by George Sidney Hurd
The two-gospel advocates argue that we must rightly divide the word of truth by recognizing that only Paul’s epistles are applicable to the Church today. But can they be said to be rightly dividing the word of truth when they relegate all of Scripture as nonapplicable to the Church, with the exception of Paul’s epistles? What does Paul say about this? He says:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2Tim 3:16-17).
It must be kept in mind that, when Paul wrote this around 66 A.D., the book of Acts and James, as well as the gospel of Luke, and possibly Matthew and Mark, had already been written. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as being part of the Scriptures (2Peter 3:15-16). Doubtlessly, Paul likewise considered these other writings, which today make up part of our New Testament to be God-breathed Scriptures and therefore profitable for doctrine.
If Paul himself considered all of Scripture to be profitable for doctrine and able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus (2Tim 3:15), how can the two-gospel people claim to be Paul’s followers while at the same time denying that the rest of Scripture is applicable to us and profitable for doctrine? How can one claim as Paul that the Holy Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation, while at the same time arguing they present another gospel?
The proponents of the two-gospel doctrine point out numerous truths taught by Paul which they perceive to be irreconcilable with the rest of the New Testament. Martin Zender, in his book, “The First Idiot in Heaven,” presents what he considers to be thirty-one key differences between Paul’s epistles and the rest of the New Testament.  In the previous blogs we considered some of these alleged differences and saw that they were in reality in agreement with, and complementary to, the overall message of the New Testament. The rest of the differences he argues for, overlap and could be reduced to six, which are: 1) Justified by works vs. Justified by grace through faith alone without works. 2) Repentance and baptism required for salvation vs. salvation by faith alone. 3) New birth for Israel vs. a new creation for the Church. 4) Conditional forgiveness vs. Unconditional forgiveness. 5) Earthly inheritance vs. heavenly inheritance. 6) Appointed to wrath vs. saved from wrath. The following is a brief consideration of each of these supposedly irreconcilable differences.
1. Justified by works vs. Justified by Grace through Faith alone
They argue that only those under Paul’s gospel are justified apart from works, whereas the Jews who believe are saved by a combination of faith and works. However, apart from the fact that God is not a respecter of persons, we have already seen that no one, whether they be Jew or Gentile, of this age or any other age, can ever be justified by works before God. Paul most emphatically says: “Therefore by the deeds of the law NO FLESH will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20). This is a universal principle. The Law can only provide the knowledge of our sinful condition and need of justification by grace – it can never justify anyone, nor can anyone be justified by keeping it since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
It is supposed that Paul’s statement concerning justification by faith alone is incompatible with James’ insistence upon works for justification. Paul and James each came to the following conclusions concerning justification:
Paul: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” (Rom 3:28)
James: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24)
These two passages seem to be diametrically opposed to each other when read alone, out of their context. However, a careful consideration of each verse within its context reveals that they were talking about justification from two entirely different perspectives. Paul was speaking of our justification before God, which is by faith alone. James, on the other hand, is speaking of justification in the eyes of man. Paul says that Abraham was justified by faith when he simply believed God’s promise (Gen 15:6). God, who sees the heart, justified Abraham based upon his faith the moment he believed.
However, when James speaks of Abraham being justified, he made reference to an incident many years later when he offered up his own son Isaac, thereby visibly demonstrating to all the faith God always knew Abraham had from the very moment He declared him just (James 2:21).
True faith always results in a corresponding action. Faith that saves is faith alone, but faith that saves is never alone. God, who sees our heart, justifies us the moment we believe. However, that faith which brought justification cannot be confirmed by man apart from observing the corresponding actions. So, both James and Paul are simply looking at justification from two different angles. God knows the heart and justifies according to faith, but man only sees the outward demonstration of one’s faith and determines whether or not one has been justified by seeing faith’s corresponding fruit. That is why James said: “You say you have faith? Show me.”
Paul, just as James, repeatedly warned against being deluded into thinking one has saving faith when their conduct indicates otherwise. Paul said to the carnal believers at Corinth: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2Cor 13:5 cf.1Cor 15:2; Eph 5:3-6; 1Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19). Paul also speaks of a faith that works:
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6)
Any grace teaching which says that, since you are under grace you can do anything you want, or do nothing if that is what you want, is not presenting the whole council of God and is turning the grace of God into licentiousness.
Jesus likewise taught that it is faith alone which saves, while at the same time warning against empty profession. Jesus, on numerous occasions proclaimed the gospel of justification by faith apart from works. For example:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life… 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned (i.e., ‘is justified’).” (Jn 3:16,18)
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)
“Then they said to Him, What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’” (John 6:28-29)
At the same time, Jesus warned against making an empty profession of faith without corresponding works, or what James refers to as a dead faith. For example, He said:
“by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who SAYS to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who DOES the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt 7:20-21)
Jesus taught, just as did Paul after Him, that faith without works is dead, and that such empty profession would never save anyone. Paul said:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21)
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.” (Eph 5:3-7)
So, we see that the gospel proclaimed by Jesus and the gospel of Paul are the same gospel of justification by grace through faith alone. At the same time, they both warn against an empty profession without repentance from sin and corresponding works which are an outgrowth or fruit of that faith.
The two-gospel advocates erroneously teach that Paul taught justification by faith alone without the need for a corresponding repentance from one’s former life of sin. This unbalanced presentation of Paul’s gospel converts the grace of God into a license to sin (Jude 4). Martin Zender is perhaps the most deliberately scandalous proponent of this misrepresentation of the gospel of grace. He says:
“Are you irreverent under the gospel of the Uncircumcision? Congratulations. You meet all the qualifications for justification.” 
Here he is basing this assertion upon Romans 4:5 where Paul says that God justifies the ungodly. However, while He freely justifies sinners, grace doesn’t save them only to leave them in that condition. Although it is true that God freely justifies the ungodly, the unrepentant are not justified simply because they give mental assent to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. That is what James calls dead faith – something even demons have (James 2:19-20). Jesus emphasized the vanity of empty faith without the “fruits of repentance” (Luke 3:8). Likewise, Paul gives a strong warning against false teachers who present such perversions of the gospel, void of godliness when he says:
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” (1Tim 6:3-5)
So, we see that justification throughout the New Testament is consistently by grace through faith apart from works, but the justification that accompanies true saving faith ultimately must bear the fruit of godliness – otherwise one has believed in vain. For those interested, I develop this subject further in my book, “The True Grace of God.”
2. Repentance and Baptism vs. Faith Alone.
The two-gospel advocates teach that, under Peter’s gospel of the circumcision, repentance and water baptism are necessary for salvation, whereas under Paul’s gospel of the Gentiles, it is by grace through faith alone that we are saved, and therefore, we should no longer say as Jesus did: “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). Nor should we go into all the world preaching the gospel to all, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus commissioned His disciples to do (Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
Some of the more hardline two-gospel preachers who believe in the traditional doctrine of an eternal hell, say that if one has been water baptized, they are eternally doomed. For example, Les Feldick says concerning the Great Commission: “That little portion of Scripture in the Great Commission, ‘Go into all the world baptizing them,’ has sent millions of people to their eternal doom.”  We already saw in part 2 of this series of blogs that the Great Commission to preach the gospel to all the world, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was never suspended, as the two-gospel advocates claim, so I won’t give more attention to that error here. 
Was water baptism ever a condition of salvation as the two-gospel people claim? While space doesn’t allow me to consider each passage on the subject, it is for good reason that mainstream Evangelicals deny that water baptism is salvific. For those interested in a more exhaustive consideration of this question I recommend my book, “Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation?” Here I would just like to briefly consider two passages which at first sight may be mistaken as teaching that water baptism is required for salvation.
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)
What this passage tells us is that those who believe and are baptized will be saved, whereas those who do not believe will be condemned. However, what it doesn’t say is just as important as what it does say. What it doesn’t say is what happens to those who believe but for one reason or another do not get baptized. Those who teach that this is another gospel must assume what is not here stated. They must assume that it is not faith alone which saves, but faith plus baptism, and therefore anyone who isn’t baptized before death is condemned, even if he was a believer. What they assume contradicts other declarations of Jesus which present faith alone as necessary for salvation, like what Jesus said earlier in John 3:18:
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
If what they claim is true, then Jesus left out a critical ingredient in His presentation of the Gospel in John 3:18, because He here mentions faith as the only human response necessary in order to be justified – not faith plus baptism. They assume that what Jesus meant to say in Mark 16:16 is: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe and get baptized will be condemned.” By doing this they make Jesus’ words here contradict what is clearly stated in John 3:18 and many other passages – that one is saved by faith alone, apart from works (see also John 5:24; 20:31; Eph 2:8-9; 1John 5:11-13).
