by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4 January 16, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(282)Thesis:The only deliverance we have from Sin is in being transferred out of the domain of "Law".
Introduction:Last week I argued that how we live is directly tied to whether we consider ourselves the wives of Christ. This seems to be an inescapable conclusion to both Paul's doctrine and illustration. It is a difficult issue for "men" who are particularly "chewed up" by Sin. For such men, the idea that they have to become "feminine" in order to become "godly" is so distasteful that they simply refuse to consider that the Bible is unrelenting in its insistence that the Church is the Bride of Christ. For such men I have this question: what is really the most "macho" act -- bullying others into submission, or suffering for another's sake without flinching? Why does "macho" always mean using foul and godless language, lusting after multiple women, squandering resources on "competition" issues, being committed to creating chaos, and strutting like a peacock just to get attention? Since God presents Himself to His creation as a godly man, true "manliness" is being "strong to save others" not being "macho enough to intimidate others". So, the thesis stands: true godliness is heavily dependent upon whether we see ourselves as the wives of Christ. This has absolutely nothing to do with the issue of fallen men who try to turn themselves into fallen women, neither of whom understand the biblical issues of femininity or masculinity.
This evening we are going to chase Paul's words in 7:1-6 a bit further. Our objective is to understand more clearly how we are to live as the people of God. The issue before us is the issue of God's focus upon getting us out from under the Law as a means to providing us with a workable method of living effectively as the people of God.
I. The First Issue: Why Focus Upon Freedom From Law?
A. The Law is not really the problem.
1. Paul says "the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good" (7:12).
2. Paul also says "the Law is spiritual" (7:14).
B. If the Law is not really the problem, why is Paul so adamant that we must understand that we are "free from the Law"?
1. He does insist that our ability to live effectively is directly tied to our freedom from the Law: 6:14 and 7:5.
2. He feels compelled by the Spirit of God to write half of chapter six and all of chapter seven -- which have everything to do with how we must be out from under Law in order to function by the Spirit -- because the issues are critical.
C. Since we are waiting for the completion of the promise of redemption, Paul's focus upon our freedom from Law is apparently critical forthepresent.
1. This means that Paul is giving us a solid foundation for effective living in light of the fact that redemption is not yet completely ours.
a. In Ephesians 1:14 Paul calls the Holy Spirit, Who is the main provision for effective living, "the earnest of our inheritance until redemption."
b. And in Romans 8:19 he tells us pointedly that the creation is waiting for the ultimate redemption.
2. The problem inthispresenttime is that Sin has not been eliminated.
a. Given this reality, Paul is determined to make sure we understand that Lawhas been eliminated.
b. The elimination of Law is the nextbestthing to the elimination of Sin in that the elimination of Law cripples Sin's long-term abilities.
1) Sin's desire is to destroy, but it is heavily dependent upon God to do that.
a) Sin, like any created phenomenon, is God-dependent for its impact.
i. God is the origin of all power to accomplish.
ii. All of God's "stewardships of power" are under His immediate control.
b) Thus, if God decides to refrain from destruction, Sin is frustrated.
2) The elimination of Law makes God absolutely free to refrain from destruction if He so chooses.
D. According to Paul, our ability to bear fruit for God is directly tied to the removal of Law from the mix.
1. In 7:4 it is required that we be joined to Christ as the Risen One in order to be bearers of fruit for God.
a. This could not happen in the realm of "Justice".
b. Only death and resurrection unto a "Grace" dominion can accomplish this.
2. In 7:6 it is required that we be freed from the bondage of Law before we can "serve" in newness of Spirit.
E. Also, 7:5 pointedly says that Sin's ability to produce its passions through the members of our bodies is rooted in the Law.
1. The Law is presented as the intermediate agent that stands between Sin and its passions and the body and its members.
2. As the intermediate agent, Sin cannot express itself without it.
a. Sin's "passions" are not really the "particulars" -- the individual actions that are sinful.
b. Sin's "passions" are, ultimately and genuinely, the "death" for which they are designed.
c. Once Law is removed, and "death" is no longer possible, Sin is seriously frustrated: it cannot express itself.
II. Bottom Line: How Do We Live in Freedom From Law?
A. First, we must understand that the essence of Law is "unprovisioned demand with death as the consequence of failure".
B. Second, we must understand that the essence of Grace is "absolutely provisioned demand with Life as inevitable" -- God doing for us what He requires of us.
C. Third, we must apply our understanding so that we understand that we have no responsibility to produce the fruit; we have only to trust God so that He produces it...this is the "wifely loyalty factor".