God) to Jesus (cf. Isa. 45:22–23), but it also calls Jesus “Christ” and “Lord.” On this latter title, Cullmann asserts that it is even loftier than the passages which address Jesus as God, since Lord is the name for God. This allowed Christians to attribute what the Old Testament says about God to Jesus, as evidenced in this passage.^58 Additionally, and even stronger, Jesus is said in verse six to have the same nature or essence as God. Reginald Fuller states that here Jesus is “equal with God.”^59 Cullmann speaks of Jesus’ “identity of form with God,” which shows that he is “equal with God” in his exaltation.^60 Other pre-Pauline creeds also teach the deity of Jesus. Romans 1:3–4 calls Jesus “Son,” “Christ” and “Lord.” First Corinthians 11:23ff., which Joachim Jeremias states “goes back . . . to Jesus himself,”^61 also calls Jesus “Lord.” First Corinthians 15:3ff., perhaps the oldest New Testament creed, calls Jesus “Christ.” It is also significant that these creeds pre-date Paul and extend back to the earliest church, which completely complement Jesus’ own self-claims.
(3) Paul did not teach a new religion. He taught that Christianity was a fulfillment of Judaism (Rom. 10:4, 9–11; Col. 2:16–17), which is what Jesus taught, as well (Matt. 5:18; Luke 16:16–17). (4) Paul also agreed with Jesus as to the nature of the gospel. Both taught that men are sinners (Mark 3:38; Rom. 3:23; 6:23) and that Jesus died, with his shed blood providing atonement for that sin (Matt. 26:28; Mark 10:45; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 5:8). The death and burial of Jesus was completed by his resurrection (Luke 24:46– 47; John 20:25–29; Rom. 10:9). Yet man cannot save himself, but needs God’s grace and leading (Matt. 19:25–26; John 4:44; Eph. 2:8–9), which is imparted through faith and surrender to Christ (Mark 1:15; Rom. 10:9–11). The result is a changed life and commitment (Luke 14:25–35; John 15:1–11; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10). (5) Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13–14). Jesus also taught the disciples to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Matt. 28:19–20; Luke 24:47; John 10:16; Acts 1:8) and that non-Jews would be found in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 8:11–12; John 17:20). These teachings are actually the fulfillment of Old Testament promises (Gen. 12:3; Isa. 19:18–25), not a new doctrine. (6) Paul’s message of the gospel was both checked and approved by the original apostles (Gal. 2:1–10), providing official recognition that his message was not opposed to that of Jesus. It was also shown earlier that Paul’s epistles were accepted as Scripture immediately after being written (2 Pet. 3:15–16; Clement of Rome; Ignatius and Polycarp).