Things Paul Could Not Do
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Paul, in writing to the Philippians, makes this statement which must be accepted within its context. Many people get all out of shape trying to appropriate the passage unto themselves IN EVERY THING in everyday life, but the truth in the verse can only be seen through obedience to I Cor. 2:13, "...comparing spiritual spiritual things with spiritual". For example, in Romans 7:14-19, Paul confesses that he is "...carnal, sold under sin," and says "...how to perform that which is good I find not." He tells the Galatians that the flesh and the Spirit "...are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Gal. 5:17). By comparing spiritual things with spiritual things, I know that Paul cannot be saying that he can do all things WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Therefore, we must accept Phil. 4:13 within its context. Obviously there are things that, according to the scriptures, cannot be done.
In this evil day (Eph. 6:13) where every thing shown on television from sports, news, movies, and sitcoms is filled with nakedness, pornography, and open discussions about sex, it seems that most television evangelists are competing for an audience. Instead of preaching the Word of God rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15), these preachers (male and female) seem to have the motive of competing for points in some form of ratings -- best acting, best production, best oration, best grammar, best hair pieces, best costumes, best panoramic view of the congregation, and last but by no means least, best NEW, NEW, NEW translation of the Bible.
There seems to be some concerted effort to stay away from Paul's doctrine (I Tim. 1:3, 2 Tim. 3:10). The power of the cross (I Cor. 1:18) and of the gospel (Rom. 1:16) is being supplanted by some supernatural, imaginary power received by the touch of the minister's hand, or by the suggestion that if one's faith is strong enough, this power can be obtained. Faith, however, no matter how strong, never brings anything into existence -- faith that pleases God (Heb. 11:6) simply says "Amen" to what God has already done.
If you can convince the public that you have the handle on some secret formula for great power, you can make a fortune selling it in mass. The public will break down your door to get to you, for in this day, power is what people are seeking. They stay up nights reading and thinking about it. They educate themselves to get it (think about that). They think it comes with wealth, so they buy lottery tickets to get it. (In fact, a large number of the influential men and women of this world get their power through the printing press! It's called money, but it is really paper colored with ink, and if they lose it they lose their power!) So, if you can convince people of some imaginary god (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21, Rom. 1:23, 2 Cor. 4:4) who by faith and confession in him will give them power, they will "fall for it." Men would sell their souls ( Matt. 16:26) for a fleeting moment of power -- so they will try anything to get it, such as kneeling down and allowing some con-artist to lay hands on them.
Just about any and everything is being taught by religious leader to show that they have power over others:
-- power to heal
-- power to keep the law
-- power to live about sin, etc.
Question: How did Paul, the greatest Christian that ever lived since Jesus Christ, miss all this great power that is promised through television ministries and in thousands of churches in the United States?
Phil. 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." We have already seen that the verse must be accepted in the light of the context. If one is to follow Paul (see vs. 9, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do..."; and I Cor. 11:1, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ), then if you do what he said, you must learn to be content in any circumstance ("...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content", Phil 4:11). Can your TV evangelist do those things of verse 12 ("...to be abased...to be hungry...to suffer need")? How about you, can you suffer affliction graciously (vs. 14)? Paul is obviously not speaking of mighty and heroic deeds done in the sight of men whereby he gains applause and wealth.
Some things Paul could not do:
I. KEEP THE LAW --
Rom. 3:12: "...there is none that doeth good, not not one."
Rom. 3:19: "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."
Rom. 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Rom. 7:14: "...I am carnal, sold under sin."
Rom. 7:15-16: "...for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I."
This brings up the question then, if Paul could not keep the law, why was the law given, and what is the answer the problem of his failure and inability to keep it? The answer is, the law taught Paul that he needed a Savior (Gal. 3:22-24, "...the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ...").
After Paul was saved, he saw that he was dead to the law and that the law was taken out of the way --
Rom. 7:4: "...ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ..."
Col 2:14: "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross"
Gal. 3:25: "But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."
Think about Gal. 3:19, "Wherefore then serveth the law?" -- why would God ask such a question if he commanded them to keep the law?
II. LIVE VICTORIOUSLY OVER SIN --
Rom. 7:19-20, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
After salvation he saw that he was dead to sin --
Rom. 6:3: "...so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death..."
Rom. 6:7: "For he that is dead is freed from sin."
Rom. 6:11: "...reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin..."
Gal. 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ..."
So, he claimed the truth of passages such as --
Col. 2:13: "And you...hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses"
Rom. 4:7-8: "...Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
III. PAUL COULD NOT SAVE HIMSELF --
Rom. 5:6: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
He was not given that overcoming power" given to tribulation saints --
Matt. 24:13: "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
John 1:12: "...to them gave he power to become the sons of God..."
Acts 1:8: "...ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses (martyrs) unto me..."
Rev. 2:26: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end..."
Rev. 2:10-11: "be thou faithful unto death..."
Rev. 12:11: "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Rev. 3:5: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment..."
Rev. 3:21: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame..."
Since Paul was not given this overcoming power (nor could he be, compare Matt. 12:31-32 and I Tim. 1:12-14), he had to put his faith in and trust the one who overcame by dying the death of the cross in his place --
Phil. 2:8: "...he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross"
Rom. 4:25: "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification"
Rom. 5:19: "...so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous
IV. PAUL COULD NOT "BIND SATAN" (a favorite of many religious con-artists)--
Eph. 6:10-12: "...be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the whiles of the devil."
2 Cor. 12:8-10: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not..."
V. PAUL COULD NOT HEAL THE SICK IN HIS LATER MINISTRY --
I Tim. 5:23: "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for they stomach's sake and thin often infirmities."
II Tim. 4:20: "...Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick."
Paul himself could not be healed --
II Cor. 12:8-10: "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice...he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee...Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities..."
In fact, from the time of Acts 16:10, God provided Luke, a physician, to travel with him wherever he went (Col. 4:14, 2 Tim. 4:11).
Doesn't it seem strange that none of Paul's followers could lay hands on him and heal him? Think of the numerous men of God in all those churches that he established, and yet there is no record of any of them having "a healing ministry"! It seems that all of the "great power of God" to perform miracles just leaped clear over the saved of several centuries and landed on the Oral Robertses and Benny Hinns of this world. Paul had a doctor with him for several years, but instead of complaining he said, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me," and again he said, "...I take pleasure in infirmities...for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
We can easily see that Paul's attitude was quite different from that of the modern day "miracle-working healers" who deceive the sick and crippled instead of teaching them to give glory to God, that in their circumstance is when the power of Christ will rest upon them, and that it is when they are weak and take pleasure in infirmities that they are strong -- but who is sufficient for these things? So God said, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths."