Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
1901 ASV Translation:
3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
There are no textual differences between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26. There are some differences between the translations of the ASV and the KJV. The phrase "Jesus Christ our Lord", which is in this verse in the KJV, does not come from the Greek Text of this verse, but, rather, from the end of verse 4. It is a translators choice, but is not as good a word-for-word translation as is found in the ASV. The "which" of the KJV is "who" in the ASV. The "was made" in the KJV is "was born" in the ASV. Both translations add "the" before the word "flesh". This is a "smoothing" by the translators which effectively blinds us to the emphasis the apostle was putting upon the word "flesh".
February 10, 2004
- 1. Paul is here identifying the main content of the "Gospel of God" to which he had been "separated".
- 2. This main content surrounds the person who is known both as God's Son as well as David's Son.
- 3. The word translated "was made" (KJV), or "was born" (ASV) is used in 636 verses in the New Testament and has the meaning of "to come about/come into being in history". The "was made" of the KJV generates a more ambiguous sense (perhaps that of "creation"), while the "was born" of the ASV generates a more specific sense -- that of the methodology of the "coming into history"...He came by being born. Neither translation serves us as well as they could: Paul's idea is that his "Subject" entered human history "ek" the "seed" (Gk: spermatos, from which we get our word "sperm") of David. How He entered (whether "made" or "born") is not the real issue. That He entered, and that He entered "ek spermatos Dauid", is the point.
- a. How shall we understand the "ek" (translated "of" by both translations)?
- 1) We have significant help here in the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke in that they both tell us that the "coming into history" was a significantly miraculous event commonly referred to as 'the virgin birth'. The point of these narratives is that the "coming" was quite apart from the male heir of David's throne (Joseph). In other words, the "coming" was without a male's sperm being involved at the crisis point of the actual "coming". Both narratives are quite emphatic about this point.
- 2) Does this negate the idea that the "coming" was "ek" the sperm of David? Not at all, since Mary was, of necessity, a "daughter of David" and the "coming" included her conception (the fertilization of her egg cell). Thus, though the Son of God did not come into history by the means of normal conception, which uses a male's sperm, He did come by means of a real human, woman's, conception.
- 3) This signifies, then, that the "ek" has the idea of "from the genetic pool that had its specific content, at least in part, in David". His wasn't the only gene pool involved (Bathsheba's and those of all of the wives of the various men who were in Mary's lineage were also involved), but his was involved to the extent that the "Coming One" was genetically linked to David. Acts 2:30 actually says He was of "the fruit of his [David's] loins".
- 4) Therefore, we can say that the Son of God entered human history by means of the divine use of the Davidic gene pool.
- b. Why is the point so emphatic that "kata sarka" ("according to flesh"), the Son of God came by means of the Davidic gene pool?
- 1) In the verse prior, Paul had made the claim that the "Gospel of God" had been laid out in words by God's prophets in holy writings long before he (Paul) came on the scene to expand on the details and to proclaim it.
- 2) We would be remiss to assume that he meant that all of the details of that Good News had already been given. We would be just as remiss, however, if we did not understand that he meant that the "big picture" had been laid out in prophetic words. His contribution was not a "new" message, but a more detailed "explanation" of an "old" message.
- 3) Since, then, the "big picture" was already laid out by prophets in holy writings, we can understand Paul's emphasis upon the "according-to-flesh coming into history by means of the Davidic gene pool": this was the requirement of the previously given "big picture". God's promise "aforetime" had been given specifically to David with the detail included that the fulfillment would be "the fruit of his loins".
- 1. The most fundamental issue involved here is that of "divine integrity". The bone of contention that has generated the most significant amount of chaos among human kind has always (since Genesis 3) been the conflict over what is "true". Satan said that the words of God, "in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall surely die", were simply not "true". Deciding that they were not "true" led Adam into a sin so heinous that it has been the cause of the death of every person since and the cause of the eternal condemnation of every "unbeliever" since. The issue has ever been this: does God mean what He says? There is no greater issue for man than this one in terms of consequences.
- a. Admittedly, the debate over which "god" is to be "believed" is an issue, but this issue has been resolved by the True God in every moment of creation's existence. No man will stand before the True God with the ability to say "I didn't know You were the True God." Pagans, atheists, Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all surrounded, within and without, by the knowledge of the True God's identity. The divine testimony is not "they did not know"; rather, it is "they did not like to retain Me in their knowing."
- b. Also, admittedly, the debate over "special revelation" is an issue, but this issue has also been resolved by the True God in every moment of creation's existence. No man will be able to say to the True God: "I didn't know You had spoken." The divine testimony is not "they have not heard from Me"; rather, it is "they stopped their ears and were deliberately obstinate."
- 2. Another crucial issue is the actual meaning of "His Son". The concept of "sons" is rather large and takes many twists and turns. The issue in the Gospel of God is the nature of God's Son: is He also deity? Is He co-eternal? Is He infinite in all His being, or, for that matter, in any of His being? Is it Paul's intent to present Another true object of trust and worship besides "God"? Are we to understand a certain "uniqueness of attribute" in "the" Son as opposed to all of the texts which identify men as God's "sons"? Is "the Son" the genuine example of that which the Caesar in Rome "claimed": a man/God, or God/man? It is no small thing for someone to be presented as deity so that men who believe the presentation are turned to love, trust, and worship of Another besides "God". In this regard, Christianity is the most dangerous "truth issue" ever placed before men. If the presentation of "the Son" is true, all who reject it are justly condemned; but, if it is a subtle deceit, all who believe it are "convinced idolators" since they "believe in" an Only-Man.
- a. It is interesting that Paul, in Romans, has no deliberately specific section of his letter that spells out the relationship of Jesus to the attributes of deity. There are individual texts sprinkled all over the place that have to mean that Jesus is deity, but there is no deliberate section of Paul's argument that focuses upon proving that the "Sonship" of Jesus means He is "deity". The first specific text that actually makes this truth inescapable is Romans 8:9 where, in one breath, Paul speaks of the "Spirit of God" and turns right around and calls Him the "Spirit of Christ".
- 1) This "lack", if it be called a "lack", exists because Romans, in the divine plan for this letter in the New Testament canon, is a theological explanation of the theological history of the acts and teachings of Jesus [which we have in the form of the Four Gospels]. In that theological history, there can be no doubt that Jesus is deity: John went so far as to write his prelude to his record of the acts and teachings of Jesus by saying that "the Word is God". The other gospelizers include acts and teachings which leave no doubt that Jesus claimed the perogatives of deity (He "forgives sin", for instance). There is also no doubt that at least the superficial reason for His crucifixion was His "blasphemy" in making Himself out to be deity. Thus, Paul did not plow over an already plowed field; rather, he set himself to explain the particular issues that are necessary for the life of faith.
- 2) This means this: Paul's use of Jesus' "Sonship" is his statement of the deity of the Christ.
- b. It is also interesting that Paul does not, in Romans, accept the notion that man's lack of salvation is rooted in ignorance of the facts. Rather, his argument is that man's rebellion is what has generated the ignorance that keeps men from faith. Faith does need "understanding of truth" (so that ignorance is a part of the problem of unbelief), but "understanding of the truth" is not, at root, an ignorance issue: it is a rebellion issue.