Peter & Paul: Did they have the same message and ministry?
Let us take a look at what the Scriptures tell us. In the list below, you will find many things that clearly represent significant differences. Unfortunately, much of the church has tried unsuccessfully to blend these messages together, attempting to make all these as one unified message. Although their motive may be pure, their conclusions are wrong. This has produced division and a multitude of church denominations. Most important of all, it has brought about wrong conclusions about the means to salvation, mixing works with grace.
1) The Apostle Peter’s ministry was focused on Israel, the circumcision.
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [Emphasis added]
The Apostle Paul’s ministry was focused on the Gentiles, the uncircumcision.
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [Emphasis added]
2) Peter’s gospel message demanded the works of the Mosaic Law for salvation.
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. [Emphasis added]
Paul’s ministry did not demand the works of the Mosaic Law for salvation.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [Emphasis added]
3) Peter’s message demanded water baptism for salvation.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. [Emphasis added]
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [Emphasis added]
Paul’s message did not demand water baptism for salvation.
I Corinthians 1:17
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. [Emphasis added]
- Peter’s ministry began in Jerusalem and was to extend to the Gentiles after Israel’s acceptance of her Messiah.
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [Emphasis added]
The problem came when Israel rejected her Messiah. However, in the coming time of the Tribulation, Israel will finally accept her Messiah. When that happens, they will then take their message to the Gentiles, fulfilling that which people often call “The Great Commission.”
Paul’s ministry went to the Gentiles after Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and the message of the Twelve Apostles.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. [Emphasis added]
4) Peter’s message provided justification with works.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? [Emphasis added]
Paul’s message provided justification without works.
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [Emphasis added]
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. [Emphasis added]
5) Peter’s message included continued observance of the Law of Moses.
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [Emphasis added]
Paul’s message did not include observance of the Law of Moses.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [Emphasis added]
6)Peter’s message included having all material possessions in common.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. [Emphasis added]
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. [Emphasis added]
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. [Emphasis added]
Paul’s message did not include having all possessions in common with others. Families were to provide for their own family members.
I Timothy 5:8
8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
7) Peter’s message provided a secure salvation at the end of one’s faith.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. [Emphasis added]
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. [Emphasis added]
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. [Emphasis added]
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. [Emphasis added]
II Peter 2:20-21
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. [Emphasis added]
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. [Emphasis added]
Paul’s message provided a secure salvation from the beginning of one’s faith.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Emphasis added]
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [Emphasis added]
II Timothy 2:13
13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. [Emphasis added]
8) Peter’s message provided an earthly inheritance.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. [Emphasis added]
Paul’s message provided a heavenly inheritance.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [Emphasis added]
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]
9) Peter’s program was one of prophecy.
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. [Emphasis added]
Paul’s ministry was one of mystery.
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [Emphasis added]
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]
Isn’t it refreshing to see that all these differences do not represent contradictions but differences in God’s program for Israel in the past and His program for us today as members of the Body of Christ? Altogether this is a part of what is called rightly dividing the word of truth.