by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2 February 6, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(288)Thesis:The "death" of Sin exists where there is an ignorance of the will of God.
Introduction:In our study last week we spent most of our time attempting to make one thing clear: God's "intention" in the giving of the Law was to "reveal" both Himself and His short- and long-term commitments. This "intention" had several "necessary secondary elements", one of which was the "revelation" of God's absolute antagonism to "Sin" in terms of retaliation (vengeance). The net result of this particular secondary element was the "declaration" that anyone who sinned would suffer the wrath of God. This element shines brightly as "justice". A second of the "necessary secondary elements" was God's absolute commitment to His plan for a Kingdom inhabited by certain of the sons of Adam. This element shines brightly as "promise". The one thing most necessary for our understanding is this: God never "intended" that His "Law" be twisted from its identity as "revelation" into a futile identity as "regulation". That is a completely futile "intention" that cannot exist in the omniscient wisdom of God Who, above all, knows that, in the presence of Sin, "revelation" serves as a catalyst for an explosive growth of sin. Given these realities, there are two questions. First, how does this work? How does the revelation of God's nature and plans set the stage for an explosive growth of Sin? And, second, why, then, did God tell us anything about His nature and plans? If revelation is a catalyst for the explosive growth of sin, why reveal?
I. Is It True That Revelation Serves as a Catalyst of an Explosive Growth of Sin?
A. Paul's unambiguous declaration has two parts.
1. First, he clearly says that he would not have known "lust" except that the Law said, "Thou shalt not lust".
a. This declaration follows hard on the heels of the previous claim: "I would not have known sin but by the Law."
b. These declarations require that we understand that a primary function of Law is revelation.
1) Revelation exposes Truth to the ignorant.
2) Revelation exposes what already is to those who are unaware.
a) Sin already existed before any revelation was given.
b) Revelation did not create Sin, it revealed it.
2. Second, he clearly says that as soon as he "knew" that lust was contrary to the nature of God, he began to lust in all kinds of ways.
a. There was, already in him, an already developed, highly antagonistic, spirit of rebellion against God.
b. This already developed antagonism lacked only one thing to explode: the knowledge of what God wanted.
B. Paul's unambiguous declaration leads to only one conclusion: the knowledge of what sin is is all that Sin needs to explode all over the stage of life.
II. How Does This Work?
A. First, it works as the automatic result of the presence of Sin.
1. If Sin were not already present, the expression of the desires of God would not set the stage for rebellion.
2. If Sin were not an aggressive antagonism to God, the discovery of what God intends to do would not automatically energize opposition.
B. Second, it works as the automatic result of the nature of Sin.
1. Sin has already been defined in our studies as an aggressive antagonism to God.
2. But, what is at the root of the antagonism?
a. In the initial creation of all personal creatures -- angels and humans -- there was a balance of knowledge of the nature of God, but it was nowhere near exhaustive: omniscience is far beyond the capacity of creatures.
b. In the beginning, this balance of knowledge permitted a balance of commitment to the exercise of the knowledge.
c. But, if there was to be any growth in knowledge, the possibility of imbalance existed.
1) It seems that growth in knowledge is incremental and focused.
2) If growth is incremental and focused, there is always a possibility that a particular "truth" will get "too big" in what had been balance and that will create an imbalance.
3) In Lucifer's case, the truths of sovereignty (as an "outgoing" reality) and loyalty (as an "incoming" reality) became "too big" and "love" did not "keep up".
4) Shortly, then, Lucifer began to lust after sovereignty and loyalty as love began to shrink.
5) Ultimately, love ceased to exist as a balance-truth because neither sovereignty nor loyalty could be possessed in the face of love.
6) So, by the time Adam was created, Lucifer had become Satan and where the love of God had originally existed in the nature of Lucifer there was now only a large black emptiness.
7) Then, when Adam was created, Satan came to him with his now settled imbalances fully developed and "rationally justified".
d. Thus, the root of antagonism is the absence of love as a commitment to God above all.
C. Third, it works as the compelling explosion of evil antagonism.
1. Sin's lack of love has been replaced by a potent spiritual intention to take from God.
2. All Sin needs to explode all over creation is a hint as to what God would like to see established in His creation.
3. So, when God "reveals" His desires and intentions, Sin "goes to town with it".
III. Why, Then, Does God Tell Anyone Anything?
A. Paul pointedly says "sin is dead" (incapacitated) where there is no revelation of God's desires and intentions.
B. Would it not, therefore, make sense for God to simply keep silent?
1. If disallowing Sin an occasion to explode were all that God wished to accomplish, silence on His part would be golden.
2. The problem is this: silence from God stymies all growth -- even in those who are not so unbalanced in what they know as to be antagonized by Him.
3. Thus, because God seeks to enhance the lives of those who do not have a hole where love belongs, He reveals -- for their sake -- even though He knows that it will, at least temporarily, set the stage for the progressive development of evil.
4. There is no hole in God where love is supposed to exist, so He is not going to sacrifice His beloved just because hate has come to exist in others where love ought to be.
C. God is not silent because "promise" leads to enormous glory for those who believe.