by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10 September 5, 2010 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(020)Thesis:Peace, as a grant from God as Father and Lord, is the primary expression of God's gracious involvement with the Galatians.
Introduction:In our study last week we looked into the issue of "Grace" as a blessing-producing attribute of God in the primary form of getting the Galatians back on track. It was brought into play by Paul in order to highlight both the "problem" of "Life-drift" and the "solution" in terms of a more active intervention by God. The issues are dicey because it is only "grace" that can overcome the potent tendencies of our depravity, but too much "grace" and our depravity moves to take advantage without any real growth on our part. Grace is God's involvement without consideration of our works (and naught else can actually provide any real "Life") but God's objectives in "Grace" involve our personal development as genuine people of the "Life" and that means that we have to be diligently involved in a cooperative way. This is why the formulation of salvation's methodology is always "by grace through faith" wherein "Grace" is God's doing for us what He requires of us and "Faith" is our cessation of resistance to the obvious in a context of our participation in a "living world" (we are heavily involved in taking action all of the time: it is our "faith" that directs those actions).
This week we come to a second huge biblical issue: peace. It is my goal to make the place "peace" takes in Paul's desires as clear as possible.
I. The Fundamental "Meaning" of "Peace".
A. The setting of "peace".
1. We live in a highly complex universe wherein "cooperation" sees objectives accomplished and "competition" sees objectives frustrated.
a. At issue in this reality is, bottom line, the amount of "power" that is available to apply to any given objective.
b. Cooperation combines "power"; competition defuses it.
2. Our lives in this universe are further complicated by the reality of the divine dispensations of "power".
a. Being "omnipotent", God can, obviously, add to, or subtract from, the amount of power that can be applied to any given objective.
b. Being a Creator, however, has placed a certain type of limitation upon God: He has "dispensed" an undisclosed amount of power to every created personality -- both angelic and human -- and this "dispensation" comes with a certain amount of freedom to exercise it without hindrance from Him.
c. It is this "dispensation of power without hindrance" that provides the ability to angels and men to combine their powers to accomplish their objectives.
3. Our lives in this universe of dispensed power are even further complicated by the fact that God has never revealed the degree to which His dispensations reach, nor the points at which He will override their reach.
4. Within this setting of complexity, "believers" are given two fundamental tasks.
a. It is assigned to us that we investigate the revelation of God to grow in our understanding of His "Love" so that we may make every effort to apply our particular dispensation to His objectives (as complex as they may be -- from moving mountains to handing out cups of water) [This boils down to "continuing in His word so that we might be genuine disciples: John 8:31].
b. It is also assigned to us that we consistently respond to the outcomes of all of our efforts with gratitude as an expression of truth and humility [This boils down to working diligently according to Truth, in a context of "all others", including God, who may be working at cross purposes to our work].
5. Therefore, any "definition" of "peace" that we give must be developed out of the reality of all of this complexity and boil down to a believing gratitude that leaves our hearts untroubled and unafraid (John 14:27) in a context of deliberate opposition (John 16:33).
6. And within the "definition" there must be the realization of just how "big" the issues are in terms of their global reach (the Kingdom of God is marked by three big ticket items: righteousness, peace, and joy) and their global application to us as bodies, souls, and spirits.
II. The Fundamental "Impact" of "Peace".
A. The issue of "peace" is the issue of cooperation by the combining of power.
B. The issues of "cooperation" are two: Love and Faith.
1. Power is only necessary in view of some kind of objective [Love].
2. The powerful pursuit of objectives demands a "method" [Faith].
C. The issues of Love and Faith require "wisdom" which, for finite beings, requires "revelation" (some form of teaching/learning).
D. The outcome of "wisdom" is the actual accomplishment of the objective sought.
III. The Fundamental "Requirement" of "Peace".
A. The "bottom line" for the establishment of "peace" is the cessation of opposition by one party in favor of the other.
B. The cessation of opposition also has "requirements".
1. There must be a clear identification of the objectives that are creating opposition.
2. There must be a clear identification of the beliefs that are creating opposition.
3. There must be a definitive rejection of the objectives and beliefs that have been identified.
IV. The Biblical "Facts" Regarding "Peace" in Relationships.
A. When the relationship is between men and God, men must come around to God's Love and Truth.
B. When the relationship is between human beings, those involved must be fundamentally committed to God's Love and Truth.
C. When there is a breakdown created by the absence of true wisdom, the order of headship must be accepted.
D. In the Galatian situation, the "problem" is a lack of inner peace between God and human beings that is causing a restless search without understanding and conflict is inevitable in that kind of setting.