by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 13 September 26, 2010 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(026)Thesis:Our deliverance from "this present evil age" is "according to the will of God".
Introduction:We saw in our last study that the "deliverance" that is rooted in the Self-giving of the Lord Jesus Christ has to do with two basic issues: a transference out of the present "age"; and an alteration of the practice of the "processes" of this "age" by those within it. The hope of the former begets the practice of the latter according to 1 John 3:3.
This evening we are going to delve into the fact that Paul claims that this "deliverance" is "according to the will of God".
I. The Author of the "Will".
A. The use of "the God" cannot help but bring notions of "power" to the table.
1. The word "God" is the general equivalent of the Hebrew word "Elohim", which has fundamental links to the issue of "power".
2. The issue is the degree to which these notions of "power" are to dominate our thinking.
a. Are we to assume that, since Paul is addrssing "the will of the Executor of Power", this "will" is going to be done without regard for other considerations?
b. If not, with what are we to go away from the text?
B. The additional descriptor, "our Father", has already been used in our context with a certain notion of "power": it was "the Father" Who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
1. This particular notion of "power" is impressive in two directions.
a. The resurrection was a defiant act of subversion by "the Father" in respect to the activities and intentions of the wicked.
b. The resurrection was also a restorative act of approval by "the Father" in respect to the "victim" of the activities and intentions of the wicked.
2. The standing result for our understanding of "the will of the God and Father of us" is this: the intentions of the wicked will be ultimately frustrated and the cooperation of the righteous will be ultimately validated.
II. The Nature of the "Will".
A. Paul's terminology.
1. He had access to a Greek term that would have nailed down the lid on the "power" thesis if he had chosen to use it (Romans 9:19).
2. He deliberately chose to use a word that has serious problems with the "power" thesis.
a. A comparison of Matthew 7:13-14 with 1 Timothy 2:4 reveals these problems.
b. Additionally, Matthew 26:39-42 shows that at "crunch time" what is "willed" is often conflicted.
B. Paul's point.
1. In the Galatian context, the "will" of "the God and Father of us" is linked to the prior references to the God-Father in 1:1 and 1:3.
a. This has to mean that "the will of the God" has some significance in respect to the "power" thesis.
b. But, the relative significance of the two issues in those verses -- categorical subversion/approbation and the extension of the grace/peace package -- also has some serious implication(s).
c. The question is, "Which of the results of "will" is to be understood in respect to our deliverance?".
1) Is our deliverance a decreed and categorical result?
2) Is our deliverance more an "offer" than a decree?
2. In the Galatian context, the "problem" of theological confusion and drift already reveals a certain limitation to the application of the power of God to the will of God.
a. Clearly, the Galatians would not be drifting if there was enough of the "power of God" dominating the scene.
b. Just as clearly, saying that our deliverance is according to "the will of the God" lacks some of the strength of determination; the question is "How much of a lack is there?".
1) Under the concept of a determined will exists the reality of unenforced desires.
2) The difficulty for us is determining which of the "desires" will be enforced.
3. In the Galatian context, Paul is insisting that the Galatians return to their former conviction of the truth of the Gospel of Grace.
a. This insistence accepts the reality that "faith" is the human side of the issue of peace with, and from, God (God is "willing"; what about man?).
b. How "powerful" the "will" ends up being has already been shown: the God-Father refused to allow what had been done to the One Who was "faithful" to stand.
c. However, "unbelief" invariably leads to taking up arms against the God-Father and His "good" will is not exercised in that setting.
d. Thus, Paul's use of "the will of the God" is both significantly encouraging to those who "believe" and significantly cautionary to those who continue to drift.
1) Paul could have declared the determined intent of God to deliver us without regard for where we are in respect to "faith".
2) Instead he chose to link what God will do to what we "believe" He will do.