Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 4 Study # 5
November 28, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<270> Thesis: The disease of the flesh makes the maintenance of "submission from the heart" a very difficult issue. Introduction: We have been considering Paul's concepts of freedom and bondage within the context of his attempt to block the idea that how we live is not important because we are "free from the Law" and "under grace." Men tend to ride pendulums and run to extremes rather than pursue the holiness of balance. Since it is an integral aspect of Paul's "grace" doctrine that God has absolutely dismissed the power of the Law to condemn, men have jumped on the "logic" of "freedom from condemnation" and have run it out to the conclusion that "since we cannot be condemned, we can do anything we please." Since Paul is the one who insisted upon God's absolute dismissal of the power of the Law, he must also be the one who brings the required balance of wisdom into the mix. This is what he is doing in Romans 6. There is a potent imbalance in the thinking of men who fixate only upon whether they will be cast into the Lake of Fire or not. That is a huge issue, but, in spite of men who want to make it the issue, in reality it is a side-bar issue. The Lake of Fire is a final "depository" for created personalities who have hardened beyond repentance in their aggression against God. The issue is not where we end up, but what we have finally become. So, the issues of what, and how, we become what we shall be are the critical issues; not the destination. In Romans 6:15-23 Paul is dealing with two things. First, he is dealing with the quality of experience that is ours in this world on the basis of the choices we make and the actions we take -- the servitude to which we commit. And, second, he is dealing with the quality of the experience that will be ours in the servant-Kingdom because of the choices we have made and the actions we have taken in this world. Both of these issues are determined by what we are becoming by grace in freedom from the condemnation of the Law. If we abuse grace in our "freedom from condemnation", we will participate in two consequences: first, we will find that our present experience is far less than that for which we had hoped; and second, we will find that our future experience is far less than that for which we had hoped. Life requires a responsible response to grace. So, this evening we are going to look into Paul's attempt to foster a continuation of the "submission of the heart" that had originally taken place in the lives of the Romans.