by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8 July 17, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
1901 ASV Translation:
8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
I. The Issues Involved in "Pleasing" God.
A. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says the word's origins are tied to "reconciliation" and "making peace". From there it moves into the attitude one takes toward another in particular respect to whether that other is "acceptable". When the author of Hebrews takes the intensified form of this verb and says "without faith it is impossible to 'well-please' God" (11:6), he does so in a context in which he has already said, "Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God" (3:12). It is, therefore, no small thing for a person to decide that "pleasing God" is unimportant. To decide to not please God is to decide to die. This, apparently, does not have direct links to justification by faith (one can be justified and then decide to displease his/her Redeemer without a recension of the justification), but one cannot be justified, decide to displease God, and live at any significant level of "Life". Paul told the Corinthians that God would make them "sick", "weak", and "dead" if they pushed Him, and the author of Hebrews said that if He did not do that to them, they were not His children (Hebrews 12:8). The "problem" men have with this doctrine is that they are too ignorant to recognize His discipline as discipline -- they resort to the "bad luck" concept. The quality of their lives does not improve by this foolishness, but it does allow them to be deceived into thinking that they can do as they please without giving any thought to whether God is pleased or not.