Among the varied ways in which miracles are manifested, I must include the many records of miracles involving the healing of the physical body. Like other miracles, healing originates from within. "If [since] the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you" (Romans 8:11).
Romans chapter 8 is one of the highlight passages of the New Testament. It has much to say about victorious Christian living -- the triumph of the Spirit within over the apparent limitations of everyday life. The future resurrection of the believer is not in view in verse 11, and the careful reader will recognize God's choice of words that make it evident that the present is under discussion. John Calvin, an early Protestant Greek scholar, wrote, "The quickening of the mortal body here cannot refer to the resurrection of the saints, but must mean a giving of life to their bodies, while here upon earth, through the Spirit."
Let us pause just long enough to give some background on the two key words, "give life" and "mortal". The Greek word for "give life" ("quicken", KJV) is a combination of the words for "life" and "I make" and is therefore handled by recent translators as "make alive", "endow with life", and so forth. The same word is employed in II Corinthians 3:6, where again the context is obviously in the present, "...for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." It is the work of the Spirit within to give life, and in Romans 8:11 it is to fill the physical body with the vibrant life of God -- real vim, vigor, and vitality. Read More
I'm continuing to look at the exciting book of I Thessalonians and what it says about God's Word, and now we are ready for chapter 2. "We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God" (2:2 ESV). Paul wrote to the Romans later that he was not ashamed of the gospel. Unashamed believer can share the gospel with boldness, not coldness! In Acts 4:29 Peter and John with other believers prayed to be able "...to continue to speak your word with boldness." This was the only reason Paul was in Thessalonica: to declare the gospel and to make learners (disciples) who became believers.
"For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive" (2:3). The ground of Paul's boldness was his freedom from deceit, uncleaness, and guile (JFB). Often when Vivien and I are watching a preacher on TV, one of us will turn to the other and say, "Would you buy a used car from this man?" And far too often the answer is "No!" We certainly would have bought a tent from Paul, if we had lived in his day. This world is crying out for good news that is not commingled with greed or fund-raising. Read More
The two letters to the Thessalonians teach us much about the second coming of Christ. Yet they also teach us much about the Word of God. Of course, without the Bible we would not know anything about the second coming!
If these two letters were written early in the life of young church as the academics suggest (around 20 years after Pentecost), then it is no surprise to see the emphasis on the Word. The Word, the Name and the Spirit are consistent themes in the narrative of the books of Acts.
Paul first gives his summary of the teaching the Thessalonians received. "Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction" (I Thessalonians 1:5). There is an "undeniable authenticity and authority of those preaching the gospel," one commentator wrote. When God's Word is preached, the preacher has to be aware of "[its own inherent] power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction and absolute certainty [on our part]" (AMP). Read More