Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
Thesis: "Resting" upon freedom means "loving without personally set limits".
Introduction: This evening we are going to consider Paul's rationale for his strong antagonism toward the false brethren. That he "wishes" painful consequences and judgment upon them is obvious from the preceding paragraph. Why he is so antagonized is explained in this new unit of thought.
April 7, 2013
- I. What Is At Stake.
- A. Under the thesis that a little leaven leavens the entire whole, the entire creation is at risk.
- B. The thing that at the core of the risk is "Love" as a bedrock motive.
- 1. The summons in 5:13 is to loving service.
- 2. The claim of 5:14 is that love is the truest and greatest fulfillment of "Justice".
- 3. The declaration of 5:15 is that anti-Love leads to destruction.
- II. How "Love" Seeks the Pain and Suffering of Those Opposed to It.
- A. Opposition to "Love" leads inexorably to the complete destruction of the experience of "Life" as the leaven of hate pervades the whole fabric of the loveless.
- B. The imposition of hateful consequences has a potential that "hate" does not have: the possibility of repentance.
- 1. The truly "hateful" do not "hate" themselves.
- 2. Hateful consequences have a forceful tendency to arrest hateful actions.
- C. It is the Love of God that must be allowed to exercise this potent tool of repentance.
- 1. Paul was not kidding when he established the fact that human beings who assume to themselves the prerogatives of "inflicting pain" are false brethren and unworthy objects of our trust.
- 2. God alone has the wisdom to make painful judgment productive in the direction of Love.
- D. It is not "to produce love" that human beings are actually commissioned to execute painful judgments: it is to mitigate the spread of evil actions.
- III. Paul's Argument.
- A. We will either "rest upon" freedom or we will have destruction "rested upon" us.
- 1. Paul starts the paragraph with the third preposition of our "calling".
- a. In 1:6 we are told that God calls us "in the realm of" the grace of Christ (a focus upon the issues of what Christ did for us that was required of us [God was "in" Christ, reconciling the world to Himself and His call went out from that sphere]).
- b. In 1:15 we are told that God called Paul "through" His grace (a focus upon the issues of God's reach "through" grace to Saul on the road to Damascus).
- c. In 5:13 we are told that we were called "upon" freedom (a picture of us 'resting' upon the liberty that is ours because our calling is "in" and "through" grace).
- 2. He ends the paragraph with a fourth preposition: "under".
- a. A.T. Robertson says "epi" is the opposite of "upo" and that the essence of "epi" is to be 'at rest' upon something.
- b. Given the oppositional meaning of "upo", it is clear that we are to see ourselves as having something "resting on" us.
- 3. The logic is impeccable: the only way we can be "free" to love is "if" there is no final damage from loving, and the refusal to believe in love automatically means that the damage will be both real and inevitable.
- B. Essentially, even "Justice" (represented by Law) is most clearly met by Love.
- C. The alternative is "biting" and "consuming" bringing the weight of destruction to rest upon us.