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 react, especially when persecuted by the State? Is resorting to expressions of anger or acts of civil disobedience appropriate? Or should they instead emulate Jesus of Nazareth? In his teachings, he warns that all men who decide to follow him will experience “ tribulation ,” and he summons his disciple to follow the same path that he did (“ If they persecuted me, so they will persecute you ”).

From Plight to Solution

In his Letter to the Romans , Paul argues from plight to solution. The Gospel 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 provides salvation, the solution to the desperate plight of all men, and one that is available to all on the same basis - “ from the faith of Jesus Christ .” And this “ Good News ” was promised beforehand in the Hebrew scriptures.

The Faithfulness of God

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 the Gospel, this “ righteousness ” is being proclaimed throughout the earth to “ Jews and Greeks ” alike. Salvation is now available for all men through the “ faith of Jesus Christ ,” His “ Righteous One ” (“ From faith to 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.