by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 11 September 14, 2004 Lincolnton, N.C.
(059)Thesis:Man, in his condition of having been delivered over to a non-thinking mind, is now in a condition of being full of "unrighteousness" and that means that the believer, having been given a condition of "absolute righteousness" needs to be committed to emptying himself of the fulness of "unrighteousness".
Introduction:In our studies to this point, we have seen that God reacted to Man's determination to reject Him as the Root of Life by "giving him up" in three ways. He gave him up to "uncleanness" (a general state of "infectious disease unto corruption"). He gave him up to "obsessions that dishonor" (a specific condition of being driven by obsessions). And, He gave him up to "a non-think mind" (a mind that cannot be "approved" because it cannot do what it was designed to do -- think correctly). By these means, man has been put in a hopeless condition that cannot be corrected apart from the gracious intervention of God. The result is that man now does what our text calls "improper things". The idea there is that man can no longer do the kinds of things that will result in the Life that he seeks. This evening we are going to begin a study of the condition of man in this given-up condition so that, as people who have been reclaimed by the grace of God from that condition, we may move in the direction of "doing proper things".
I. The Fulness of Man.
A. There are two statements of "fulness".
1. In 1:29a, Paul says that men "have been filled up" with certain realities.
2. In 1:29b, Paul says that men are now "full" of certain other realities.
B. The language implies that the first begets the second.
1. The things with which man was "filled up" consist of four major commitments to oppose God.
2. The things which, as a consequence, now "fill" man consist of one major attitude and four methods of expressing that attitude.
II. The Fulness of Unrighteousness.
A. "Unrighteousness", in its most basic definition, is linked primarily with an absence of a commitment to Justice as fair play in a cause and effect universe.
B. "Unrighteousness", in its most obvious outworking, is linked primarily to a deep opposition to Justice.
1. It is not merely a passive disinterest in Justice.
2. It is, as Paul has already said in 1:18, an active opponent to Truth that most often takes the form of the practice of injustice toward one's fellow human beings.
C. "Unrighteousness" as a condition of man is identified as having a primary "driving motivation".
1. In John 7:18 Jesus says pointedly that "unrighteousness" is driven by the desire for "glory".
2. In Acts 8:23 Peter says to Simon that he is in the "bondage of unrighteousness" and the story in that place deliberately links Simon's activities to the desire to regain his former "reputation" and "power".
3. In James 3:6, James says that the tongue is a "world of unrighteousness". His words are that the tongue is a fire, set on fire by Hell, that is the "organizing principle" (kosmos) of "unrighteousness". And he says this in the context of his dealings with the driving desire to achieve status in the eyes of others.
D. "Unrighteousness", because it is linked to this basic demonic lust, is totally disinterested in fair play because fair play will not allow me to be exalted over others, and is totally opposed to fair play because fair play will exalt many others over me.
III. The Believer's Way of Handling "Unrighteousness".
A. First, he must understand that he came into the faith with a huge commitment to it [Simon Magnus is a clear example].
B. Second, he must understand that "unrighteousness" is a frontal, no-holds-barred, attack on one of the four most basic divine commitments.
1. The commitments of God are revealed by the Gospels to be...
a. A commitment to Justice as manifested by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the most detailed explication being the Gospel of Matthew.
b. A commitment to Service as manifested by the Calf of God, the most detailed explication being the Gospel of Mark.
c. A commitment to Relationships as manifested by the Man of God, the most detailed explication being the Gospel of Luke.
d. A commitment to Life as manifested by the Eagle of God, the most detailed explication being the Gospel of John.
2. Unrighteousness is a frontal attack on the Lion of Judah and His righteous reign over His creation.
C. Third, he must take the fact that unrighteousness is the offspring of status lust extremely seriously.
1. This means he must make seeking to be important in the eyes of others an absolute abomination.
2. This means he must take the Gospel into the core of his spirit so that the love of Calvary actually meets his spirit's need to be valued by Someone.
D. Fourth, he must totally reject every implication of his experience that runs in the direction of "God must not love me".
1. There is no escape from the "bondage of unrighteousness" where there is no divine solution of love...to the degree that we disbelieve the love of God for us we will press forward in our lust for attention and value and its resulting disregard for Justice.
2. There is no bondage for those who rest their need for status upon Calvary.