Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 11
Thesis: Though other "issues" exist, the bottom line of the Christian's confidence is the ministry of the Spirit.
Introduction: As we have been plugging along, attempting to understand Paul's concept of life by the Spirit of God, we have seen that he deliberately ties the quality of our experience in this present time to the quality of our "hope". What I mean by "hope" is that settled expectation of the future that is rooted in "faith" because God has actually said something that addresses that future and His children both know what He has said and believe that it is true. In our study last week we focused our attention upon what it means to be "adopted" and to possess the "Spirit of Adoption". We saw that "adoption" is not a good translation choice for American English because it carries a fundamental assumption of non-descendency and has nothing in it to carry Paul's idea. Paul's idea is explained clearly in Galatians 4 and contains the fact that the "adopted" person is both a true child and is recognized by the father as having attained the kind of maturity that is required to be a good steward of the inheritance that is the child's by genealogical descent, but cannot be given to him/her while the childishness continues to be that characteristic. "Adoption" by Paul's meaning is the event when the father declares his own child to have grown up and to have achieved a sufficient maturity to administer the possessions the father has spent his entire life accumulating. This is at the roots of "life by the Spirit" because that "life" is a life of faith and hope. We have a sealed destiny to be "adopted" and we are going to be made administrators of the Father's possessions.
Now, this evening we are going to look at yet another of the "issues" that lie at the root of this so-called "life by the Spirit". This issue has primarily to do with the strengthening of the reality of the "faith" that lies at the root of our "hope" regarding our "adoption". If we are to be "adopted", but we have no confidence that we are, all of our life up to our adoption will be critically suppressed and the quality of our "adoption" will be adversely affected. Likewise, if we are confident that we are to be "adopted", but we do not understand how our adoption is tied to the degree to which we enter into the experience of the Father's provisions, we are highly likely to be stunted by our ignorance and this will have a direct bearing upon our final future. At the root of both of these issues (ignorance and insecurity) is one further issue: our "assurance" that we are, in fact, the children of the Father and the heirs of His provisions.
Thus, this evening we are going to look into the Father's provision for our "assurance". Paul calls it "the witness of the Spirit to our spirits".
October 9, 2007
- I. He is the Father's Provision.
- A. The single difference between fear-driven slavery and love-driven servanthood is the "driver".
- 1. The quality of one's experience is directly tied to whether the experiences of one's life are "endured" or "embraced" [example: the difference in a teen's life between his parents and his employer].
- 2. The Spirit of Adoption is the provider of the difference.
- a. There is only one issue that can change a person's motivations: love.
- b. There is only One provider of that characteristic: the Spirit of Adoption.
- 3. The presence or absence of the Spirit's "Abba" infusion is the difference between slavery and servanthood.
- B. The Spirit of Adoption came from the Father to do one fundamental thing: to "bear witness" of the Father's inheritance-truth.
- 1. Paul says that the "activity" of the Spirit is "bearing witness".
- a. This means that the communication of knowledge from God to man is absolutely at the bottom of all of life.
- 1) The more ignorant one is, the more devastating one's experience becomes.
- 2) God has created man to be "thoughtful" (full of thought) and to the degree that man resists his created state, to that degree he experiences the devastation of Death.
- b. This also means, however, that the communication of knowledge from God to man requires two basic factors.
- 1) God must communicate clearly.
- 2) Man must receive His witness.
- c. The witness of the Spirit is the fulfillment of the requirement upon God for clarity of communication.
- 2. Paul says the sphere of the Spirit's activity is the "spirit" of man.
- a. There is a good reason for the fact that Paul does not say that the Spirit Himself bears witness together with the "mind" of man.
- 1) According to 1 Corinthians 14: 15, in context, the most desirable reality is when the spirit and the mind are yoked together.
- 2) But, the fact that 14:14 indicates that the spirit can be independent from the mind, and dominant over it, is a revelation that the "spirit" is more fundamentally crucial than the "mind".
- 3) We saw this in Romans 7:23 where the "mind" is not the "final" answer, the "spirit" is.
- b. The Spirit-to-spirit link is more potent than the Spirit-to-mind link.
- 1) In this text of Romans 8, Paul is not primarily concerned with the way men "think" (though it is clearly crucial or he would not have written to be read -- a "mental" activity), but with whether or not they "believe".
- 2) Men do not "believe" because they "know"; they "believe" because the Spirit Himself creates a connection between Himself and the spirits of men [Note carefully 2 Peter 1:5 where "knowledge" is the "third" step up the staircase of "administrative maturity", not the "first".
- c. But, the "potency" is not "omni...".
- 1) The Spirit "bears witness"; He does not forcibly carve.
- 2) The "engraving" occurs after the spirit of man yields to the "witness" of the Spirit.
- II. As the Father's Provision, He Provides Clarity, But Not Uni-Reality.
- A. For the Father's will to be done, men have to have clarity.
- B. For the Father's will to be done, men cannot have a single reality.
- 1. Nowhere in the Scriptures is clarity set forth without the possibility of confusion.
- a. Compare Deuteronomy 18:22 with Deuteronomy 13:1-3.
- b. Compare 1 John 4:13 with 3:3-4.
- c. Compare 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2 Corinthians 13:5; and 1 John 4:1 with this text.
- 2. No one grows without having to exercise discernment: this would be impossible in a "one reality" situation.
- C. The reason for time before eternity in the experience of man is that he only comes to "adoption" maturity in time by the things he experiences.