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.
Because of his faith, the Patriarch became the “heir of the world,” the kosmos, a promise which, from the beginning, envisioned something beyond the limited territory of Palestine or the small nation of Israel.
|[Photo by EVGEN SLAVIN on Unsplash]
All men who exercise the same faith as Abraham become heirs of the covenant promises, and the Gift of the Spirit is the “First Fruits” of the inheritance they will receive when Jesus next appears, including the bodily resurrection:
- “For not through the Law does the promise belong to Abraham or to his seed, that he should be heir of the WORLD (kosmos), but through a righteousness from faith” - (Romans 4:13-18).
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.”
God appointed him as the “Father of many nations” because he believed the word of the One WHO RAISES 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 of Romans about the “First Fruits of the Spirit,” the bodily resurrection, and the redemption of the creation itself from bondage to death.
Believers are heirs because through faith they become “coheirs” with Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God, and because they receive the “Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead. He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will quicken their death-doomed bodies through his indwelling Spirit” - (Romans 8:10-11).
Our mortal bodies are “dead because of sin,” and all men remain subject to decay and 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 raised Jesus from the dead.
Thus, Paul connects the Gift of the Spirit to the future resurrection and the past resurrection of Jesus, which, along with the Spirit and the future resurrection, are inextricably linked. His past resurrection is the basis for the raising of his followers when he returns to “gather his elect from the four corners of the Earth” - (Matthew 24:31).
If God will redeem humanity and recover all that was lost to sin and death, redemption must include the physical body and the entire universe, the Cosmos- (Romans 8:15-20).
RESURRECTION & NEW CREATION
Because of Adam’s transgression, all things were subjected to death and decay. This terrible plight continues to the present hour while we “await the revelation of the sons of God.” When that does occur, the “creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.”
In the interim, believers can rest assured they will receive the inheritance since, even now, they have a foretaste of it from the Spirit, the “FIRST FRUITS” of the promised inheritance - (Romans 8:21-23).
In agriculture, the presentation of the “first fruits” represents the full harvest yet to come. In this case, the Gift of the same “Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead” is the “First Fruits” of the coming “redemption of our bodies.” It also is a foretaste of the “New Heavens and the New Earth,” the redemption of the creation.
|[Photo by Mier Chen on Unsplash]
Thus, Paul links the Gift of the Spirit, the New Creation, and the bodily resurrection. Like Abraham, believers will inherit all this when they are raised from the dead following the arrival of Jesus “on the clouds of Heaven.”
The Gift Spirit is not simply a means of experiencing the supernatural or mystical experiences, but it is the guarantee as well as the foretaste of the believer’s inheritance, especially, resurrection life in the New Creation.
- Resurrection and New Creation - (Paul links the bodily resurrection of believers to the New Creation, and both events are part of the promised redemption – Romans 8:1-23)
- Life through His Spirit - (Paul describes his gospel in Romans from humanity's plight due to sin to the resurrection of the dead through Jesus of Nazareth)
- Earnest of the Inheritance - (Believers are the heirs of Abraham, and the possession of their inheritance is secured and guaranteed by the Gift of the Spirit.)