Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
December 1, 2013
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
1901 ASV Translation:
17 Henceforth, let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
- I. Paul's Final Statements.
- A. Finally, let no one present to me "trouble".
- 1. This statement is not a "demand" in the sense that it will not be accepted by anyone who seeks to give Paul "trouble".
- a. What it boils down to is this: "I have finished my presentation; anyone who does not agree with it will get nothing more from me."
- b. Presenting someone with "trouble" is always an attempt to get them to change their "love/belief/activities" by making the "effort" a "not worth it" kind of thing.
- c. Paul is simply declaring that there is no "trouble" that another can heap upon him that will get him to change.
- 2. This statement is backed up with a claim: I carry around in my body the "stigmata" of the Jesus.
- a. This means that I have already proven that I will not be moved off target by the imposition of "troubles".
- b. This also makes an oblique reference to the fact that the opponents who are so willing to heap "troubles" upon others do all that they do to escape that very same treatment by others. In other words, they are unwilling to pay the price for principle or truth; they will do what they have to do to escape being "troubled". These are the very people who will change their "love/belief/behavior" for expediency. This is a significant indictment under the reality that Truth must be the guiding principle of everything.
- 1) For life to be of any value, there must be something of sufficient value for which to die.
- 2) Pleasure is not that "something".
- B. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
- 1. The key concept here is the impact that "grace" makes upon "your spirit".
- 2. The meaning is critical.
- a. "Your spirit" is the word "spirit" in the singular and "your" in the plural. This is the same grammatical formulation as is found in Romans 8:16 where Paul wrote "The Spirit Himself bears witness together with our spirit that we are children of God." The implication is that the word "spirit" does not need to be in the plural to refer to the individual spirits of men who make up a group. The Spirit bears witness to every spirit of man who in indwelt by Him.
- b. At issue is this: what need have we of The Spirit unless "our spirit" is significantly deficient? The possibilities: a) that "our spirit" is sufficiently twisted by our Adamic heritage that it cannot sponsor "good deeds" out of our bodies; b) that we have a complex of "soul and spirit" that is a unity that makes us who we are that is also significantly twisted by its union with the "flesh" that it cannot sponsor "good deeds" out of our bodies; c) that The Spirit is a replacement "spirit" that, taking up residence in our bodies, can put to death the deeds of the body and sponsor "good deeds" out of our bodies; d) that The Spirit is not a replacement, but an additional presence that somehow empowers "good deeds" to arise from our bodies; or e) that "our spirit" is an separate entity from our "soul", but is powerless to produce "good deeds" apart from The Spirit's indwelling presence in the same body in which "our spirit" dwells.
- c. Toward a solution.
- 1) Paul makes the claim in Romans 1:9 that he serves God "with my spirit".
- 2) He then uses "spirit" in Romans 2:29 in contrast with "the letter" with the apparent meaning of "genuine internal reality". Circumcision made by hands in the flesh is no guarantee that the circumcised individual has any genuine relationship with God. The area of "circumcision" that meets the divine criterion is "the heart" with the result that God "praises" the circumcised rather than men. This "praise" issue is fundamental to man's "spiritual" need to have "praise from someone" [Note John 5:44].
- a) This suggests that "serving God with my spirit" means two things: first, that my service is genuine; and, second, that my service is dedicated to seeking praise from God as the Only One Whose Praise Means Anything.
- b) But, if "serving God with my spirit" is actually possible, we are back to the question of why The Spirit has been given.
- c) When Jesus promised "the Spirit of Truth" (John 14:15-16), He said multiple things about His impact. First, "He dwelleth with you and shall be in you" (14:17). Second, "the Comforter is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send" (14:26). Third, "He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (14:26). This strongly implies "a Third Party presence" that is distinct from "you" whose function was to give the apostles the ability to know the Truth as apostles so that they could adequately represent Jesus in the world. The words are for the "apostles" as "apostles". The question of how this might relate to others with other gifts is open at this point. There are many who believe that this promise was for all believers so that everyone has the same impact: the knowledge of all truth. This is problematical in that the default of such a thing is that all believers will ultimately come to the same understanding of all things; a reality unachieved in our world. Fourth, "He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (16:8). This will make the witness of the apostles effective (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
- d) This brings up this question: Is the Holy Spirit a distinct "Third Party" in residence who teaches the human spirit the things of God so that the human spirit, then, sponsors the deeds of the body? Is the "fruit of the Spirit" a "direct" fruit (He being the direct sponsor of the deeds of the body) or is it an "indirect" fruit that the spirit of man produces out of the body because that spirit is taught by The Spirit? If the spirit of man can produce the fruit of The Spirit by reason of having been taught by That Spirit, in what sense is it necessary for That Spirit to dwell in our bodies? Is it the necessary proximity so that the "teaching" reaches sufficient clarity to sponsor the spirit's response to the teaching? Or is it the necessary proximity to by-pass the human spirit altogether because that spirit is fundamentally flawed? There seems to be no question that "speaking in tongues" requires a pretty direct involvement so that His coming was made "clear" by the phenomenon of untaught men speaking languages they had never learned (this was the evidence in Acts of His arrival and indwelling). Interestingly, Paul says that this "Holy Spirit evidence of Presence" is "praying with my spirit" (1 Corinthians 14:14). Is this Paul taking "ownership" of the Holy Spirit in residence, or is it a declaration that the Holy Spirit makes the ability available, but the human spirit must exercise it? If Paul's analogy in Romans 7 of a new marriage by reason of the death of the former husband is to be taken into account, the "my spirit" is really "my Spirit" by reason of a new marriage where "my husband" is now "my Husband". But if this is the case ("my Spirit"), in what sense does Paul mean "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your (plural) spirit (singular)"? Perhaps the unauthorized [be] should be replaced with an unauthorized [is] so that the parting shot is not a "wish" but a "fact". If that should be the case, the statement is that "grace" is the "alongside of presence" in respect to "your Spirit", meaning that the Spirit of God in you is fixated upon "grace" in such a way that you need to be fixated in it also in your soul.
- 4) Ephesians 4:23 speaks of the "spirit of your mind"; 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 separates the "spirit" and the "mind" in regard to speaking in a "tongue". The use of "spirit" is complex in that it ranges from a meaning that involves a "root reality" (as in "spirit rather than letter") all the way to the "personal reality" of "spirits" that are "persons". At root is the most essential element of a "spirit" being a "spirit" because of its/his/her capacity to accomplish (the body without the spirit is dead). Thus "spiritual" means "being directly related to some function with an unhypocritical link to the reason for that function".