PAUL'S SINS  


 

PAUL’S SINS

The FACT that Paul could and did sin is stated in his own words at Romans 7:14-23, which records his struggle with the sin nature and his periodic
failures. There are some who believe that this passage describes Paul's struggle as an unbeliever. The context does not allow for that. This is something that he is going through RIGHT NOW.  It is the very same struggle that he described at Galatians 5:17,

"For the flesh (sin nature) lusts against the Spirit,
and the Spirit (lusts) against the flesh;
for these are in opposition to one another,
with the result that you do not do whatever things you want." (BFT).


Specifically, Scripture records ONLY TWO of those many times when Paul was guilty of violating Divine viewpoint standards; was out of fellowship and was actually walking in darkness. All unrighteousness is sin and if one does not walk in the light, he is walking in darkness.

See Topic:  Fellowship with God

Most of the time for the functional believer, when he sins, he is immediately convicted and will get back into fellowship by confessing the sin to God the Father as per 1 John 1:9. However, quite often the believer will delay confessing the sin to the Father and remain out of fellowship for various lengths of time.
It is in situations as this, that God will DISCIPLINE the believer in order to motivate him to get back in fellowship and return to walking in the light as he should. Hebrews 12:4-13; 1 Cor. 11:30-32; even Ephesians
5:3-18


PAUL’S FIRST SIN

The first recorded sin of Paul is found at Acts 15:36-39.

After delivering the letter from the Jerusalem Counsel to Antioch, Paul and Barnabas stayed there and conducted several days of Bible study and evangelism. Then they decided that it would be a good time to return to the cities visited on their first missionary journey.

Acts 15:36  
And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, {and see} how they are.”

Barnabas wonted to bring John Mark along with them also.

Acts 15:37  
And Barnabas was desirous of taking John, called Mark,
along with them also.

Here we discover that Paul has been holding a grudge against the young man because of his desertion on their first journey.
This constitutes a repetitive sin. This is a type of sin that occurs periodically in one’s life whenever the CAUSE is triggered.
It is not a perpetual sin or a status quo sin.
Thus, Paul would not be CONSTANTLY out of fellowship because of his anger and bitterness toward John Mark, but would get out of fellowship whenever he thought about the situation.
That is exactly what has happened here when Barnabas suggests to take John Mark with them.

Acts 15:38  
But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him
along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not
gone with them to the work.

The verb for INSIST here is axioO, which means to view something as proper, suitable, worthy. It occurs as an imperfect active indicative. The imperfect tense is used to express CONTINUOUS action in a past tense
situation. Thus, “But Paul KEPT ON INSISTING that is was not suitable . .’
The point is that he did not just say, “No, not a good idea.” But rather he stated it over and over again. If this were not the case, then the imperfect tense would not be used, but the aorist tense would have been
used. This indicates that there is an actual dispute between Barnabas and Paul as they banter back and forth the subject of John Mark.

It is apparent that John Mark himself, has recoverd from his sin of “running away” from the missionary team in Pamphylia, for Barnabas would not be giving him a second chance otherwise, even though he was a
relative (Col. 4:10).
Paul, on the other hand, does not want to give him a second chance and causes a huge dispute with Barnabas over the matter.
As a result, the two split up and go their separate ways.

Acts 15:39-40  
And there arose such a sharp disagreement that they
separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark
with him and sailed away to Cyprus.
But Paul chose Silas and departed, being committed by
the brethren to the grace of the Lord.

The attitude of the brethren is one of neutrality.
They leave the dispute in the hands of God and with each of them as well. The phrase, “being committed to the grace of the Lord,” only occurs here, but indicates an attitude of letting God’s grace deal with the apostle in his own way and time. The brethren are certainly not going to get in the middle of this.
We also need to keep in mind, that Luke is recording the incident second hand and only covering the surface facts. We need to learn to read between the lines in much of the Biblical narrative that is provided for us.

Many claim that Paul is not at fault here and has not sinned.
How strange that so many of our scholars avoid like a plague the SIN issue with Paul.

It is my opinion that this is an attitude of denial.
There is nothing RIGHT about Paul’s attitude of rejecting John Mark. And nothing right about the explosive animosity that was expressed between these two great men.

