God’s Promises to Man and the World

Paul's interpretation of the Antichrist and the last days gave rise to serious questions. The Gospel writers were not the only ones searching for answers. The writer of the Epistles of John became very specific regarding Antichrist and the end time. Please note that we are dealing with first generation Christians. John wrote to his followers: "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many Antichrist have come. This is how we know that it is the last hour" (I Jn. 2:18). "It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is Antichrist - he denies the Father and the Son (I Jn. 2:22). John continued: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God has overcome the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world, only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (Jn. 5:1-5)?

God’s Promises to Man and the World

Freedom in Paul’s world did not exist. He was persecuted, imprisoned and ultimately executed for his loyalty to Christ. It was under such uncertainties that Paul advocated freedom as being a state of mind. “Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let that trouble you – although if you can gain your physical freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (I Cor. 7:20-23). “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal. 5:13-14). In Paul’s freedom, the slaves behave and serve as if they were the masters and the masters behave as if they were the slaves (Eph. 6:5-9).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

"Christ is the completion (telos) of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes" (Ro. 10:4). “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good” (Ro. 7:12). “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous” (Ro. 2:13). “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law” (Ro. 3:31).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (I Cor. 15:19). “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God” (Ro. 6:8-10).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

In the new Israel, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26-29). According to Paul, all Christians, in a sense, have become Jews. Paul asked the question and gave the answer, “Did God reject his people? No, He never did! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not abandon his people, whom he has foreknown or predestined.” “At the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (Ro. 11:1-2, 5-6). To satisfy the Gentiles and give credence to his mission, God replaced the Jews He had not elected with Gentiles He knew would accept Christ (Ro. 9:24-33).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

Jesus prayer was, “My prayer is not only for them alone (disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me? I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they might be one as we are one, I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (Jn. 17:20-23).