Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
Thesis: Escaping shame requires shameless fruit.
Introduction: In our study last week we looked into the problem of the "diseased flesh" of the Roman believers...a concept Paul declared in Romans 6:19. We also attempted to see his "solution". It was my thesis last week that the "solution" is to fix our goal upon "becoming holy"...an issue established at the end of the verse. But, it would be a grave mistake to think that simply deciding that "I want to be holy" will "fix" everything -- for two reasons: first, any decision to seek holiness needs to be made with the understanding that "holiness" is not the final objective -- there is a reason beyond holiness for seeking holiness; and, second, any decision to seek holiness also needs to be made with the understanding that the decision is only the beginning, not the end.
It is to this fact -- that the decision is not the end, but only the beginning -- that we turn this evening. Paul had more to say than simply "present your members as servants to righteousness unto holiness." The next thing he says (6:20-21) is a reminder of their former condition and its result(s). We want to understand why he would throw this reminder into the argument at this point.
December 5, 2006
- I. Part of His Rationale is His Concept of a Dynamic Reality to the Process.
- A. Romans five tended to generate a perception of a kind of "static" reality.
- 1. One is either in Adam, or in Christ.
- 2. Those two are the major players in the issues of Life and Death.
- 3. A single event -- called in 5:17 "receiving the gift of righteousness" -- transfers one from being "in Adam" to being "in Christ".
- B. Romans six denies that perception.
- 1. On the one hand, it clearly accepts the undeniable reality of our daily living as a dynamic fact.
- 2. On the other hand, it also, just as clearly, denies that the "single event" constitutes the "only event".
- C. Paul taught a "warfare" scenario that simultaneously teaches four things...
- 1. In war, some soldiers get killed: sometimes those "in Christ" get "cut off" in the midst of the conflict because they did not exercise their warring skills sufficiently effectively (death is not only the end result of "sinning", it is a real possibility for those "in Christ"; there is a sin unto death -- 1 John 5:16).
- 2. In war, some soldiers get wounded so badly that they are retired from the fray because they did not exercise their warring skills sufficiently skillfully (becoming a "castaway" after having had an effective ministry is a real possibility for those "in Christ -- 1 Corinthians 9:27).
- 3. In war, some soldiers become better soldiers -- their warring skills improve with the using and their likelihood of death or maiming is lessened because they have committed themselves to being good soldiers: 2 Timothy 2:3.
- 4. In war, someone always wins and it is Paul's thesis that the Kingdom of Light is going to win.
- D. Within this warfare scenario Paul focused upon the necessity of the "commitment": this is what Romans 6:19 is about.
- E. And within the "commitment" motif, there is what I am calling the dynamic reality.
- 1. Consider a couplet of valves linked by a single shaft upon which is fastened a single "wheel grip".
- a. The valves are mounted in pipes that control the flows out of the heart, mind, and body.
- b. The shaft is designed so that when one valve opens that other one shuts so that the turning of the wheel grip determines the strength of the flow out of each pipe.
- c. The shaft has enough threads on it to last a lifetime so that the valves never get to finally seal off the flow from either pipe.
- 2. Consider Paul's argument in Romans 6:20-21 in light of the valves.
- a. Before the receiving of the free gift of righteousness, the valve of righteousness was closed and the sludge of evil was pouring unimpeded out of the pipe of wickedness.
- b. At the point of the reception of the gift, the wheel on the shaft began to turn so that the pipe of righteousness began to leak righteousness out into the world and the flood of wickedness was diminished a proportionate amount.
- c. At this point, the turning of the wheel on the shaft became incessant -- it never stops until a valve is sealed off.
- d. Paul's question -- designed to keep the wheel turning so that the valve of righteousness continues to gradually open -- is this: when the valve of righteousness was shut and there was no righteousness coming out of the pipe, what "fruit" did the person have from the sludge of wickedness that poured out of his life?
- e. Paul's answer: death.
- F. The Critical Aspect of the Dynamic Reality.
- 1. There is one issue that stands "mechanically" above all: the conscience.
- a. The wheel is actually turned by either of two: the flesh or the Spirit.
- b. The dominion over the wheel is determined by the conscience.
- 2. There is no control over the outflow by the "person" except at the level of "conscience".
- a. We do not have the power to turn the wheel.
- b. We only have the power of permission.