Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Subject To Rulers & Authorities (part 4 of 4)

The confident expectation of eternal life (the life of the Spirit, the life of the age to come) is based on the Resurrection of Christ Himself, in which eternal life broke into the world.  Because the Christ was raised, so too those that believe in Him also expect to be raised, overcoming the power of death in the same way in which Christ overcame that power.  Believers in the Christ enjoy that expectation because they have been given a measure of that eternal life (the life of the age to come), which they know the have because they believe in the Gospel (Jesus is Lord), enjoying that measure of God’s Resurrection power right here and right now, and serving Him by means of that same power. 

Believers are, as the New Testament repeatedly says, raised with Christ in the confident expectation and hope of a renewal to come, and that hope is such that death has no victory over them, for they know in Whom they have believed---the one over whom death had no victory (in any way, though it was the most ignoble and shameful death possible). 

This confident expectation of eternal life, in union with the true ruler of the cosmos is why it should not be a challenge to be subject to rulers and authorities.  It is why Paul can comfortably urge citizens of the present, inaugurated kingdom of heaven to present requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks “on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity,” adding that  “Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1b-2). 

Indeed, this demonstrates what must be the highest form of submission, that of praying for those that might very well be thought of as enemies, especially in the case of those that live under the boot of Rome.  Not only that, but the thought seems to be in place that submission in such ways furthers the spreading of God’s kingdom and the blessing of all peoples, as Paul reminds Timothy of God’s desire to draw peoples to Himself from all nations, writing that “He wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2:4).  This stands in accordance with the directives found in Titus, understood in the context of not only his and Israel’s own failures to live up to this ideal, but their active fight against doing so. 

To this saying that is to be found in verses four through seven of the third chapter of Titus, which begins with the kindness of God our Savior and concludes with the confident expectation of eternal life, and is provided context by subjection, obedience, and a reminder of the failure of the Creator God’s people to be faithful to the covenant, Paul adds: “This saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on such truths, so that those who have placed their faith in God may be intent on engaging in good works.  These things are good and beneficial for all people” (3:8).  Along with the prayer, intercession, and thankfulness (even towards enemies), these good works will be yet a further demonstration of an appropriate subjection that will ultimately derive further honor to the Creator God, via the Christ.      

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