by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4 September 16, 2012 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(207)Thesis:The truth can never be used in the service of a lie.
Introduction:In our last study we considered the reality of the Galatians' former attitude toward Paul and observed that he had put them in an impossible situation by tying their former attitude to their former experience of the blessing of God. That the former blessing was no longer their experience was undeniable by them and the absence of it meant that they had departed from a former attitude they had possessed which they no longer have.
In the text before us this evening, Paul is going to press these facts to their conclusion: can a person who is telling the truth be an "enemy"?
I. The "Enemy" Issue.
A. At its most basic root, an "enemy" is someone who seeks the "actual hurt" of another.
1. The issue of "actual" hurt is the difference between the imposition of pain for a greater gain in life as opposed to the imposition of pain as an element in an intended, eventual disintegration of life (the use of a knife in the hands of a surgeon as opposed to the hands of a murderer).
2. The issue of "hurt" is the question of whether "hurt" is always a bad thing.
a. In 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 Paul wrote of a kind of "sorrow" that was a really good thing and a kind of sorrow that was a really bad thing.
b. This means that "hurt" is not always a bad thing because the main difference between the various kinds of "hurts" in our experience is mainly a matter of degree (we don't really mind the kick in the shin under the table that warns of something, but we really don't like the fist to the jaw that tells of something).
c. If the difference is a matter of degree, "hurt" is never "bad" unless it initiates or continues the process to decay.
3. An "enemy" is always such by intent.
B. In our text in its context, the issue of "enemy" is the matter of final Death as it relates to the information that could/should lead to Life.
II. The "Truth-Telling" Issue.
A. One root of this issue is the question of whether something is "true" because the words used to declare it can be "interpreted" in some sense that corresponds to reality: this is the issue of the "meaning" of words strung together into a message and whether that "meaning" can ever be divorced from the authorial intent.
1. Matthew 4:6 posits a claim by the devil that the Scriptures validate the challenge made.
2. Matthew 27:40 posits a claim by the opponents that "God" would not subject Himself to the various realities of the cross and that "salvation" is a matter of preservation from "d"eath.
B. A second root of this issue is the question of whether the "truth" can ever be used in the service of a lie: this is the issue of "intention".
1. Since the meaning of words is invariably tied to the authorial intention, the essence of the use of words to promote a lie is, itself, a lie.
2. Technically, any "truth" that is used to support a lie can be used to debunk that very lie IF the person involved has sufficient wisdom to see the links between the elements of Truth.
III. The Question of the Apostle.
A. The question revolves around whether, in fact, the Galatians can show any nefarious intention in the apostle by way of his behavior or his message.
B. Without a nefarious intention, his question presses them to examine their own intentions (which he unveils in the very next statements in his letter).