Paul provides the most outrageous justification for sin in the entire bible.
Why are some Christians so upset when we question Paul’s epistles? Why do they become abusive when we demonstrate painstakingly that Paul’s doctrine is at variance with Jesus’? The reason is simple; many Christians are Christians not because of Jesus but because of Paul. Without Paul, Christianity would no longer hold any attraction for them.
Paul condones sin
Paul’s message permits us to remain sinners as Christians. He entices us with the fallacy that no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). He ensnares us with the falsehood that God justifies sinners (Romans 4:5). He says deceptively: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). This lulls Christians into believing we can remain in our trespasses without losing our salvation.
Jesus’ message, however, is not at all reassuring for Christians who continue in sin. Unlike Paul, Jesus indicates the world will not be reconciled to God (John 15:18-21). He maintains categorically that a sinner cannot be saved unless he repents: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched” (Mark 9:43).
Expose Paul’s deception and Christians are confronted with God’s bitter truth that: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” (Jeremiah 8:20).
Paul justifies sin
Paul provides the most outrageous justification for sin in the entire bible. He says when he sins, he is not the sinner. The sin in him is the sinner: “What I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:15-17).
James quickly refutes this nonsense and warns us not to be deceived by such sophistry: “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14-16).
Paul practices lawlessness
Jesus says a false prophet will promote lawlessness (Matthew 7:15-23). This identifies Paul who says: “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Following such licentiousness, fornication becomes lawful. It only needs to be avoided as a matter of expediency.
Paul says, in effect, there is no possibility for error. Truth is whatever we decide to make it: “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). “All things indeed are pure” (Romans 14:20). “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Romans 14:22). If these statements are not a license to sin, then words have no meaning.
Thanks to Paul, Martin Luther can write this kind of heresy and still claim to be a disciple of Jesus: “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your faith in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. This life is not a place where righteousness can exist. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery a thousand times each day.”
Jesus is our nemesis
However, Jesus, our Saviour, does not guarantee our salvation. Instead, he warns that: “The last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16). Paul, on the other hand, gives us many bogus assurances of salvation: “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it” (Philippians 1:6). “Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:35-39). “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). “Our Saviour Jesus Christ has abolished death” (2 Timothy 1:10).
Therefore, if Paul’s deception is exposed, we lose the very gospel that seduces us. We are then left with the reality that salvation is not attained by merely answering an altar call and confessing the lordship of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 7:21-23).
Without Paul, we are forced to address Jesus’ different and exacting gospel of salvation by works (Matthew 21:28-31); salvation by hating our life (John 12:25); salvation by denying self, carrying our cross and laying down our life (Matthew 16:24-25); salvation by walking a narrow road and a difficult path (Matthew 7:13-14); salvation by enduring to the end (Matthew 10:22).