Afflicted Disciples

Our natural tendency is to avoid conflict. Understandably, we prefer our daily lives to be characterized by peace, acceptance, and prosperity, a life devoid of difficulties and afflictions. Moreover, the New Testament does promise believers peace now and everlasting life later. Nevertheless, it also exhorts the assembly of God to expect afflictions and even persecution in this life on account of its witness in a sin-darkened world.

Justified From Faith

According to Paul, what identifies God’s people and determines membership in the covenant community is Jesus, especially the Messiah revealed on the cross, and nothing else! That does NOT mean the Mosaic Law serves no purpose, but it is not the basis for determining who is and who is not a redeemed son of God. Right standing before God is based on the “ faith OF Jesus Christ ,” not the “ works of the Law .”

Abolishing Death

The future resurrection of believers is not a major subject in Paul’s “pastoral” letters, but he does raise the subject when dealing with the problem of false teachers in Ephesus. As he states, “ God did not give us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind .” The theme of “ sound teaching ” is prominent in the three pastoral letters, and the future resurrection is a classic example of foundational apostolic doctrines. After all, Jesus “ abolished death ” when God raised him from the dead.

Evidence of Sonship

The Gift of the Spirit among the Galatians demonstrates they are the sons of God and the heirs of the Covenant promises . In his letter, Paul addresses believers who are considering adding circumcision to their faith in Jesus, and in chapters 3 and 4 of the Letter he presents a series of arguments demonstrating why doing so would be disastrous. Included in his arguments are several appeals to the Gift of the Spirit now possessed by the Galatians as evidence of their status as the sons of God and the heirs of Abraham.

The Promises of God

The promises of God find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. “ IN HIM ,” they all become “ yea ” and “ amen .” The things that were once “ hidden ” are revealed in the life, words, death, resurrection, and exaltation of the Son of God, the one in whom all the shadows and types prefigured in the Hebrew Bible become real. All God’s “ mysteries ” are laid bare before all men in the Nazarene.