Comments are made, such as “Paul and Barnabas parted in anger and both in sorrow,” (A. T. Robertson, Acts, page 241), but no mention of SIN.

Conybeare and Howe get very close with a lengthy admission, but still avoid THAT WORD.
“There is little doubt that severe words were spoken
on the occasion. It is unwise to be overanxious to
dilute the words of Scripture, and to exempt even the
Apostles form blame. By such criticism we lose much of
the instruction which the honest record of their lives
was intended to convey. . . Without attempting to
balance too nicely the faults on either side, our
simplest course is to believe that , as in most
quarrels, there was blame with both. Paul’s natural
disposition was impetuous and impatient, easily
kindled to indignation, and (possibly) overbearing,”
(The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul, page 193).

David Thomas gets very close but carefully avoids the
SIN word. He writes,

“When the apostles spoke and acted under
the inspiration  of the Eternal Spirit of Truth, they
were infallible. But they did not always thus speak
and act, as the event we are discussing shows. They
were now left to their own judgment, and infirmity of
temper is the result,” (Acts of the Apostles, page 241).

F. F. Bruce gives no suspicion of sin but simply writes,

“When they could not agree, they parted company,”
(Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, page 212).

It is true that God used this to get TWO teams out and running, but that does not justify the negative attitudes expressed by the men involved. It can be argued without solution whether God would accomplish more with Paul and Barnabas in tact or less, but regardless, they split up the geography and set sail.

Luke’s narrative and the inspired history of the church leave Barnabas here except for a brief mention of him 3 years later as Paul states a principle in 1 Cor. 9:6 and uses himself and Barnabas as examples.
But this should not be significant, as the establishment of the church revolves around the Apostle Paul and not the others.

John Mark, on the other hand, is mentioned favorably by Paul several years later, in about 62 AD during his first Roman imprisonment, at Colossians 4:10,
“Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his
greetings; and {also} Barnabas’ cousin Mark (about
whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him);”

and Philemon 23-24,
“Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you,
{as do} Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.”

And later still, in about 68 AD during his second
Roman imprisonment, at 2 Timothy 4:11,
“Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with
you, for he is useful to me for service.”

Returning then to Acts, I believe that Paul and Silas begin this journey with Paul out of fellowship. And even though he is teaching the word accurately, as long as he continues to hold this attitude toward John Mark and any negative attitude he has toward Barnabas, he will remain in a place of limited usefulness. That is why God shuts doors for him until Luke joins them later.

Acts 15:41  
And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia,
strengthening the churches.

This teaching was conducted by THE TEAM, and not by Paul alone. So the proclamation of the message was still accurate. However, we need to keep in mind that any believer can still teach and evangelize while out of fellowship. In fact, Paul even finds great joy in such preaching regardless of the attitude of the teacher.
Phil. 1:15-18 (NASB)  
“Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy
and strife, but some also from good will; the latter
{do it} out of love, knowing that I am appointed for
the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ
out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure
motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense
or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I
rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.”

However, the ones who are out of fellowship and doing the teaching are not pleasing God. Just because they are teaching the word, and probably even accurately, does not mean that their WORK in such cases is honorable. Quite the opposite, it is considered wood, hay or straw and will be rejected at the reward seat of Christ. 1 Cor. 3:10-15

See Topic:  Reward Seat of Christ

In addition, there is a very real danger that the greatest bible teacher can fall into error when he lets the sin nature control him. We find a good
example of this with Peter, who reverted to some of his old Jewish attitudes under the pressure of the legalistic Jerusalem church. This is recorded at Galatians 2:11-13, where we see him refusing to associate with the Gentile believers who were not circumcised. In fact, he even caused many of the other Jewish believers and even Barnabas to fall prey to
this grave sin. Of course, this was properly and rightly rebuked by
Paul when he was made aware of it. Galatians 2:14ff.

But now we see Paul in the same situation. He is either continually or periodically out of fellowship.
However, I suggest that it is a continuous situation for him at this present time because of the decisions that are made and because of the restrictions placed upon him by God. He does finally get back in fellowship at Acts 16:9-10 through the exhortation ministry of Luke.
In the meantime, he committed a most egregious sin not only against God, but certainly against poor Timothy as well.

