The 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 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.
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All men who exercise the same faith as Abraham did become heirs of the Covenant promise - “For not through the law does the promise belong to Abraham or to his seed, but through a righteousness from faith” - (Romans 4:13-18).
The Gift of the Spirit received by men and women who exercise faith in Jesus is the “first fruits” of the glorious inheritance they will receive when Jesus next appears.
In the passage from the fourth chapter of Romans, the references to “promise” and “heir” point to future realities – THINGS NOT YET RECEIVED. For Abraham and his “seed,” the inheritance will be nothing less than the entire kosmos, the “world.”
Moreover, God appointed Abraham as the “Father of many nations” because he believed the word of the One WHO RASES THE DEAD, therefore, He granted him “seed” even though Sarah’s womb was “dead.”
Paul’s terms - “heir,” “seed,” “children,” the “raising of the dead” – all anticipate his later discussion in Chapter 8 about the “first fruits of the Spirit,” the bodily resurrection, and the redemption of the creation itself.
In fact, believers are heirs because through faith they have become “coheirs” with Jesus. Moreover, because they now have the “Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead, he that raised Christ Jesus from the dead will quicken their death-doomed bodies through his indwelling Spirit” - (Romans 8:10-11).
Our present mortal bodies are “dead because of sin,” and all men remain subject to death, including believers. But that is not the end of the story, at least, not for the latter group. The Spirit that now dwells in them is the same Spirit that resurrected Jesus from the dead.
In his statement, Paul connects the Gift of the Spirit to the future resurrection and the past resurrection of Jesus. His bodily resurrection, the Spirit, and the future raising of the righteous dead are all inextricably linked. His past resurrection is the basis of our being raised from the dead when he arrives at the end of the age.
If God is to redeem humanity and recover all that was lost to sin and death, redemption must include the physical body and the creation - (Romans 8:15-20).
RESURRECTION & NEW CREATION
Because of Adam’s transgression, all things were subjected to death and decay, and this terrible condition continues to the present hour while we are “awaiting the revelation of the sons of God.” On that day, the “creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.”
Nevertheless, believers can rest assured that they will receive this inheritance since, even now, they have a foretaste of it in the Gift of the Spirit, the “FIRST FRUITS” of the promised inheritance - (Romans 8:21-23).
In agriculture, the “first fruits” of a crop represent the fuller harvest to come. And in this case, the gift of the same “Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead” is the “first fruits” of the “redemption of our bodies.” But it also is a foretaste of the coming “New Heavens and the New Earth,” the redemption of the entire creation.
Thus, Paul links the Gift of the Spirit, the New Creation, and the bodily resurrection. Like Abraham, believers will inherit the New Heavens and Earth, and this will occur when they are raised from the dead.
The Gift of the Spirit is not simply a means of experiencing miraculous or mystical experiences, but the guarantee and foretaste of our inheritance, namely, resurrection life in the New Creation.