Paul claimed the gospel as his or the apostles'. In another place, he puts it more directly, "that if my gospel. . . ." He is saying that he preaches exactly the same message as Jesus Christ did. In other words, there was a clear transference, into Scripture, from the message of Christ to the original twelve and then to Paul (by Christ directly; see the inference in Galatians 1:16). Paul then claims it as his own because it was now in him. He was living it and delivering it—now it was his gospel. When he preached, people were truly converted to the true faith.
In other places, people like John say basically the same thing, for instance, in I John 1:1-5. He opens the epistle by saying, "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you" (verse 5). He was speaking either in the royal "we" or including the other apostles as having and preaching the same message. At the time, Gnosticism was devastating the true church because it appealed to the carnality within people, and John was attempting to steer them back to the true gospel.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wisdom of Men and Faith
Revelation 12:9 says that the Dragon, Satan, has deceived the whole world. But has the import of that really sunk in? The doubtful resistance that is in each of us does not go away easily. It remains though we are converted. It still needs to be fought and overcome.
If we do not condition ourselves to be aware and choose the right way, it will continue to exert its influence. Much can be done to lessen its influence, particularly continuing to develop our relationship with God through study and prayer.
As we exercise God's way, the influence of Satan the Devil begins to slip. There is a negative side to this in that, as soon as his influence starts to slip away, he tries harder to ensure that it does not leave us entirely. In other words, he picks up the intensity of his pressure on us.
But do not be disheartened! I Corinthians 10:13 is still in the book. God only gives us what we can handle, and He provides a way of escape. God is always there protecting us, making sure that Satan does not increase the pressure to the point that we are unable to bear it. We can be sure that as we continue to grow, and Satan steps up the pressure, we will be equal to the task. Do we have faith in that? We had better have faith because the intensity of the pressure will get greater and greater.
John W. Ritenbaugh
We Are Unique!
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