What they are guilty of is non-sequitur reasoning. If a statement is true, we should not automatically assume that its opposite is also true. For example, if I were to say: “All who believe and come to the altar will be saved, but those who do not believe will be lost,” it would be wrong to assume that those who believed but didn’t come to the altar would be lost, simply because they believed where they were, without coming to the altar. It is believing - not believing plus coming to the altar which saves, even though I called upon them to do both.
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
In the minds of the two-gospel advocates, Peter is here saying that water baptism was what took away their sins. However, in the next sermon when Peter preached the gospel, the number of men who believed alone, without counting women and children, came to be about 5,000. What did Peter tell them to do in order for their sins to be forgiven? He didn’t even mention baptism. He simply said: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Repentance and conversion are both elements of saving faith. In order to believe on Jesus, an unconverted Jew would have to repent or “change his mind,” (metanoéo), concerning Jesus, acknowledging one’s need for Him. He would also have to be converted or “turn about” (epistrepho). This implies a turning from sin to Jesus. Both of these are an integral part of what it means to believe on Jesus. They are not separate from faith, or in addition to faith, as is the case with water baptism, since they are simply part of what it means to truly believe in Jesus and receive Him.
Of some 48 times where the gospel is preached and believed upon in the book of Acts, only in 8 instances is there mention of those who believed being baptized afterwards, and in none of these other instances could one draw the conclusion that baptism was necessary in order for them to be saved. Peter, in one instance, speaking to Cornelius and those of his household, states that it is faith which results in remission of sins – not baptism:
“To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
Our understanding of Acts 2:38 must take into account Peter’s statement here, saying that we are forgiven when we believe – not when we are baptized in water. In this instance, they believed and were baptized in the Holy Spirit and only afterwards were baptized in water (v. 47).
In Acts 2:38, it is imperative that one understands what is meant by the phrase: “be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for (eis) the remission of sins.” Those who teach Baptismal Regeneration understand the preposition “for” as “in order to receive.” However, this preposition has several other meanings. Obviously, based upon all we have seen so far, the rendering “in order to receive the remission of sins” is not the correct one.
There is a better way of understanding this phrase that is consistent with the overall teaching of the New Testament concerning salvation by grace through faith alone. In the Colombian Amazon jungle where I minister, many suffer from toenail fungus due to the constant humidity. If I were to say to my neighbor: “soak your feet in vinegar-water for your toenail fungus” he would know that I did not mean “in order to receive.” In this case “for” means “in view of or because of.”
Understood in this manner, the verse says: “be baptized in view of the remission of sins (which you already received the moment you believed).” This is consistent with the recognition that the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and water baptism are a picture of a greater reality, just as the Old Testament sacrifices were. We repent and are baptized in water in view of the remission of sins, which we already received because of our having been baptized into the Body of Christ through the baptism by the Spirit, which took place the moment we believed.
It is noteworthy that the same preposition is used elsewhere in relation to baptism where it is obvious that the preposition does not mean “in order to get.” John uses the same preposition (eis) when he said: “I indeed baptize you with water unto (eis) repentance…” (Matt 3:11). Although here it is translated “unto” instead of “for,” it is the same Greek preposition. Obviously, we are baptized in view of or because of our repentance – not in order to receive repentance.
The two-gospel advocates present two arguments as evidence that we are not to practice water baptism today. The first is to quote Ephesians 4:5 which states that there is one baptism. However, that is not inconsistent with the practice of water baptism, since the ceremony of water baptism is merely a picture of the one true baptism in which the Spirit baptized us into the body of Christ (1Cor 12:13; Rom 6:1-5). The ceremony of water baptism is no more another baptism than partaking of the Lord’s Supper is crucifying afresh the Son of God.
The second argument is based upon Paul’s statement: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” I will quote the whole passage in its context since the overall context totally refutes the whole idea of two gospels with two separate groups of believers:
“Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas (Peter),’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” (1 Cor 1:12-17)
Ironically, Paul here counters the very doctrine that the two-gospel advocates teach. Christ is not divided into those of Peter and those of Paul. Also, in asking them, “were you baptized in the name of Paul?” he assumes that they had been baptized in the name of Jesus, rather than in his name. The fact that Paul baptized several of them also indicates that they still practiced baptism. In saying that Christ didn’t send him to baptize but to preach the gospel, it only indicates that he delegated that duty to others. Also, if water baptism were incompatible with his gospel, as the two-gospel people affirm, he would have certainly indicated it here.
