There is a remarkable consistency between the words of Paul, Peter and James. We have studied all that there is from Peter and James, as far as we know (The writer of the letter to the Hebrews is not known), and much of what Paul has written, so do you agree with my first sentence this morning? I would also say that these apostles flesh out the words of Jesus, although there is nothing of what Jesus actually wrote in Scripture-it is all verbal-the only contention being what he was doing when he was scribbling on the ground before the woman caught in adultery and her accusers? Peter refers here to the writings of Paul with a tinge of criticism possibly. What can we learn from this? 1. That Paul's letters were known and used throughout the Church. They had been collected and published and were widely read. 2. They had begun to be regarded as Scripture, Peter stating here that they had received the same critical battering as OTHER parts of Scripture. 3. Paul had his critics! This reminds us of what we can easily read into Paul's 2 letters to the Corinthian church and the almost certain fact that there was a third letter he wrote to that church, which has been lost. 4. Paul's words had been twisted, we know about that already. His doctrine of grace was twisted into an excuse to continue sinning; his doctrine of Christian freedom had been twisted into a so-called freedom to act badly and selfishly; his doctrine of faith was twisted into an argument that Christian ACTION was unimportant, something James wrote against- chapter 2 v 14-26 of his letter. What comes out of this is that, as Christians, we have been forewarned, we are people with a reason to live a meaningful life-rather than to lose it in the meaningless of chasing after selfish pleasures; we are people with a developing life, each day growing in God's gifts and grace. The Christian life is both a life with a firm foundation and at the same time, a life which continues to grow outward and upward.
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