Prior to his ascension, Jesus told his disciples to “tarry” or wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. In some churches, this command has become a doctrine applicable to all or most Christians – that the believer must “tarry” before the Lord for extended periods in prayer and even fasting until his or her mind or spirit enters a stage more conducive to God’s Spirit before receiving the gift of the Spirit.Continue reading
Gift of the Spirit
The Ends of the Ages
The Apostle links the start of the “last days” with the death and resurrection of the Son of God. The time of fulfillment has arrived, and all God’s promises now find their “yea and amen” in him. “In these last days,” God has “spoken” His definitive “word” in His Son.
And Paul declares that the church consists of those men and women upon whom the “ends of the ages have come.” While the term “last days” is not frequent in his letters, the Apostle does demonstrate his understanding that History’s final era has commenced with the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; therefore, nothing will ever be the same again.Continue reading
Having Begun in the Spirit
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul addresses a growing danger. Certain “men from Jerusalem” claim that Gentiles must keep the deeds of the Mosaic Law to “complete” their faith, or at least, some of them. They are “compelling Gentiles to Judaize” by adopting circumcision, calendrical observances, and perhaps the Levitical dietary restrictions.
Paul would have none of it. Unlike his other letters, this time, his opening salutation was curt, and he immediately chastised the Galatians and launched into a diatribe against the Judaizing faction from Jerusalem.Continue reading
The Spirit of 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.
Since his Gentile converts received the Spirit while uncircumcised, it follows that circumcision is not a requirement for right standing before God or membership in His new covenant people – (Galatians 3:1-5).Continue reading
First Fruit of the Resurrection
Paul presents Abraham as the great exemplar of faith. God counted his faith as “righteousness” when he was yet uncircumcised, and that means He justified him apart from the “works of the Law.” Therefore, he 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.
Because of his faith, the patriarch became the “heir of the world,” the kosmos, a promise which from the beginning envisioned something far greater than the tiny territory of Palestine or the small nation of Israel.Continue reading