Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 7
Thesis: The "proof" of Paul's claim that the "above Jerusalem" is our mother arises out of a biblical pattern of God's production of children in the face of complete human inability.
Introduction: In Paul's quest to get the Galatians to understand the message of "Law", he juxtaposed the emotional outcomes of two opposite circumstances. On the one side is a slave who is able to conceive and bear children whose destiny is to be enslaved and subjected to terrible circumstances. On the other is a free woman who cannot conceive, but does. Her children are destined to be free and to be the recipients of "joy inexpressible and full of glory".
This evening we are going to look into the evidence to which Paul appeals to establish his claim that "we" are the children of a hopeless woman whose experience was one of enormous surprise and joy.
December 30, 2012
- I. The Biblical Pattern.
- A. From the beginning of the present, fallen world, God promised that "women" would be His tool of choice for the solution to the problem of the fall (Genesis 3:15).
- 1. The record of Judges 9:54 is a kind of classic explanation of the Genesis 3:15 declaration (a similar story is found in Judges 4:21).
- 2. The "problem" of the fall is egotistical pride run amok and God's response is maximum humiliation.
- a. There is a kind of poetic justice in the fact that Satan went after the woman as the "weaker link" and God turned right around and declared that it would be the woman who would bring the Solution into the world and defeat Satan.
- b. It is no accident that Paul continually refers to "pride" as the outcome of "Law" as it is conceived of by those who are "false" and who pretend that "Law" is a legitimate methodology for eternal salvation.
- 1) The personal "satisfaction" for legalists boils down to one thing: the pride of personal superiority (Paul testifies to this in numerous places).
- 2) There is no recourse for the "proud" once his/her "humiliation" sets in (and God guarantees that it will).
- B. From that beginning, the divine record is of intermittent involvement by God in the use of women, who were notably weak and incapable, to produce a notably powerful solution.
- 1. The wife of the "father of those who believe" was barren, yet produced the "child of promise".
- 2. The wife of the "child of promise" was barren until God gave her the ability to conceive twins, one of whom would be the father of the nation whose destiny is to rule the world.
- 3. The greatest prophet/judge of Israel was the son of a barren woman.
- 4. The greatest man born of woman was born of a woman who was not only barren but past menopause.
- 5. The Redeemer of Humanity was born of a woman who had never had sex with a man.
- C. Our conclusion: there is absolutely nothing "bad" about being completely incapable; it makes possible a miraculous intervention by a powerful God Who wishes to build "life" into our experience.
- 1. It is an absolute foundation stone of this world that women are not to be considered "the weaker sex" and that men are to be highly exalted for their "amazing accomplishments".
- 2. Yet in God's Kingdom, the least resident is greater than the greatest man ever born of man and woman (Matthew 11:11).
- II. Paul's Claim.
- A. At the root is the biblical pattern in which God's goal is "gleeful exuberance".
- B. At the root of that root is the biblical claim that enduring gleeful exuberance is only produced by the confluence of several truths.
- 1. First (Isaiah 53:1) is the issue of "believing".
- 2. Second is the content of the required "faith".
- a. Foremost is the reality of man's complete inadequacy as a tool of "gleeful exuberance".
- b. Then is the reality of the love of God Who provides a "substitute" tool to bring men to "gleeful exuberance".
- c. Then is the reality of the enormous overkill of that Substitute's abilities (180 gallons of wine when the party is just really getting started).
- 3. Third is the reality that no one -- not one person -- gets to participate without the miraculous intervention by God: we are all, everyone, miraculous productions of God in the midst of the "routine" creation that is dying through incremental chaos.
- 4. Fourth is the fact that "gleeful exuberance" is directly tied to the issue of a person getting what they most deeply desired.
- a. This is the whole point of "promise": promises are made on the assumption that the recipient wants the thing promised.
- b. The "gleeful exuberance" does not enter into the heart of a person until they actually obtain the desired object.
- C. The only legitimate reaction by those who both understand and believe is "gleeful exuberance".