Acts 16:1-3  (NASB)
“And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And behold,
a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son
of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father
was a Greek, and he was well spoken of by the brethren
who were in Lystra and Iconium.
Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him
and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in
those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.”

Here, faced with the same kind of legalistic pressure as was faced by Peter, Paul fails to make the right decision. In this case, he takes a young Jewish believer of Greek descent, and causes him to be circumcised in order to avoid any UNCOMFORTABLE confrontations with the Jews living in the area. This is LEGALISM and Paul is wrong to do it.

And this was done even after the confrontation at the Jerusalem counsel of Acts 15 concerning the very same issue. Verse 5, "But certain ones of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, 'it is necessary to circumcise them, and to direct them to observe the law of Moses.'"
But this was strongly rebuked and rejected by Peter and the other apostles.

When Paul is “in fellowship,” he writes at Gal. 5:2-9 and
1 Cor. 7:17-19, that circumcision, as a religious requirement, is a violation of grace.
Paul, under the control of his sin nature; a thing that did in fact occur with him, as with the rest of us according to Romans 7:14ff, violates GRACE and commits more sin.
Of course, if one contends that Paul did nothing wrong in circumcising Timothy, then we must affirm that the SAME thing SHOULD be done today in order to ameliorate our witness to the Jews.
Some teach that circumcision was only an issue for Jewish men and that the Gentiles were not to be placed under that burden. However, in Paul’s teachings on circumcision, cited above, he makes no such distinction, but very clearly states,

“Was any man called already circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision (Timothy included) Let him not be circumcised. For circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing.”
1 Cor. 7:18-19

There is more teaching and evangelism as Paul and
Silas visit some of the previously visited areas.

Acts 16:4-5  
Now while they were passing through the cities, they
were delivering the decrees, which had been decided
upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem,
for them to observe.
So the churches were being strengthened in the faith,
and were increasing in number daily.

However, when attempting to visit ASIA, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit says NO. And not only says NO, but actually PREVENTS them from going there.
God does not want Paul going to these NEW areas in his condition.
He will wait until Paul gets his act together before he allows him to move into any new areas of ministry. Thus, likewise when they WANTED to go into Bithynia, the Spirit did not permit them.

Acts 16:6-7  
And they passed through the Phrygian and Galatian
region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to
speak the word in Asia; and when they had come to
Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the
Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;

Now some, who insist that Paul did not sin and was not out of fellowship, claim that God was preventing these trips because He wanted him to go into Macedonia. That is a possibility. However, it is certain that Paul violated LOVE with his attitude toward John Mark and Barnabas, and violated
GRACE when he circumcised Timothy. It is more reasonable to think that God was preventing these trips  BECAUSE Paul WAS out of fellowship.

Acts 16:8-9  
And passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain
man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him,
and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

Now we have a very interesting change.
Paul receives a visitor. Luke joins the team at Troas.
After Luke joins the team, Paul receives the vision to go into Macedonia and with Luke at his side, they are now permitted to travel to new areas and bring the gospel. The narrative in Acts continues with WE as the subject in the travels. This indicates that Luke had joined the team.
The implication is that Luke had a ministry of exhortation to Paul through his spiritual gift of prophecy, to point out his sins and encourage him to get back into fellowship.

Acts 16:10-12  
And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought
to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called
us to preach the gospel to them. Therefore putting out
to sea from Troas, WE ran a straight course to
Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis; and
from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the
district of Macedonia, a {Roman} colony; and we were
staying in this city for some days.

Paul fell into the same category as those of Phil. 1:15-18,
“Some to be sure are proclaiming Christ from envy and strife, - -”

Verse 18, “what then, only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed and in this I rejoice - -”

Someone who is not “in fellowship” with God can still give an
accurate message, and it is the message, “the gospel of God” which
“is the power of God unto salvation.” Rom. 1:16

The POWER is in “the word of God which also performs
its work in you who believe.”  1 Thes. 2.13

That was Paul’s situation.

It is because of just such situations that  we should encourage one another and help one another when we see our brothers and sisters in obvious error.
From a preventative standpoint we see at Hebrews 3:13,

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as
it is called TODAY, lest any one be hardened by the
deceitfulness of the sin nature.”

