Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2
Thesis: God's intermediate goal of revealing the truth about Jesus and His Gospel is accomplished when He alters the lives of His people so that their behavior reveals the real deliverance that the truth accomplishes.
Introduction: In our last study we made the claim that Paul's prayers indicate that we have to think of God as the primary player if we are to live effectively.
It is altogether a huge theological blunder to double down on the need for "believers" to perform in certain ways. Every command and instruction in the New Testament assumes that the readers have already had the most significant "experience" that the Gospel promises: the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in their bodies as the tabernacles of "forgiven saints". Given that experience of the primacy of the present empowering God, commands and instructions can be freely given because those receiving them will fundamentally turn to God for the ability to follow them. All preaching that skips over this fact will be fleshly.
The importance of this focus upon God as the primary player is seen in the text before us this evening.
November 1, 2015
- I. The "So That" Conjunction.
- A. Paul's word is translated with good precision in the NASB: "so that".
- B. A clear parallel passage is Romans 9:17 where the issues are the same as those of our text.
- 1. God declaring His primacy of involvement.
- 2. God declaring His intermediate objectives in stair-step fashion (...I did this...so that...so that).
- II. The Basis for the Conjunction.
- A. Paul's prayer as a revelation of how deeply he has bought into God's agenda.
- B. God's actions of "counting worthy" and "fulfilling ... with power".
- III. The Double Objective.
- A. That the name of the Lord Jesus might be glorified by the saints.
- B. That the saints might, in turn, be glorified by the Lord Jesus.
- IV. The Details.
- A. The issues involved in "glorifying".
- 1. At the root is the fact that "glory" is, most fundamentally, the essential attributes of the person/thing that is in view.
- 2. Thus, "glorifying" sometimes has the manifestation of those inner attributes in terms of the external world of our senses; making the hidden internal realities known in the overt external world.
- 3. But "glorifying" also sometimes has a different sense: rather than manifestation; the issue is communication.
- a. By "communication" I do not mean talking to someone.
- b. "Communication" in this context means "sharing what is true of someone with another so that the other becomes a possessor of what the communicator possesses".
- B. The issues involved in our text.
- 1. The first element (in terms of priority) in God's methodological agenda is the making of the name of the Lord Jesus clearly known.
- a. This is not the ultimate objective of God, but it is a primary methodological objective in the larger pursuit of the divine agenda.
- b. The "glorification" of the "name" of the Lord Jesus is, at root, God's clarification of the meaning of "Jesus" in respect to His identity as "Lord".
- 1) The "name" is fundamental: He shall save His people from their sins.
- a) This "salvation" is not, primarily, eschatalogical in this context because that is not something that can be "glorified" (made obvious) until the future comes.
- b) This "salvation" is fundamentally identified in our text by the expression of God's involvement in "counting worthy" (generating faith in the hearts of His people) and "fulfilling ... with power".
- i. The first "fulfillment" is "every desire of goodness": a matter of divine love in action.
- ii. The second "fulfillment" is "every work of faith": a matter of divine truth being believed unto visible reality.
- 2) The "identity" is likewise fundamental: as "Lord" He is the authoritative decision-maker who controls all of the "who, what, where, when, and why" issues of salvation.
- a) Example one: Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus.
- b) Example two: Paul's presence in Macedonia rather than somewhere in Asia Minor.
- 2. The second element (in terms of priority) in God's methodological agenda is actually the first element in terms of methodology.
- a. In order for the "name" to be clarified, there has to be a means.
- b. This "means" is the "glorification of the saints by Jesus".
- 1) Thus, we have the second of the issues of glorification involved: the saints are made partakers of the "glory" of the Savior so that they become expressions of His glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).
- 2) Thus, when Jesus shares His character with His people in real, inner terms, the consequent behavior of those people becomes the means to the clarification of what the "name of the Lord Jesus" actually means.
- V. The Foundation.
- A. Paul puts this entire scenario upon a single foundation: grace.
- B. The phraseology is not precise, but the impact is.
- 1. The phrase can be translated in two ways: one way indicates one person with two main identities; the other indicates two persons, each with a particular identity.
- 2. But the point is the same in either case: there is the "grace of power" and the "grace of Lordship under both salvation and Messianic rule".
- 3. At root, "grace" is God in action on our behalf, but with two particular emphases: the power of the action and the authority of the action.
- a. As to power, "grace" is always tied to omnipotence so that the activity of the powerful Actor is potentially effective.
- b. As to authority, "grace" is guided in its effectiveness by the Lord Who determines both the who, what, where, when, why and the ultimate intentionality in respect to the Kingdom inheritance of each of those receiving the grace.