by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1 November 6, 2016 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(047)Thesis: One of man's greatest needs is to "see" sin in its true essence.
Introduction: Our studies of the previous paragraph were introduced by Paul's first question: Is the Law sinful? The answer was an absolute denial, but it did contain a concept that gives rise to Paul's second question: Did the "good" Law become death to him? The reason for this question seems apparent. In the previous paragraph Paul declared that the holy "Law", in the form of the holy, righteous, and good commandment, became an instrument in the hands of "The Sin" to bring Paul to death. This almost automatically raises the question before us: If the "good" commandment was useful to "The Sin" as an instrument of death to Paul, does that mean that "that which is good" became "death" to Paul?
I. The Essence of the Question.
A. The first element: the nature of "goodness".
1. According to the careful explanation of 7:10, the intended "telos" of "the commandment" is "Life" as the result of an unrestricted harmony between God and the recipients of His laws.
2. This means that "goodness" needs to be seen in terms of divine intention rather than divine methodology.
a. The reason for the distinction is one: human ignorance.
b. No human has any "ignorance" problem with "Absolutely Not", but a great number of humans have "ignorance" problems with the details of reason behind the unambiguous.
c. When infinite wisdom attempts to explain anything to finite reason, there will be problems; some of which can be handled by the most basic fact (Absolutely Not).
1) If "love" has reached the point in a human being that Absolutely Not is "enough", there will be a firewall against deception (this is the "because I said so" reality).
2) But, if there is a significant level of cynicism undercutting a person's "love", there is a need for a little more information.
B. The second element: the nature of "death".
1. Paul presents "death" as the actually accomplished "telos".
2. The nature of this "telos" is, most fundamentally, a separation between the Giver of Life and His intended recipients so that "darkness" is allowed a place and, subsequently, the flow of "Life" is so significantly hindered that only a solution of the magnitude of Calvary can restore the union.
II. The Short Answer: AbsolutelyNot.
A. However, because of the slippery slope of "fine lines", this short answer is only helpful is setting up a firm barrier (adamant, unambiguous denial) against drawing the wrong conclusion.
B. This short answer does not reveal Paul's careful explanation of the critical details.
III. The Longer Answer.
A. It was not "the commandment" that brought death; it was the instigator of "The Sin" that brought that "death".
B. The reason that this process was initiated by "The God" is that humanity, already caught up in a fallen creation in the angelic realms, was going to be subjected to "The Sin" and its deceptions and "The Sin" needed to be seen by the eyes of human beings as "extraordinary".
1. Paul first says that "The Sin" was the author of the "death" telos.
2. He then says that this author needed to be exposed.
3. He then explained the unveiling.
a. "The Sin" used, as an instrument, a "good commandment" to produce "death".
b. This "Sin" worked very hard to bring this effort to a conclusion.
1) Paul explained in 7:11 that the hard work was one of extremely subtledeceit.
2) The essence of that "deceit" was that "the commandment" was a prohibition against "Life" that was instituted by a deceitful Liar.
a) The subtlety rested upon a most basic lie that has most people completely blind: the claim that other factors than God determine the quality of "Life".
b) This lie exists in spite of multiple proofs that it is a lie; the chiefest of which is that even when men control every "circumstance" of their lives, they still have no joy.
3) The extreme effort was necessary because of the flawless track record of the God Who gave the commandment.
4) The extreme effort took the form of using the threat of the loss of already given benefits (Adam was faced with the loss of his "deceived" wife).
5) In Paul's case, this threat existed by reason of the blessing of Joy challenged by his possession of "agendas of joy" that were already in place before he came to know God.
C. The point: "sin" is very easily seductive by subtle deceits unless its essential nature as extremely sinful is settled in place.
1. Without this, people do not value redemption or forgiveness.
2. Without those values people simply cannot get along with others.
3. Without the ability to "get along", the blame game gets into high gear with God as the Most Accused.