by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2 January 31, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
(192)Thesis:Because Jesus did, and does, what is necessary, we have access to sufficient grace.
Introduction:We began a study of Romans 5 last week and considered Paul's declaration that we have peace with God on the foundation of our Lord's activities on our behalf. We have seen his argument that "by faith" means we depend upon Him to fulfill His promises, and "by grace" means He acts independently of the moral quality of our behavior as He fulfills His promises. "Grace" is a powerful concept in that it does not mean God is "passively overlooking our failures", but is "actively acting to fulfill His word without regard for the quality of our behavior". He may, or may not, use what we do as a part of His fulfillment, but, in any case, it is His powerful action that is the essence of "grace". By the same token, "faith" is a significant concept in that it signals the presence of a singular "gateway" into the condition of being a recipient of "grace". Those who are convinced that God's promises are valid see their validity while those who are not convinced, do not see. So, we have seen that grace has provided a powerful foundation for our justification -- the perfection of Christ as both Actor and Sacrifice -- and our justification has ushered us into a state of "peace" with God. This means that God has absolutely and finally set aside His animosity toward us because of our sins.
This evening we are going to take a look at a second "possession". Paul said, in 5:1, that we "have" peace with God. In 5:2 he refers to our "having had" a thing called by our translators an "introduction into grace". This issue is where we are going to focus our attention for a little while.
I. The Differences in the Concepts.
A. Paul's focus upon a presentpossession of peace.
1. This focus upon a present possession of peace has one objective: to put our souls at rest.
2. This focus is absolutely foundational to the security of our souls: God mustnot be our "Satan" if our souls are to have any security whatsoever.
a. "Satan" means "an inimical adversary" who seeks our destruction for His own gratification.
b. The word typically refers to God's enemy who aggressively and continuously seeks to establish an entirely opposite "kingdom" to God's Kingdom.
1) The root of this "opposition kingdom" is "competition for status through the exercise of greater wisdom and power" so that "boasting" is the flag of that kingdom. Life is defined in terms of being able to boast of personal accomplishment. The experience of "spiritual exultation" is considered the "essence" of Life, and "personal accomplishment" is considered the fundamental "mechanism". This is, in a sense, the "mirror image" of God's Kingdom in which the exercise of greater wisdom and power are not about "boasting", but "righteousness" (the "flag" of God's Kingdom is righteousness -- see Hebrews 1:8), and, though the "essence" of Life is the same ("spiritual exultation"), the "mechanism" is the grace of God.
2) The aggressive and continuous labor is inherently self-destructive on the basic principle that "a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand".
c. That God is seen to be the "Satan" by the vast majority of human beings is an aspect of the subversive propaganda of the opposition kingdom.
d. But, as long as "God" is seen to be the "Satan", our souls are in serious torment because of one foundational truth: "God" is the "Executor of Power" and cannot be defeated.
3. This focus establishes the reality of harmony between "God" and "believers".
a. That we are "justified" by "faith" means that only "believers" are transferred out of the very real conflict that God engages in against the opposition kingdom.
b. That we are transferred out of God's "target zone" means that we are now in harmony with God.
c. The focus upon the present tense means that we need to be firmly and continuously settled on the fact that God is not "Satan", but "Father".
1) This focus often gives no foundation for any alterations in "what" happens (there are many things that occur that carry the potential of grievous disaster).
2) But this focus gives a very solid foundation for evaluation of the "whats" on the basis of the "whys". Grievous disasters only happen to people who attribute evil intent (answering the question of "why") to the things that occur -- believers stand firm on Romans 8:28. The quality of our lives is completely dependent upon how we evaluate our circumstances. This is why "faith" is the critical issue of the experience of life.
B. Paul's focus upon a pastpossession of an "introduction".
1. The key word here is "introduction".
a. What does it mean?
1) It has to do with being "led up to" something or someone.
2) The imagery includes two realities: the entity one "approaches", and the impact that "entity" makes upon one as the "proximity" makes "impact" inescapable (the closer one is "led" towards the object, the greater the "impact"). An illustration exists in the comments Jesus made about "light": the closer one is to "light" the better one can see and be seen.
3) The reality is that the "believer" is "led" by Jesus "up to" His Father as one of His own and is "received" by the Father as one of His own.
b. To what does it refer?
1) Though it ultimately refers to the Father, that is not Paul's focus.
2) Paul deliberately addresses, not the Father, but the "inescapable impact": he calls it "this grace".
a) It is interesting that Hebrews 4:16 does this very same thing: it does not directly refer to the Person, but to the overwhelming characteristic of the Person.
b) This is necessary because the identification of the Person has been seriously corrupted by demonic lies and the only remedy for that is to focus upon the "glory" of the "God".
2. The focus upon the "perfect" tense indicates the need for a past historical basis for the on-going need for faith.
a. The greatest problem "believers" have is the "inconstancy" of their "believing".
b. The apostolic solution to this problem is to establish a "point" in history in which the great transaction was accomplished.
1) He says "we have taken our stand" in this "throne room of grace".
2) He means that we, by faith, have accepted Jesus' introduction of us to His Father as finally effective for all of eternity no matter what.
a) It is the "no matter what" that gives rest to our souls.
b) It is the "no matter what" that defines our "faith".