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 Gives Life

In Galatia, “ false brethren ” were preaching “ another gospel ” that pressured Gentiles to get circumcised, and otherwise, to conform to the regulations of the Law. Paul would have none of it, and he responded with a series of arguments, including an appeal to the receipt of the Spirit by uncircumcised Gentile believers.

The Spirit and Resurrection

In  Romans , Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith. God counted his faith as “ righteousness ” when he was yet uncircumcised. This means that He justified the Patriarch apart from the “ works of the Law ,” and so, he became the father of all men who are also “ from faith ,” the “ faith of Jesus Christ .” Circumcision was added after the promise as the “ seal ” of Abraham’s justifying faith and the “ sign ” of the Covenant.

An Incomplete Salvation

The biblical faith is forward-looking and integral to its doctrine of salvation is the future resurrection of the righteous dead, an event that will also mark the commencement of the New Creation. In the New Testament, this hope is linked to two events. First, the past resurrection of Jesus, and second, his future arrival at the end of the age. Moreover, the church’s salvation will remain incomplete until Jesus raises the dead, transforms all those still alive, and then “ gathers ” all his saints to himself.

Singular Event

Jesus will return from Heaven to the Earth 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 and punishment of the ungodly, the resurrection and vindication of the righteous, the unveiling of the New Creation, and the termination of Death itself. Thus, it will be an event of  GREAT FINALITY .