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30. Faith and the Power of Christ’s Resurrection

– Chapter 30 –

Faith and the Power of Christ’s Resurrection

That I may gain Christ, and may be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own … but that which is through faith in Christ … that I may know him, and the power of his resurrect­ion, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead. (Phil.3:8-11)

The story of Faust

Operatic dramas are performed all over the world, and one of the most famous is a story which has intrigued people for many genera­tions. The name “Faust” is familiar to anyone who enjoys literature. There are several versions of this story, the best known of which is the one by the famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1808. It is a story of a cer­tain Dr. Faust, a philosopher, whom Satan has ensnared by offering him youth, know­ledge, and the pleasures of this world.

What do people want in the world? They want wealth, status, good health, and a love life. These things are easier to acquire when one has youth, because when you get too old, love may be hard to find, and you may be running out of time to enjoy your riches.

Faust, like most people, longed for the things that his learning in philo­sophy could not get him. The old story of Faust sums up the deep yearn­ings in man’s heart. It also tells of Satan’s cunning in dang­ling a bait in front of him; Satan takes advantage of man’s long­ings, using them to gain control over him and bring about his ruin. In the great temptation, Satan showed Jesus the glorious kingdoms of the world, and said to him: “All these things I will give you, if you fall down and worship me” (Mt.4:8-9).

Satan has an attractive deal for us too. If we are willing to give him some honor and surrender our lives to him, he would be happy to give us many things in return. Yes, even wealth, position, and whatever it takes to turn our hearts away from God and eter­nal things. As Satan would explain it to you, spiritual things are airy-fairy whereas the things in the world are real and concrete. He does not tell you, of course, that the world is quickly passing away.

The university diploma feels very real in your hands. You can touch the vellum and see in exquisite calligraphy the words Bachelor of Arts, or Master of Science, or, as in the case of Faust, Doctor of Philosophy. But at the end of the road, will that piece of paper have any value? Of what help will it be to us when we stand at the gates of God’s eternal kingdom?

But that does not deter Satan from making us an attractive offer, and he has a way of making things look appealing. Make no mistake about it, if we choose the world rather than God, Satan has the resources to give us all these things.

And Satan offers these good things to Faust: “I have a fabulous deal for you, similar to the one I offered Jesus many years ago. He is admittedly very intelligent, but not as clever as you, Dr. Faust, for he turned down my offer. But you, being more sensible and intelligent, can see the excellence of my offer.”

Faust’s ego is inflated by the lavish praise that Satan heaps upon him. So Faust says, “I am ready to negotiate. But Satan, I know that you are tricky. Long ago I read in the Bible that you are smart and cunning like a serpent. But don’t you forget that I am a Doctor of Philosophy! Just now you rightly acknow­ledged my intelligence. Before I sign on the dotted line, I want some assurance that I can enjoy these things, otherwise at the very in­stant I swallow the bait, the hook pulls me out of the water. I want some time to relish the bait. And when it’s over, I am ready for the frying pan.”

So he signs a deal with Satan who in the story appears as a man called Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles says to Faust, “Here’s the deal. I give you all these things, plus some time to enjoy them, but when you die, your soul belongs to me.” Faust replies, “Why should I care about the soul or the spiritual side of me? So long as I enjoy life in this world here and now, why should I care about what happens after I die?”

Does that sound familiar to you? That is ex­actly how the worldly man thinks. “Who cares what happens after I die? I don’t know and I don’t care whether the resurrection is real or not. I am a practical man who lives for today. If Satan wants to take my soul after I die, he can have it, so long as I enjoy life right now. ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’ (Isa.22:13; 1Cor.15:32)”.

Have similar thoughts crossed your mind? Do you see Dr. Faust as a reflection of yourself? For all his learning in philosophy, Faust was short­sighted in his thinking. “My life is going to end anyway, so who cares about what happens after that? If I roast in Satan’s frying pan, that’s fine with me. He’s a roaring lion in search of someone to devour. He can have my corpse when I am done with this life. But right now I want to enjoy riches, honor, and love!”

