Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 9
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are no differences between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26, and the translations vary only in the way the translators treat the "to be" verb "that be/that are".
March 23, 2004
- 1. Paul's salutation to the Roman saints who are loved by God is an expressed wish that they would receive "grace" and "peace" from both God "our Father" and the "Lord" Jesus Christ.
- 2. The desire that they would experience a greater measure of "grace" is indicative of multiple issues...
- a. "Grace", as an experiential reality, is apparently not "automatic" to one's standing as a saint.
- 1) This observation must be balanced against the fact that "grace" is God's initiative and, as such, takes all of His greater plan into account so that God extends "grace" as it is necessary to the fulfillment of that plan.
- 2) There is also the reality that by "grace" God has taken us on as "children" [Paul's characterization of Him is "our Father"] and, as it behooves a 'father' to underwrite the welfare of his 'children', the implication of 'greater grace' is automatic.
- 3) The major difficulty for men with "grace" is that it takes away most, if not all, of their ability to decide what their experiences will be in the on-going processes of this life. Thus, "to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace"...i.e., to be focused upon the desire to be "in control" rather than "subject to control" is a killer. One of the appeals of "law" is that it seems to grant a methodology for control ["...if you do this, the result will be thus and so..."] and one of the terrors of unbelief is to be "without control". At heart, the promise of "grace" is exceedingly good, but that goodness is ultimately "eventual" and not absolutely "now". In other words, we want the goodness without the pain of the process.
- b. The ideas that are tied to "grace" by Paul include the following...
- 1) "Grace" means "being assigned a significant responsibility" that has, at its roots, a denial of the possibility of it's being met apart from sufficient divine input: 1:1, 5; 12:3, 6.
- 2) "Grace" means "the total dismissal of condemnation for failure" [I use "condemnation" in the biblical sense, not in the often implied sense of men who view 'criticism' as 'condemnation' and 'disapproval' as 'condemnation']: 3:24; 4:4, 16; 5:15, 17, 20, 21.
- 3) "Grace" means "no leverage" in the sense of man being able by some means to generate an "obligation" upon God so as to compel a certain result: 4:4; 11:6.
- 4) "Grace" means "complete divine freedom to do as He chooses" so that He can actually fulfill His promises: 4:16, 11:6.
- 5) "Grace" means "complete freedom from the demands of justice" so that both God and men are free from having to conform to the "necessities" that are bound up in "justice". Neither are subsequently free to "sin"; both are subsequently free to "do good to those who do not deserve it": 6:1, 14, 15; 12:3, 6.
- 6) "Grace" means "imparting the necessities of life"; but, it must be understood that the process of passing them into the experience of a 'believer' is a balancing act of incremental provision according to the demands of life in respect to the counter-balancing reality of death's distortion and abuse of those provisions. In this regard, everything is "by faith" since it is what a person believes that will determine how he will respond to the things that enter into his experience. A flawed distortion of "grace" (as in 6:1 and 25) would make grace the root of sin and that simply cannot be allowed to stand as "grace" is, in fact, the major barrier to the production of sin. "Law" promotes "sin"; "grace" denies "sin" its power. The fact that so many impose "law" because they believe "grace" will produce sin is witness to how little this entire issue is understood.
- c. The bottom line: "Grace" is God's way of weaning men away from their addiction to control and the subsequent consequences for being responsible for what that "control" has produced.
- 3. Likewise, the desire that the Romans enter more fully into "peace" has multiple overtones...
- a. "Peace", as a bottom line issue, is 'the absence of conflict'.
- 1) This means 'having no problem with what is going on in one's life'.
- 2) This means 'having no stress' from the way God is running the program.
- b. There is a "road of peace" that the saints are to travel.
- 1) 3:17 says that the wicked do not know, or travel upon, this road.
- 2) 14:19 calls upon believers to travel on this road.
- 3) This must not be construed to mean 'doing evil that good may come'; i.e., doing whatever is apparently necessary to avoid conflict.
- c. The responsibility of "peace" is to "do" righteousness (14:17) and "accept" what comes without being unduly concerned about it (being comfortable with not having any 'control' over results).
- d. The message of the Gospel is, fundamentally, a message of "peace" as both 5:1 and 10:15 clearly reveal. The point of this is that God has dropped all antagonism on His part toward those who have received His "Gospel" so that they, in turn, are free to drop their defenses so that a free flow of relationship can occur.
- 4. These issues remain...
- a. Sin always causes "death" to some degree. Neither "grace" nor "peace" are designed to be a "block" put between sin and death. The "block" comes between temptation and sin. Both "grace" and "peace" are designed to bear their influence prior to a person's decision to act, for the apostle declares that "whatsoever a man sows; that shall he reap".
- b. Sin's creation of relational conflict is, however, not as comprehensively destructive under "grace" because "peace" is a pursued objective by those who find themselves as believers who are in relational conflict with others.
- c. Sin always generates relational conflict -- even with the God of grace. However, the nature of the reaction is different than it was under "Law". God's reaction to the believer's sin is not one of 'condemnational antagonism' as it was under Justice; it is, rather, one of discipline and the imposition of consequences for learning's sake. God never condones evil, but He is never driven by it to the wrath that characterizes the absence of grace.