Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7
Thesis: At the core of "adoption" is God's determination that a person is "qualified" to begin to exercise the privileges and authority of "lordship".
Introduction: As we have worked our way through the issues raised by Paul's concept of God's plan to share His Life with human beings through "adoption", we have seen that the core issue is His provision of a Redeemer Who would accomplish two significant things: He would provide an adequate solution to the "Justice" problem of the sins of those with whom He would share His Life; and He would provide an adequate solution to the "motivation" problem of the sinfulness of those with whom He would share His Life. Both of these issues are made necessary by the reality of the demands of any genuine relationship between persons, which is the absolute necessity for the sharing of Life. On the one hand, God had to be reconciled to sinners so that He was able to "relate" to them, and on the other hand men had to be reconciled to God so that they would be willing and able to "relate" to Him. So we read of the Grace of God that He "apostelized" His Son, born of a woman and born under Law so that He might redeem us.
This evening we are going to look a bit further into what has to happen in order for a human being to be able to share the Joy of God's Life. Paul addresses this issue with the term "adoption". What he means by that term is identified in our paragraph by the analogy in the culture of a father who places his children under rather severe restraints and compulsions until they learn how to handle the responsibilities of their "identity" as "lords" within the household. We have already seen that the analogous "severity" is the issue of Law in respect to Justice where violations are met with condemnations and consequences.
For our study this evening we are going to look more particularly at what I will just call "the threshold" of entrance into the exercise of the lordship of Life.
July 22, 2012
- I. At Issue in Terms of the Goal: Exercising the Lordship of Life.
- A. The ability to "live well" is at the root of "lordship".
- B. The ability to "live well" means, at the most basic level, the ability to deal with the circumstances one faces with enough skill to act so that the results are both desirable and good.
- 1. This means that one has to have the ability to respond to circumstances in such a way that the relationship one has with God is not compromised.
- 2. This also means that one has to have the ability to respond to circumstances in such a way that the application of the Law of the Harvest is not set into a "negative" mode.
- II. At Issue in Terms of the Practice: the Father's Recognition That the Child Has Reached the Most Basic Level of Adult Wisdom.
- A. The question here is: what is it that the Father needs to see in the child in order to "adopt" him/ her into the adult privileges and responsibilities of Life?
- B. The answer, though not difficult in our text/context, is confusing to many.
- 1. The answer: the Father is looking for the child's awareness of his/her need to address "Life" by an unhesitating dependence upon His Grace.
- a. At the heart of the Father's search is the issue of whether the child has come to grips with what the "Grace" of God means.
- b. No more critical issue exists in this regard than a proper "definition" and a consequent "practice".
- 1) If we do not see "Grace" in terms of "active divine involvement", it really does not matter what we call "grace".
- 2) At issue in "Grace" are two fundamentals: what is required and how the requirement(s) will be met.
- a) In Galatians, the premier issue of the "what" is "justification": how one obtains a standing before God that disallows the intrusion of Justice at every level.
- b) In Galatians, the premier issue of the "how" is "God's apostelizing" so that the "what" is absolutely and effectively addressed.
- 3) In Galatians, the only "practice" issue is addressed as "faith".
- a) Paul assumes a legitimate "love" (that his readers want to "Live").
- b) Paul assumes an "inevitability factor" between "faith" and "decision making" (that if his readers "believe" the Truth, they will "behave" truthfully -- "belief" always produces an equivalent, commensurate response).
- 2. The confusion: most folks do not see an awareness of the need for involving the Grace of God at every level of circumstance as all that critical.
- a. This confusion arises for multiple reasons, the greatest of which is the tendency of human beings to move toward independence after a period of training.
- 1) The desire to act independently of God is deeply rooted in sinful persons because it feeds the desire to be "capable" and "recognizably capable" -- i.e., it feeds the desire for 'glory' as something others give as a consequence of their recognition of a job well done.
- 2) This desire is fundamentally opposed to the character of God in respect to His Unity and Love.
- b. This confusion also arises because of the complexity of "Life's" circumstances.
- 1) The ability to "Live" is tied to a broad grasp of issues in terms of what the circumstances require.
- a) There are many circumstances.
- b) Each has its own set of requirements for a person to successfully address them without compromising one's relationship with God and without setting the negative Law of the Harvest in motion.
- 2) This complexity is going to automatically generate a composite "picture" made up of the responses people give to their circumstances -- some of which are truth driven and some of which are deception driven.
- c. This confusion is compounded by the fact that most people consider "salvation by grace through faith" to be a "baby" doctrine while God sees it as the threshold of adult maturity.
- 3. What the Father is looking for is not the comprehensive reality of wisdom across the board; rather He seeks for a particular reality at the level of "threshold" so that one's "beginning" can be developed and deepened as time and circumstances proceed.