The Neronian Problem

The Bible claims that God gives political power to whomever He pleases, “ even to the basest of men .” He “ removes kings and installs kings ” to accomplish His purposes, including rulers of whom many church leaders and members may disapprove. Disciples of Jesus who assume that certain politicians should hold governmental power presume on God’s patience and prerogative, and this is especially problematic in Western-style democratic societies.

The Mind of Christ

In his  Letter to the Philippians , the Apostle Paul points to the obedience of Jesus “ unto death ” as the model for proper conduct by his disciples. His willing submission to death on the Roman cross sets the pattern for his followers, both for their conduct and mindset. And his subsequent elevation to reign over all things is the result of his submission to “ death upon a cross ,” for exaltation does not precede death, it follows it.

The Spirit of Life

The Gift of the Spirit is clear evidence that a person has been justified by God and made a part of His covenant people. In Galatia, “ false brethren ” were preaching “ another gospel ,” one that claimed Gentiles must be circumcised to “ complete ” their faith. Paul would have none of it, and he appealed to the presence of the Spirit among uncircumcised Gentiles as proof positive of their justification and acceptance by God.

Spirit and Resurrection

The Apostle Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith. God counted his faith as “ righteousness ” when he was yet uncircumcised, and that meant He justified him apart from the “ works of the Law .” He thereby became the father of all men who are also “ from faith .” Circumcision was added after the promise as the “ seal ” of Abraham’s justifying faith.

Incomplete Salvation

The biblical faith is forward-looking and foundational to its doctrine of salvation is the future resurrection of the righteous dead. That event will also mark the arrival of the New Creation. The New Testament links this to two events. First, the past Resurrection of Jesus. Second, his future arrival at the end of the age. Our salvation remains incomplete without our resurrection.

A Singular Event

Jesus will return from Heaven at the “ end ” of the present age accompanied by great power and glory. His “ arrival ” or  Parousia  will result in the consummation of the Kingdom of God, the judgment of the ungodly, the resurrection and vindication of the righteous, the unveiling of the New Creation, and the termination of Death. Thus, the coming of the “ Son of Man on the Clouds ” will be an event of  GREAT FINALITY .