by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 7 September 17, 2017 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(113)Thesis: Those who are in Christ are as secure as they can possibly be in terms of their eventual experience of the benefits of The Love of The God.
Introduction: It is of the utmost importance, to those of us who believe, that we understand the commitments that God has made to us in terms of His Love. There is the issue of how things will eventually work out, and there is the issue of how things are currently working out. Paul has tied the issue of how things are currently working out to this issue of our faith in the fact of God's love for us and the sense of security that brings to us. However, the practical issue of being secure is the actual experience of the chief benefit of that Love: the Joy of the Life. The problem is that there is no believer of record whose own testimony would be that of an experience through life in this world of uninterrupted Joy. Thus, we need to look into Paul's declaration with some care to see what it is that he is actually attempting to communicate.
I. At The Beginning.
A. Paul wrote "I am convinced" (NASB).
1. This verbal construct is that of a perfect tense, passive voice.
2. There are two issues involved.
a. The first is the way the translators chose to render it with the focus entirely upon the "continuing results" of a perfected action.
1) This is important because it points us to Paul's own sense of confidence as the basis for his efforts to bring his readers into the same condition.
2) Paul's doctrine includes that "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" idea that means that we only really walk in the Light when we are confident of our course.
b. The second is, perhaps, more crucial even though the translators basically slipped right over it: Paul was convinced by a series of involved issues.
1) This means that it was a "developed-over-time" kind of result; not an immediate result of being justified by God.
2) This signals a reality of which we need to be aware: "faith" is not a simple gift where, once it is given, it never vacillates.
3) A SIGNIFICANT aspect of our experience of the Joy of Life in this present time is that of having certain truths immutably nailed down in our souls so that the circumstances of our experience do not rattle us.
3. Paul's point is this: it was his experience that he had to go through some things in order to become "convinced", and he figured that his experience was pretty much the norm for all who believe.
B. This is the root of how he could use Psalm 44 to argue for the reality of the fact that God loves us.
II. At Issue in This "Conviction".
A. There is only one Person Who can determine whether, or not, we shall not be separated from His Love: God Himself.
B. There is only one issue where the idea of God deciding to separate from us would be of import: some behavior on our part that sufficiently displeased Him to make Him throw up His hands and say, "OK, that's it! No more! I am having nothing else to do with that person!"
C. Paul's conviction, that he came to over time, is that, for those who have been brought into the Love that exists in the "in Christ" reality, there is no such possible action.
1. This does NOT mean that believers will be prevented from such action in terms of some kind of inevitable development in godliness.
2. But it DOES mean that God will never be moved to reject those whom He has justified.
III. Paul's Argument.
A. He has a list of "possible" agents of separation: death/life; angels/archons; present realities/ potential developments; powers (of any kind); height/depth; and, just to be sure there is nothing left out, no other/different kind of created being.
B. Some of this list are more "obvious" than others, but the overall point is made: NOTHING.
IV. What Paul Does Not Argue.
A. He never says that this experience of the Joy of Life in this present world is incapable of being interrupted (Daniel 10:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Job 1-2; 1 Corinthians 5).
B. There would be no point to such a delusional argument. If this cannot be done, Paul is wasting words on the impossibility.
C. Too many places in the Scriptures declare that "sorrow" that works repentance is good, if not pleasant.
V. The Final Nail in This Conviction.
A. The ultimate issue is the eternal dimension.
B. Everywhere in the Bible this ultimate rests upon being "in" Christ.
1. In 8:37, our victory is "through" Him Who loved us.
2. In 8:39, the particular love being addressed is that which is "in Christ Jesus our Lord".
C. This is really how Paul is so "convinced": to get the Father to cast one of those in Christ outside of the eternal boundaries of the Joy of Life would mean that our standing is not really "in Christ", but in our fidelity.