Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 9
Thesis: There is a conflict between "spirits".
Introduction: In our study last week we focused our attention upon the limitations that are inherent in our present reality in light of the pronounced tendency of believers to "camp in their comfort zones". In Paul's text, we are engaged in a warfare, not the pursuit of a comfortable life. This is a major issue. In a sense, it is the defining issue. On the one hand, the war involves finding and destroying the enemies. Those enemies are called the "deeds of the fleshly body" that deny the manifestation of the Truth about God. According to the text, we are to kill off those enemies by the resurrection power of the Spirit of our Father. On the other hand, if we are involved in the pursuit of a comfortable life, we are not in the battle. If we are not in the battle, we have already been defeated. If we have already been defeated, we are going to experience what Paul calls death. So, we are supposed to be warriors. But, in addition to the "comfort zone" mentality, there is another adversary: the appearances of life in Death and death in Life. This was the reason we focused upon the reality of the admitted limitations in this present world. Even the resurrection power of the Spirit is restricted somewhat because the Spirit is in a "firstfruits" mode, not the "harvest" mode. And, likewise, even death is restrained to a great degree until the cumulative effect finally arrives.
Now, this evening we are going to look further into God's provision for the fight. This is not a provision for a comfortable life. A comfortable life is an idolatrous substitution for Life indeed and, as an idolatry, God makes no provision for it. But God has made a provision for us for the fight if we are going to engage in it. This provision is called "the Spirit of Adoption". But, before we can grasp this provision, we need to understand its setting.
September 25, 2007
- I. The Setting.
- A. There is a conflict between the "spirit of bondage" and the "Spirit of Adoption".
- 1. The "spirit of bondage" is identified as an "again" spirit, implying a return to a former reality.
- a. The former reality was a "spiritually" based setting in which "bondage" was the key characteristic.
- I) The spirit of bondage.
- a) "Bondage" is not...
- i. A sense of "necessity": even the most pure freedom of love senses "necessity" (even the God Who cannot lie is fully aware of a necessity to tell the truth).
- ii. A sense of "inadequacy": as long as there are available resources so that the lack of personal ability does not mean that a necessity will go unmet, there is no "bondage".
- iii. A sense of "anguish": emotional trauma arises automatically from love denied and, since love often involves the determinations of others, there is nothing that can be done to stave off anguish if love is denied by those others (Mark 14:34-36) (just because there are times when "Love's interests" are divided and one must "settle" the division by choosing the "most" beloved, we have no reason to call this "bondage": it is not).
- 2) "Bondage" contains several factors.
- a) Primary to "bondage" is the issue of "unwillingness": no one feels "bondage" when they are doing what they want to do (even a "slave" is not under "bondage" when he is doing what he enjoys) but, no one does what he/she is unwilling to do without being in "bondage".
- b) Other factors of "bondage" fit under this thesis of "unwillingness".
- i. All that is included in a person feeling "forced" to do something that runs contrary to his Love/Faith complex is included in "bondage".
- ii. The bottom line in all of these factors is "fear": no one can be "forced" who is unafraid; it simply cannot be done (at some point, "fear" is always the trump card of bondage).
- b. The former reality was a "spiritually" based setting in which "fear" was both the driving motivation as well as the anticipation of ultimate disaster.
- 1) If the problem ultimately boils down to "fear", the solution is always going to have to be either the elimination of the thing feared, or the embracing of the thing feared as a function of love.
- 2) For this cause, God had two primary tasks before Him as means to the elimination of fear.
- a) On the one hand, He had to eliminate Death because, according to Hebrews 2:15, this is the object of fear.
- i. But, He could not eliminate Death as a consequence of Sin: this is an unbreakable linkage.
- ii. Therefore, He had to do something to eliminate Sin.
- b) So, on the other hand, He "regenerated" those enslaved to Sin so that they would have a "nature" that was free from Sin and was capable of Love.
- i. The essence of the New Covenant is the inscription of the Law of God upon the hearts of His people so that they "naturally" do what is in harmony with God.
- ii. But this "inscription" is not done by instantaneous divine fiat; it is done by a "fixing" of what was broken (the Spirit to spirit unity).
- (a) By repentance, on the human side, and forgiveness, on the divine side, the unity is restored.
- (b) Then, on the one hand, we have the iron-clad promise of God that Death has been eliminated by means of the vicarious work of Jesus Christ and the imputation of that work to those who believe (this eliminates "Death" as a producer of fear).
- (c) And, on the other hand, since there can be no severing of the cause/effect link that exists between Sin and Death, the promise is dependent upon the elimination of Sin (this can only be done by the creation of a "nature" that has no proclivity to sin).
- (i) It is this creation of a new nature that seems to be the rationale for the way things currently work in Time.
- (ii) Apparently it is not possible to create a personal nature that cannot sin apart from the issues involved in "learning" -- robots can be created to do anything that the Creator desires, but persons have to get to a point in understanding where the Creator's desires are most beloved, so "Time" is used to "school" the ignorant into "Love.
- 2. The Spirit of adoption is identified as bringing the 'Abba' issue into play.