by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3 October 30, 2016 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(045)Thesis: Paul's personal experience of the deception of The Sin resulted in death but left The Law "Holy".
Introduction: In our study of this paragraph, we have seen that it is crucial that believers clearly understand what Paul calls "the holiness of The Law". He began by asking if "The Law" was sinful because of its usefulness to "The Sin" as a tool to generate all manner of sins.
The issue is complicated by Paul's use of "The Law" in two ways. On one hand he uses the terms, "The Law", to refer to what he calls "the oldness of letter"; i.e., a written expression of commandments that is different from the presence/absence of what he calls "newness of spirit". In this use, "the Law" is simply a written record of expressions of what the character of God means in the details of "Love". Then, on the other hand, he uses "The Law" to refer to a "tool of The Sin" because of "deception". Technically, this use of "The Law" is no longer really God's Law though Paul continued to use the title "The Law". God's Law, in its essence, includes God's purpose for "Law" and anyotherpurpose is, therefore, a corruption of The Law into something it never was.
This evening we are going to look a bit more carefully into how this all worked out in Paul's own experience.
I. Paul's Claim Regarding "Being Alive".
A. Paul claims the he was "once" living.
1. This claim uses the term "living" in a special way.
a. The general use of the term concerns only general functional ability as opposed to being "dead" in terms of the inability of the body to function because its accompanying "spirit" has separated from it (Matthew 9:18 and 22:32).
1) In this "meaning" both unbelievers and believers "live".
2) In this "meaning" there is no distinction regarding the character of the spirit that makes "living" possible.
b. But in Paul's current use, "living" has the specialized meaning of "participation in the 'life' of God" as a product of the indwelling of the Spirit of God as the energizing "spirit" of Life.
2. This special use in this text/context argues strongly that Paul is referring to a time in his life when he both possessed the Spirit of God and received his ability to "live" by that Spirit.
a. In Paul's theology, all men are born apart from the Spirit of God and are "dead" in their trespasses and sins and are energized by a spirit from "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that energizes the sons of the Disbelief" (Ephesians 2:2).
b. In Paul's theology, the only men who are "alive" because of God's Spirit are those who have been born again by that Spirit and who are indwelt by that Spirit.
c. This is reinforced by Paul's use of ajnevzhsen , a word that means "he/she/it was resurrected" from the dead, in reference to The Sin in 7:9.
1) This word is used metaphorically in Luke 15:24 and 32 of the prodigal who returned.
2) It is used of literal resurrection in Romans 14:9 and Revelation 20:5.
3) In our text/context, it is used of "The Sin's" return to power over the body of those who are not empowered by the Spirit of God.
B. Paul's claim that he was once living is characterized as "apart from Law".
1. In this letter, the only people who are alive apart from Law are those who have died to Law by virtue of faith in Christ.
2. Thus we have to conclude that Paul is expressing something that happened to him after he was brought to faith in Christ.
II. Paul's Claim That "The Commandment" Came on the Scene.
A. Since Paul was a thorough-going legalist from his early years, The Commandment had always been "on the scene".
B. The only way it can go "off the scene" is by way of a person's "death to Law".
C. Thus, we have to conclude that what Paul is describing is a "reversion" on his part that is very similar to that of the Galatians.
1. It is more than likely that a died-in-the-wool legalist would have some difficulties with the issues of "Law" as a part of his/her new life in Christ.
2. Thus, the "arrival" of "The Commandment" was simply a return to an old methodology of "life".
3. The outcome was a "death" for Paul that was not physical and did not erase his justification before God.
a. This death has to mean that he ceased to draw the power of his life from the indwelling of the spirit of Jesus within.
b. This death, then, is a breakdown in his fellowship with God by His Spirit.
III. The Consequence.
A. Paul had to deal with the difference between his perception of "The Law" as to "purpose" and God's perception of "The Law" as to "purpose".
1. He says that God's purpose for "The Law" was "for Life".
2. He says that "the commandment was found to be for me "death".
B. Paul then accepted the fact that he had been "deceived" by The Sin's use of "Law" as "commandment".