And when we are aware of when a fellow believer errs, we should apply grace and love, and try to restore them to a proper focus.
Galatians 6:1-2

“Brethren, even if a man is detected in any trespass,
you who are spiritual, mend such a one in a spirit of
gentle grace, looking to yourself, lest you also be
tempted. Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill
the law of Christ.”


PAUL’S SECOND SIN

Acts 19 records Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. He was there for about three years from c. 56 to 58 AD, teaching night and day according to Acts 20:31.
Apparently he taught in the School of Tyrannus for two years (Acts 19:9), which is summarized at Acts 19:20,
“So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and
prevailing.” and elsewhere for the third year.

After about 2 years in Ephesus, Paul wanted to go to Jerusalem via Macedonia and Achaia, and then to Rome. Acts 19:21,
“Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed
in the spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed
through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, After I have
been there, I must also see Rome.”

He sent Timothy and Erastus ahead and stayed in Ephesus for a while longer.
At verse 21, The phrase, “in the spirit” refers to Paul’s inner spirit; his emotional devotion and zeal. Later, in Acts 20:22, Paul describes this zeal as “bound in spirit.” It does not refer to the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit who later communicates through the disciples that Paul is not to set foot in Jerusalem (Acts 21:4), would NOT be leading him to go
there at this time.
It is quite possible that God has a plan for Paul to go to Rome, although we have no direct statement of that plan except AFTER Paul’s imprisonment.  Acts 23:11  
But on the night {immediately} following, the Lord
stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you
have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so
you must witness at Rome also.”

This is a statement of purpose for Paul, NOW, and there is no way of knowing whether it was God’s plan originally, or whether God is simply now going to use Paul in Rome. One thing should be clear. It is not God’s will for Paul to go to Jerusalem and get arrested and end up in prison IN ROME. That is why we have the many prohibitions telling Paul “not to set
foot in Jerusalem.”

However, there is nothing wrong with Paul’s desire to go to Jerusalem at this time. He does not begin to receive warnings until his journeys through the cities of Macedonia and Achaia (Acts 20:23), and no direct
prohibition until he is at Tyre (Acts 21:4).

After leaving Ephesus, Paul went through Macedonia and Achaia and then to Corinth, from where he probably wrote Romans. In both Macedonia and Achaia, the believers are moved to send some financial aid to the Jerusalem church and determine that Paul would be a perfect messenger for their generosity. (Romans 15:25-26).

Paul spent 3 months in Greece, from where (Corinth) he probably wrote Romans and mentioned his intent to go to Jerusalem with the offering for the saints (Romans 15:25-26). At the end of verse 3, Paul is back in
Macedonia from where he probably wrote 2 Corinthians and mentioned to them as well, his intent to go to Jerusalem (2 Cor. 1:16).

The Corinthians add to the contribution and this further enhances Paul’s desire to go to Jerusalem as is seen by the phrase, “bound in spirit” at Acts 20:22. Paul’s zeal is unhindered even though the Holy Spirit has been warning him of the bonds and afflictions that await him (Acts 20:23).

At Miletus, Paul conducts the Miletus Bible Conference (vs. 17-35).
One of the things he mentions is his strong desire to go to Jerusalem AND the many warnings he has received from the Holy Spirit.

“And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to
Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,
except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me
in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.”
Acts 20:22-23.

But of course, persecution is of no concern to him as he expressed in verse 24.
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear
to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and
the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to
testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”

So far, everything is OK. Paul is in fellowship and pursuing a noble task. However, apparently, the warnings are designed to dissuade Paul from going. He should examine those warnings and send the offering to Jerusalem at the hands of Titus or Timothy. But no. He continues on in the intensity of his love and concern for the Jerusalem believers.
But love and zeal, while having a valuable place in our Christian walk, must be governed by the WILL OF GOD, and not by our own emotions.

When Paul gets to Tyre, he stayed there seven days. While there  God finally tells Paul plainly that it is not God’s will for him to go to Jerusalem. Acts 21:4.

“And after looking up the disciples, we stayed there
seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the
Spirit NOT to set foot in Jerusalem.”

