Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
February 7, 2006
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
1901 ASV Translation:
2 through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
- I. The Issue of "Exulting".
- A. It is clearly a very necessary function.
- 1. Paul would not have even mentioned "exulting" if it were not important within the scheme of human need.
- 2. There are competing needs for human beings: they vie for dominance in the values of men.
- a. The body aggressively seeks pleasure and the escape from pain and extinction.
- b. The soul aggressively seeks a broad-based platform for security from all threats.
- c. The spirit aggressively seeks recognition and approval in the values of others.
- B. It seems to be a "spiritual" function that tends to dominate human considerations of the answers to the "what is valuable?" questions.
- 1. The soul's need has been addressed by Paul's declaration of our "possessions" of peace with God and a standing in the grace of God on the foundations of the performance of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
- a. Because the need has been met completely vicariously, the soul has its broad-based platform for a sense of ultimate security.
- b. Even the question of the "means" called "faith" does not challenge this platform because the issues are "past tense" -- however "faith" came, it came.
- c. As far as the soul is concerned, the foundations are laid and permanently effective.
- 2. Thus, the spirit's need comes into play.
- a. Most of our lives are complicated by the interplay between the values held by us regarding our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as they "compete" for dominance. The body is unwilling to be less than first. The soul is unwilling to be less than primary. The spirit is unwilling to be relegated to a lesser consideration than the others.
- b. The only way for these competing values to be harmonized is for each to have an uncontested solution.
- 1) However, as long as sin is in the picture, there is no uncontested solution. At some points, the body will either have to be gratified, or denied. At some points, the soul will have to be gratified, or denied. And, at some points, the spirit will have to be gratified, or denied. Paul claimed in 1 Corinthians 9:27 that the body represents a significant danger and must be "buffeted" and "brought into bondage". And, in 1 Corinthians 5:5, Paul claimed that "relational ostracism", as well as "physical destruction" sometimes must be brought into play in order to preserve the "spirit". Again, in 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul taught that a "thorn in the flesh" was effective at keeping his "spirit" at bay in its lust for glory. There is some question as to what was actually going on there, but it seems that Paul was required to be seen as "weak" so that he could not "glory in" the extraordinary level of privilege that was his. This "appearance of weakness" was "physical" -- thus the "thorn in the flesh". The overall impact of these comments by Paul is that there is an interplay between competing values and there is a necessity for the resolute denial of some of the "demands". So, what is the "bottom line"?
- 2) From one perspective, the "bottom line" is that we must view all from the point of view of the post-resurrection future. In other words, what must be "denied" is anything/everything that has the ability to frustrate God's desire to reward in His enduring Kingdom. The "uncontested solution" is only to be found in the final state of the Kingdom.
- 3) From another perspective, the "bottom line" is that the "believer" must "believe" in the present what is to be true in the future so that his present behavior will be fruitful for his future service. The "uncontested solution" is found only in a faith that is exercised in this present time regarding what is promised for the future Kingdom.
- c. The "spirit's" need boils down to one thing: the ability to "glory". Give the spirit the experience of "glorying" and it is "satisfied".
- 1) Thus, Paul addresses this issue of "glorying".
- 2) He begins with the "hope of the glory of God" -- the spirit's greatest "exulting" rests upon its participation in the "glory" of God. But, the issue is "hope". It is clearly future-focused, not present-time-experienced.
- 3) He claims that the "glorying" is to be rooted in the clear-headed realization that God loves us (this is where he is headed as he moves toward 5:8).
- 4) He claims that this realization yields an ability to "exult" in the most negative of experiences because they are under the dominance of the loving God Who seeks to keep us from "shame" (5:5). Thus, we not only "exult" in hope of the "glory", we see our circumstances as the means to that end. They who, by faith, "exult" in their "tribulations" are they who will be extensively "rewarded with glory" at the appearance of the glorious Lord (see 2 Thessalonians 1:5 in its context). Obviously, the counter-reality is also, therefore, true: they who, in disbelief, do not "exult" are they who sacrifice "glory" in the Kingdom for the pitiful payoff of "relief" in time.