John says the same of Jesus. He said: “Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples” (John 4:2). Nevertheless, all who believed were being baptized, even though Jesus Himself wasn’t the one doing the baptizing. The same applies to believers in Paul’s day: They were still being baptized in Jesus’ name upon believing even though Paul himself usually wasn’t the one doing the baptizing. It is doubtful that even Peter himself baptized all 3,000 souls who were baptized on the day of Pentecost.
As to the subject of repentance, while repentance isn’t always mentioned in Paul’s proclamation of the gospel, it is always implicit in true saving faith. One does not believe on Jesus in order to be saved from sin unless they are repentant and want to be free from sin. Near the end of Paul’s ministry, when he appeared before King Agrippa, in describing his ministry, he made it clear that repentance was an indispensable part of his proclamation of the gospel. He said:
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:19-20; cf. Rom 2:4-6; 2Cor 7:9-10; 2Tim 2:25-26; 2Cor 12:21, etc.).
Paul’s gospel was the same gospel of Jesus Christ which Jesus Himself and the other Apostles preached, including Peter. The book of Acts closes with Paul still preaching the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23,31; see also, Col 4:11; Rom 14:17; 1Cor 4:20). The writings of Paul are in total harmony with the rest of the New Testament on this subject. For a more thorough consideration of the overall teaching of Scripture concerning biblical repentance, I recommend my blog: “True Repentance.”
3. New birth for Israel vs. New Creation for the Church
Those who hold to the two-gospel teaching say that the new birth only applies to the nation of Israel. They claim that we are not born again the moment we believe, but rather we become a new creation, which they consider to be different from being born again. Martin Zender says of the new birth: “Individuals are not born again; a nation is to be born again. (Not one person, as I write, has ever been born again.)”  But is it true that no individual has been born again? According to Peter himself, the recipients of his first epistle had all been born again. He said:
“having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” (1 Peter 1:23)
Not only did Peter say that they had been born again, but he followed up in 1 Peter 2:2
by saying to them: “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” indicating that, even as we needed to be nourished by milk when we were born into the physical world, so also we need to be nourished in the Word after being born of the Spirit.
Paul likewise, speaks to believers as those having been born of the Spirit. He said of the carnal believers in Corinth, “I could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food” (1 Cor 3:1-2).
Then he told the Galatian believers that they had been born according to the Spirit, saying:
“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.” (Gal 4:28-29 cf. vv. 21-31)
Additionally, In Ephesians 2 Paul speaks of us as formerly having been dead and then being made alive in Christ (Eph 2:1-6). How could we have been made alive spiritually apart from the rebirth of our spirits by the Holy Spirit? It is true that Paul says that we are a new creation in Christ (2Cor 5:17). But how can we become a part of the new creation if not through being born again with Christ’s resurrection life?
They argue that Jesus, in John 3 was not telling Nicodemus that individuals must be born again, but that the nation of Israel collectively had to be born again. However, it is impossible to conclude that, if one considers the whole account. I will quote it in full, noting the singular and plural pronouns:
“Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you (sing.), unless one (individual) is born again, he (sing.) cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 4 Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?’ 5 Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you (sing.), unless one (sing.) is born of water and the Spirit, he (sing.) cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you (sing.), ‘You (pl.) must be born again.’” (John 3:3-7)
Throughout the entire discourse Jesus is emphasizing that it is necessary for individuals to be born again in order to enter, or even see, the kingdom of God. Nicodemus correctly understood it to be an individual rebirth but didn’t understand that it is our spirit which must be born again (cf. Ezek 11:19). When Jesus finally used the plural form in verse 7, saying that they all had to be born again, He was simply saying that each and every one of them had to be born again. Jesus wasn’t referring to the rebirth of the nation, prophesied in Isaiah 66, but rather to the new spirit that each and every individual must receive in order to enter the kingdom of God under the promised New Covenant as prophesied in Ezekiel:
“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezek 11:19)
Jesus reproached Nicodemus for being a teacher of Israel and yet not knowing about God’s promise to give them a new spirit (Jn 3:10). Because of Israel’s unbelief, they did not enter into the kingdom of God through the new birth even though the kingdom was offered to them. As a consequence, Jesus said to them: “the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matt 21:43). We, as the Church of Jesus Christ, are now that holy nation – we who once were not a people are now “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Peter 2:9-10).