The imperfect tense of TELL, indicates that he received SEVERAL direct prohibitions from the Holy Spirit speaking through some of the believers there, “they KEPT on telling Paul.”

The reason for this CONTINUED warning is probably because Paul would answer them with the same zeal expressed previously at Acts 20:24.
This is also suggested by his words spoken when he leaves the believers at Caesarea, that are recorded at verse 21:13,

Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and
breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be
bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of
the Lord Jesus.”


Now the facts are out. Now God’s SPECIFIC desire for Paul is revealed.
Instead of ignoring the direct prohibition, like he ignored the warnings, they should all make plans to send the contributions to Jerusalem through someone else.
But no, “when our days there were ended, we departed and started on our journey,” Verse 21:5).
But God is not finished with the warnings.
At verses 8-11, Paul is at Caesarea and hears the
prophecy of Agabus.
So far, the warnings have come from believers within the churches scattered here and there. Even the direct prohibitions of verse 4, were not given by a “name” person. But now, we have Agabus, who is a well-known prophet of considerable reputation living in Jerusalem, making a “special”(?) trip to see Paul, and restating the warning in a very graphic manner.
Acts 21:11  (NASB)
And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his
own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy
Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will
bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into
the hands of the Gentiles.’”

Yes, this is only a warning, but Paul SHOULD see it as “connecting the dots” between all the previous warnings and the specific prohibition received just a few days earlier.
At this point, LUKE finally begins to make his voice heard. Along with the local believers, they try to dissuade Paul from continuing, but to no avail.
Verse 12
And when we heard this, WE as well as the local
residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem.

Paul plays on their emotional heart strings and then once again, plays the ZEAL CARD. “For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Of course, this is EMPTY ZEAL and distorted sincerity.
Paul is now most certainly out of fellowship.
Just like Moses at Numbers 20.
God said speak to the rock, and he decided to take things into his own hands in his personal emotional zeal, and not only yelled at the people, "hear now you rebels, must WE bring water out of this rock for you,"
but he also failed to give God the glory and HIT the rock (2 times in fact) instead of simply speaking to it like God told him to do.
And for this reason, God denied Moses access to the promised land!
In Paul's case, God changed the whole focus of his ministry and put him in prison. The only reason it worked together for good was because Paul recovered.


So Paul has rejected EVERY attempt by God to spare him the UNNECESSARY trouble that would come in Jerusalem.
The believers with him and even Luke finally realize that he is not going to budge.   Verse 13

"And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent."

They stop trying to persuade him and simply TURN IT OVER TO GOD.
The statement that is made here, “The will of the Lord be done,” is NOT an affirmation that it is God’s will.
It is a RESIGNATION to the fact that Paul is going to do whatever he wants to do and they just TURN IT OVER TO GOD. “Ok, they remark, nothing more we can do. It is in God’s hands now. What ever HE wills AND ALLOWS now will just have to run its course.”

Once Paul gets to Jerusalem, it is imperative to recognize that he has been out of fellowship with God for many days. He has been persistently refusing to acknowledge God’s will for him and consistently ignoring all that God has been trying to tell him. So now, Paul is here, under the control of his sin nature, wanting not only to fulfill his own zealousness but wanting also to mend the “apparent” rift between himself and the legalistic church which is under the leadership of James at Jerusalem.
So he is ripe for the adversary, who knows his weakness. His weakness is related to his heritage, having been raised with all the traditions of Moses and the legalism of the Pharisees; the very legalism that Jesus condemned so many times. And although from the moment of his salvation, Paul let go of those things, “counting them all as refuse, (Philip 3:7-8)” he was still tempted at times with some of the more “showery” expressions of religious phariseeism.
Thus, when James challenges Paul concerning his teaching at Acts 21:21,

“and they have been told about you, that you are
teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to
forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their
children nor to walk according to the customs,”

Paul is ripe for compromise, and is unable to maintain his objectivity and respond in the proper manner.
The Jerusalem church at this time, is under the leadership of James, who has reverted to Mosaic legalism himself as is indicated by Gal. 2:12 as well as his actions here at Acts 21.
These believers have failed to cling to grace and have reverted to spiritual slavery. James knew better. He was saved after the resurrection of Jesus and embraced GRACE so completely that he was used by God to provide us with that wonderful letter that bears his name.
But he has since then, lost his focus on grace and as a result is unable to support the teachings of Paul.
Paul has been right in teaching NOT to circumcise (1 Cor. 7:18-19) and NOT to observe sabbath rituals (Col. 2:16-17).

