by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 15 September 25, 2011 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(119)Thesis:The love of the Son of God was not "undone" by the resurrection.
Introduction:We are being urged these days to consider that the love of the Son of God, as made manifest by the cross, is really not that big of a deal. Ultimately, we are told, God loves Himself more than He ever did us, and Calvary was undone by resurrection. Stop and think about it. If resurrection erased Calvary, how great a love was actually exercised? The apostle Paul argued vehemently that we should not give suffering too great a place in our thinking because the glory that is to come is so far superior to it as to relegate it to the dung heap. How great is a "love" that gives up a penny to gain a billion dollars? Additionally, if God would rather be praised than to deliver sinners from eternal judgment, how great is His "love"?
Paul, himself, was champing at the bit to "depart and be with Christ" as a "far better" reality than the current life, so how great was his martyrdom since it delivered him to that "far better" reality? And, really, what is the difference between having your head cut off, as the method of your death, and having your vitality gradually sucked out of your body by a long, drawn-out, lingering process of dying? If "love" is measured only in terms of pain and loss in this body in this realm, just how "great" is it?
Paul claims, in the text of our current study, that the driving force of his current life was this fact: the Son of God loved him. What did he mean by that?
I. Paul's Explanation: The Son of God "Gave Himself" For Paul.
A. The question before us is this: what does it mean for the Son of God to "give Himself"?
1. The word Paul used is found in 118 texts of the New Testament.
2. The word typically means "to give over so that the 'given over' is completely under the choices of another."
3. In a majority of cases, the context of the "giving" is totheloss of the one given over.
B. At the heart of the Son's "giving Himself" is this question: what was the measure of the "loss"?
1. The standard of measure must be clear.
a. If we minimize the standard, the "loss" is diminished.
b. If the "loss" is diminished, the motivation for response is likewise diminished.
1) It is Paul's claim that he has delivered himself up to Christ so that he no longer has a "life" in terms of any sense of self-determination.
2) For anyone to deliberately do this, the motivation must be relatively potent.
3) Thus, we must seek to grasp the level of "loss" to which the Son of God delivered Himself.
2. The standard of measure must not be allowed to be relegated to secondary, or even unrelated, issues.
a. At issue is the realm of the "loss".
1) Calvary is centrally located by the Scriptures at the heart of the claim.
2) Calvary was a multi-tiered reality wherein physical, emotional, and spiritual realities exist in a specific context of the Justice of God.
b. At issue is also the reach of the "loss".
1) The central question of "reach" is this: could a short three-day event answer the requirements of Justice?
2) The primary context of "reach" is this: the warning of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord without end (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
a) This simply cannot be turned into some kind of ultimate annihilation without completely minimizing the "loss" (if all I am saved from is cessation of existence, I am not saved from much of anything).
b) Once "eternal" is allowed to stand as the "context", infinity is in the mix without qualification.
c) When Thomas' unbelief was confronted, the language of Jesus strongly indicates "unhealed wounds" (John 20:27 -- the Authorized Version has no reference to "scars").
d) Unhealed wounds strongly imply on-going reality (scars relegate trauma to memory; unhealed wounds carry a present impact); and what is true in the material realm is also true in all other realms.
C. At the heart of Paul's declaration is his own reaction.
1. "Reactions" depend upon the perceptions of the one doing the reacting.
2. The level of response was total and permanent -- as revealed by Romans 9:3.
a. This text has to do with the level of "love" for one's enemies and there is no limit to it.
b. This focus upon "love" for other human beings is automatically out of the greater "love" for the Lord thy God.
3. The lingering questions are two.
a. Would Paul have actually been willing to sacrifice himself to the uttermost for his enemies if this were not a mirror of the love of God for him?
b. Would Paul have actually superseded the love of God so that God can "love Himself" but Paul did not?