Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
February 7, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<194> Thesis: Our spirits are given what they need by faith in both the divine objective and the divine method. Introduction: As we opened our studies of Romans 5, we immediately saw that Paul was attempting to make sure that we understand how his focus upon "faith's" application of God's actions in Jesus was designed to meet our soul's real need(s). The entire issue of having -- both peace with God and a past that includes an introduction to grace so that we clearly take our stand in it -- is what I have called a "soul" issue. Ever since God created man, he has had a deep-seated need to be safe and a deep-seated focus upon "having" as the way to be safe. These "needs" are of two kinds: the first is an "objective" kind (a need defined in terms of what is valued/loved); and the second is a mechanical kind (a need defined in terms of how to obtain the what). Man has little trouble identifying his need to be safe. He has more trouble identifying a workable method for obtaining it. But, in Paul's declaration that we have both peace and a standing in grace, we have God's method for our security. An interesting insight here is that Paul acquiesces to the human insistence that we must "have" in order to be safe; but, he deliberately challenges what the vast majority of human beings have settled on to define what it is that we must have. Materialism, with its inherent, idolatrous focus upon possessions, is the human answer to the security need, but relationalism is God's answer. Now, this evening we are going to go, with Paul, one step further. Having declared that our souls can fully rest in grace and peace, he turns immediately to another issue: exulting. As we mentioned last week, exulting is a "spiritual" issue. For Truth to "work" in an individual's life, it must address the individual where he lives. That means that not only must the "soul" be established in rest, the "spirit" must also be addressed. This area is highly much so that the Bible tells us that the only real solution is to have the Spirit of God take up residence in our bodies. But, even with the Spirit in residence, the area of the spirit continues to be most problematical. It is in the spirit of man that the determination exists to be "independent" so that man can establish himself as a "valuable self". Since the spirit of man ultimately determines what the body does, this is a serious problem because the insistence upon being established as a "valuable self" almost invariably turns into a body that both does things and boasts afterwards of what it has done. Paul's criticism of the "Jew" in 2:16-3:18 came to a head in 3:27 where he "excluded" boasting. But, now, in the text before us, he returns to the issue (the word in 3:27 is the noun form of the verb found here). And here he claims that "boasting" is a legitimate activity. What is going on? In a word: Paul is addressing how God has moved to address the issue of the spirit. So, that is going to be the focus of our study this evening.