For nearly 2000 years orthodox Christians have believed in the life-transforming power of the gospel (2 Cor. 5:17), the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11), the sufficiency of Scripture as a blueprint for comprehensive living (2 Tim. 3:16–17), the sovereignty and providence of God in time and in history (Rom. 8:28), the subjection of Satan to the finished work of Christ and the church (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:20; Col. 1:13; 2:15; Rev. 12:7–9; Mark 3:27; Luke 10:18; 11:20; John 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 3:8; 5:18; James 4:7), the discipling of the nations (Matt. 28:18–20), and the ultimate victory of God’s kingdom that will one day be delivered up by Jesus to His Father (1 Cor. 15:20–28; cf. Luke 11:20; Col. 1:13–23).
This was the faith of the early church, a faith that prompted those outside of Christ to acknowledge that in a short span of time these Christians had “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). What a testimony! These few rag-tag disciples of Christ, with little money, no political connections, no national television ministries, and no publishing houses or newsletters, had turned the pagan world of Greece and Rome on its head.
How did they do it?
They took with them the Word of God, “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12–13) and able to equip us “for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17), the gospel which is “the power of God for salvation to every one who believes” (Rom. 1:16), and the Holy Spirit who equips us “in every good thing to do His will” (Heb. 13:21). And, yes, they believed that God would be faithful to all His promises, that He would reign until He makes all His enemies a footstool for His feet (Luke 20:42–43; Acts 2:35; Heb. 10:11–13). There is one other thing: obedience to God’s revealed will found in the Bible. God’s revealed will is the Bible. All of the Bible. Not just the New Testament or the words of Jesus in red.
There really isn’t anything new in any of this. God’s people have “by faith conquered kingdoms” and “performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight” (Heb. 11:33–34).
But you say, “Well, that was under the Old Covenant.” Yes, that’s true. But don’t we have a better covenant, with a better (perfect) High Priest, and better promises? We should at least expect God to do for His people under the New Covenant what He did for His elect under the Old Covenant. If God poured out blessings for His elect under the Old Covenant, why should we expect anything less under a new and better covenant? But we know that God is doing far more for His New Covenant people. God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever” (Eph. 3:20–21).
How can this be? Why should we expect the transformation of our world through the preaching of the gospel and the application of God’s Word to every area of life? The answer is simple and basic. The Bible tells us that “something greater than the temple is here” (Matt. 12:6); “something greater than Jonah is here” (v. 41); “something greater than Solomon is here” (v. 42). I think you get the idea. Something Greater is here! We don’t have to wait for another coming of Christ as if Jesus failed the first time. We have all we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.