Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6
Thesis: The distinctiveness of the free-gift.
Introduction: In our last study we attempted to follow Paul's thinking as he set about to enable us to understand the distinctiveness of the "grace" gift. We saw that the "offence" of Adam was countered by the "grace" of God. This means that God acted on our behalf. Perhaps the greatest problem we have at the closing of the "Age of Grace" is in not seeing "grace" as "actual divine action on our behalf". We tend to view it as a "divine attitude" of significant tolerance so that we do not have to be overly concerned about "sinning". But it was never presented to produce that particular notion. The "problem" we have is not "ultimately" having to pay for our sins so that the "solution" we get is a divine attitude in which our sins are no big deal. This is, indeed, a huge "problem", but it is not the "ultimate problem". The "ultimate problem" we have is "sinning". Even if we never have to "ultimately pay for them", our sins still cost us. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but the fact is that the Bible never teaches that a person can sin with impunity. It does teach that Justice will never have to be satisfied by the one who sins, yet trusts in Christ. But it does not teach that sin produces the same benefit as righteousness does. Though there is no imposition of active penalty upon the sinner who trusts in Christ as a matter of "Justice", there is a significant loss of benefit that occurs by every sin that a believer commits. There is no reward for sin; there is only loss.
Therefore, our greatest need is to get a handle on how we "stop sinning" and "begin to do righteousness". There will come a day when we no longer have to even think about it. Just as we do not have to "try" to do evil because we have the impact of Adam upon us, there will be a day when we no longer have to "try" to do righteousness because the full impact of Christ upon us will be ours. But, we are not there yet and what we possess when we do get there is directly tied to what the active grace of God produces both in, and through, us in this present time. Thus, it is crucial for us to understand "grace" as far more than a "benign divine tolerance".
So, this evening we are going to move a bit further into Paul's explanation of the "difference" between the "type" and the "Antitype". We have looked at, at least a part of, the "difference" between the "offence" and the "abounding gift" as we looked into 5:15. The point of that verse is that the grace of both the Father and Christ has "abounded" so that "death" is not going to be the end result for those who receive the "abounding gift". Now we are going to turn our attention to the second "difference" between Adam and Christ as it is expressed in 5:16. The point of this verse is that the "abounding gift" is far superior to the impact of Adam's sin.
May 23, 2006
- I. The Fact of Man's Self-Centered Focus.
- A. Paul's "explanations" have always to deal with what he has already declared about men.
- 1. It would make little sense for Paul to particularly develop a concept of man's sinfulness and then simply ignore it when he moves beyond it.
- 2. Thus, when Paul moves into the doctrine of the "abounding gift", he does so understanding that he must address it with the human "problem" clearly in mind.
- a. It is inescapable that Paul is attempting to create a sense of the "abounding gift".
- 1) In 5:9 Paul introduced the idea: "much more".
- 2) In 5:10 Paul repeated himself: "much more".
- 3) In 5:15 he returned to this thesis: "much more".
- 4) In 5:17 he restated his thesis: "much more".
- 5) In 5:20 he said it again: "more exceedingly".
- b. The rationale for this heavy emphasis is to be found in the fact that men are not easily persuaded that God's provision is far more than simply "adequate".
- 1) There is a reason for man's reluctance: he simply has a deeply ingrained sense that God is out to get him and even the new birth does not get rid of it.
- 2) Everywhere we turn, we find people who are angry with God because He will not jump through their hoops, and because they interpret that to mean that He does not "like" them and really has a "hidden agenda" that includes antagonism toward them.
- 3) Men are so self-focused that they cannot even begin to realize, let alone accept, the fact that their "hoops" are death and it is the love of God for them that keeps Him from playing their games.
- B. Paul's efforts are always to counter the truth about men with the truth about God.
- 1. His fundamental thesis is that what is true about men has been more than merely adequately addressed by God because God is both loving and wise.
- 2. His approach is to press the correct "T"heology so that men will have to deal with why they expect the worse from a God Who gave His Son in death for them.
- C. The fact is: Man is more worried about being judged than he is about wondering how to stop sinning.
- 1. Logically, men ought to be looking for God's provision to stop sinning because that is what always "costs".
- 2. But, men are not logical and are primarily interested in simply not "getting burned" rather than "inheriting Life".
- II. Paul's Claim in the Face of Man's Misguided Focus.
- A. First, he focuses upon the actual "freeness" of the provision of God.
- 1. In 5:15, he began with "charisma", moved down to "charis", and then ended up with the "dorea" by "charis".
- 2. In 5:16, he begins with "dorema" and ends with "charisma".
- 3. This means that Paul seems to believe that men need to be absolutely sure that they understand that God's provision is "free" -- i.e., it is not at all tied to man's "worthiness".
- B. Second, he focuses upon the enormous superiority of Christ's counter-action to Adam's action.
- 1. The action of Adam was "one" sin.
- a. This action was huge in what it set in motion in men (sin upon sin).
- b. This action was huge in what it set in motion in God (judgment unto condemnation).
- 2. The counter-action of Christ was totally sin-absorbing.
- a. What Adam set in motion in men is completely addressed by the freeness of the gift.
- b. What Adam set in motion in God is completely addressed by the adequacy of the "gift" -- the result of the payment of the redemption price.