by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10 March 23, 2004 Lincolnton, N.C.
(018)Thesis:The most fundamental need of believers is to be given a consistent provision of grace and peace.
Introduction:In our last study, we considered the call of God to The Called in respect to both His silence toward the many and His love toward the saints. The Called who belong to Jesus Christ are 'Saints by call' and that means that they are ultimately destined to become just as committed to the love of God as He is. This destiny is underwritten by Paul in Romans 8 with the language of "fate": we are "predestined" to become conformed to the image of Christ Who was a living demonstration of a man who was as committed to the love of God as God is Himself. In that study we concluded our consideration of the identity issues regarding The Called. This evening we are going to look into the summary words that constitute Paul's most foundational desire for the believers in Rome. As we said in an earlier study, introductions typically use words that exist as 'conceptual seeds' of the information to come. Both "grace" and "peace" are such conceptual seeds. And, both the 'fatherhood' of God and the 'lordship' of Jesus Christ are such conceptual seeds also. It is my persuasion that Paul is addressing the very foundations of the believer's need with these conceptual seeds. So, let us look into this matter of receiving grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Let's Consider the Source(s).
A. The 'fatherhood' of God has one overarching concept: His absolute commitment to the final welfare of His children.
1. Jesus used His conceptual grasp of the fatherhood of God to resist the first temptation.
a. He was hungry and clearly "needed" food.
b. His 'father' was one such as is mentioned in Luke 11:11.
c. Until His 'father' did as He typically asked Him to do, He was not free to "do something" of His own reason.
1) He taught His disciples to pray to the Father, "give us this day our daily bread".
2) He would not have taught that without practicing it Himself.
2. The problem for men is that their conceptual grasp of the fatherhood of God is severely limited to their present perspective as it is influenced both by their knowledge of, and ignorance of, the Scriptures.
a. Men do not know what is at stake.
b. Men are enormously predisposed to 'take matters into their own hands'.
3. This problem often results in a rather vague level of expectation as regards the "Father".
B. The 'lordship' of Jesus Christ also has one overarching concept: His absolute control over God's creation.
1. This absolute control is without limitation.
a. All things come to pass by either one of two activities of the Lord.
1) He often instigates what is to come to pass.
2) He, just as often, permits other living persons to pursue their own heart/mind complex in the execution of their behaviors.
b. There is no willy-nilly process that determines which of these two activities will be involved: He determines on a case by case basis what He will do or refrain from doing.
2. The problem for men is that their conceptual grasp of the 'lordship' of Jesus Christ is, again, severely limited to their grasp of, and ignorance of, the word of God.
a. Men are enormously predisposed to think of themselves first rather than last.
b. Men do not know what is at stake.
3. This problem often results in a rather vague level of expectation as regards the "Lord".
II. Let's Consider What These Two Are Fundamentally Committed to Imparting.
A. The first issue of greatest significance is "Grace".
1. As a 'conceptual seed', "Grace" is the fundamental antithesis of, and counter-balance for, Justice.
a. There is a veritable host of human experiences that marshals our thinking in the direction of the supremacy of Justice over all of life.
1) The Law of Cause and Effect, also referred to as the Law of the Harvest, is so pervasive that men scarcely give it a thought that it does not govern life.
2) The immediate disintegration of order into chaos when justice is suspended makes all thinking people develop a knee-jerk acquiescence to Justice.
3) All theological debate has its roots in some form or another in the tension that exists between Justice and Grace...how one is 'saved' and whether one is 'saved forever' are huge dividing lines in theology.
b. On the other hand, there are just enough anomalies regarding justice to compel us to consider whether Justice ought to reign supreme.
1) Where would we be without 'forgiveness'?
2) It is a fact of life that not everything runs according to justice.
2. "Grace" as the believer's greatest need.
a. According to Scripture, life only comes to man by Grace; death comes by Justice.
b. According to Scripture, freedom to live only comes to man by Grace; the Law enslaves him and kills him.
c. According to Scripture, Grace is God's personal, beneficial involvement in the details of life.
d. Given all of the forces of death that are involved in man's experience under Justice as the rule of Law, Grace is his best and only hope.
3. Man's "problem" with Grace is that its "bottom line" is a rather absolute refusal to allow man any level of 'control' over his own experience.
a. Man is terrified by the possibilities of experience.
b. Man is unconvinced that his terror is unjustified.
c. Man is determined to retain what level of control he can wrest from others.
B. The second issue of great significance is "Peace".
1. The claim of grace is not that all is well; but that all will be well.
2. "Peace", as the absence of conflict, means that man can come to contentment with his experience only as he depends upon the daily provision of gracious intervention and the ultimate promise of final resolution of all conflict.
3. Thus, "peace" is man's as he believes in grace...
a. In the experience of grace, man enjoys the fruits of peace...greater physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
b. The fruits of peace are founded upon the reality of grace.