answer this question in a way that glorifies God. Even in the Apostle Peter’s day, unbelievers were mocking him, saying: “Where is the promise of His Coming” (2 Pet. 3:4). Peter had preached some 30 years before that Christ was about to return to usher in Israel’s earthly Kingdom in accord with the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants (Acts 2-3). But now, some 30 years later, what Peter and the 12 preached NEVER HAPPENED! Why?
That is really the million dollar, not the trillion dollar question of Christianity. To answer this correctly is to answer everything correctly. There is only one true answer that glorifies God. The unbeliever says that it was all just a bunch of fables to be ignored and ridiculed. Most believers follow the errant teaching of Historic Christianity, which tries to get rid of this problem by saying that Peter and the 12 were ignorant, they misunderstood everything Christ tried to teach them. God never intended to set up an earthly kingdom—how silly! God was always referring to a spiritual kingdom and Christ has come through that. What a bunch of nonsense. The only ignorant people here are the preachers who teach such things.
There is only one answer to this question that glorifies God, and it is the one that Paul gave: God implemented a distinct Mystery Program, something He had kept secret since the world began (ie., NO ONE BEFORE PAUL, MAN OR ANGEL, KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT IT! (Rom. 16:25)). After Israel nationally once-and-for-all declared that they would not have the Lord Jesus reign over them and refused to participate in God’s plan for them at the stoning of Stephen, God set aside His Prophetic Program with the nation of Israel and introduced a new Mystery Program with the Body of Christ, which He would fulfill BEFORE He completed Israel’s Prophetic Program. The next thing Peter, Stephen and James expected to happen in accord with Israel’s Prophetic Program was for Christ to return in His Wrath and Judgment to destroy His enemies beginning with Saul, Christ’s chief persecutor, and the House of Israel, and especially the Gentiles. But God out of the Riches of His Longsuffering Kindness and Grace, didn’t do that. Instead, He returned in His Grace and Peace to SAVE HIS ENEMIES beginning with Saul, making Him our Apostle Paul and the pattern for salvation today, first to the Jews and, especially among the Gentiles. Today God is holding back His Wrath and Judgment a little while longer so that He can extend His Grace and Peace as long as possible to ungodly sinners on enemy status before Him so that He might save as many as possible BEFORE HE RETURNS IN HIS WRATH AND JUDGMENT TO DESTROY THEM! That is why we call this the Dispensation of Grace. That is why we call this God’s Mystery Program for the Body of Christ. This is why the 2nd Coming hasn’t come yet, some 2,000 years after John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and the 12 and James said it would. God through His longsuffering kindness is manifesting the Righteousness of God in Saving His Enemies Because He Has No Friends. And this brings great, GREAT!, glory to God (Rom. 11:33-36; 16:25-27)!