by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2 October 31, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
(264)Thesis:Creation-order will produce according to the nature of the seed that is sown.
Introduction:After our study last week, someone asked if Romans 6 was not set up after the order of the carrot and the stick. That is a good observation. The carrot is our union with Jesus to the enormous degree that we are credited with His actions. The stick is our union with this creation to the same enormous degree that what sinful seeds we plant will produce their death-harvest. It is a decidedly negative fact that the perversity of depravity is behind all of Romans 6. If we were not so committed to getting our way, Paul would have never felt compelled to twice ask "shall we continue in sin" and then spend an entire chapter of what he calls "the Gospel of God" in an attempt to state the obvious. It is absolute lunacy for any creature to think that sinning against his/its maker is "OK", yet Paul's words imply that people go there like a tick goes to a dog.
So, last week we saw that Paul makes a sharp and necessary distinction between "Law" and what I have called "Creation-order". We have been forever released from the dominion of the Law by faith in Jesus Christ, but we have not been released to any degree from the dominion of Creation-order. I will never stand under the judgment of the Law of God because Jesus stood there in my place. But, I will forever stand under the dominion of Creation-order and will reap exactly as I have sown. The issue of the Law is the issue of eternal destiny in the New Jerusalem or the Second Death. The issue of Creation-order is the degree to which I experience the Life of God. Too many weeds in anyone's garden saps the strength from the garden plant so that the degree of production is compromised. It is no small thing to lose out on "Life".
Thus, this evening we are going to look into the principles of God's creation order once again so that those principles can lodge in our minds and, hopefully, in our hearts.
I. There is a Definitive Process in Creation-Order.
A. The first aspect of the process is what Paul would call "deception".
1. In Romans 7:11 Paul clearly says that Sin only gets the upper hand through deception.
2. In Romans 6:15 Paul clearly "opens the ball" with a question that should never have to be asked, but does.
a. It is rationally beyond delusional for a creature of God to think that rebellion against God is "OK".
b. Yet this is not the first time Paul has confronted this way of thinking.
B. The second aspect of the process is what Paul would call "ignorance".
1. In Paul's "know ye not" terminology, there is a clear indication that Paul considers "knowledge" an asset and "ignorance" a powerful liability.
a. Again, there is no rationality in ignorance.
1) People foolishly say "ignorance is bliss" and actually exult in their ignorance.
2) But, Proverbs 1:22 declares unequivocally that only a "fool" hates knowledge.
b. Yet the visible church is full of people who are absolutely committed to retaining their ignorance and despising knowledge.
2. The relationship between "ignorance" and "deception" is abundantly clear: the more ignorant a person is, the easier it is to deceive them.
C. The third aspect of the process is what Paul addresses with his words "to whom ye present yourselves".
1. The word that is used to communicate the idea of "presentation" is a word that literally means "to stand beside" and it is sometimes used to indicate the deliberate decision "to take one's place beside as a dedicated servant."
a. There are two "definitive" faith-acts in the Scriptures.
1) The first is the "believing" that Jesus died for me.
2) The second is the "commitment" of my body as a living sacrifice to God as the only rational thing that can be done.
b. I have a very clear recollection of these two "faith-acts" in my past experience.
c. Yet I find that it is very often the case that "believers" cannot give a "testimony" of either of these two "events" in their lives.
2. This word does not necessarily mean that the decision that kicks it into gear will be of a magnitude that it will be remembered.
3. But, remembered or not, the process it initiates is inexorable.
4. And, the "presentation" has an unambiguous set of objectives.
a. First, there is the "objective" of "being a bondservant".
b. Second, there is the "objective" of "pursuit of the methodology".
1) Paul calls this secondary objective "obedience".
2) However, the word he uses indicates a procedure that consists of two things: first a willingness to "hear"; and, second, a willingness to submit.
a) Both of these require a firm commitment that typically rejects competitors.
b) Both of these are the front lines of where the battle rages -- at least initially. [It is no accident that every time a person makes a commitment, it is tested.]
D. The fourth aspect of the process is wrapped up in the words "his servant you are to whom you render 'under-hearing'".
1. The meaning here is that, though the decision is yours to make, once made, it is pretty much "set".
a. There are some situations wherein masters lose servants.
b. Seldom is the loss accomplished by the servants.
2. Masters cannot be called "masters" if their authority is subject to the whims of their servants.
E. And, finally, there is the issue of "alternatives".
1. It is not a "three" way alternative situation.
2. There are only two options.
a. The first option is Sin.
b. The second option is "Under-hearing".
3. The confusion disappears when we understand that Paul had a three-part process in mind and omitted one of the three parts in each of his two statements.