Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
Thesis: "Desires" need to be identified in terms of their "source", and evaluated accordingly.
Introduction: This evening we are going to begin a study of the final paragraph of Paul's argument that "justification" is by "faith" in strong contrast to "law". In our studies of this argument, we saw Paul's final focus has been upon the "motives" that are behind "legal theology" in contrast to the Galatians' own experience of the ability of the "grace/faith" message to alter bad motives. After all, "motives" are the most crucial of all issues because they are the first-fruits of whatever "love" exists in the individual. Since "love" is the greatest issue of life, "motives" become critical.
In Paul's opening words of this final attempt to get the Galatians to return to the God of all grace, he raises an issue that has its roots in this "motive" realm. His issue is "desire". His words are, "Tell me, you who desire to be under law..." (modified Authorized Version translation). This evening we are going to attempt to provide some clarity about his question.
October 21, 2012
- I. The Significance of "Desire".
- A. Nothing gets done without it: Mark 1:40.
- B. Some things do not get done even with it: 1 Timothy 2:4.
- C. The reason(s) for this reality.
- 1. Every "attribute" of "persons" (Divine, angelic, human) comes as a package with "desire" firmly attached.
- a. Every individual attribute of a person is a package that contains a love/faith complex that includes the "desire" to have the "objective" of the "love" fulfilled by the "methodology" of the "faith".
- b. This "packaged" reality automatically means that there are as many "desires" in a person as there are "attributes".
- 2. In a universe that includes "Sin", the inner desires of any person will be found to be "in conflict" in every situation that the person faces.
- a. This is true of all men.
- b. This is true even of God.
- 1) John 3:16 is meaningless without this reality.
- 2) Romans 9:22 compared with 1 Timothy 2:4 clearly illustrates this reality.
- c. This is the root reason for the emphatic insistence in the Scripture upon two necessities.
- 1) The first necessity is for "wisdom" because competing desires have to be permitted or denied in terms of whether the larger goals can be achieved by them.
- 2) The second necessity is for "humility" because men will always be subject to "flawed wisdom" and dare not think themselves capable of doing the will of God because they are "wise".
- 3) These "necessities" exist because of the divine goal of bringing children to the point of sonship.
- II. The Significance of Paul's Demand/Question.
- A. The Galatians clearly think that they are genuinely interested in satisfying God.
- B. The Galatians are also seriously deceived.
- C. Paul's question raises the necessity for the Galatians to examine their "love/faith" commitments according to both the "love" issues (what are you really attempting to achieve?) and the "faith" issues (will your approach actually 'work'?).
- 1. Paul's argument is twofold: legalists never have good motives; and legalists methods are never ultimately successful.
- 2. Paul's question in our text is focused upon "method": do you not 'hear' the Law?.
- a. The message of the Law is the focus of this particular paragraph, so it has multiple elements that we shall study if we are given the opportunity.
- b. But the general message is one: Law says nothing you ever do will measure up to the scrutiny of an all-knowing, just God.
- D. The ultimate significance is found in the reality that almost all believers say, at one time or another, "I wish God would simply drop me a note out of heaven so I could know what He wants of me".
- 1. This is a position of unbelief: the Scriptures are full of assurances that God will oversee the successful outcome of our lives as He sees them.
- 2. This is a position of overweening self-confidence: the very idea that "if God would be clear, I would be obedient" is nonsense, given the actual facts of reality (Adam did not do it in the Garden and every one of the "clear" commandments of God are regularly violated by men and women who consider themselves "committed to God").