Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 13
Thesis: Our deliverance from "this present evil age" is "according to the will of God".
Introduction: We saw in our last study that the "deliverance" that is rooted in the Self-giving of the Lord Jesus Christ has to do with two basic issues: a transference out of the present "age"; and an alteration of the practice of the "processes" of this "age" by those within it. The hope of the former begets the practice of the latter according to 1 John 3:3.
This evening we are going to delve into the fact that Paul claims that this "deliverance" is "according to the will of God".
September 26, 2010
- I. The Author of the "Will".
- A. The use of "the God" cannot help but bring notions of "power" to the table.
- 1. The word "God" is the general equivalent of the Hebrew word "Elohim", which has fundamental links to the issue of "power".
- 2. The issue is the degree to which these notions of "power" are to dominate our thinking.
- a. Are we to assume that, since Paul is addrssing "the will of the Executor of Power", this "will" is going to be done without regard for other considerations?
- b. If not, with what are we to go away from the text?
- B. The additional descriptor, "our Father", has already been used in our context with a certain notion of "power": it was "the Father" Who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
- 1. This particular notion of "power" is impressive in two directions.
- a. The resurrection was a defiant act of subversion by "the Father" in respect to the activities and intentions of the wicked.
- b. The resurrection was also a restorative act of approval by "the Father" in respect to the "victim" of the activities and intentions of the wicked.
- 2. The standing result for our understanding of "the will of the God and Father of us" is this: the intentions of the wicked will be ultimately frustrated and the cooperation of the righteous will be ultimately validated.
- II. The Nature of the "Will".
- A. Paul's terminology.
- 1. He had access to a Greek term that would have nailed down the lid on the "power" thesis if he had chosen to use it (Romans 9:19).
- 2. He deliberately chose to use a word that has serious problems with the "power" thesis.
- a. A comparison of Matthew 7:13-14 with 1 Timothy 2:4 reveals these problems.
- b. Additionally, Matthew 26:39-42 shows that at "crunch time" what is "willed" is often conflicted.
- B. Paul's point.
- 1. In the Galatian context, the "will" of "the God and Father of us" is linked to the prior references to the God-Father in 1:1 and 1:3.
- a. This has to mean that "the will of the God" has some significance in respect to the "power" thesis.
- b. But, the relative significance of the two issues in those verses -- categorical subversion/approbation and the extension of the grace/peace package -- also has some serious implication(s).
- c. The question is, "Which of the results of "will" is to be understood in respect to our deliverance?".
- 1) Is our deliverance a decreed and categorical result?
- 2) Is our deliverance more an "offer" than a decree?
- 2. In the Galatian context, the "problem" of theological confusion and drift already reveals a certain limitation to the application of the power of God to the will of God.
- a. Clearly, the Galatians would not be drifting if there was enough of the "power of God" dominating the scene.
- b. Just as clearly, saying that our deliverance is according to "the will of the God" lacks some of the strength of determination; the question is "How much of a lack is there?".
- 1) Under the concept of a determined will exists the reality of unenforced desires.
- 2) The difficulty for us is determining which of the "desires" will be enforced.
- 3. In the Galatian context, Paul is insisting that the Galatians return to their former conviction of the truth of the Gospel of Grace.
- a. This insistence accepts the reality that "faith" is the human side of the issue of peace with, and from, God (God is "willing"; what about man?).
- b. How "powerful" the "will" ends up being has already been shown: the God-Father refused to allow what had been done to the One Who was "faithful" to stand.
- c. However, "unbelief" invariably leads to taking up arms against the God-Father and His "good" will is not exercised in that setting.
- d. Thus, Paul's use of "the will of the God" is both significantly encouraging to those who "believe" and significantly cautionary to those who continue to drift.
- 1) Paul could have declared the determined intent of God to deliver us without regard for where we are in respect to "faith".
- 2) Instead he chose to link what God will do to what we "believe" He will do.