by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1 May 6, 2008 Lincolnton, N.C.
(400)Thesis:God is absolutely committed to bringing us to joy.
Introduction:We have come in our studies of Romans 8 to the point where Paul says that we have to respond. This is an integral aspect of the way the universe works: every claim gets a response of some kind. We will either ignore, reject, or embrace every dogmatic Truth-claim to which we are subjected. In the complications of our experience we will often not even be significantly aware that we are responding, but we are.
This evening we are going to address the issue of Paul's second question in 8:31: if God is for us, who can effectively oppose our success?
I. The Foundations of God's "For Us" Position.
A. The larger issue is God's "purpose": a final and permanent stage of His Kingdom of Life.
B. The lesser issues are divided into two subsets.
1. The first of these subsets is the one in which God establishes His purpose so that it cannot be subverted by any.
2. The second of these subsets is the one is which God implements certain methods by which His purpose will be achieved.
C. The final issue is the absolute impossibility of any subversion of God's ultimate objective.
II. The Nature of God's "For Us" Position.
A. It is "the God's" position.
1. The bottom line in the use of "God" is the use of power to make the objective come to pass.
2. This is, essentially, a repetition of the impregnability of God's purpose.
B. It is a "for us" position.
1. This is where the "problems" come into the picture.
a. Though none dispute the inevitability of omnipotence, many dispute the identity of its Owner.
b. Even among those who agree on the identity issue, there is enormous debate about almost every question regarding the application of omnipotence.
1) There is the question of the manner of God's communication.
2) There is the question of the content of God's communication.
3) There is the question of the meaning of the content of God's communication.
4) There is the question of the significance of the meaning of the content.
2. This is where "solutions" have to exist or the "for us" declaration ends up being meaningless.
a. That God is "for us" has to mean that He expects us to "hope".
b. That God is "for us" has to mean that He expects us to "be loyal" to our hope.
3. This is where the first question of our text makes its greatest contribution.
a. Responses to dogmatic declarations exist at every turn.
b. But legitimate responses are more difficult to come by because they require a significant level of personal involvement that the vast majority of people refuse to accept.
4. This is where care in Bible Study becomes crucial.
a. There are two questions that rise above all others.
1) What is the nature of the "Life" that is at the center of God's purpose?
2) What are the effective means to the attainment of that "Life"?
b. There are two methods that people use.
1) Most people who actually study the Bible do so with enormously mixed motives.
2) There can only be one desire in the study: to know what God has said, what He meant by what He said, and what He expects me to do with it.
5. This is where final joy by wisdom's means triumphs.
a. God's "for us" position means He intends unmixed "joy" for us forever.
b. God's "for us" position means He intends for us to take Him seriously and trust Him explicitly.