This is not Peter speaking exclusively to believing Jews, as the two-gospel people claim, but rather he is speaking especially to the Gentiles within the Church who once were not a people. Israel has been set aside for a time in order to provoke them to jealousy until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and then all Israel will be saved (Rom 11:11-12, 25-26).
There is one final verse in John’s gospel I would like to cite which makes it clear that individuals had experienced their spiritual rebirth from the moment the New Covenant went into effect:
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born…of God (past tense).” (John 1:11-13)
Here we see that Jesus first came to the house of Israel. However, when Israel rejected their Messiah the invitation was extended to all. As many (individuals) as received Him were born of God. It could not be any clearer. Clearly, this, just as nearly all other two-gospel distinctions, are human fabrications, and cannot be substantiated from Scripture.
4. Conditional Forgiveness vs. Unconditional Forgiveness
It is further claimed that God’s forgiveness of Jews who believe under Peter’s gospel is conditional, whereas forgiveness for us under Paul’s gospel is unconditional. This is argued based upon the fact that, for example, in the Lord’s prayer Jesus said that, if we do not forgive, our Father will not forgive us (Matt 6:14-15). He further said that if we do not forgive as we were forgiven that the Father will deliver us to the tormentors until we have paid our debt in full (Matt 18:23-35). John also presents God’s forgiveness as being conditioned upon our confession of sin (1Jn 1:9). In contrast to this, they say that Paul presents forgiveness as being unconditional when he says: “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4:32; cf. Col 3:13).
The main problem with this is that unconditional forgiveness is not only found in Paul’s epistles. For example, the author of Hebrews presents forgiveness as once and for all time. He says:
“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified… 17 then He adds, ‘their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’” (Heb 10:12-14,17)
Unconditional forgiveness is likewise implicit in many other passages throughout the New Testament. For example, Jesus said:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me HAS everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
What the two-gospel advocates fail to take into consideration is that there are two very distinct types of forgiveness – there is relational forgiveness, and there is a judicial forgiveness or a legal pardon. This is sometimes referred to as remission or as justification. This pardon or remission was only possible because of the blood of the New Covenant shed for the remission of our sins, and was done once and for all (Matt 26:28; Heb 9:22; 9:12). This forensic forgiveness is not unique to Paul’s epistles. Because of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice God can be just while at the same time justifying the ungodly sinner who believes in Jesus (Rom 3:24-26).
Distinct from judicial forgiveness there is a relational forgiveness, such as that which a father extends to his child once the child confesses his wrongdoing. This is what we see emphasized in those instances where forgiveness is conditional. For example, when Jesus said, “if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,” it is evident that Jesus is referring to paternal forgiveness and not a judicial pardon. (Matt 6:14-15; cf. Matt 18:23-35).
In 1John we see mention of a judicial once and for all forgiveness in 1John 2:12, where John says: “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven” (perfect passive “have been forgiven”) you for His name's sake.” Only by knowing to differentiate between judicial forgiveness and relational forgiveness can we understand that John wasn’t contradicting himself when he said in 1John 1:9 that the Father’s forgiveness is conditioned upon the confession of our sins before Him.
Both conditional and unconditional forgiveness are found throughout the entirety of the New Testament since they are both necessary. We need to be forgiven or justified from our sins before God as our Judge, and we also need to confess our sins when we have been disobedient, not in order to be saved, but in order to maintain communion with God who is light (1Jn 1:5-10). Therefore, Paul didn’t teach a different form of forgiveness from the rest of the New Testament.
5. Earthly Inheritance vs. Heavenly Inheritance
The two-gospel advocates say that the Jews who believe in Peter’s gospel are earthbound, whereas those who believe Paul’s gospel are already seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Martin Zender says that Jewish believers, along with the 12 Apostles, had no expectation of going to heaven. In Zender’s book “The First Idiot in Heaven,” he poses the question:
“Were faithful Israelites ever promised heaven? Not once. Jesus Himself said, ‘The meek shall inherit the Earth’ (Matthew 5:5). Wouldn’t Jesus have known what He was talking about? Israelites never dreamed of getting lifted from Terra Firma. Why would they? Jesus never spoke to them of such a thing.” 
