Thesis:Rebellion is automatic to the commitment to exalt oneself.
Introduction:In our study last week, we considered the fact that Paul's concern for his kinsmen according to the flesh arose out of his realization that those kinsmen, in all of the ways they treated him, were no different than Paul had been before Grace. His awareness of his unity with them before he received Grace was enough to motivate his heart and his prayers to God for their salvation.
In that study we argued that "zeal of God" is not a good thing. It is, rather, an intemperate, bull-headed, unwillingness to even consider that one's view of God and His words might be wrong. And, in that study, we saw that "ignorance" is tied to the lack of a relational connection to God. It is only by relating to God that we come to know anything important, and any breakdown in that relationship fosters a terrible "ignorance".
This evening we are going to pursue Paul's thought so that we may see just how terrible "ignorance" is.
I. The First Consideration: Ignorance Leads Directly to Rebellion.
A. In 10:3 we are told that Paul's kinsmen "have not submitted themselves".
1. The meaning of the verb is revealed by a consideration of Luke 10:17 and 20, as well as Romans 8:7.
2. The selection of the "voice" is theologically significant.
a. Robertson makes the claim in his grammar that the voice of this verb in this place "is more likely passive in sense" (p. 817), but then turns right around and says that "the passive aorist form is almost invariably used for both the middle and passive ideas" (p. 818) and uses this text as an example.
1) The fact is that there is a clear "middle voice form" for this verb that is used by Paul in Romans 13:1, Ephesians 5:22; and Colossians 3:18.
2) The theological fact is that men do not have the capacity to "subject themselves" to anything "Godly", so to suggest that they can is a bit "iffy".
b. What Paul's use of the "voice" issue indicates is that there is a "domino effect" to decisions that men make and, once made, there is limited room for alteration of later decisions.
c. The relative importance of this argument is this: since Paul's kinsmen according to the flesh were "zealously committed" to their "of God" concept that, at root, was a shill for self-exaltation, they were enslaved by that zeal and could not be "subjected to" the righteousness of God.
B. The issue of "not being submitted" is one: rebellion.
1. The Luke 10:17-20 text is clear: when one "is subjected", even a rebellious attitude cannot overrule the action.
2. Thus, when one is "not subjected", the governing attitude prevails (as in Romans 8:7).
II. The Second Consideration: Seeking to Establish One's Own Righteousness Governs All Other "Relationship With God" Issues.
A. According to our text, the Jews were seeking to establish themselves as "righteous".
B. This means one most fundamental thing: they lusted after the ability to be seen as "right" (this is the point of Romans 3:27).
C. This forces this conclusion: refusing to admit to being "not right" kills any active relationship with God.
1. The issue of "relationship" was brought into play by Paul in 10:2.
2. The fact is this: there can be no legitimate understanding without the interactive learning that is caused by rubbing shoulders with another day and day out.
III. The Third Consideration: Ignorance is Not Caused by Lack of Exposure.
A. Note the use of the word translated "ignorant" in the following texts.
1. In Mark 9:32 it is used to describe the condition of the disciples when they heard Jesus' words but did not understand how what they implied could possibly be true.
2. Luke 9:45 goes further in that it is preceded by Jesus' exhortation, "Let these words sink into your ears...". In other words, it does not matter how clearly words are spoken, or how much attention the listener gives to them, "ignorance" keeps the hearer from understanding.
3. Acts 13:27 makes the remarkable statement, "...they knew...not the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath." Again, "ignorance" is not about being unexposed to the facts. This is highly significant in light of Paul's use of Habakkuk2:4 in Romans 1:17 to validate his entire theology of "faith".
4. In multiple other places, this issue of "ignorance" has to do with not having an insightful understanding. The word is used at least twice in contrast with the word "epignosis" which means "to know by reason of a deeply developed relationship with the one/One sharing the knowledge." One of those uses is in our context (Romans 10:2).