In the story of Faust, there is a beautiful girl he wants to marry. In some versions of Faust, she gets rescued in the end, and does not share Faust’s fate. Whereas Faust is taken away by Satan, Marguerite goes to be with the Lord.

Whether Faust gets to marry her or not is not the main point in this story. The main point is that he wants to enjoy the good things of the world, the very things that the people of the world universally desire, things such as happiness, prosperity, enjoyment, health and longevity. Faust wants all these things in the world, and who can offer them to him — in exchange for his life — but Satan? Are you willing to accept that offer and make the exchange? Satan doesn’t give something for nothing. The deal is: Enjoy now, pay later.

Satan’s chess game with mankind

Satan is playing a chess game with you and me, and he is rather good at it. If you want to beat him at chess, you would have to work very hard because he has had thousands of years of practice. In fact, no chess player in this world can beat Satan at this game.

If you go to Paris, be sure to visit the famous museum called the Louvre. In the museum is an intriguing painting of Faust playing chess with Mephistopheles, who is Satan in human form. The painting shows Mephistopheles on the verge of making the final move — Checkmate! — on Faust. Faust is not just losing a chess game, he is about to lose his soul. As the Lord says, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Faust exchanged his soul, his whole spiritual being, for transient goods and is about to be checkmated.

As the story goes, one day a great chess player visited the Louvre, and went straight­away to this painting of Faust playing chess with Satan. As he was studying the painting and analyzing the chess posit­ions, he suddenly cried out, “Satan, not so fast! There is yet one more move that could save Faust!” It was a move that could turn the game around and rescue Faust. Apparently the chess master saw a move that Faust — and the painter — had not seen.

Humankind as a whole is alienated from God, greedy for material gain, and is in the position of being checkmated by Satan. In this game of pursuing what the world has to offer and of enjoying the pleas­ures of sin, Satan maneuvers us into a checkmate situation with no way out. The pieces are being taken off the chessboard of life one by one. Satan is playing simultaneous chess with all of mankind, and he is taking them off one after another. If you think you can beat Satan, then you obviously don’t know your situation, or Satan’s cunning, or the high stakes of this game of life.

The resurrection of Christ

Then the Son of God appears. He surveys the chessboard, and sees a near-checkmate situation. Man’s situation appears to be hopeless, but the Lord sees one move that will turn the situation around and save us. And what is that move? It is the death and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God.

Christ’s death and resurrection are the two parts of one integrated work of God for the salvation of mankind. There would be no resurrection without death; on the other hand, a death that is not followed by resurrection would leave us with a dead savior who won’t be able to save anyone from sin and death. This integrated event of Christ’s death and Christ’s resur­rection is God’s move on the chess­board of human life, His masterstroke to secure our redemp­tion.

In discussing this question of the resurrection, I won’t be going into the historical details of the resurrection or the apologetical argu­ments for it. Those inter­ested in these matters can consult books such as Frank Morison’s Who Moved the Stone? which are helpful in demon­strating the historicity of the resurrection.

Jesus rose from the dead and is very much alive. But the founders of the other great religions still have their burial places and occu­pied tombs. Muhammad is buried in Medina. Various parts of Buddha’s body are kept in several places; one tooth is kept in a great pagoda in Rangoon, Myanmar. They are revered in the acknowledgment that Buddha was a great man. But he is dead and buried, and his body remains in the world.

Great religious leaders come and go, and their tombs are still with us. But nowhere in the world can you find a tomb of Jesus except an empty one.

Believing in the resurrection

How do we know that Jesus is risen? How can we experience the power of his resurrection? If we don’t experience it, we can’t possibly believe in the resur­rection except as intellectual assent.

Believing in the resurrection of Christ is crucial to our salvation. The apostle Paul says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Do you truly believe that Jesus was raised from the dead? It is not enough to say to yourself, “I’ve just read an interesting book on the resur­rection. Judging from the evidence, I conclude that Jesus did rise from the dead. In any case, I live in a Christian country, and the story of the resurrection has been drummed into my head ever since I was knee-high to a grass­hopper. That story is part of our Christian tradition.” Since when is salvation based on a cultural tradition?

