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Volume 24 - Page 100 of 211 Index | Zoom | |
Great and precious promises.
"The hope of the promise made of God" (Acts 26: 6).
pp. 21 - 23
We have seen that the promises of God are sure because they come to us by the way
of faith and grace, not by the way of law and works. They are sure, also, because,
however many they many be, and whether to be enjoyed on earth, in the New Jerusalem
or at the right hand of God, they all find their Yea in Christ, and their Amen through
Him. The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, and every one shall be fulfilled.
Together with the promise we have also the divine nature (according to Peter) or the holy
promissory Spirit (according to Paul), a seal and earnest of the inheritance yet to be
There is one thing, however, that we have not yet considered, which is so antagonistic
(it is called an enemy), so venomous (it has a sting), and so mighty (he who holds its
power is the Devil himself) that it writes "Icahbod" over the fairest schemes and covers
all in dust. There is no need for us to elaborate; the enemy is death, and if there be no
resurrection of the dead our faith is vain, and every promise doomed to failure. It is our
joy to know that the promises of God are essentially linked with the resurrection.
Most of our readers are acquainted with the general disposition of subject-matter in
Ephesians; and we have considered quite recently the question of the promise in
Eph. 1: 13, 14. We can start from this point on our new quest, for although the actual
word "resurrection" is not used in the passage, resurrection is nevertheless there. The
words "an earnest until the redemption of the purchased possession", indicate a present
pledge of a future inheritance. Earlier in the chapter we learn that we have been
predestinated unto the adoption, and Rom. 8: speaks of "waiting for the adoption, to
wit, the redemption of our body" (Rom. 8: 23). Here, therefore, is resurrection, both in
Eph. 1: and in Rom. 8:
Eph. 1: 3-14 is threefold, dealing with the Will of the Father, the Work of the Son, and
the Witness of the Spirit. This is followed by a threefold prayer, that we may know what
is the hope of His calling, the riches of the inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of
His power to us-ward who believe. This third part of the prayer corresponds with the
third division of Eph. 1: 3-14, and the phrase, "the holy promissory Spirit which is the
earnest of our inheritance", finds its explanation and amplification in that power which is
to us-ward who believe, and which is nothing less than the mighty power which was
wrought in Christ when He was raised from the dead.
We believe it would be safe to say that there is no reference throughout the N.T. to the
promises of God without some aspect of resurrection in the context. Let us turn, for
example, to Paul's defence before Agrippa given in Acts xxvi:--