By Joseph L. Watkins
In our last two papers we have been trying to bring into focus and set forth the significance of "the otherwise minded" that are in Phil. 3:15.
A number of points need to be restated for those who did not have our last paper.
(1) Israel had been the people of God for almost two thousand years, but because of unbelief and a national rejection of their only redeeming saviour, the Lord set that nation under judgment - "the Lo-ammi" times of Hosea 1:9 and 3:4&5, and the world of men now await "the latter days." Also read Acts 28:28.
(2) Many thousands that had been identified with the Lord Jesus Christ were still very much alive in the world, perhaps a bit bewildered, but still living in hope of the promised ONE, not knowing that that very promise, along with all other such promises, had been "set in abeyance," having been temporarily suspended or deferred until such a time "that they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced." (3) John The Beloved, having been directed of the Spirit of all truth, sent forth his written record of the rejected redeemer of Israel, having now become The One Saviour of all men everywhere.
(4) Paul is given an altogether new Gospel Message for ALL the saints of God in Christ Jesus, for all that now come to have life by hearing and believing John's record, and all that had first believed in Christ Jesus in Acts times under the old order of God for Israel. They had life in Him from before, but Israel's hope of the kingdom is deferred. They were then being offered a part in this new hope, in this new calling in Paul's Gospel Message of a sonship in Christ Jesus, in the Above Heavenlies.
Having painted the background, and now adding the sustaining points of interest, we move on to present the focus of our picture and our lesson - "the otherwise minded" of Phil. 3:15.
As I have viewed "The Dispensation of The Musterion" as recorded in the seven post Acts epistles of Paul, we see them as "Seven Parts of the Whole." Now each part was written under the influence of this New Dispensation out of God. However, all that is present in these seven letters are not, nor were they intended to be taken as a part of that divine body of truth that is called "the untraceable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8).
After all, most of the saints living and in need of help and encouragement - both in that hour, and yet today throughout the world, have no interest in "These Riches." In that hour, most strongly preferred "the weak and beggarly elements" of the Law and today it is "the elements of Religion."
Now, right here is a very crucial area of application for "The Divine Law of Right Division." It is somewhat simplistic of me to say that The Gospel of John and The Seven Post-Acts Epistles of Paul are truth for today, even though they are. To be more exact we should say they "contain" Truth For Today, or the truth that the Lord gave with this age in view is contained in these eight records.
As we come to John's record, it is quite apparent that most of what is written there was first given with the people of Israel in view. However - the mix of things present there now, and the things which are so conspicuously missing there that are a part of the so-called synoptic gospels, rightfully persuades us that this divine record was given with this age in view. It is then Truth For Today, in that sense it is the truth of God that He gave the world concerning His Son that is to be believed in order that one might enter into the LIFE that is in Christ Jesus, The Federal Head of The New Humanity.
Now, to go to that record and to take from it such things that were clearly given to, and only for, the people of Israel trying to answer to it in "Faith Obedience" would be an exercise in gross futility. And the same thing must be said concerning Paul's Post-Acts Epistles. We find many things recorded there that are better understood as having been said for those saints of God that did not believe Paul's Present Truth, preferring, rather, to keep trusting in that life-long hope of the Messiah's Kingdom. Now be not confused in this. After Acts 28:28, no new folks were being added to that hope, but all the saints that embraced that truth had the option of believing or rejecting it - the choice was theirs. They could move up to His Calling, or be otherwise minded.
At this point I feel we should ask your forbearance for seeming to run afield so often. It is just that so many things are before us, and that much of it is new ground unbroken as yet. Pray with us, and for us.
Now, as I view the Philippian Letter, I see it as the first of the seven Paul wrote after receiving his new apostleship. It may not have been sent for some time after Acts 28:28, more likely in the second year of the two years he was in his own hired house (Acts 28:30-31).
Yes, Paul is "appointed a day." Many came to him into his lodging and testified to the kingdom of God. Some believed, some (most) believed not and were dismissed after one last word. Yes, Paul did utter these words, but they were "The Divine Words of The Spirit of TRUTH"