Many in Christendom have heard the story of the resurrection so often, usually from their childhood, that they do not disbelieve it. But not disbelieving is not the same as believing. Many are stranded in the spiritual destitution of the “no man’s land” between not disbe­lieving on the one hand and not truly believing on the other.

Salvation according to Romans 10:9 de­pends on two things: First, “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord”. Second, “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead”. These two things are inseparable because a dead Jesus cannot be the living Lord of our lives.

Romans 10:9 does not ask us to believe in Jesus’ resurrection merely as a historical fact that we accept with our intell­ect, but to “believe in your heart,” in the very depth of our being. What goes into the heart affects us at the deepest level of our being. Believing in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead will lead to God’s resurrection power working in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

But if we only believe in our minds that Jesus’ resurrection is a historical fact, then we are no better off than Satan who also be­lieves in the resur­rection, being a first-hand witness of the event, yet trem­bles every time he thinks of it. “You believe that God is one; you do well; the demons also believe — and shudder” (James 2:19).

Three vital aspects of saving faith in connection to Christ’s resurrection

We will be saved if we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. The connection that we see here, that between faith and the resur­rection, has three aspects.

First aspect of saving faith: The resurrection as God’s promise

The first aspect of faith, as it pertains to the resurrection, is this: By faith we take hold of God’s promise of resurrection. If we don’t take this step, the resur­rection would be nothing more to us than a great historical event. That kind of intellectual faith does not save anyone.

To be saved, you must recognize that the resurrection of Christ is God’s promise to you, and that you make it your own by faith. The resurrection of Christ avails for you and for me only if we receive it into our hearts by faith.

What kind of faith? The word “faith” is used rather loosely today. We have faith in the bus driver, or faith that the airplane will fly us safely to London, Frankfurt, or Hong Kong.

Saving faith rests securely on the word of God or the act of God — in this case Christ’s resurrection — as a promise. The resurrect­ion would be meaningless to us unless it is God’s promise to us. We must recog­nize that Jesus died and was raised for your sake and mine.

It was when Abraham believed God’s promise to him that it was “counted to him for righteousness” (Rom.4:22); he believed because he was “fully convinced that God was able” to do it (v.21).

Do we have a faith that believes that God can and did raise Jesus from the dead, and that He did it for us? If not, then we do not really believe that He is able to save us from sin and death.

If we believe that the resurrection is God’s promise to us, it will become our hope. Faust had no hope. He studied the chess pieces and saw a checkmate coming. In a desperate attempt to save himself, he analyzed his predica­ment with all the skills at his dis­posal, but to no avail.

Promise leads to hope. When a couple is about to get married, you can see the sparkle in their eyes. Living in the hope of marriage makes every day oh-so-bright whether it rains or shines. Does that not express what hope is about? We as the church have been betrothed to Christ (2Cor.11:2), and we look forward with expectat­ion to the “marriage of the Lamb” (Rev.19:7-9).

But before we can talk about hope, there must be faith. At least you must believe that the other person will show up on the wed­ding day! Imagine being left at the altar by yourself, with your hopes dashed to pieces. Unfortunately, this sort of thing does happen in real life when one party gets cold feet. The promise col­lapses, and hope disappears.

Abraham: In hope against hope

When Paul speaks of believing in the resur­rection, he has in mind the faith of Abraham whom he calls “the father of all who believe” (Romans 4:11). Abraham is the example of faith par excellence.

In the space of five chapters, Romans 4 to 8, Paul uses the word “hope” nine times.[1] One of these occurrences is: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” (Romans 4:18, NIV)

Abraham had no son to bear his name, yet Yahweh promised him that he will be the father of many nations; his descendants will be as the stars of the heavens and the sand of the sea. But how is it possible to fulfill such a promise? Yet by faith Abraham was “fully convinced” that God’s word is reliable and His promise will never fail.

Abraham “hoped against hope” for there were no human grounds for hope. He was already one hundred years old, but the greater diffi­culty lay in the fact that Sarah was ninety years old (Gen.17:17; 21:5), and had never given birth. Yet Abraham believed in a God “who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist” (Romans 4:17) — he believed in the resurrect­ion!

