by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2 October 3, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
(256)Thesis:The death of Jesus actually solved all of the issues of death so that life is not only possible, it is inescapable.
Introduction:In our study last week we zeroed in on Paul's claim that "we believe" that we shall live together with Christ. In that study we attempted to highlight the most difficult issue of "faith": the profound propensity of human beings to deceive themselves and to attempt to deceive others also. We pointed out that God has given us -- in the words of Jesus regarding moving mountains -- a guard against deception, whether it arises from within or without. Since God always responds to genuine faith with the production of the expected, it is impossible for someone to legitimately claim that he is "believing" if there is no divine response asexpected. Thus we have a "deception-remover".
However, from some comments that arose out of our study last week, it seems clear that I was not as clear as I had hoped to be. So, in a sentence or two, let's see if I can provide a bit more clarity: I am believing when four things exist. First, the content of the "belief" did not arise out of my own mind. I am never the originator of the word of God. Second, the expectation of the "belief" is genuine even when I am emotionally strung out with great fears. I really do "expect" God to act as I expect Him to act. Third, the actions I take are consistent with my expectation. I cannot live without taking action, and my actions are driven by my love/faith realities. And, fourth, God actually does what I expect. Every issue of "belief" has these four qualities and the absence of any of the four is indicative of some form of deception -- either self-deception or other-deception.
Now, it's probably a self-delusion for me to think that I have put that baby to rest, but we are still going to proceed into Paul's argument in 6:9-10. In verse eight Paul says that if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall live together with Him also. So, in verses nine and ten we are going to see how it is that we "believe" this. He says our "believing" arises out of our "knowing" of something. This evening we are going to at least begin to look into this concept we are supposed to "know" so that we "believe".
I. The "End" of Death.
A. We "believe" ... "knowing"...
1. The resurrection of Christ signals the "end" of death for Him: "...He dieth no more...".
a. "Death" exists on multiple levels.
1) On the physical level, "death" exists as a "separation" of the body from the spirit with the consequence that the body is reduced to the final chaos and the spirit is isolated from any "material tool" for expression of itself in the material world.
2) On the "soul" level, "death" exists as a "separation" of the "dependent person" from the "spirit/Spirit/spirits" which provide for the dependencies with the consequence that the "soul" languishes in terror because there is no "provider" to guard it from disaster.
3) On the "spirit" level, "death" exists as a "separation" of the human capacity for action from the Divine Capacity for action -- the human spirit from the Holy Spirit -- with the consequence that the human spirit no longer has the input of Divine Love or Wisdom as it goes about sponsoring activities in a cause/effect universe...a reality that sponsors disaster as Hate and Foolishness find expression.
b. However, the issue of "death" is functionality in an adversarial relationship with God. Though it is often addressed in the terms of "separation" that are found in the above section (a.) this concept needs some clarification when we think in terms of separationfromGod.
1) First, it is impossible to be spatially "separated" from the omnipresent God. Thus, any "separation" has to exist in "non-space" terms. One of the revealed areas of "separation" is in the area of matters of the "heart and mind" -- i.e., being "separated" in terms of one's objectives and methods.
2) And, there is also the area of "separation" wherein God withdraws His provision(s) of the power to accomplish false goals. Clearly, sinners are already separated from God in the arena of motives and methods and sinners are already separated from God in the arena of His provision of Love and Wisdom. However, just as clearly, God has not yet withdrawn His provision(s) of the power which men use to pursue and accomplish evil agendas.
3) Thus, the real issue of death is not the "separation" issue, but the "residue" issue -- man's on-going functional capacity in isolation from Love and Wisdom. This "isolation from" is more accurately identified as an "adversarial relationship with God."
a) Nowhere does the Scripture acknowledge any kind of "cessation of existence" for created persons, nor does it admit to any "cessation of sensibility" in that enduring existence.
b) So, without any annihilation of sensibility, function and feeling continue. The problem with enduring function and sensibility in an adversarial relationship is "fire", "tears", and "rage" (Jesus said that the angels would gather the offenders and cast them into "the furnace of fire" where there will be "weeping and the gnashing of teeth" -- Matthew 13:41-42). Jude 7 says that the "eternal fire" is an expression of "vengeance" (which is the outworking of justice). Thus, the "problem" of "separation" is not "separation", but "locked-in adversarial action/reaction". Death is aggressive; it is not a passive absence of something good.
c. So we must conclude that the "death" Jesus died involved body, soul, and spirit in such a way that not only was the physical separation problem solved, so also were the "soul" and "spirit" separation problems solved. In other words, the reason that there is no more death is not that physical resurrection has occurred, but that "spiritual unity" has been achieved with the consequence that an adversarial attitude exists no more. There is no way that Paul can declare that we have peace with God if that attitude remains. Thus, his condemnation of those who attempt to use God's provision for justification as an excuse for sin (Romans 3:8) is valid and his rejection of "let us sin that grace might abound" is also valid.
d. So, when Jesus "died", He went into the realm of Death to suffer the imposition of the Justice of God in all of its ramifications.
e. And when He was resurrected, He left the realm of Death permanently. The debt was fully paid so that there canbenofurtherimpositionofindebtedness.
2. Death no longer "lords" it over Him.
a. Death's "lordship" is its ability to determine what shall be.
b. Death's ability to determine what shall be is absolutely rooted in the Sin/Justice conflict and with Justice satisfied and Sin abolished, the capacities of Death are reduced to nothing.
B. Paul's Rationale.
1. "For He died 'it'..." (the grammar here is interesting) -- "He died for the Sin once for all."
2. Paul's point: Death was a climactic "event", imposed by Justice against Sin, and it was accomplished as an event. Thus, being accomplished, there is nothing left of it.
II. The Continuation of Life.
A. "But He lives 'it'..." (a repeat of the odd grammar mentioned above) -- Since He cannot cease from existence in function and sensibility, any "living" now is done in unabridged unity with the Father so that there is no animosity, nor adversarial relationship.
B. "He lives with God" -- Unity was regained at every level.
III. The Only Issue Still on the Table: Reckon yourselves to be just as dead to sin as Jesus is and just as alive to God as Jesus is.