Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10
Thesis: The love-based provision of God is far greater than what was actually necessary for our salvation.
Introduction: There are two sides to the "love of God" thesis. We all know that God's "love" does not keep Him from pouring out His wrath upon the objects of His love. We see this at Calvary where the wrath was poured out to the uttermost upon One Whom He had to have loved enormously or John 3:16 does not mean anything. We also see this declared and demonstrated throughout the Bible as God declares His love for men and, yet, pours out His wrath upon them. Thus, we must understand that there are two sides to the "love of God" thesis. There is the absolute reality of His love for men, whether enemies or friends. The magnitude of this absolute reality is in the words of Paul in Romans 5:6 and 8 -- Christ died for the ungodly while we were yet sinners. But, of what use is such "love" if, in fact, it does not deliver us from His wrath? This question forces us to understand that there is another side to the issue. That other side is the absolute reality that love is impotent in the face of disbelief. It, frankly, does not matter how much God loves me if I remain resolute in my refusal to believe it. The "other side" of the "love of God" thesis is the human response -- whether the "beloved" will permit his mind to embrace the facts and his heart to embrace to reality. It is to this "side" of the thesis that Paul addresses his words in Romans 5. It is his intention to declare the reality of the love of God for men so that those who read the words of his declaration may be moved to faith in that truth.
March 28, 2006
- I. The Words of the Declaration.
- A. They begin by "pitting" the superiority of the impact of the "love" against the reality of the impact of the "wrath".
- 1. The first "much more" (Romans 5:9).
- a. Focuses upon the magnitude of the deliverance from the "wrath".
- 1) Clearly, there is such a reality as "the wrath of God" [deliverance from "nothing" makes the "deliverance" nothing].
- 2) Clearly, the reality of the "wrath" is not to be used by those who would resist the love as an excuse to deny the reality of the love.
- a) There are those who deny God's love because they cannot see how He can be "loving" and still pour out wrath and the proof of His wrath is everywhere (Romans 1:18).
- b) These who so "reason" ignore the underlying motivation for such reasoning: the desire to justify rebellion.
- i. There is no good excuse for rejecting the "love" thesis.
- ii. But men do reject it because they understand it too well -- they understand that love begets love and love denies selfishness: they know that if they "admit" to the love they are immediately summoned to be loving, and this is the heart of the rebellion (I cannot be loving and still insist upon getting my way).
- 3) Clearly the provision of God is vastly superior to the wrath of God.
- a) The provision of God begins with the effective means: the blood of Christ.
- i. The "blood" is the requirement of the "wrath": Justice requires equality in recompense.
- ii. The "Christ" is the Son of God and, as such, is capable of meeting Justice head on.
- b) The provision of God was "vast overkill": Infinity is vastly superior to finitude.
- b. Focuses upon the effective means of the deliverance from the "wrath".
- 1) The issue of deliverance is the issue of a judicial determination of the adequacy of the "recompense".
- 2) The issue of deliverance is also the issue of the judicial application of the decision to the accused..."justification".
- a) It is at this point that the question is raised as to the attitude of the accused: was he willing to cease resisting the obvious?
- b) The issue of "faith" has at least as much to do with the confidence one has in God's abilities to produce the "love" as it does with the confidence one has in God's provision for the failures of unlove.
- 2. The second "much more" (Romans 5:10).
- a. Focuses upon the impact of the "justification": reconciliation.
- 1) This is as different from "justification" as "method" is to "objective".
- 2) Justification is not about the "side-benefits" of being accepted by God into His eternal realms; it is about the "central" issue: God's friendship.
- a) Reconciliation means the mutual embrace of both objectives and means (love and faith).
- b) Justification without reconciliation is nothing more than a "ticket to heaven" mentality, and reconciliation with justification is impossible.
- c) The death of the Son of God is the foundation for the shift in man from the selfishness of death to the selflessness of life (our love is a reciprocation of His).
- b. Focuses upon the effective means of the reconciliation: the life of the Son.
- 1) Paul declares that we shall be saved by His life.
- 2) Two Hebrew texts tell us something of this...
- a) Hebrews 7:25 -- His ability to save "much more" is rooted in His living to make intercession.
- b) Hebrews 7:16, which invokes the "power of His endless life".
- 3) The issue of reconciliation is the issue of "relating" to the "living" God.