Abraham and Sarah were as good as dead in terms of their reprod­uctive capacity (Rom.4:19; Heb.11:12); yet Abraham hoped against hope, trusting in God’s promise. He placed his hope in God when there was not a shred of hope to be found on the human level.

Do we trust God’s promise of resur­rection? Do we believe in our hearts, on the basis of God’s word, that Jesus rose from the dead for us? In the same five chap­ters, Romans 4 to 8, Paul refers to the resurrection of Jesus ten times, using words such as “resur­rection” or “raise”. If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead for you, then through him you will defeat Satan in the chess match of life.

Second point: The promise affects our lives

The second point about faith, as it pertains to the resurrection, is this: If you take hold of God’s promise, it will bring forth profound and blessed changes to your life.

Abraham was almost a hundred years old, and Sarah was ninety, when God said, “I make you a promise. At about this time next year, you are going to have a son.” The promised child was to be born in twelve months’ time! It takes nine months to go from conception to birth. Soon after God had said these words, all kinds of remarkable changes would be taking place in their bodies, especially Sarah’s. God’s life-giving power was about to take effect in them. To say that their “youth is renewed as the eagle’s” (Ps.103:5) would, in this case, be something of an understatement! Though, certainly, what God did in the lives of Abraham and Sarah will serve as a commentary and an illustration of these words of the Psalmist.

God did a life-giving miracle in Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was barren since her youth, unable to conceive. To fulfill His pro­mise, God had to do the impossible: bring about a transformation in their bodies of a kind that is equivalent to resurrection — bringing forth life from the dead. And when we take hold of God’s promise that Jesus rose from the dead for us, there will be pro­found changes in our lives.

Have you ever slept on your arm in an awkward position and the arm feels dead? You pinch it but there is no sensation. This has happened to me once or twice. I woke up only to discover that I could not lift my arm. The blood circulation was constricted, so there was no sensation when I touched my arm. But when life flows back into your arm, you start to feel “pins and needles”. Slowly it comes back to life! I wonder what Abraham and Sarah felt when God’s life-giving promise began to take effect in their bodies!

This is the dynamic Christian life that we find in the Bible. When we receive God’s promise of the resurrection into our hearts, we begin to exper­ience His power that effects deep things in our lives. Christ’s resurrection life is applied to us by the Spirit and results in the “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) in our spirits.

This new life continues to be active in us until the final bodily resurrection from the dead, when “this mortal will have put on immortality” (1Cor.15:53,54). That is when “the Lord Jesus Christ will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the [resurrection] body of his glory” (Phil.3:20,21).

This is God’s resurrection promise to us, our hope, and it calls for faith in Him “who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist” (Romans 4:17).

In the newness of life, we now experience God’s resurrection power at work in us, just as Abraham and Sarah noticed changes in their bodies in preparation for the birth of the pro­mised son. Like the arm that is coming back to life, the spiritual “corpse” will start to feel the tingling sensation of a return to life.

Having a new sensitivity to good and evil, we feel a stinging sensa­tion in our con­science. Previously you thought nothing about sinning, but now, because God’s power has come into your life, your conscience is pricked by a spiritual “pins and needles”. A powerful con­vict­ion of sin drives you to repentance. This is the evidence that God’s resurrect­ion power is bringing you back to life. The inner conviction compels you to kneel before God, and to say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner! Forgive me my sins and my self-righteous­ness” Even if you were not religious before, now you are overpowered by the Spirit’s conviction. What moves people to confess their sins in public? Is it not the pins and needles of a convicted con­science that is becoming aware of the living God?

1. Promise leads to joy

Those who experience God’s life-giving power have joy in their spirit. There is a sparkle in the eye, a confidence in the step, a sense of purpose in their lives. We see this in people who are about to get married, for whom every day is charged with hope and joy. Long-married people tend to forget these happy memories, which become covered with the dust of time. When you experience God’s power, there will be a spring in your step and a sparkle in your eye, even more so than when you get married!