Is it true that the 12 Apostles and the Jewish believers in Jerusalem knew nothing of a heavenly inheritance? What about Jesus’ promise in John 14? Wasn’t that a promise of heaven? Jesus said:
“In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
Did the Apostles understand the Father’s house to be in heaven? Certainly! Jesus repeatedly referred to His Father as “the Father in heaven” and told them to lay up for themselves treasures in heaven (Matt 6:20). It is very obvious that Peter anticipated a heavenly inheritance in 1Peter 1 where he said:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
So, in this passage we not only see that he and his readers were already born again, but they all anticipated a heavenly inheritance. While it is true that the 12 Apostles will be seated upon 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28), all the mature sons of God who overcame while suffering with Him, will also reign with Him over the mortals in the Millennial earth from our habitation in the Heavenly New Jerusalem in the time of the Manifestation of the mature sons of God (huios), when all of creation will be finally restored (2Tim 2:12; Rom 8:17-23).
Jesus said to the predominately Gentile believers in the Church of Thyatira: “he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations — He shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev 2:26-27). Even father Abraham, although he never saw the promise fulfilled of inheriting the land of Canaan, wasn’t discouraged since he waited in expectation of the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11:10; cf. Jn 14:2-3).
There is so much more that could be said, demonstrating that both Jew and Gentile believers share the same heavenly inheritance, and that the entire Jew/Gentile body of Christ will be co-reigning with Christ over the earth during the Millennium and beyond, not just the 12 Apostles, who will be reigning over the mortal Jews in the land of Israel only. This supposed distinction between two destinies for two groups of believers simply cannot withstand scrutiny.
6. Appointed to Wrath vs. Saved from wrath.
Finally, I would like to briefly consider the claim that Jews who believe Peter’s gospel will experience the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation, whereas those who believe Paul’s gospel are exempt from wrath. In the first place, this assumes that the Church will be raptured before the final tribulation period. I argue for a Postribulational rapture of the Church at the Second Coming of Christ in my book “Focusing in on End-Time Events.”
Here I would just like to point out that no believer for whom Christ died will ever be subjected to the wrath of God, whether they undergo the Tribulation or not. To inflict wrath on any blood-bought saint of God would be double jeopardy. The wrath we are saved from in 1Thessalonians 1:10 and 1Thessalonians 5:9 is the same wrath as that mentioned in Romans 5:9 where Paul says: “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” This is not referring to God’s wrath in the Tribulation, but to His postmortem judgment of the unrepentant (Rom 2:5).
A careful examination of the book of Revelation reveals that the only wrath the saints of God will undergo during the Great Tribulation is the wrath of the Dragon and his Beast (Rev 12:12; 13:7,15).
This blog has already become a small book, so I won’t go into further detail, except to say that the wrath of God is only poured out upon the worshippers of the Beast who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads. God’s people are specifically said to be exempted from His bowls of wrath when they are poured out. In my book “Focusing in on End-Time Events,” I demonstrate this with more detail.
I hope that this series of four blogs will be helpful to those who have become entangled in this complex hyper-dispensational labyrinth, first contrived by E.W. Bullinger in the 19th century and further developed by A.E. Knoch, who was excommunicated from the Plymouth Brethren Movement for his aberrant divisive doctrines which also included the denial of the Trinity and the deity of Christ.
I realize that some are so committed to this two-gospel doctrine that they have reached the point of cognitive dissonance and no amount of reasoning with them from the Scriptures will persuade them otherwise. This series of blogs is primarily directed towards those who are not yet fully cemented in this doctrine, and therefore are still open to consider scriptural arguments opposing it.
 Zender, Martin. The First Idiot in Heaven: Secrets of the Apostle Paul (And why the meek merely inherit the Earth), Loc. 2813, Kindle Edition.
 Zender, Martin. The First Idiot in Heaven: Secrets of the Apostle Paul (And why the meek merely inherit the Earth), Loc. 3231, Kindle Edition.
 Les Feldick – Galatian’s teaching on the two gospels. 12:42 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AxAou-Pn6g&t=2305s
 Zender, Martin. The First Idiot in Heaven: Secrets of the Apostle Paul (And why the meek merely inherit the Earth), Loc. 3156, Kindle Edition.
 Zender, Martin. The First Idiot in Heaven: Secrets of the Apostle Paul (And why the meek merely inherit the Earth), Loc. 127. Kindle Edition.