by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 12 September 19, 2010 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(024)Thesis:Our deliverance is tied to Christ's "removal" of us from "this present evil age".
Introduction:In our study last week we considered the self-giving of the Lord Jesus Christ as the foundation for the extension of "grace" and "peace". We saw that two major issues have to be resolved: the aggression of the Justice of God toward men who sin; and the aggression of the selfishness of men toward God Who sits as the final Sovereign. The self-giving of the Lord Jesus Christ was both humanly selfless and a human satisfaction of the precisely equivalent retaliation of Justice so that His action is an adequate solution to the lack of peace between God and men.
However, the issues are complicated by one fact: without faith it is impossible for what the Lord did to have any impact on either side of the fence. Thus, the self-giving must be believed at both levels ("for our sins" and "gave Himself"). It must become the foundation for the choices "believers" make and the actions they take.
This evening we are going to look into what Paul declared was Christ's objective in His self-giving. He declares it to be a "deliverance" of us "out of this present evil age". What does this mean? What is the relationship of "this present evil age" to us and why do we need "deliverance"?
I. The Issue of "This Present Evil Age".
A. The concept of an "age" in the Bible is that of a period of time in which certain processes are allowed to exist and function.
B. The concept of the word translated "evil" is, according to the explanation of synonyms in the Strong's Concordance, that of processes that are destructive of Life.
C. The concept of the word "present" is actually that of an entity that has taken a stand in the unidentified past so that it is currently dominant.
D. When we put these things together, we end up with a concept of certain processes of destruction that are functioning in a period of time that has been initiated in the past and currently dominates historical reality.
II. The Problem of "This Present Evil Age".
A. Processes of evil create a major impact upon persons: they destroy the connections between persons so that relational Life is destroyed.
B. This is a fundamental war against the "souls" of men because "souls" thrive only in settings of relational harmony (called "peace").
C. This present evil age makes the joy of Life impossible as long as its processes are allowed to exist and function.
III. Christ's Intention of Deliverance.
A. There is an "age" deliverance that exists only as "Hope".
1. The deliverance is "out of" -- a preposition that is not only attached to the verbal form of the word "deliver" but is then repeated as a stand-alone word in the sentence.
2. The deliverance is "out of this age", and, until that happens, the objective is being held in abeyance as an element of "Hope".
3. This means that the full impact of Christ's "self-giving" in respect to our sins is not to be experienced until the "age" in which we are functioning changes (Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).
4. This "Hope" issue must be kept alive: present "satisfaction" within this age has two potential roots, one of which is deadly.
a. Paul made a big deal out of being "contented" (1 Timothy 6:6) and the biblical insistence upon continual gratitude has to mean that we are to be "satisfied" within this age.
b. However, there is a satisfaction that comes from a current absence of serious conflict that is caused by continuous compromises on the part of those who are supposed to be operating on the basis of principle, not compromise (being "healthy and wealthy" often leads to a total absence of "wisdom").
c. The biblical model is "groaning" in this present age (Romans 8:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:2) without losing "Hope".
B. But there is an "age" deliverance that exists as a present possibility.
1. Because the fundamental characteristic of the "age" is the activity of the processes of destruction of relational harmony, anyone can be "delivered" who is disengaged from those processes.
a. Titus 2:12 addresses the deliberate disengagement by the believer from those processes.
b. 2 Timothy 4:10 illustrates what happens when a believer refuses to disengage.
2. The requirements of such disengagement are, fundamentally, two.
a. Romans 12:1-2 identify both of them: definitive commitment and active pursuit of the antithetical process.
b. Colossians 3:10 emphasizes the determinative ingredient: knowledge. [It has to go without saying that "knowledge" is "data believed".]
3. The reality of achieving relational harmony by such disengagement is hampered to a significant degree by another factor: harmony is a two-way street that cannot lead to its objective without the active willingness of all involved parties.