Hope leads to joy (Rom.12:12). I smile when I think of Abraham and Sarah. Can you imagine Sarah getting pregnant at the age of ninety? If you think you are old, you are still young as far as Sarah is concerned. Yes, at the age of ninety she is getting bigger with a child! Exactly as God had promised Abraham, life is flourishing in a “dead” body and will soon come forth to be a blessing to the nations. Abraham looks at Sarah, and day by day she is mov­ing closer to the fulfillment. What joy God was bringing to their lives!

We can imagine Abraham saying, “God is so real! In my hundred years, I had no child to bear my name. But one day Yahweh said to me, ‘Abraham, next year you are going to have a son.’ I laughed because God is humorous. Imagine having a child at the age of one hundred!” It is the laughter of joy. Abraham laughs (Gen.17:17) not because he doubts God but because he thinks that God is humor­ous for choosing the age of one hundred to give him the promised child.

Doing the impossible is the hallmark of God’s work. In doing that which is impossible, He certifies it is His work, for only He can do it. This is the more necessary because of man’s unbelieving character. What do I mean? If God had fulfilled the promise early in Abraham’s life, would Abraham be certain it was something that God did rather than a mere natural birth?

Let’s say that Sarah gave birth at the age of fifty. This would be considered almost impossible. Seventy would be certainly impossi­ble. As for ninety, few women live to that age in ancient times, so the im­possibility would be so absolute as to be beyond any shadow of doubt.

2. The raising of Lazarus from the dead

It is like the case of Lazarus. When Jesus was informed that Lazarus was seriously ill, Jesus did not go to heal him, but waited several days. It was only after Lazarus had died and was buried that Jesus went to Lazarus’ home in Bethany. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days (Jn.11:17). What was the purpose of the delay? It was “for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified” (v.4). In what way would God be glorified? By doing the impossible: raising Lazarus from the dead.

Healing Lazarus would also have been a miracle. But it is the life-giving miracle of creation (God “calls into existence the things which do not exist,” Rom.4:17) and resurrection (giving “life to the dead,” Rom.4:17) that can be described as bearing the unique hall­mark of God’s work. They are His signature, done by God “through” Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 2:22). Jesus declares, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

Jesus’ delay in going to Lazarus was intended to strengthen the faith of the disciples. As he told them explicitly, it was “so that you may believe” (v.15). We need to remember this whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation, with no help from God in sight. But when the situation finally becomes impossible, He will act. There will then be no doubt about who did it, leading to great joy and thanksgiving.

God is doing a great work in those who belong to Him. He will raise us up bodily on the day of resurrection. But even at this present time, we already experience His resurrection power working in us on the spiritual level of our lives.

3. Are our lives a message of the resurrection?

Do we allow God to transform us to the extent that we have the Abra­hamic quality in our lives? Look at the average Christian today. Do you see a sparkle in his eye, or a spring in his step? If not, how can he inspire anyone to want to know Christ? Then think of Abraham and Sarah, and the impact they made on their com­munity, and even on the world. Everyone will be talking about them: “Have you heard about the woman who became pregnant at the age of ninety? She and her husband are as lively as teenagers!”

My grandmother lived to her ninetieth year. Was there a gleam in her eye, or a spring in her step? She was generally alert and reasonably healthy for her age even up to the end, but her eyesight had faded by then and she was frail. Now try to imagine a woman who is about to give birth at that age. This is unpre­cedented in the history of the world. The whole nation, indeed the whole world, will take note of it. Can we see its significance? It means that Abraham and Sarah have become a sign to the worlda sign of the resurrection — which proclaims that God is the God who brings forth life from death.

Every Christian is to be a sign of the resurrec­tion to the world. That wouldn’t be possible unless we experience God’s resurrection power in our own lives. Then people around us will ask, “What is this hope and joy that is in you?” “Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

People must have bombarded Abraham and Sarah with quest­ions about her pregnancy. Abraham and Sarah, in giving their testimony, were preaching the gospel to their generation.

Is there anything in our lives that catches people’s attention? Has God’s power ever touched your life and made you different? Has any­one ever said to you, “There is something different about you”? If your colleagues or classmates don’t ask you such questions, we can rightly ask, Has God done anything in your life? If we have not exper­ienced the power of the resurrection here and now, what gives us the confidence that God will raise us up from the dead on that Day?

