Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 3 Study # 7
Thesis: Because creation has hope, believers ought to be able to function within its boundaries.
Introduction: In our study last time we saw that Paul made the point that God, without asking for permission from His creation, subjected it to what the translators variously called "vanity" or "futility". What he meant was that God put His creation under the problem of Sin. This is subjection to the futility of Sin's basic premise: rebellion against God can be made to actually work. The result of this action by God was that the entire creation now has to deal with all of the choices to sin that are made by sinners within the context of the law of cause and effect, or, as Paul puts it, the law of the harvest (you will reap what you sow). This subjection also has this result: there is an incremental slide deeper and deeper into the pit of Death as choices are made and acted upon and that slide becomes more and more rapid according to the law of exponential progress.
We also saw that God did this because of the problem that creatures have with the issues of Love and Faith. If Lucifer had been willing to love God, he would not have sinned. If Adam had been willing to believe God, he would not have sinned. Some personal creatures have a serious problem with these issues of Love and Faith (not even half of the angels followed in Lucifer's rebellion, so rebelling is not an automatic result of creation without omniscience). And, because having to deal with Sin's presence in God's creation can be beneficial to the heirs of eternal life, God subjected creation to the futility.
This evening we are going to look a bit further into this action by God -- without creation's "permission" -- so that we may be able to move more deeply into a life of faith.
November 27, 2007
- I. The Limitation Upon God's Unilateral Action.
- A. Paul claims that God's action was done "upon hope that...".
- B. "Hope" means that something is going to change at a later date for the better.
- C. Thus we have to conclude that for people of "faith" the current state of affairs is neither their perception of actual reality, nor their focus of attention.
- 1. People who live in hope are, by that, living under the realization that the present is not the definition of the future.
- 2. People who live in hope are, by that, living with a focus upon the eventuality that the future will swallow up the present in a manner that, Paul declares, will be so off the charts that the one cannot legitimately be compared to the other.
- II. The Content of the Hope.
- A. A deliverance from the slavery to corruption.
- 1. The issue of "corruption" is the issue of some form of disintegration (whether rapid or incremental and time-consuming) in which those items which provide sustaining connections between elements are broken down so that there is no more "flow" of sustenance between the individual parts.
- 2. The "bondage" of such corruption is being unable to escape the process (2 Peter 2:19).
- a. According to Peter's assessment of this issue, the reason people cannot escape this process is that they cannot escape their own "lusts" (potent desires) -- 2 Peter 1:4 -- and are "overcome by them" -- 2 Peter 2:19.
- b. According to Paul's assessment of this issue, the reason people cannot escape this process is that they are operating "under the Law" -- Romans 7:9-23 -- in conjunction with a "mind set upon the flesh" -- Romans 8:7.
- c. Both Peter and Paul are essentially saying the same thing and both agree that the process of deliverance is brought into play by "the promises of God" (2 Peter 1:4) in conjunction with "the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2).
- d. In other words, when "faith" in the promises is exercised, the Spirit produces an effective freedom from the potent lusts of the flesh.
- 3. The inevitable result of such "bondage" is death as the parts become separated and isolated from what nourishes them in life.
- 4. Paul's focus is upon the final deliverance of the creation; not the current deliverance of the believer.
- a. But, the current deliverance is made possible when that believer understands that "deliverance" is such an integral aspect of God's program that even the creation is going to be delivered.
- b. If that is true, I should be able to find deliverance from this corruption in this present time at every level except that of the physical body, an aspect of my being that has been subjected to "vanity" until the resurrection.
- B. A deliverance into the freedom of the glory.
- 1. Taking our cue from the essential makeup of "corruption", we can say that the "glorious liberty" is being established in a setting where there is no breakdown of the connections.
- 2. Paul calls this "the freedom of the glory of the children of the God".
- a. The translators of the AV call it "the glorious liberty", but the translators of the ASV call it "the liberty of the glory".
- 1) The former tends to hide the reality.
- 2) The issue is that the "glory" that we are to "inherit" (8:17) and the "glory" that is incomparable in respect to the suffering" is a reality that involves being exalted into the experience of the Life of God.
- a) It is not a glory that depends upon being exalted into a position of being served (as all of the glory concepts of the Gentiles maintain -- Matthew 20:25- 26), but is a glory that depends upon a dynamic and uninterrupted "flow" between the God of Life and His creatures of Love.
- b) "Glory" is to be found in being held in high esteem, not in being able to dominate others.
- i. When God loves, the objects of His love are held in high esteem.
- ii. They do not have to have the ability to "boss others around" in order to possess this divine estimation of them.
- b. As a "glory" the concept is that of a "characteristic of": to "glorify" means to make known the characteristics or attributes of that person/thing being "glorified".
- 1) But, this manifestation of the characteristics is designed to elevate the opinion of the one(s) beholding the glory of the one being glorified.
- 2) Thus, the elevation of opinion is, ultimately, what is involved and "glory" has to do with being "beloved".
- c. This means that "the liberty of the glory" is a "freedom" that arises out of the attributes of God as they are shared without hindrance with the children.
- 1) The "fellowship" of persons opens the gates of "the flow" that provides Life.
- 2) This is the underpinning of Paul's determination to "live in the flow" by keeping a conscience "void of offence toward God and men" (Acts 24:16).