Enter His Rest

The Letter continues with its analogy to  Israel’s rebellion  in the wilderness, thereby summoning believers not to make the same error of unbelief and fail to enter God’s “ rest .” In the desert, Yahweh decreed that the generation of Israelites that fled from Egypt would not enter the Promised Land. And so, disciples of Jesus who fail to “ hold fast the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end ” will face a similar fate. They will not inherit the promises of God.

Mercy and Enemies

The reality of persecution raises important questions. How should disciples of Jesus react, especially when persecuted by the State? Is resorting to anger or acts of civil disobedience appropriate, or should they instead emulate examples from the life of Christ? In his teachings, he warned that all men who decide to follow him would experience “ tribulation ,” and he summoned them to follow his path (“ If they persecuted me, so they will persecute you ”).

Plight to Solution

In his Letter to the Romans , the Apostle Paul argues from plight to solution. The Gospel that he proclaims is the “ power of God for salvation .” Due to sin, two forces are at work in the world – Righteousness and Wrath . In his Son, God has provided the solution to the desperate plight of all men that is now available to all on the same basis - “ from the faith of Jesus Christ .” Moreover, this “ Good News ” was promised beforehand in the Hebrew scriptures and is now being fulfilled as the Gospel is preached.

The Faithfulness of God

The righteousness of God refers to His faithfulness to fulfill His promises, and this is demonstrated by the salvation He has provided in Jesus .  In his Letter to the Romans , Paul stresses the “ righteousness of God ” that is revealed whenever the Gospel is proclaimed. It is the “ power of God for salvation to everyone who believes .” Moreover, in this message, His “ righteousness ” is being proclaimed throughout the Earth, to “ Jews and Greeks ” alike. Salvation is now available to all men through the “ faith of Jesus Christ ,” His “ Righteous One ” (“ From faith for faith… My Righteous One will live from faith ”).

Do All Speak in Tongues?

Assuming that speaking in tongues is the sole “sign” of receiving the gift of the Spirit creates a problem. In 1 Corinthians, Paul indicates that not all believers do, in fact, speak in tongues, but elsewhere, he teaches that believers have God’s Spirit. And if they do not, they are not true disciples of Jesus.

Lawless One Paralyzed

Jesus will deal with the “ Lawless One ” at his “ arrival ” or Parousia . In describing this, Paul employs language from Daniel’s vision of the “ little horn speaking great things ,” originally, an image representing the Seleucid ruler who attempted to destroy the Jewish faith and nation through deceit and persecution.