Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
Thesis: Life by the Spirit of God is Life by Faith in the face of plenty of evidence that "it ain't happening".
Introduction: We have seen that the ministry of the Spirit of God is focused upon producing "right" behavior by two factors: the active presence of the Spirit of God; and a conscious dependence upon His commitment to produce through us what is God's will for us. Thus, Paul is fixated upon both the essence of those whose being is determined by the presence or absence of God's Spirit, and the mental state that is involved. This evening we are going to look into what I call "the perennial problem": imperfection no matter what.
The main problem for "believers" is that The Law, as revelation, is "too" revealing: it exposes us for what we are and how short our living comes up to that revelation in spite of the actions of God's own Son and the presence of God's own Spirit. As chapter seven revealed, The Law reveals but does not empower, and the revelations are often way off the chart in terms of our own expectations. We seem to have an expectation of moral perfection on the basis of a periodic realignment of our dependence upon the Spirit in contradiction to the actual plan of God to effectively address small elements of the entire picture one, or a few, at a time. He is not into producing perfection, but He is into producing effective growth. In a sense, life by the Spirit is getting comfortable with the magnitude of all of our flaws and letting Him decide which ones He will address, and when, and how.
January 22, 2017
- I. The Twin Issues.
- A. We each have a fundamental essence of being.
- 1. Paul writes about those who "are" according to the standard of flesh.
- 2. He also writes about those who "are" according to the standard of Spirit.
- B. We each have a way of looking at our lives in terms of goals and beliefs.
- 1. His declares that whatever is our essential being will determine our essential mind-set; the categories and focus of the way we think.
- 2. The categories of the way we think are aligned under our values and our beliefs.
- 3. The way we think about these two categories is ultimately fixed by "flesh" or by "Spirit".
- C. We all have pretty continuous input, in terms of consequences, to this essential mind-set.
- 1. The outcome of the "mind-set" that is "fleshly" is "death".
- a. This is not a hard thing to recognize if we understand what "death" actually is.
- b. Death is the absence of the Joy of The Life and everyone knows whether, or not, "joy" is present, regardless of the immediate "degree" involved.
- 2. The outcome of the "mind-set" that is "Spiritual" is "Life" and "Peace".
- a. The essence of "The Life" is the Joy of the Lord.
- b. The essence of "Peace" is the recognition of the absence of conflict at the level of conscience.
- II. The Conclusions.
- A. The "mind-set" of The Flesh is "war" against God; producing false objectives and using false means.
- B. Life by the Spirit produces a life that is in general harmony with the righteousness of The Law.
- C. Life by the Flesh produces a life that is consistently contrary to such righteousness because the Flesh refuses to be "ranked under" The Law of The God and such rebellion prevents any ability to be ranked under the Enemy.
- D. Thus, those "in" the Flesh have no capacity to please God.