The Arrabon – Confidence in Our Hope

And hope will not disappoint since the love of God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given us. (Rom. 5.5)

After having established that Abraham was justified by faith, while he was still uncircumcised and without the Mosaic Law, in Romans chapter 4, Paul transitions in chapter 5 to speak about the blessings of those who are justified by faith, like Abraham. Paul mentions the fact of peace with God through faith in Christ (vs.1). This is a legal cessation of hostilities rather than a nice feeling. Sometimes, new Christians are doubtful whether God really saved them, since they don’t always experience feelings of peace. However, there are many reasons for the feelings of a person, but they are not a good indicator of relational standing. No, justification (dikaiothentes ) is a determination from God, the righteous Judge. What Paul was previously (chapter 4) talking about is the means of right standing with God. He has accepted Christ’s sacrifice of His righteous life for our stead, a legal exchange. Therefore, we are free from God’s wrath and now free to serve Him in grace.

These realizations cause the apostolic team to rejoice in hope of the glory of God in verse 2. The New Covenant has come and ensured its members of the ultimate hope of entering the eternal Kingdom of God. Paul could also rejoice in suffering (vs.3). This ability to rejoice in hard times comes from experience and faith in God. He keeps bringing us through to victory; therefore, we anticipate future deliverance from the temporal trials. Eventually, the Christian develops steadfastness as a result of seeing His handiwork. Also, solid character will soon be evident in the growing believer. The final state is a confident expectation of Christ’s Kingdom (vs.4). Paul then asserts this hope will not be frustrated since we have the confirming fruit and presence of God in the Holy Spirit in verse 5.

The Arrabon

What Paul speaks about in Rom. 5.5 is conceptually the same thing as a deposit (earnest money), in 2 Cor.1.22, …and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (NIV). The word Paul uses is arrabon which was the ancient equivalent. God gives the Holy Spirit and pours love into our heart to assure us of our expectant hope. Paul repeats this claim in the same letter at 5.5, Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (NIV).

Finally, Paul writes what can be considered a probable circular letter to churches in the province of Asia in what we have in the bible labeled “Ephesians.” Without bogging down to show the general nature of this letter, it is sufficient to observe no personal greetings at all in a place where Paul spent nearly three years in total. What Paul wrote to the Romans and the Corinthians, he wants to share this same concept with the Christians of the province of Asia, …were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (Eph. 1.14 NIV). Again, Paul mentions the arrabon which the NIV has translated as “guarantee.”

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