Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 14
Thesis: The Law has absolutely no problems with the actual productions of the Spirit.
Introduction: In the issue of the quality of experience in the whole of "Life", both temporal and eternal, the bottom line is the presence, or absence, of Joy. Joy is a by-product; a fact we saw in our look into the characterization of the Spirit's "fruit". That means, then, that the mechanism of Joy is the most crucial issue in the universe of created persons. It is this "mechanism" issue that is at the root of the letter to the Galatians, and it is of such enormous importance that those who do not "get it right" are consigned to eternal Death without remedy.
In our considerations of Paul's contrast between the "works of the flesh" and the "fruit of the Spirit" it is a no-brainer that "Joy" is the outcome of the "Fruit" issue and "Death" is the outcome of the "Works" issue. It is for this reason that Paul wrote the words that will undergird our study this evening: there are no "laws" against the "outcomes" of the Spirit's impact upon the lives of men (5:23b).
Because this claim is such a "no-brainer" (much like "he that has the bride is the bridegroom"), we have to ask, and answer, the question of its existence in our text. What was Paul's "point"?
July 14, 2013
- I. The Core Issue of the Galatian "Debate".
- A. It is not "What is Good?"
- B. It is "How is Good Produced?"
- II. Paul's Argument is Unassailable.
- A. There are horrible, and destructive, actions that people take on a regular basis (this is beyond debate).
- B. The question of that which sponsors these horrible, and destructive, actions is where the battle must be waged if "Joy" is ever to be achieved; if the "Kingdom" is to ever come.
- C. Thus, if there is to be any "Hope", the roots of "Joy" must be exposed and encouraged.
- D. Those things attributed by Paul to the Spirit of God as "fruit" are as clearly the roots of "Joy" as it is possible to be clear.
- III. The Problem.
- A. The main question, then, is not what the roots of "Joy" are, but how men are supposed to get other men to embrace them.
- 1. Paul's claim is that there is only one "motivator" of such an embrace: a clear and unambiguous understanding of the Grace of God.
- 2. Paul's adversaries' claim is that "grace" is a toothless concept that is completely incapable of motivating men to permit the Spirit of God to have free access to their bodies so as to produce His "fruit" in, and through, them: "only a clear and unambiguous grasp of what is going to happen to you if you do not 'behave' will get men to yield to God.
- B. The reality of human behavior.
- 1. It does not seem to matter what men preach, men do evil to one another.
- a. Paul's opponents would be quick to argue that his "doctrine of Grace" does not work; the letter he is writing is the "proof" (if "grace" is so "effective", why are your "grace-believers" so willing to be led away from it?).
- b. Paul, on the other hand, would be just as quick to argue that his opponents' "doctrine of Law" does not have a very good track record either (if your "Law" is so "effective" why are you so quick to hypocritically violate it? -- aka Romans 2:17-29; if "Law" is such a good idea, how is it that everyone recognizes the problem Jesus set up for His adversaries with his "let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone"?).
- 2. Neither "grace" nor "law" produce consistent godliness in human beings.
- IV. Paul's "Answer".
- A. There is true "good" in the world by the Spirit of God; but there is no "good" in the world by the Law of God.
- 1. The issue is not whether a "method" yields "perfection"; the issue is whether a "method" is of any use at all.
- 2. If a "method" is "effective" at all; it is the method that needs to be emphasized and encouraged and developed.
- 3. At its roots, "Law" depends upon "self-protection" for its effectiveness and this focus upon "self" is essentially anti-Love as proven by the Law's automatic result: boasting (Romans 3; Ephesians 2:9; etc.).
- a. Paul not only argues that "Law" is essentially anti-love; he argues that the very particulars of "Law" sponsor the very things they are supposed to prevent (Romans 7:7-8).
- b. Paul's claim is that "Law" does not, indeed can not, produce any good in fallen men.
- B. The only true "good" in the world is by "Love" and that comes only by the Spirit's gracious work.
- 1. This is a "given": God's Spirit produces "good".
- 2. Thus, the importance of insisting upon "faith" in "Grace".