by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 8 August 24, 2004 Lincolnton, N.C.
(053)Thesis:The absolutely corrupt choice of "Man" needs to be clearly understood so that we know what we can "expect" from God.
Introduction:In our study last week we zeroed in on God's reaction to man's decision to abandon the obvious: He turned mankind over to bondage to his own body. In effect, God installed man's physical body, with all of its powerful, built-in motivators, as man's new "lord" so that it would be obvious by the body's total incompetence in producing life that man has forsaken life for death. This is the contribution of homosexuality and lesbianism: these are both "beyond-obvious" demonstrations of the body's inability to procreate under those conditions...i.e. the body's inability to generate life. This evening we are going to pursue Paul's presentation of man's plight under the judgment of God by looking into 1:25. To facilitate that, we wanted to make some remarks about the structure of Paul's words in this section of his presentation... Now, having done that, let's dig into what Paul is claiming in 1:25.
I. The Differences Between Paul's "Statement" and His "Restatement".
A. There is no "For" at the beginning of the verse.
B. The "exchanged" of 1:23 is actually an "over translation", while it is correct in 1:25.
C. The "glory of the incorruptible God" in 1:23 becomes "the Truth of the God" in 1:25.
D. The "for an image in the form of corruptible man" in 1:23 becomes "for the lie" in 1:25.
E. That which is only implied as the action of man in 1:23 is overtly stated as "worshipping and serving the creation rather than the Creator" in 1:25.
II. The Details of Paul's "Restatement".
A. The emphatic exchange.
1. One of the most resisted issues for fallen man is that of truth being "white" and lies being "black".
a. As long as everything is "gray", man feels a freedom to refrain from coming to any kind of behavior-dominating "conviction".
b. As soon as a thing becomes "white", man loses his freedom to be a vacillator who can "flex" according to the pressures of the situation.
c. Because "inflexibility" is both despised and hypocritically embraced by mankind, he does not want to face the claim of "exchange"...he prefers the comfort of "assimilation".
2. Paul disallows any sense that man's decision was anything other than an "exchange".
B. The correlation between the glory and the truth.
1. When Paul refers to the "glory" of God as incorruptible, he is addressing the issue of Theology Proper: what is the incorruptible God like?
a. The overall issue of the "glory" is that it is "incorruptible" -- i.e. not subject to any kind of degrading alteration.
b. He does not go into the details of the "glory" other than its "incorruptibility".
2. When Paul refers to the "Truth" of God, he is addressing the specific details of God's revelation of Himself to man...this is the issue of Bibliology as Special Revelation from God to man about Himself ("...clearly revealed stuff...").
3. Just as there is a racheting up in terms of "changing/exchanging", there is a racheting up in terms of specific knowledge...the gray is being removed.
C. The correlation between the "image in the form of corruptible man..." and "the lie".
1. It is not "a" lie; it is "the" lie.
2. "The" lie is that that which is subject to death (i.e. "corruptible") can produce "life".
a. This is the heart of evolution.
b. It is also the heart of every form of confidence in creation.
3. The racheting continues...idolatry becomes "the" lie.
D. The racheting up regarding what is implied in 1:23.
1. Man's "worship" is his heart's exaltation of an "object" (person or thing) to the position of "Life-Giver"...this is the "love" issue.
2. Man's "service" is his mind's exaltation of the "requirements of the object" to the position of "Life's Method(s)"...this is the "faith" issue.
3. Man's choice of both "object" and "methods" centers upon the creation rather than the Creator...what does "man" say is valuable and true?
E. The "blessedness of the Creator" is Paul's capstone: there is no one or thing that ought to be "well spoken of" in all of time except the Creator. Amen.
III. Some of the Significance of Paul's Restatement.
A. There are multiple, deceitful ways in which the "exchange" can take place.
1. The abandonment of the "inspired" Scriptures in favor of "the personal word".
2. The abandonment of the "daily meditation on the words of God" in favor of listening to the "studies of the guru(s)".
3. The abandonment of the "loyalty to God" factor in favor of the "loyalty to those who are 'mine'" ("I'd take the mark if it meant I could feed my children"/the hypocrisy of sitting in judgment on acquaintances but not on family/the permission of 'long hair' for 'my' son but not for yours).
4. The abandonment of the Church for the church (that whole 'tradition' thing).
B. There is no promise that God will not respond each time such an exchange takes place in the same way He did with Adam.