by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 11 September 12, 2010 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(022)Thesis:The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins.
Introduction:Last week we considered the concept of "peace" as something that is extended to human beings by God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ that boils down to the intent on God's part to cease being our "enemy". It is a vast concept that addresses all manner of things, but its critical impact in terms of the Galatian Error is this: when people receive peace from God, their entire motivation to do evil to others is squashed. People who have peace with God do not do things that disrupt peace with any others. Paul's formulation of the Kingdom is this: the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy.
There is a complication in reality with this formulation: the actions that those who are not of the Kingdom of God take. The absence of peace between persons always has its root in unrighteousness and the one who does it is responsible for the breakdown. A problem that many believers have is their inability to put the blame where it belongs.
This evening we are going to look into Paul's declaration about the action of the Lord Jesus Christ in regard to the twin issues of his introduction wish: grace and peace. He says that it is directly tied to the "self-giving" of the "Lord".
I. At Issue: Why the Lord "Gave Himself".
A. At the root, the question is this: how does the Lord's "self-giving" resolve the conflict that exists between God and His creatures?
1. Fundamentally, the conflict exists on both sides of the "fence": God is seriously antagonized by human beings who are involved in doing damage to His creation; and men are seriously antagonized by God because He refuses to allow their intent to do damage to stand without repercussions upon themwhile allowing the evil of others to be imposed upon them.
2. Within this fundamental reality, there are multiple "roots".
a. At one level, these roots revolve around the demands of "Justice".
1) Why is "Justice" so crucial?
a) Justice is the root of "righteousness".
b) Without "righteousness" there can be no "trust".
c) Without "trust" there can be no "relational life".
2) Justice is absolutely opposed to any permission of evil without precisely equivalent retaliation.
3) Any absence of "precisely equivalent retaliation" is unjust and constitutes an injustice.
a) Paul acknowledged this reality in Romans 3:26 where he admitted that God had acted in ways that created the appearance of injustice on His part.
b) But his argument is that God has demonstrated in history that the appearance had no genuine substance; it's "apparent" substance exists only under the constraints of "history" wherein events require the passing of time to come into existence (Christ was crucified from the foundation of the world, but He was crucified in history only after some 4,000 years of preparatory event-fulfillments).
4) The biblical argument regarding this "Justice/Self-Giving" connection is this: as the embodiment of all that humanity is, the Lord Jesus Christ can, and did, act as humanity in addressing, in every particular, the demands of "precisely equivalent retaliation" as a personallywilling object of that retaliation.
5) As a "solution" to the conflict, this "Self-giving" primarily addressed the God-side of the fence so that He ceases to be seriously antagonized by those who are guilty of having done/doing damage to His creation.
a) For God, the "Lord Jesus Christ" is the embodiment of humanity so that He is no longer at war with those human beings who are within the humanity that is embodied in the "Lord Jesus Christ".
b) The operative phrase on the God-side of the fence is "the humanity that is embodied in the Lord": the resolution of conflict is a two-sided coin and cannot be accomplished unilaterally.
i. The Lord Jesus Christ fully addressed the issues of the precisely equivalent retaliation.
ii. He did so willingly so that both the overt demands of Justice were met and the internal roots of opposition to Justice were addressed.
b. At another level, these roots revolve around what I have called Christ's "embodiment of humanity".
1) The biblical revelation regarding "humanity" is two-fold: "humanity" is so unified that what one does, all do, and what all do, every one does; and "humanity" is the creation of a God of unity so that humanity and God are only at peace when men view themselves as united to God.
2) Because Christ was actually "human", His actions can stand as the actions of "humanity" and because Christ was "Self-giving" His attitude toward God can stand as the attitude of humanity.
3) As a "solution" to the conflict, this "embodiment of humanity" concept must be accepted by those on both sides of the fence.
a) God has no problem with the Lord Jesus Christ being the embodiment of His creation of human beings, so He has no problem with the issues of "peace".
b) It is man that has serious problems with the unity of humanity concept and until man accepts this unity thesis, he will not lay down his opposition to the God of unity.
i. Thus, there is a whole new reality that revolves around the demands of "Love".
ii. And there is a whole new reality that revolves around the demands of "Faith".
c) Once man "receives" the Lord Jesus Christ as the New Humanity, he is placed within that new humanity and what is done within, and by, those of this group are applied to all (you in Christ, and Christ in you).
B. A secondary question that is raised by the Lord's "Self-giving" concerns how the principles involved apply to humanity's exercise of "injustice".
1. In God, the impetus toward both leniency and outright forgiveness generated such a high level of "competition" with "Justice" that it took the "self-giving" of the Christ to resolve it.
2. When men seek to express either leniency or forgiveness, what "balances" justice in their case?
a. How is "justice" ever served by anything other than precisely equivalent retaliation?
b. Technically, outside of the embodiment of humanity by Christ, man cannot exercise either justice or mercy.
1) His "justice" will never be "just" because he cannot meet its demands.
a) He cannot retaliate with precise equivalence.
b) He cannot "self-give" unto the satisfaction of precise equivalence.
c) It is for this cause that God forbids men to seek to exercise justice: "vengence is Mine, saith the Lord, I will repay."
2) His "mercy" will never be "merciful" because his incapacity to be just makes mercy just a squishy, feel-good way to attempt to make his life easier rather than the lives of those to whom he is "merciful".
a) One of the greatest "proofs" of this reality is the current emphasis upon unilateral forgiveness as a way to resolve one's own inner conflicts.
b) The Christ's "self-giving" was not only designed to enable "mercy", it was actually effective to that end: it was not simply to make His Life better and it is not extended in the form of forgiveness without repentance on the part of the one to whom it is extended.
3. The resolution of the issue for human beings is two-fold.
a. On the one hand, they must fully embrace their participation in the New Humanity, wherein the Head has already established the parameters of both "Justice" and "Mercy".
b. On the other hand, they must simply be led by the Spirit of that Head in their daily activities without making "Justice" or "Mercy" their goal.
1) They are strictly forbidden to seek to establish "Justice" by the imposition of vengence.
2) They can only approximate the exercise of "Mercy" by seeking to persuade others to repent so that they can actually experience "Mercy".