by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4 February 10, 2004 Lincolnton, N.C.
(015)Thesis:The Gospel of God concerns the Son of God as the Davidic Seed.
Introduction:In our last study we looked into the issue of how men can be assured of Paul's apostleship as a legitimate foundation for "faith choices". We noted that there is no escape from the linkage between what one "believes" and what one then "does" and what one then "experiences as consequences of his doings". Therefore, there are few questions that are more important than those which have to do with whether the claims that are being made are true or not. Thus, we have Paul's description of his message as the on-going out-flow of already-established-divine-revelation. His Gospel of God is a further explanation of promises God has already made and demonstrated to be Truth. The promises are already established in writing. This makes them "verifiable". Once verified, they then become the criteria for the evaluation of any doctrine which comes later. Any doctrine which, coming later, is antithetical to the verified truth is a lie. Any doctrine which, coming later, is in a smooth flowing harmony with the verified truth can be confidently accepted as a basis for decision-making in faith. Thus, Paul's words stand for our assurance. This evening we are going to look into Paul's succinct summary of the content of his Gospel of God. He says it "concerns God's Son Who entered into human history by means of God's use of David's gene pool." There are two issues in this summary. The first is the essential identity of God's "Son". The second is the extreme focus upon His connection with David. Though the use of the word "extreme" may be, itself, extreme, the fact stands that when Paul decided to make a brief summary statement of his message, he brought out two issues: God's Gospel is about His Son and God's focus is upon His Son's connection to David in terms of "fleshliness". Why this focus?
I. The Specific Identity of God's "Son".
A. For Paul, the identity of God's "Son" is unique.
1. He readily taught an enormous plurality of God's "sons" [all who are led by God's Spirit are sons of God].
2. But he also readily assumed/taught a substantial uniqueness for "the" Son of God.
a. It is true that he did not carve out a distinctive section in his letter to argue this uniqueness.
b. But it is also true that his numerous sprinklings of particular truths that assume this uniqueness are inescapable.
1) In 1:16-17 he argues that this Gospel of "God's Son" is a revelation of a special kind of righteousness that "saves men". In 3:23 he argues that "all" men are in need of this salvation. In chapter 5 he makes Jesus the only "man" with the credentials to supply the special kind of righteousness that saves. Thus, Jesus is unique in His "Sonship".
2) In 8:14 he says that "all" who are led by the Spirit of God are "sons" of God. But in 8:9 that "Spirit of God" Whose leading makes other men "sons" is the "Spirit of Christ" Who is "the" Son.
3) In 6:3-5 he argues that we are "sons" because we have been "baptized into" the Son. This makes our identity completely dependent upon His identity. This makes His "Sonship" unique because it is only by His "Sonship" that we have access to the identity of "sons".
B. In Romans, Paul's use of "Son" in reference to Jesus Christ is a tacit acceptance of the composite picture of Jesus that we have in the Four Gospels.
1. In God's plan for the New Testament canon, Romans was not going to be a "fifth" Gospel; rather, it was going to be an explanation of the combined impact of the "four".
2. This means that both Paul, and we, as his readers, can assume the content of the theological histories of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
C. The issues here are enormous in terms of consequences.
1. It is no small thing to argue that a "man" is "deity".
2. There is no "neutral" place to be on this issue.
3. There is no "salvation" outside of "Truth" -- so what a person decides regarding Christ is literally an eternal life/eternal death issue.
II. The Exaltation of the Linkage to David.
A. There are thousands of "truths" that were ignored by Paul when he determined to summarize the content of the "Gospel".
B. The two things which were not ignored are Jesus' "Sonship" in respect to God and His "Sonship" in respect to David.
1. This "exaltation" of two truths over all others makes these two supremely crucial.
2. The "Good News of God" has its very core-heart at this point: Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of David.
C. The specific issue involved in Jesus' link to David.
1. Was not the gene pool itself.
a. The Davidic gene pool had been diluted over at least 40 "generations".
b. There is no telling how much or how little of "David" was still present in "Mary".
2. Was, rather, the most crucial issue of man's existence: divine integrity.
a. There were at least two major "integrity" issues involved.
1) There was the "integrity" issue of whether "justice" was going to be done.
2) There was the "integrity" issue of whether promises were going to be kept.
b. There is this issue that is critically related: man's eternal experience is determined by what he believes and at the root of man's faith is the question of whether God means what He says.
1) The bone of contention that has generated the most significant amount of chaos among human kind has always (since Genesis 3) been the conflict over what is "true". Satan said that the words of God, "in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall surely die", were simply not "true". Deciding that they were not "true" led Adam into a sin so heinous that it has been the cause of the death of every person since and the cause of the eternal condemnation of every "unbeliever" since. The issue has ever been this: does God mean what He says? There is no greater issue for man than this one in terms of consequences.
2) Admittedly, the debate over which "god" is to be "believed" is an issue, but this issue has been resolved by the True God in every moment of creation's existence. No man will stand before the True God with the ability to say "I didn't know You were the True God." Pagans, atheists, Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all surrounded, within and without, by the knowledge of the True God's identity. The divine testimony is not "they did not know"; rather, it is "they did not like to retain Me in their knowing."
3) Also, admittedly, the debate over "special revelation" is an issue, but this issue has also been resolved by the True God in every moment of creation's existence. No man will be able to say to the True God: "I didn't know You had spoken." The divine testimony is not "they have not heard from Me"; rather, it is "they stopped their ears and were deliberately obstinate."