When Paul speaks of our being raised with Christ, he often uses the past tense to emphasize that it is already a reality in us (e.g., Eph.2:6; Col.2:12; 3:1). And who gets the praise and glory? God gets all the credit. No one gives the credit to Abraham or Sarah for the miracle in their lives because only God’s power could have done it.

Third: We channel God’s resurrection power to others

The third point about faith, as it pertains to the resurrection, is this: The resurrection is not just a reality we experience, but something we channel to others. If we are not a channel of God’s resurrection life, which is the new life in Christ, then our faith is defective. God’s promise is not given to us to cater to our selfishness. We are not an end in ourselves but a channel of salva­tion to others. God gave Abraham a promise not just for Abraham’s sake, but that all the nations may be blessed through him (Genesis 22:18).

We do not live for ourselves or die for ourselves. “He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2Cor.5:15). If we are living for ourselves, then we are merely Christians in name and have not experienced freedom from sin and the self.

This point on channeling our new resurrection life is related to the previous point on how resurrection changes your life. God’s resur­rection power changes the whole focus of our lives, from the egocentric preoccu­pation with “me, myself, and I,” to a concern for others.

On the day when we stand in God’s presence, will anyone say to us, “May God be praised for the day I met you, for you were the chan­nel of His blessings to me”? Or will we depart from the world without having been a blessing to anyone? Jesus says:

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). And “He who believes in me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” (7:38)

God will make us a channel of blessing to others. The Greek word koilia (κοιλία, stomach, belly), here translated “innermost being,” has strong corres­pondence to Genesis 15:4 where God says to Abraham, “He that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir”. This is KJV’s literal rendering of the Hebrew word as “bowels”. Other translat­ions regard the word “bowels” as inelegant, and generalize it to “body”. The Septuagint (an important Greek transla­tion of the Old Testament) generalizes it even further to “you” (“out of you”).

Significantly, the Hebrew word mē‘eh (מֵעֶה, inward parts, bowels) in Genesis 15:4 corresponds exactly to the Greek koilia in meaning. As every linguist knows, words from different languages seldom corres­pond to each other exactly. An English word and a Chinese word may overlap in meaning, but seldom are they identical in all their nuances and shades of meaning. Remarkably, the Greek koilia in John 7:38 corresponds exactly to the Hebrew word in Genesis 15:4. The Hebrew mē‘eh can mean the belly, the womb, or the heart. These cover all the three meanings of koilia.

It is this promise — that the world will be blessed through the seed that came from Abraham’s “inward parts” (mē‘eh or koilia) — which is given in Genesis 22:18: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice”. Ultimately, the fulfill­ment of this promise, as Paul points out, is in the person of Christ; he is the pro­mised “seed” of Abraham and the one who brings blessing to all nations (Galat­ians 3:16; cf.v.8).

“So those who have faith are blessed with Abraham, the man of faith” (v.9). In what sense are those who have faith “blessed with Abraham”? One important way is that like Abraham, from our inner­most being will flow rivers of living water to bring God’s life to a parched world (John 7:38). When Jesus portrays believers as rivers of living water, a spiritual equivalent of Genesis 15:4 is intended. Hence John 7:38 is a prophetic promise to the believer in the same way that Genesis 15:4 was a prophetic promise to Abraham.

A sequence of how the nations of the earth will be blessed because of Abraham’s obedience now emerges: God’s blessing to the nations comes through Abraham (Gen.22:18); then through Christ (Gal. 3:16); then through those who believe in Christ Jesus (Jn.7:38) — and thus it flows out to all the nations of the earth. God can do a mighty work in our lives that will bless the nations of the earth if, like Abraham, we trust God to fulfill His promises through us. The message of the resurrection is not only a promise to us but also a commission to us to channel His life to the world.

[1] Greek elpis (ελπίς, hope) occurs twice in Romans 4.18, three times in 8:24, and once each in 5:2,4,5; 8:20.


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