“Therefore let no one act as your judge
in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival
or a new moon or a Sabbath day — things which are a
{mere} shadow of what is to come;
but the substance belongs to Christ.”

Just as he wrote to the Galatians in chapter 5:1-6,
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again
to a yoke of slavery.
Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision,
Christ will be of no benefit to you.
And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision,
that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.
You have been severed from Christ,
you who are seeking to be justified by law;
you have fallen from grace.
For we through the Spirit, by faith,
are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision
nor uncircumcision means anything,
but faith working through love.
You were running well;
who hindered you from obeying the truth?”

That last question could very well have been asked of James and the other legalistic believers in Jerusalem. “James, you were running so well, who has hindered you from obeying THE TRUTH?”
 
Paul should have maintained his focus on GRACE and TRUTH. But being under the control of the sin nature, he rationalized and listened to the request of James to take a “vow.” A vow that carried with it the
required seal of “offering an animal sacrifice.” (Acts 21:26)
“Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying
himself along with them, went into the temple, giving
notice of the completion of the days of purification,
UNTIL THE SACRIFICE WAS OFFERED for each one of them.”
 
Paul is way out of line here. But God did not let him offer the sacrifice. His attempt to offer an animal sacrifice is interrupted by God in having him dragged out of the temple by the Jews who try to kill him. It is probable that at this time, Paul is SHOCKED back to reality and realizes the sin he has committed, but the SNOW BALL has already begun to roll and the next stop is arrest by the Roman soldiers.
Paul quickly gets back into fellowship by using that wonderful grace provision of 1 John 1:9 and is able to REGROUP. All that follows is the beginning of Paul’s ministry AFTER this terrible lapse in judgment.
The words he speaks (chapter 22); the verbal encouragement from God (V. 23:11); his appearances before the priests, the governors and the kings; the journey to Rome; and his ministry in Rome - were all done in fellowship. The encouragement from God AFTER Paul got back in fellowship, and the success of his subsequent service DO NOT validate His SIN of
DISOBEDIENCE to Acts 21:4 (with 21:11) and his SIN of attempting an animal sacrifice.

As I have stated before, God possibly had a plan for Paul to visit and minister in Rome, but it was NOT IN PRISON. Sin always has consequences and will interrupt God’s PRIMARY will for us. Once we are back in fellowship, “God causes all things to work together for GOOD,” but that does not mean that those “all things” WERE or ARE good or that what is happening is the way it WOULD HAVE HAPPENED had we not sinned.
All of this operates under the foreknowledge of God, and nothing catches Him by surprise. He has it all planned out, knowing our failures and our successes.
Some believers RECOVER from their sin(s) like Paul and Peter, and Barnabas, and fall under the principle of Romans 8:28.
Other believers do not recover and live the rest of their lives under discipline from God.
Paul recovered from this fiasco in Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem church NEVER recovered and in just a few years IT was judged right along with the Jewish nation when God destroyed the city through the legions of Tiberius in 70 AD.

Remember - not EVERY little detail of what happened in the life of the early church is recorded. Most of Acts is simple narrative, with the "application" of doctrinal principles left to the oriented believer who
can "read between the lines."
The Jerusalem church was corrupt.
That is why it was judged via severe persecution and the headquarters for the church was moved to Antioch.
The "elders" at Jerusalem under the leadership of James continued to promote Mosaic legalism in spite of the results of the Jerusalem counsel of 44 AD.
Thus, in 59 AD, we find it really messed up with the elders having Christians practicing Mosaic rituals and claiming that it was the Christian thing to do - which it is absolutely not.
The book of Hebrews was written primarily for the Jewish believers in Jerusalem who were being pressured to return to Mosaic ritual. It is the practice of that Mosaic ritual including animal sacrifices that was
"crucifying afresh the Son of God and putting him to open shame." That is what the sacrifice in an "atonement" context does.
 

 
 

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