Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1
Thesis: The establishment of man in the reality of the grace of God depends heavily upon the clearest of all possible presentations that, though the problems are real, the actions of God are "more real".
Introduction: This evening we are going to begin a study of Paul's second major line of thought in chapter five. As we begin, I want to "set" this line of thought into its "context" -- both at the point of the "need of man" and at the point of the "provision of God". To do this, I want to point out some of the most basic facts regarding the second half of Romans five.
April 11, 2006
- I. The First Basic Fact.
- A. It does not take a rocket scientist to pick up the "point" of the second half of Romans five.
- 1. The language is sometimes difficult, but the "point" is not: the ball game has been played and the score is already "in" and man's only "option" is "faith".
- a. This is a real option.
- b. This is a critical option.
- 2. That man's future is determined by his relationship to Adam or his relationship to Christ is the inescapable bottom line.
- B. Though there are some real hurdles to overcome in the area of our understanding, there is no question that Paul is claiming that it is one's relationship to the grace of God that is absolute and final in regard to one's eternal destiny.
- II. The Second Basic Fact.
- A. It is automatic to "reason" that what one says is pinned to what one has said.
- 1. What is written in Romans 5:12-21 is impossible to understand if it is divorced from Romans 1:1-5:11.
- 2. Without a firm grasp of the prior words, the present words will be misconstrued to "fit" one's own mindset and world-view.
- B. It is undeniably clear from the prior words that man's condition is humanly irremediable and that God's response has been to provide a remedy that is outside of the possibility of any corrupting influences of men.
- C. It is undeniably clear from the immediately prior words that God's love is extraordinary and, frankly, almost unbelievable.
- 1. If God's love is easily understood, it would not take both the Spirit and the Word to bring man to understanding.
- 2. If God's love is easily believed, it would not take both the Spirit and the Word to hold us "on target" until we reach the point of faith.
- D. And, it is clear from the fact that Romans 5:12-21 is a presentation that man's present behavior is absolutely divorced from the realm of his destiny that man has some really significant problems understanding the love of God.
- 1. Man tends to "major" on the reality that there are "boundaries" to the love of God in terms of what it will do.
- a. It is a fact that God's love does not underwrite "salvation" for everyone.
- b. It is a fact that God's love has not been turned over to man to "determine" its applications.
- 2. Man tends to ignore the reality that there are no boundaries to the love of God in terms of what it has done.
- a. It has provided a boundless redemption price: there is no injustice that has not been met with an overkill of provision.
- b. It has provided the redemption price for all of humanity: there is no person whose obligations before Justice have not been addressed beyond adequacy.
- 3. Paul's argument in this paragraph is a claim that it is not man's behavior that is the problem...it is his "alignment with Adam" that is the problem.
- III. The Third Basic Fact.
- A. It is automatic to "reason" that what one says sets the stage for what one will say.
- 1. What is written in Romans 5:12-21 is the foundation for what is to be written in Romans 6 and following.
- 2. The questions of Romans 6:1 and 15 indicate one of the most probable conclusions to the Romans 5:12-21 text.
- a. What Paul says is guided by how he understands what men will do with what he has said.
- b. Paul knew that what he was saying was going to almost automatically lead to a false conclusion.
- B. It is undeniably clear that Romans 6 is taken up by the question of man's response to Paul's doctrine in Romans 5 and whether that response ought to be a certain kind of carelessness about one's behavior.
- C. It is just as clear that Paul's declarations in Romans 6 indicate that carelessness is not a legitimate response.
- D. But, it is also just as clear that Paul's doctrine in Romans 5 strongly tends to generate what Paul is anticipating -- a human carelessness.
- IV. So We Conclude...
- A. First, that for man to grasp the love of God, he must grasp two prior facts.
- 1. Man is incapable of righteousness even to the point that the incapacity can not be remedied by anything man can do.
- 2. God's love has sponsored a kind of grace that effectively removes man from the equation -- the realm of his destiny is not to be determined by him.
- B. Second, that for man to grasp the love of God, he must be clear on the fact that God has made a superior provision for him.
- 1. Man's sinfulness is real and profound.
- 2. God's redemption in more real and more profound.
- C. Third, that God's superior provision does not, in any sense, mean that how man responds is of no consequence.
- 1. Faith is a very real and necessary part of the mix.
- 2. Faith does not produce "nothing".
- a. God responds to faith with power.
- b. The absence of power signals the absence of faith.
- c. It is impossible to "believe" correctly and not be empowered to "act" correctly.