by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3 March 18, 2012 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(159)Thesis:The "promises" were made to Abraham and his Seed. (Chart)
Introduction:Under all of the details of Paul's arguments in Galatians stands one issue: the Promise, as a conceptual unit that identifies what the future holds for those who "believe". In our latest study, we put our focus upon the fact that human beings universally recognize that "ratified covenants" have, as their "bottom line" the intent to "settle" certain relational issues at the beginning so that everything that comes later can be addressed on the basis of what was initially agreed upon by those involved in the covenant.
In that study we did acknowledge that men are persistent in contradicting their own recognition of this universal approach to the issues of on-going dealings with others by attempting to either "renegotiate" or "judicially challenge" the initial agreement, but the point is made: men know, and will be held accountable to, the fact that the entire point of a "covenant" is to make it possible to go forward with a minimum of chaos in the developments. That men often renege on the commitments they made is beside this point. The God of no renegotiation or adulteration of His covenant commitments operates out of omniscient wisdom and whatever He has committed Himself to will be how things eventually play out.
Therefore, this evening we are going to look into what Paul called "the promises" that were spoken to Abraham. To what did He commit Himself in respect to Abraham and his Seed?
I. The "Promise" Versus the "Promises".
A. In general, 1 John 2:25 provides a very large umbrella, under which multiple issues abide.
1. In harmony with that umbrella is Paul's teaching in Galatians 3:14 that "the" blessing of Abraham had a kind of "bottom line" in "the promise of the Spirit".
a. This "bottom line" seems to be focused upon God's divine methodology (how He is going to produce the effectual elements of the "blessing").
b. Additionally, Galatians 3:18 alters the terminology of "the blessing" to "the inheritance", but the key issue remains the question of how God intends to bring "it" (blessing/inheritance) into the actual experience of those who "believe".
2. Paul maintains this harmony with the umbrella in Ephesians 1:13-14 wherein he says that "the Holy Spirit of the Promise" is "the earnest of our inheritance".
B. Specifically, in Galatians, Paul uses the word translated "promise" in nine texts, seven of which are "singular" (a point not to be taken lightly in view of our text and its focus upon the fact that the numerical value of a word is a key point -- seeds/seed).
1. The point of the plural: the umbrella, to be effective and to be understood, has multiple, individual elements which are also "promises".
2. Paul depends on us to understand this by referring to "the promise of the Spirit" in 3:14 and "the promise [of] ... the inheritance" in 3:17-18 as subsumed elements of our grasp of the overall issue -- the promise of Eternal Life.
II. The Promises.
A. Our grasp must begin with Genesis 12:1-3 wherein we find five specific "promises", three of which are specifically "life" issues and two of which are "extent" issues.
B. Our grasp of the "three life promises" must include the realization of the greater context.
1. In Genesis 2:7 we have a three-fold development in God's creation of man.
2. In Genesis 3:6 we have a three-fold basis for the success of "temptation".
3. In 1 John 2:16 we have John summarizing "all that is in the world" in an inescapable parallelism to the Genesis 3:6 text.
4. The book of James, in dealing with the question of "how" to deal with "temptation", develops three major arenas wherein temptation must be faced and handled (the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, and the lust of the flesh).
5. The confession of Gary Binder...
C. In the light of the greater biblical context, the promises of Genesis 12:1-3 take on a very special significance.
1. The demands made in this text are in exact harmony with the Genesis 3 temptation.
2. The promises made are direct confrontations of the "fears" that the demands create.