Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 6
Thesis: The necessity for special divine "revelation" within the heart/mind complex of man is created by the reality of a myriad of details, one of which is God's unpredictable behavior.
Introduction: In our text this evening we are going to focus upon Paul's summons by God to preach the "Son in me" reality to the nations. For our grasp of the significance of this summons, there are a couple of texts elsewhere that might help us. One of those is Acts 22:22-24. This text tells us of a murderous rage that suddenly erupted, seemingly out of nowhere, that was such a puzzle that the "chief captain" wanted to know "wherefore they cried so against him". But, actually, at least part of the reason is stated for us in the opening of 22:22 ("...they gave him audience unto this word..."). Now, there are three things to keep in mind: 1) Paul was attempting to get his audience to believe his message; 2) explosive rage is not a characteristic of faith in that message; and 3) there has to be a reason that Paul's summons to preach to the nations was so violently opposed in Jerusalem.
A second text is Acts 2:39. In this text, on the heels of the "event" of Pentecost, Peter proclaims that "the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call." The "event" of Pentecost indicated that Babel had been reversed, but Peter's sermon was an encouragement that God was not going to leave Israel out in spite of the crucifixion of His Son without cause.
Now, the question is this: why did Paul, in Galatians, zero in on the fact that God's "special" activities in regard to him was to make it possible for him to proclaim the Son of God among the nations? We have already seen that his proclamation was not "exclusive" of Israel, but we have also seen that his proclamation was a lighted match to the explosive rage of Israel. Why is that? Why did the Israelites violently refuse "faith" in a message that simply offered the Son of God to the world?
January 23, 2011
- I. There Is Only One Reason for Violent Rage.
- A. It is impossible to read the book of the Revelation and not come to the conclusion that the eventual outpouring of the wrath of God is an expression of violent rage.
- 1. The Revelation has many biblical precedents for God's expression of violent rage in the Old Testament.
- 2. This means that violent rage can be legitimate.
- 3. This also means that violent rage can be caused by the clash between the imperatives of Justice and the use of unrighteousness as a mechanism of death.
- B. It is also impossible to read Galatians 5:20 and not come to the conclusion that there is a root of rage in what Paul calls "the flesh".
- 1. The question is this: what is in the flesh that sponsors an ungodly rage?
- 2. And, invariably, the answer is this: ungodly rage is rooted -- always -- in one reality; the one filled with rage is being denied the position of "God" in his/her circumstances.
- C. But, because that is the same root of rage in God, Himself, we can conclude that the singular reason for violent rage is the refusal of someone to permit the "God" status of another.
- II. In Galatians, Paul's Opponents Were Rejecting God's Prerogative in Granting the Nations the Position of Equal, Non-deity, Status With Israel.
- A. For the Galatians, this grace-grant was good news.
- 1. It was not good news in that it condemned the long history of the nations in their pursuit of their own deification.
- 2. It was good news in that it was the basis for God's commission of Paul to preach His Son among them.
- a. The core truth of that proclamation had two parts.
- 1) The first part was "Christ crucified" (3:1).
- a) This part addressed God's willingness to "start over" with anyone/everyone who had embraced the pursuit of self-deification through "forgiveness".
- b) This part revealed God's absolute commitment to both Justice and Grace.
- 2) The second part was "Christ resident" (3:14).
- a) This part produced the "Life" that is the essence of God's Promise (1 John 2:25).
- b) Thus Ephesians 1:13 turns Galatians 3:14 around.
- b. This core truth granted those of every nation the same "Life" in contrast with what God had been doing in history.
- B. For the Jewish Opposition, this grace-grant was not good news.
- 1. One of the "not-so-clear" purposes of God in originally selecting Israel above all the nations of the world was His intention of bringing the problem of any grant of "Life" to fallen men to light.
- 2. The Jews, as fallen men, had taken their special status with God and twisted it into a particularly devious form of status above God.
- a. The Jewish fixation upon the Law was not in harmony with God's purposes for it.
- 1) The purpose of God for the Law was for it to be a revelation of the hopelessness of man as a "god".
- a) The original temptation was "ye shall be as Elohim".
- b) The law pointed out the myriad of human failures in acting as Elohim.
- 2) The Jewish fixation was for the Law to be a basis for compelling God.
- a) Using the Law as a basis for "merit" boils down to gaining "leverage" by labor.
- b) With "leverage" the Jew thought he could force his will upon God.
- b. The problem was that the Jews were no different from the nations, but they lusted to be considered superior to them (their embrace of self-deification was not only to exalt them above God, but everyone else as well).
- 3. For God to declare that He was giving the nations equal status was a huge put-down for the overweening pride of the Jews.
- III. Paul's Commission in View of the Large Plan.
- A. God determined before the foundations of the world that He would build a Servant Kingdom within the realms of His creation of humanity.
- B. In harmony with the concept of "kingdom", God's determination was to establish a social order that consisted of a multi-tiered "cast" of servants.
- C. The order of "servants" within this social order would be rooted in the issue of how well any particular man understood and practiced the core truths of the proclamation, with the "highest" positions in the Kingdom being granted to the "greatest" servants, a status to be determined by the evaluation of their lives on the earth at the Judgment Seat of the King.
- D. In this Large Plan, the Church of Jesus Christ is intended to be the cast of servant rulers.