Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
Thesis: How we live is fundamentally tied to whether we consider ourselves the wives of Christ.
Introduction: I pointed out in our former study that there is an anomaly in Paul's "thesis" in 7:1-6 in regard to what he says and the subsequent illustration. What he says is that "Law" is defeated in its ability to exercise "lordship" by the death of its subject. But in the illustration, the person who is set free from the Law is not the one who dies. I glossed over this anomaly last time by saying that, even though the anomaly exists, the point is still that Law is frustrated in its dominion by the imposition of death.
This evening I want to focus on this anomaly. Why would Paul deliberately choose to use an illustration that, in a sense, does not illustrate? If one wishes to illustrate how the Law loses its ability to dominate by the death of its subject, why would one not choose an illustration that shows how one is set free from the Law by dying? Why not say something like, when a person breaks a speed limit law and gets into a wreck that kills him, the Law cannot impose a speeding ticket upon him? That would illustrate the point.
Since I do not believe, for even a minute, that Paul simply was not thinking very straight, there must be a reason for him to throw his readers this curve. So, our study this evening is going to be an attempt to figure out why he deliberately focused upon the woman who did not die, but was, by death, set free from the dominion of Law.
January 9, 2007
- I. Paul's Over-all Burden.
- A. Clearly he wished to help us live effectively.
- B. Just as clearly, he saw "Law" as a major problem for us.
- 1. He would not have emphasized his claim that Sin's ability to dominate us is directly tied to our subjection to Law (6:14) if "Law" is not a major problem for us.
- 2. He, likewise, would not have emphasized his claim that Grace enables us to live Sin-free (also 6:14) if "Law" is not a major problem for us.
- II. Paul's Theology of "Woman".
- A. In the "application" of his illustration to his readers, Paul, in effect, made us all "women".
- B. The entire New Testament makes a big deal out of the fact that, when it comes to our relationship to Christ, we are all "women".
- 1. The major metaphor of the Bible for understanding God's relationship to His people is the metaphor of marriage in which He is the husband and the people are the wife.
- a. Israel is presented as the wife of Yahweh so that her sins are presented as acts of adultery.
- b. James make the same claim regarding the Church: any in the church who wish to be emotionally involved with the world are guilty of adultery.
- c. One of the most appealing scenarios of our hope is the Marriage Feast of the Lamb at which time the Lamb will take His bride to be His queen.
- 2. Even the Biblical focus upon "manliness" is set within the parameters of human beings reflecting God.
- C. The most apparent reason for this focus is that creation in general, and people in particular, are like "women" when it comes to the issue of how creation is to relate to God.
- 1. God created women to be the "responders" who were characterized by creation as "helpers" who were suitable to the task God had assigned to their husbands.
- a. This invariably means that when God is set forth as the "husband", the people of God are supposed to see themselves as "helpers" suitable to accomplish His agenda.
- b. This subdivides into the fact that Christ is the male Head of the Church and the Church is supposed to see herself as His "helpers" in accomplishing the task the Father gave to the Son.
- 2. In the initial charge of God to humanity, He told them to be fruitful and multiply and, in that setting, He made the woman the "contributor of the egg" as a "non-initiator".
- a. In the outworking of this reality, the woman is not the one responsible for the fruit of her womb.
- b. And even in the issue of sin, the woman is actually incapable of passing on sinfulness to her offspring...thus the virgin birth.
- III. Paul's View of the Believer and "Law".
- A. Paul's View of the Believer.
- 1. Believers are "essentially" gender-neutral: in the resurrection, resurrection bodies have no capacity for sexual expression.
- 2. All believers are "made up" of a combination of "man" and "woman": we all have an "old man" and we are all women who are "married to Christ".
- 3. Each believer is created at the point of the generation of a physical body, which body determines the gender and function of the believer in the boundaries of this creation.
- 4. No believer is ever free to attempt to function as they would if they had been placed in the kind of body that is opposite to what they have.
- B. Paul's View of the "Law".
- 1. It "comes down upon" the whole entity of the "person".
- a. The "man" who abuses his manhood under Law suffers the justice of the Law and his body and his inner woman suffer with him.
- b. The "woman" who abuses her womanhood under Law suffers the justice of the Law and her body and her inner man suffer with her.
- 2. It loses its ability to "come down upon" the inner woman once the transaction of co-crucifixion takes place by faith.
- a. The Law only has authority in the domain of this creation.
- b. The co-crucifixion of the old man with Christ (6:6) sets the woman free from Law because that "death" removes the woman from the domain of the Law.
- 1) She is now a participant in a new creation domain where Law has no authority; in this realm Grace reigns.
- 2) She was not crucified with Christ -- she did not need to be because she has no ability to determine the nature of the fruit she can produce with a husband.
- a) The body was not crucified with Christ because it has been relegated to disintegration back to dust.
- b) The spirit was crucified with Christ in order to remove it from this domain so that the Holy Spirit can be its replacement while we live in this world.