Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 4
May 27, 2008
:God the Father is not seeking a way to destroy us.
:Ever since Satan manipulated Eve in the garden, one
major perception has dominated the human race: at root, God is antagonistic
toward the persons He created. Without this underlying perception, Satan knows he does not have a chance to subvert God's Plan. If persons (angelic and human) believed
in the absolute goodness of God, there would not be such a thing as "Sin".
Because this lying thesis is absolutely crucial to the adversary's attempts to subvert the Plan of God, it is to be found everywhere all of the time. And because it is found everywhere all of the time, the vast majority of people simply accept it as true.
This makes it necessary for any representative of the truth about God to have to "bend over backward" to present the antithesis to the lie. In Romans 8:31 Paul called for a response to the true antithesis: What shall we say to the revealed fact that God is "for us"? Then, in 8:32, he argued that, as far as men know, there is no greater love than the willingness to sacrifice any, and every, lesser love for the sake of the greatest love. A "beloved" knows of the reality of the "love" when the one doing the "loving" demonstrates that love by sacrificing...and the realization of the potency of the "love" dawns, not when the "sacrifice" is minimal, but maximal. So, Paul argued that God's sacrifice of His own Son is the indisputable proof against the lie.
He said that to attempt to get us to shed the "God is antagonistic to me" mindset.
Then, he set about to further his argument: Who, he asked, can effectively attempt to get God to destroy us? He said it this way: "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?" [As an aside, it is interesting that the very claim that God has an "elect" has sponsored more vicious slander against God than, perhaps, any other doctrine in the Word of God.]
Tonight we are going to consider a further argument by the apostle to lay the foundational lie to rest. It is captured and presented by the words of Romans 8:34.
- I. The First Consideration: Paul's Tentative "Acceptance" of the Lying Thesis.
- A. The lying thesis is: God is secretly antagonistic toward His creation.
- B. Paul's tentative acceptance of this thesis.
- 1. It is first raised in the words of the question: Who is the One Who condemns?
- a. The word "condemn" is used in enough places in the New Testament to show that it basically means what it was coined to mean.
- 1) The word was coined to meet the need for a way to express the idea that some one has put forward a "thesis" with "supporting arguments" and that another has subjected the arguments to careful evaluation, has found them flawed, and has rejected the thesis altogether.
- 2) In every context where the New Testament uses this word, the elements involved in a wholesale rejection of the thesis are found.
- a) Consider the scenario of Matthew 12:41-42. [What is the thesis? I should be "excused" for not accepting Jesus as the Christ. What are the arguments? I needed more "evidence". What is the "condemnation"? Both the Ninevites and the Queen of the South did more with less -- thus eliminating the special pleading.]
- b) Consider the scenario of Romans 2:1.
- b. The setting of the question is the Heavenly Court.
- 1) Jesus is presented as "at the right hand of God".
- 2) Jesus is presented as "doing the special pleading".
- c. The "One Who could condemn" in this text is the Father Himself.
- 2. It is reinforced by the casting of Jesus into the "intercessor" mode.
- a. An intercessor's task is to attempt to persuade one who may not be inclined to accept any arguments to the contrary of his own "root" agenda.
- b. That Jesus is cast by Paul's words into the mode of a "special pleader" who is attempting to "argue" the Father to see things His way indicates not that the Father does not see things His way but that Paul has simply adopted his argument to what he already knows: men think God is "out to get them".
- II. The Second Consideration: Paul's Presentation of the Facts.
- A. First, Christ died.
- 1. Why? To provide a satisfaction for Justice.
- 2. Why? Because the Father (that secretly antagonized One) sent Him to do so.
- B. Second, Christ was raised.
- 1. This is presented as the "yes rather" truth: a fact of greater importance.
- a. Not greater in the realm of the problem of dissatisfied Justice.
- b. But greater in the realm of man's predisposition to disregard every attempt to overthrow the "God is for us" thesis.
- 2. Who raised Him? The very "Father" Who is supposed to be so unwilling to seek our good.
- 3. Why was He raised? Fundamentally to make unbelief totally inexcusable.
- C. Third, Christ is at the right hand of the "God" Who is supposedly so antagonized.
- 1. The position at the right hand is the position of total approval and acceptance and authority.
- 2. The point: the One Who made our escape from condemnation possible has been totally accepted by the supposed Antagonized Deity in approval expressed by the permission to "run the show".
- D. Fourth, Christ makes intercession for us.
- 1. This is the least likely reality.
- a. On the one hand it accepts the "I need to be persuaded" character of the Father.
- b. On the other hand it posits an interminable process in which the Son is frantically attempting to keep the Father from acting on His "real" root of secret antagonism.
- 2. Paul's point is this: EVEN IF the Father is like you think He is, we still have His blessing upon us because not even the Father can dismiss the reality of what the Christ actually did.