Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 16
October 2, 2011
Dayton, Texas
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<121> Thesis: The "grace" of God stands at the fountainhead of all of the good man experiences. Introduction: At the root of our studies in Paul's confrontation with Cephas is this issue: by what means are men motivated to allow their relationship to God to be repaired? The greater foundational issue is how men are motivated to permit God to become "God" to them. Then the consequential issue is how men are motivated to permit God to be "God" to them as an on-going reality. I use the term "permit" because of two basic facts: God is the One Who is primarily interested in reconciliation (man, on his own, is simply not interested -- this is the essence of Paul's indictment that "there is none that seeketh after God ... not even one") ; and, secondly, man is the one who is primarily the reluctant party. Then, additionally, "permit" is actually the root concept of what it means to "believe". "Faith" is yielding to the obvious; it is not creating the obvious. When a man "believes", it is only because he has been fenced in so that no other option is actually available to him. As long as "options" exist, man remains double-minded and "faith" remains not only unexercised, but non existent. Therefore, the large question is this: what is it about God that effectively works to give His love permission to shower goodness upon men? Paul's answer is: "grace". Thus, as we move into Paul's final words to Cephas, we want to see if we can understand what Paul meant when he made his gospel the only legitimate form of response by man to the grace of God.