by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3 October 30, 2011 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(129)Thesis:The entire issue of "spiritual life" (beginning by the Spirit; walking in the Spirit; being filled with the Spirit; etc.) has its focus upon the answer to the question of methodology: How do I relate to God?
Introduction:As we have moved into chapter three, we have noticed that Paul raised his issues with a series of six questions which double up on themselves. The first question -- that of "bewitching" -- is fundamentally tied to the problem of "non-think" (foolishness) as it relates to the most crucial event of all history in all of time: the crucifixion of the Son of God. This question is doubled back upon when Paul raises it again in 3:3 in a slightly different form. The second question -- that of how the Galatians received the Spirit of God -- is most fundamentally tied to the binding reality of the blending of God's propheticword and God's actualactivity in history. This question is also doubled back upon in 3:3 where Paul directly ties the two issues of the necessity of clear thinking with the binding reality of God's actions in history after revealing what they would be. In his restatement of the issue by asking a question, he presses for a "logical" conclusion to the methodological issue: How does your "reception" of the Spirit "logically" relate to your "progression" into what that Spirit came to do?
This evening we are going to look into Paul's "method" issue because it is at the very heart of how we are to go about releasing the Spirit of Jesus within us to express Himself through our bodies.
I. General Clarifications.
A. The concept of "works of law" is, at its very heart, a concept of actions taken within the realm of legal demands and focused upon the attempt to use those demands for personal gain.
B. The concept of the "hearing of faith" is, at its very heart, a concept of a cessation of resistance to the "obvious".
C. The repetition of "foolishness" is a highlighter that declares the critical importance of uncomplicated, straight-line, logic.
D. Though the repetition of the question of methodology moves from "beginning" to "progressing", it is still, at heart, a question of "method": How do we go about...?
II. More Specific Clarifications.
A. At the very heart of God's initial activities is God's ultimate objective.
1. No activity, no matter how significant or insignificant, can be clearly understood outside of its "contextual circle".
2. The contextual circle of individual divine activities is the ultimate objective of God.
a. God never does anything that does not move His objective closer to fulfillment.
b. Understanding how God's actions forward His intention is a question of wisdom and is an intermediate issue that may never come to intense clarity.
3. In our text/context, there are at least two indicators of God's pursuit of His objective.
a. In the question of "progression" is an understood objective that has a lot to do with the ultimate objective: to what are we "progressing"?
b. In the next question (have you suffered in vain?), there is a clear declaration that there is an objective that may, or may not be, accomplished.
c. These indicators tell us that we do not "receive the Spirit" without an ultimate agenda on God's part.
d. These indicators tell us what we are to have in view when we give heed to the words of God.
B. At the very heart of God's activities (immediate, intermediate, and final) is the issue of exactly how God intends to achieve His objectives (immediate, intermediate, and final).
1. On the "grace" side, God simply dominates His creation to whatever degree is necessary for His activities to hold within themselves the possibility of the accomplishment of His Goal.
2. On the "faith" side, God puts forth His words within a context of "undeniability" so that no man can "hear" them without "believing" them (Note Matthew 11:15; 13:9; and 13:43, but particularly 13:13).
a. It is within this concept of divine persuasion (God providing both content and undeniability) that Paul puts his understanding of the "spiritual life".
b. He says that we are to make progress by exactly the same methodology that got us started.
1) There is no question about what he means: the "methodology" of the spiritual life is "yielding to the obvious".
2) The issue of "yielding" is the problematic issue.
a) Yielding assumes something tightly grasped.
b) A tight grasp assumes both a "love" and a "belief".
c) The biblical declaration is that, after "undeniability" has been established, it is yet possible that a person will reject the faith response (Hebrews 3:7-8; 3:15; and 4:7).
d) Such a rejection has to have a core reason.
i. The core reason always begins with a false "love" (a dominating objective that the holder simply refuses to give up).
ii. The core reason is always rooted in "foolishness" (the lack of logical "tracking").
3) The method of properly relating to God so that the Spirit can accomplish His purpose in regeneration involves only two basic issues.
a) No one can relate to the Spirit of God who refuses to yield on his/her "loves".
b) No one can relate to the Spirit of God who actively calls God a liar in the face of "undeniability".