Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 10
August 21, 2011
Dayton, Texas
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<109> Thesis: Escape from "law" involves surviving its ultimate application. Introduction: At the root of the theology of those who oppose Paul's gospel is the assumption that their theology provides a better basis for godly behavior. The favorite accusation that arises from this assumption is that Paul's gospel actually makes sinful behavior both inevitable and acceptable. Paul, knowing this, anticipated the charge that his Christ is a Deacon of Sin and countered it by charging that it is not his message that makes sin inevitable and "ok", but, rather, the message of his accusers. The message of the accusers is hopelessly contradictory. On the one hand it promotes the notion that those who are required to do good can do good. On the other hand it promotes the notion that those who can do good will not do good unless they are required to do good. The contradiction exists in the fact that the ability to do good does not exist in those who must be compelled to do good. Those who have the inner resources to do good, do good without rules. Those who do not have the inner resources to do good will not do good no matter how fraught with consequences rebellion is. This evening we are going to pursue Paul's perception of how he has come, by his gospel, to the point where he possesses the ability to do good without a legal mandate to do so. Freedom from law is, from Paul's point of view, absolutely essential because it is the first step into the freedom to do good. The issue, the ability to do good, is at the heart of his debate with Cephas. Cephas has joined with those who claim that only the Law has the ability to correct the behavior of men and who, therefore, claim that Christ's gospel only encourages men to sin. Where, then, does the ability to do what is right come from?