Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
Thesis: The Jerusalem which is above establishes the actual, critical, characteristic of those who will inherit that blessedness of the Kingdom of God.
Introduction: Paul's "message of Law" boils down to one issue: if you are "a child of Hagar" you are in bondage; and if you are "a child of Sarah" you are free. This evening we are going to consider this one issue as it seems to be the crux of Paul's concern.
December 16, 2012
- I. The "Mother of Freedom".
- A. Paul identifies this "mother" as "the Jerusalem which is above".
- 1. This terminology automatically puts the current Jerusalem and the "above" Jerusalem into a precursor/reality setting.
- a. The biblical reality within Paul's reasoning is that the current physical creation is a staging ground for the development of a future physical creation that has one major difference: freedom.
- b. This precursor/reality setting automatically involves the fact that "creation", by its own nature, has some built-in consequences for the overall thesis of Eternal Life that are not considered by God to be acceptable.
- 1) These consequences all revolve around certain limitations to the experience of Life.
- 2) The most crucial of all of these limitations, apparently, involves the facilitator of Life called "freedom".
- c. Because the Scriptures possess an enormous emphasis upon "faith" as the key issue of methodology, the precursor reality is, by default, supposed to be a setting in which "faith" can be developed.
- 1) Paul's terminology is that it is a "tutor to bring us...".
- 2) Paul's consistent exhortation in all of his letters is to come to a pervasively different way of thinking; a renewal of the mind in terms of its content.
- 3) Paul's perception is that everything in this current, precursor, setting can be explained in terms of "things we need to know".
- 2. The New Testament revelation regarding the "above Jerusalem".
- a. Hebrews 12:22 calls it "the alternative" destination in opposition to Sinai.
- b. Hebrews 11:10 says that it was not only Abraham's focus, it was also the root motivation for his behavior.
- c. Colossians 3:1-2 summons us to this focus and behavior.
- d. Revelation 21 goes into extensive detail in description that is supposed to get us to understand that our destination is a relational universe wherein both Love and Truth are completely fulfilled.
- 1) The names of the sons of Jacob all have relational fixations.
- 2) The stones set in the breastplate to refer to those sons were chosen by God to link the physical creation to the relational realities.
- 3) The foundation stones of the New Jerusalem are linked to the breastplate.
- B. The chief characteristic: freedom.
- 1. "Freedom" has two basic areas of experience.
- a. One has to do with the absence of all "Life-negatives" -- sin and its automatic repercussions from those sinned against (most particularly, "wrath").
- b. The other has to do with the absence of all "compulsion-negatives" -- internal triggers of behavior that overrule rationality and produce irrational activities.
- 2. As a primary subset of "Life", "freedom" has to do with the reasons for motivation wherein a person is "free" if "desire, motivation, and outcome" produce no conflict in the relational world.
- a. As long as a person is "constrained" so that his/her behavior is conflict driven and produces conflict, he/she can be said to be "in bondage".
- b. Thus, Paul's long-standing characterization of the Kingdom of God as "righteousness, peace, and joy" is seen most clearly in "freedom".
- C. The issue of "motherhood".
- 1. In Paul's allegory, the children's experience is set by their relationship to their "mother".
- 2. For the "above Jerusalem" to be "our mother", we have to be "the children of promise" through the "free woman".
- a. This is, fundamentally, a concept reality wherein "promise" dominates and "faith" provides the link between the participants (God and those who believe Him).
- b. Thus, as the present Jerusalem was an Egyptian heresy, the above Jerusalem is a heavenly Truth.