Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6
February 28, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<200> Thesis: Hope comes only from genuine success. Introduction: In our study last week we saw that there are two opposing "kingdom forces" that are heavily involved in our experiences. We are told plainly that God is committed to conforming us to the image of Christ. We are told just as plainly that the world is committed to forcing us into its mold. This is a recipe for enormous conflict and it inevitably leads to a third "plain revelation": we are the "third player", and it is our reactions that make the critical "tipping point" difference. There is one message in the Bible that stands heads and shoulders above all the others: without faith it is impossible to please God. A myriad of details lurks under this umbrella, but there can be no doubt whatsoever that the "tender spot" in our lives is this issue. It was for this cause that Paul took so many pains to make as clear as possible the fact of the possibility of our having hope. This hope has two elements that are both very much alike and very different. One of those elements is what we have called the "vicarious" element: Christ doing for us what God required of us so that, by grace, we could enter into what He accomplished. The other of those elements is what we have called the "co-laborer" element: God refusing to do for us what He has required of us as recipients of His empowering grace. The "uncommon" aspect of these two elements is the issue of "vicarious" as opposed to "co-laborer". The "common" aspect of these two elements is the issue of "trust" as opposed to "independent pursuit". Now, underlying this issue of "trust" there lurks one huge issue: the critical issue of the definition of the source of "Life". The Scriptures are very plain that God is the source of "Life", but they are also plain about the fact that this is precisely where the smoke on the battleground is the greatest. It is a great consternation for all of us that we are continually deluded by the smoke and noise of the battle into thinking that "Life" would be both "better" and "ours" if we were simply out of the battle. Mark this down: to the degree that we want to be "out of the battle" we are being conformed to this world. It is a major characteristic of this world to want to have all of the privileges of victory with none of the demands of the conflict. It is for this cause that Paul immediately began to address his attitude toward his "tribulations" in Romans 5:3. As soon as he had established the reality of what we have by the "vicarious" methodology, he turned to the reality of the inescapable battle and began to address the "victor's mentality". And, the bottom line in the victor's mentality is the issue of whether we have a clear-eyed focus upon the "Source of Life" or have smoke-filled eyes, and noise-filled ears, that have left us both wounded and confused about the promise of "Life". Our bodies scream at us: Life would be yours if I didn't hurt. Our souls scream at us: Life would be yours if there wasn't so much conflict. Our spirits scream at us: Life would be yours if I could just be the center of the universe. And God whispers to us: Life would be yours if you would trust Me. This evening we are going to press on in our study to see how to "trust" in the midst of the warfare. A fundamental aspect of the warfare is expressed by Psalm 91:7. How could God make this promise to His Anointed in the face of reality? Do you realize that the Christ Who was crucified was the primary target of the promise? How does that work? We are going to attempt to see the answer this evening.