Spirit and Covenant

From the start, the promise of the Spirit has been integral to redemption and the Covenant of God with His people .  In  Galatians , Paul links the “ promise of the Spirit ” to the “ blessing of Abraham ,” the covenant promise that God would bless the Gentiles in the Patriarch. He is referring to the Spirit that the Galatians received “ through a hearing of faith .” Thus, the gift of the Spirit is part of the covenant made with Abraham, and with “ his seed ” - [ Photo by  David Brooke Martin  on Unsplash ].

City Built by God

The city “whose builder and founder” is God is none other than the New Jerusalem John saw “descending from heaven” – Revelation 21:24-22:5 .  The book of  Revelation  concludes with a portrait of the immense and glorious city of “ New Jerusalem ” populated by the “ innumerable multitude ” of men redeemed from every nation by the “ Lamb ,” the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant promises to Abraham - “ land ” and “ blessings to all the nations of the earth ” - [ Vancouver Skyline - Photo by  Mike Benna  on Unsplash ].

Two Final Events

The New Testament warns several times of coming deceivers and apostasy in the days prior to the return of Jesus .  The Apostle Paul described two things that must occur before the “ Day of the Lord ” when Jesus will gather his elect – the “ apostasy ” and the “ revelation  of the man of lawlessness .” And in his second letter to the Thessalonians, the two events are inextricably linked, for the goal of the “ lawless one ” is to deceive believers - [ Church in Storm - Photo by  Dominique Josse  on Unsplash ].

Righteousness and Wrath - Present and Future

Just as sinners await the future judgment of God, so believers wait to receive their full salvation at the resurrection  –  Romans 1:16-23 .  In  Romans , Paul introduced the “ gospel ” that he was proclaiming to the Christians residing in the city of Rome. This “ glad message ” was promised centuries earlier in the Hebrew scriptures, a message concerning the Messiah, the Son of God, which has now been revealed to all the nations in Jesus Christ - both to “ Jew and Greek ” - [ Photo by  Jonny Gios  on  Unsplash ]

Until the Day of Christ

Paul exhorted the church to pursue perfection, a process that will culminate in the resurrection on the Day of Christ   –   Philippians 3:7-21 .  In his opening thanksgiving, Paul prepares his readers for a key theme of the letter, the pursuit of “ perfection ”  until the day that Jesus arrives in glory, the “ Day of Christ .” They will be made complete when they are resurrected on that day. In Paul’s view, resurrection is an integral part of the salvation that believers receive when Jesus appears - [ Photo by  Zac Durant  on  Unsplash ].

Spiritual Warfare

Christians wage spiritual “warfare” through right conduct and by emulating the example of Jesus .  Today, “spiritual warfare” is a popular topic and features prominently in popular preaching. The basic idea is derived from a passage Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus - “ Our  wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities  and  powers …  against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places ." But what exactly did he mean by  “spiritual warfare”?  - [ Photo by Henry Hustava on  Unsplash ].