Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3
Thesis: Our "spirit" has changed from "bondage in fear" to "freedom in hope".
Introduction: As Paul works his way through what "life by the Spirit" is about, he cautiously balances the issues of "creation reality", where "creatures" are subject to the way things work whether they know, understand, like it, or not, and "relational reality" where those who "relate" do so on the basis of a different set of principles. He warned his readers of the "death" issues involved in living as if the "flesh" and its desires is the only really important pursuit, and he promised his readers "Life and peace" if they live as if God's Spirit and His desires are the only really important pursuit.
But this "warning/promise" contrast brings up the lingering issue of chapter seven's focus upon the hopelessness of trying to live on the basis of personal empowerment and rules. The outcome of such a fleshly methodology is "fear" and Paul wants to make sure that his readers do not fall into that trap. Thus, the verse before us this evening is all about how fear has been replaced by hope.
February 26, 2017
- I. At Issue Is What "Believers" Receive Through Faith in the Gospel of Grace.
- A. He raises this point by using the words "you did not receive...BUT you did receive...".
- 1. The point of "receiving" as a consequence of "believing" is that God has extended a grace-Gift to us through the Gospel.
- 2. This "Gift" automatically initiates an "obligation" upon the recipients because God does not extend "Grace" in any form without a specific intention/purpose.
- B. The major issue of "reception" is a new and different Spirit.
- II. The Contrasting "Possessions".
- A. There is a "spirit of bondage" with its intention of generating "fear".
- 1. This "spirit" is what the "believers" possessed before they "believed".
- a. The "again" is important.
- b. This "again" is an echo of Paul's earlier letter to the Galatians where he addressed the problem of reverting backward to a former condition (Galatians 4:5-10) in which "fear" was the dominant result and deception about the identities of "gods" was the foundation.
- c. There is also an echo here of Hebrews 2:14-18 where it is the "devil" who keeps men in the bondage of fear all of their lifetimes because of the threat of death.
- 1) This "devil" works on the foundational level of promoting a "deceit" regarding the character of the only God.
- 2) As a "deceit", it is not a wildly implausible hypothesis, but, rather, a highly plausible hypothesis built upon an over-emphasis upon one aspect of the character of God.
- a) That one aspect is the Justice of God and His subsequent wrath.
- b) This explains the intense opposition to the grace-work of giving a redeemer Who "destroys" the works of the deceiver by bringing the opposite alternative characteristic of "grace" into the mix with a clear focus upon "holiness".
- 2. This "spirit" produces a heightened sense of "bondage" that is rooted in "fear" and which seeks to heighten that fear into obsession.
- B. There is a "Spirit of Adoption with its intention of "Life and Peace" without "fear".
- 1. This "Spirit" is God's gift to those who believe.
- 2. This "Spirit" is given to, most fundamentally, change the "believer's" perception of the major identity of the only true God.
- a. This change is rooted in an inner realization that God is, most fundamentally, "The Father" of those who believe.
- b. This "Father" is identified as "Abba" so that no one can mix the distortion of Justice into the identity of God as "Father".
- 1) There is no application of Justice in the realm of the "Abba/child" reality.
- 2) This does not do away with all divine insistence upon "righteousness" and treating others like they should be treated, but it does do away with the deceit of an unmitigated Justice.
- 3. This "Spirit" has a specific identity: The Spirit of Adoption.
- a. The issue of "adoption" is, literally, "son-placement".
- 1) This is also an echo of Galatians 4, but our understanding needs to be clarified.
- a) We are "sons", but not according to our Romans context where "sons" are only those "led" by this Spirit.
- b) Our son-placement is yet to occur: Romans 8:23.
- c) We are "sons" in destiny, but not in actuality in the present unless we have learned to follow the lead of the Spirit.
- 2) This "son-placement" cannot occur until all of the preparatory "schooling" has accomplished its objectives.
- b. This "Spirit" is, thus, a "Spirit of Hope", not current reality.
- 1) This is a big distinction because of the tendency of men to over-sell the impact of this "Spirit of Adoption" in terms of what He has already accomplished in us (we are in process, not completed, sons).
- 2) That this "Spirit" is a spirit of hope means that our present needs to have the overriding awareness that we are to live in hope, not current reality (hope that is seen is not hope).