Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
Thesis: The difference between what was and what now is consists of the presence of a new Spirit.
Introduction: In our last study we saw that "Law" has a restricted capacity to characterize someone with a title that results in condemnation. The restriction is the specific circumstance wherein the Law has a specific function. If that circumstance is eliminated, so also is Law's function eliminated. We also saw that Paul chose the specific circumstance of married people being adulterously joined to another because the marriage reality is an excellent analogy to what goes on within us as two elements of our being compete with one another over who will control the members of the body in their actions, a situation that is further complicated by the fact that the body itself has strong influence also over the actions its members take.
This evening we are going to look into Paul's application of his principle that "law" is limited to its specific applications.
October 9, 2016
- I. When We Were Under Law.
- A. We were "in the flesh".
- 1. This is not about being "in a body of flesh" because we still "are" such.
- 2. This is about being in the natural state produced by bodies of flesh reproducing themselves while being slaves of "The Sin".
- B. We were subjected to the "sinful passions" that are rooted in the "fear of death" and the "spirit that is at work in the sons of the disbelief" ("fear" plus "unbelief" equals all manner of evil).
- 1. This boils down to a dominant commitment to self-preservation at all levels of the human constitution: the body (physical self-preservation), the soul (relational self-preservation), and the spirit (reputational self-preservation) are all most fundamentally invested in their own agendas of self-preservation.
- 2. This, obviously, creates significant inner conflicts as "the sins" of each part wrestle with the sins of the other parts.
- a. The inner conflicts exist because of the reality of mutually exclusive agendas where one element of self-preservation is impossible without the sacrifice of the self-preservation of one of the other elements.
- b. This struggle is often fierce because of the "fear of death" motivation of mortal beings.
- 3. But, eventually, one part gains dominion and motivates the body members to take action along the lines of its own interests.
- C. Our subjection to these "sinful passions" was a major problem because "law" stood over the conflicts with its pronouncements of evil.
- 1. Because each part is intensely selfish, the Law condemns any and every thing that arises in action from the members of the body (all self-preservation is loveless and, thus, intensely evil).
- 2. This exacerbates the problem of self-preservation by making every action evil and, thus, a very potent threat to the self in its "preservation" mode.
- 3. With "law" present, there is no escape at any level by any means: all selfishness is evil and, thus, subject to the condemnation of "Law" and its consequent execution of judgment.
- II. Now We Are Free From "Law".
- A. We are free by reason of "Substitution", "Promise", and "Provision".
- 1. Our identity with Christ as our Substitute makes us absolutely righteous and incapable of being condemned by "Law".
- 2. The "promise" of eternal life removes every need for self-preservation.
- 3. The "provision" of a new Spirit gives us the impetus to yield our members as instruments to God for the production of real righteousness in a real world.
- B. We have been "demolished from The Law".
- 1. The wording is awkward but intense: "Law" has no ability to visit its "judgments" upon us.
- 2. The result is absolute freedom from "Law".
- C. We have died in regard to that which held us under Law.
- 1. This is the mechanism of freedom: death.
- 2. Our "death" (separation from) to "Law's realm of dominion" makes us exempt from its rule.
- D. Now we are free to be "slaves".
- 1. "Freedom" is not the ability to be a "god" without obligations; it is the ability to act in harmony with truth and love.
- 2. Freedom exists by the presence of a new Spirit.
- 3. Freedom exists by our removal from the domain of an impotent "letter".