by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3 February 13, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(290)Thesis:Being "alive" means being in an emotional state in which you are completely satisfied.
Introduction:This evening we are going to be looking into parts of Romans 7:8-11, a subsection of the larger paragraph of 7:7-12. This subsection is a personal illustration by the apostle of how his theology worked in his own life.
So, let's quickly review that theology. Fundamental to the overall picture is the on-going reality of the existence of "Sin" as a "fruit-producing tyrant". If there were no forceful presence of Sin involved, there would be no point to any of Romans 6-7 because the root thesis of both of these chapters is that "Sin" can, and will -- given the slightest opportunity -- manifest itself through our bodies. That Sin is forcefully present is the root reason for Paul's insistence upon our proper understanding of the Law and our absolute freedom from it. If we do not understand it and maintain our freedom from it, we will find ourselves in a veritable orgy with Sin, producing its fruit willy-nilly out of all of the members of our bodies. The bottom line here is this: Sin is still forcefully present, but cannot exert its force as long as we maintain our freedom from the Law.
Now, with these things in mind, let us consider Paul's own testimony of how he found himself in bondage to Sin after having been made "alive".
I. Definitions are Crucial.
A. The first critical definition concerns "Law".
1. In the undeluded, divine perception of "Law", "Law" is "the revelation of the character of God and the subsequent implications of that character in respect to His works."
a. In this perception, "Law" is "Promise" because it is nothing more or less than the declaration of what God is like and what that means for creation.
b. In this perception, "Law" is to be "believed", not taken as an instrument or means of human manipulation.
c. In this perception, "Law" is up to God to bring to pass.
2. In the deceived, human perception of "Law", "Law" is "the unimpowered demands of God upon His creatures."
a. In this perception, "Law" is "Demand" because it requires humans to "obey" in order to benefit from the character of the God making the demands.
b. In this perception, "Law" is to be "obeyed" as a means of human manipulation of events in order to get the most out of them.
c. In this perception, "Law" is up to man to fulfill.
B. The second critical definition concerns "Life".
1. Paul actually means something when he says "I was alive once without the Law".
a. In this statement he is acquiescing to the concept of "Law" held by his generation: Law is unimpowered demand.
b. In this statement he is positing a specific experiential reality he calls "life".
2. His meaning is revealed by his prior words.
a. "Life" does not mean "physical functional capacity"...he did not lose that when he "died".
b. "Life" does not mean "personal, on-going existence"...he did not lose that when he "died" (not as a "body", a "soul", or a "spirit").
c. "Life" is defined by his "remarriage" example.
1) In his example, "he" is a "woman" married to a forceful tyrant who produces his wicked fruit out of her body.
2) In his example, that "old man"/former husband is put to death in the death of Christ (6:6 and 7:3,4, and 6) so that the wife can be remarried to a resurrected New Husband Who is absolutely God/godly.
3) In this analogy, the "wife" becomes "alive" by her new marriage.
a) This is where the definition of "life" becomes crucial.
b) The "wife" does not get a new body; her "life" is not physical.
c) She gets a new husband; her "life" is relational.
d) In this new relationship, "life" is a state of being in which the Groom is delighted with His bride and the Bride is delighted with her Groom.
e) In other words, "Life" is the experience of two-way, uncompromised, satisfaction.
C. The third critical definition concerns being "dead".
1. "Dead" does not mean physical disintegration...that did not happen to Paul.
2. "Dead" does not mean passing out of existence...that did not happen either.
3. "Dead" means having come to a point in which "dissatisfaction with the husband" has set in and the experiential state of the person is now conflicted with "dissatisfactions".
II. An Understanding of the Process is Also Crucial.
A. Paul claims two things.
1. First, he claims that the "dissatisfactions" set in when the commandment came and Sin was resurrected.
2. Second, he claims that the "dissatisfactions" set in when Sin "deceived" him.
B. Paul's claims mean that either Sin is alive or I am, but never are both Sin and I "alive".
1. It may be that Sin is perfectly satisfied because it has a slave by which it can produce its wickedness.
2. It may be that I am perfectly satisfied so that Sin no longer has me as a slave and it cannot produce through me any longer.
3. But never are the two both satisfied.
C. Paul's claims lead to a "certain" conclusion.
1. The "coming" of the Law under the "deceived" definition means that the Bride was told that the Groom was dissatisfied with her because she was not producing His fruit in a way that satisfied Him.
2. This "message" immediately created a "retaliatory" dissatisfaction in the Bride toward her Groom because she could not produce what she could not produce; and, besides, it was His job to produce anyway.
III. The Solution.
A. The Scriptures tell us that the Groom is absolutely satisfied with His Bride: He has made her everything He wants her to be.
B. The Scriptures tell us that the Groom has glory prepared for His Bride: He is producing in and through her what He wishes for her contribution to His Kingdom to be.
C. Thus, the Scriptures tell us that the only problem will be if the Bride does not believe her Groom is satisfied and she becomes dissatisfied.
1. Even if the Groom is perfectly satisfied, "death" will result because the Bride has become an unbelieving "harpy" who is now consorting with her "old man" and playing the harlot.
2. Is the Groom now dissatisfied with His Bride also?
a. The answer is absolute: No.
1) According to 4:8, the Groom refuses to accept her actions as hers.
2) According to 7:17 and 7:20 the Bride needs to understand that her actions are not hers.
b. Is there "life"?
1) No, "life" is a two-way satisfaction.
2) As long as the Bride remains "deceived" she will continue to be dissatisfied and will continue to play the harlot.
c. Where is the solution?
1) The Bride must be "undeceived" by the "divine" perception of "Law" -- a revelation that opens the eyes of the blind.
2) The Groom must take whatever actions He must take to bring this clarity into reality...part of which is the Book of Romans.