Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 4 Study # 5
August 16, 2005
Lincolnton, N.C.

<150> Thesis: The Law is established only by the Gospel. Introduction: Last week we considered Paul's use of the Jewish "Shemah" as the foundation of his argument that Yahweh is as much "of the Gentiles" as He is "of the Jews" and as the foundation for his argument that the "unity" of Yahweh signals the reality of His intention to justify at least some within both groups. For us to be as clear as possible, we must understand that "unity" has never meant "singularity of person" or "simplicity of essence" as a description of Yahweh; rather, it has always meant "harmony in the face of indescribable complexity". The unity of Yahweh has never meant "singularity" -- even to the issue of personality -- but has always meant "harmony" between all of the attributes of the complex God -- including personality as one of those attributes. The reason "polytheism" is false is not because of multiple personalities, but because there is no essential unity between those personalities. Polytheism makes "personality" the attribute of "God" so that multiple personalities means multiple gods. Christianity makes "personality" an attribute of the complex God so that multiple personalities only signal multiple "Gods" if the "sum of the attributes" of one "personality" is different from another. Since biblical theology says that God is the sum of His attributes, every "person" who possesses each of those attributes to the same degree is "God". It is the fact that "mercy", in the unity of Yahweh, is just as "demanding" as "justice" as an inherent and essential aspect of Yahweh's identity that makes it possible for Paul to extend justification beyond the borders of Israel. Yahweh does not "have" to save "Gentiles" to be all that He is, but His "unity" at least opens the door to that possibility. It is this possibility that Paul turns into a declared intent that raises yet a third question. And it is this third question that will occupy our minds this evening.