by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3 August 14, 2016 Humble, Texas
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
1901 ASV Translation:
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace.
I. The Promise.
A. "Sin", not "The Sin", shall not act as "Lord" over you.
1. The anarthrous "Sin" is highly instructive. It strongly indicates that the pervasive concept of "sin" creating a reaction in God to move Him to wrath is in view.
a. "Sin" is, in its simplicity, "missing the mark"; it is being anything less than perfection in every scenario and at all times.
b. The declaration is that our endemic failures to rise to perfection will not create a reaction in God in respect to His wrath.
2. The issue in this statement is not that "The Sin" will not create such a reaction; "The Sin" is all about the way humans act, "Sin" is all about how God will react.
3. The action of "Lord" is the action of exercising the authority over what is going to be done.
a. At the root of "lordship" is the reality of what/how the "lord" will do what he does, particularly in respect to those who reject his "authority". Typically, such a rejection would lead to rejection and condemnation [Note Romans 14:4 in its context].
b. Thus, if "sin" is rejected as a "lord" over believers, there can be no "authority" exercised against them on any of its so-called bases. "Sin" actually has no direct "authority" in any case; it is not "God", nor does it have any of His intrinsic qualities. Sin's only "authority" is in "manipulation". Just as it cannot force anyone to do anything without first getting that person's "permission", neither can it impose any consequences upon anyone without getting "God's" permission.
B. The foundation: Grace has removed Law from the equation.
1. At the root of "sin's" manipulation is the Justice of God against mankind. It is only by getting human beings to succumb to temptation that it has any "legal" leverage against them.
2. But, if God decides to suspend "Justice" by some means, "sin" is without any authority of any kind. It may scream "injustice" at such a suspension, but it does so against the backdrop of the Cross and is, by that, rendered mute. In view of the Cross, God simply refuses to "impute" "sin" to those among men who have "believed" in the God of the Cross (Romans 4:8).
C. The point: Human beings do not easily "get" it.
1. The words are not difficult, nor unclear.
2. It is the concept that is strenuously resisted so that real understanding does not sink in to any significant level.
a. Paul would not keep on saying the same thing over and over if the concepts his words characterize were easily embraced at a "faith" level.
b. It is apparent, from 1 Corinthians 15:56, that the entire kingdom of darkness thrives only by lies and deceptions and that the misuse of "law" is the key to the entirety of this darkness. If, indeed, the strength of sin is "law", then we need to realize that the adversaries of the light will do any/every thing possible to squelch the truth that "Justice" is not God's most fundamental attribute, nor even His more preferred one. The Cross declares just how great is God's commitment to justice, but it also declares that His greater commitment is to the grace that flows from it. "Holiness" needs to be clearly understood, not as the primary attribute of God, but as the reality of "attributes in harmony with each other". "Holiness" makes "Justice" and "Grace" exist in happy harmony without conflict of any kind; it does not exalt "Justice" over "Mercy".
3. At issue is the fact that "law" does not guide healthy relationships; it only provides a modicum of protection in unhealthy ones.