Paul the Enigma

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15

And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. Acts 26:10

Paul the enigma. Once known as Saul the Pharisee of Pharisees, he was very educated and zealous in his religion. Saul was there for the sermon and stoning of Steven the first martyr for Jesus Christ. Saul held Steven’s cloak while the others threw the rocks until Steven was dead. This was a man on a ‘mission’. Saul thought he was doing ‘God’s work’ (like many still do today). Saul set out to rid his country of these evil and blasphemous followers of that criminal Jesus of Nazareth.

Then on one of those ‘hunting’ expeditions the group with Saul was traveling on the road to Damascus —and Paul had an ‘experience’, an ‘encounter’, a ‘vision’, with … the risen Jesus. Paul went on to have many other ‘experiences’ with Jesus’ faithful followers and spiritual encounters with the Holy Spirit. When you read the letters / epistles of Paul — and step back to look at them critically — Paul had some deep spiritual encounters that gave him ‘knowledge’ you could only know by being in spiritual ‘realms’. Combined with his deep religious training in the scriptures (Old Testament and other Jewish Rabbi writings) those multiple spiritual ‘encounters’ throughout Paul’s life has given the Body of Christ a ‘grid of understanding’ of the Holy Spirit. Academics love to pass over those encounters and focus on the others things Paul was saying, and they have contrived a ‘doctrine’ to dismiss any further spiritual encounters by saying they no longer happen. It’s called Cessationism. These academics say that the written Word is ALL that is needed for the believer today. Yet Jesus didn’t leave His disciples with a ‘book’ or scroll of His teachings. And there tons of things Jesus did and said that is not in the cannon of the written Word (John 21:25). What does Jesus give to His followers today? Same as back then…

Jesus said this …

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26

What does this mean? Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthian group…

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Anointing, seal, guarantee, that is Old Testament understanding and language. The Holy Spirit was ‘known’ as ‘inhabiting’ an individual, especially in the Old Testament prophets. Yet …Jesus is now pouring out the Holy Spirit onto anyone who asks for Him to indwell them. 

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! Luke 11:13

What does that ‘indwelling’ and relationship with the Holy Spirit look like? How does the Holy Spirit interface with the individual He is dwelling in? How exactly does the Holy Spirit ‘teach you all things’? What kind of experiences does the Holy Spirit lead the individual into? Paul gives many hints, and helps in answering those questions. (you can begin by reading 1 Corinthians 12, 14 as a primer) But your REAL Teacher is the Holy Spirit Himself. He guides you, and teaches you, and gives you understanding of the scriptures and what Jesus said.

Are you engaging with the Holy Spirit daily? Is He actually guiding you in your decisions? Are you and Him having conversations? Is He answering your questions? Can you discern His Voice within you? Begin asking Him today to show you how to engage with Him deeper. 

2 thoughts on “Paul the Enigma”

  1. Cessationism is so prevalent that it’s become the foundation of how many understand God. There’s is a God in amber, mute and immobile, leaving us only glimpses of His person in writings. “God doesn’t move or speak how he used to”, “He’s given us wisdom, so we don’t need to consult him on every decision”. God can be as close to us as the air we breathe if we would only accept His invitation.

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