The Spirit and the resurrection

Picking up on the diagram from the last post, what is the ground of Christian hope?

Here is where Christian hope  gets what I call very ‘historical-spiritual’.

Historical because hope is inseparable from the resurrection of Jesus Christ the risen Lord. If Jesus is not raised, Christians are to be pitied more than all as a bunch of deluded eejits wasting their lives in the pursuit of a vain hope  (slight paraphrase of Paul here).

Basically the late Christopher Hitchens was right – those in Christian ministry are (even if unintentionally) lying for a living.

But if Christ is raised, his resurrection has profound spiritual consequences. The sting of death (sin) is overcome in the victory of God. And most of all, the Spirit, the empowering and loving presence of God himself, is poured out into the lives of Christians.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Rom 5:5)

The Spirit brings the believer new life – resurrection life in the here and now. Therefore future resurrection certainly awaits.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

The apostle Paul roots Christian hope in something that has happened. Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruits of the resurrection to come for all those who belong to him (1 Cor 15:20). And, using the same imagery, the gift of the Spirit is the firstfruits of the new eschatological age to come.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies

Let me put it this way: Christian hope is an embodied hope. A life in a resurrection body, fitted for a new order of existence in a new creation.

And the GROUND OF CHRISTIAN HOPE IS GOD HIMSELF. It rests on who he is and what he has done in his Son and in the gift of his eschatological Spirit.

Spirit, resurrection and hope are inseparably connected.

Comments, as ever, welcome.


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