Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
July 29, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<420> Thesis: Embracing pain and futility means laying down two more of our idols to make room for God's work of our sanctification. Introduction: In our last study we raised the question of our understanding of the nature of God as it addresses the willingness of Christ to be "accursed from the Father" for our sakes. We raised this issue because it is my clear conviction that Paul's attitude toward his "kinsmen according to the flesh" is nothing more, nor less, than a mirror of God's attitude toward His personal creatures. In that study we took the approach that is often a problem for people who look at the claims of the Gospel in a superficial way: the idea that Christ's death for sin was such a "temporary" reality that it cannot have a serious meaning for the thoughtful. But, our argument is this: the "event" was over in something over thirty-six hours, but the "impact" on God will never be over. For men, whose nature requires a certain degree of both forgetfulness and lack of focus, the impacts of events often lose their vitality over time. But God, Who is beyond time and infinite in all of His attributes, has neither forgetfulness, nor an unfocused awareness, and those two realities insist that God will never be free of the price He paid so that we will not have to. Such is the grace and love of God. This evening we are going to press on into our consideration of Paul's personal attitude toward his "kinsmen according to the flesh" as an indirect "T"heological declaration. The issue we are going to address this evening is this: What was driving Paul's willingness to endure eternal "P"ain in order to escape what the AV calls his "great heaviness and continual sorrow"? My argument is going to be this: men have two idols that must be rejected if they are to be real mirrors of the character of their God. These idols are: 1) the lust to escape pain; and 2) the lust to be "effective". We fear "pain" and "futility" beyond reason. In order to permit love to cast out these fears, we must face them. Apparently Paul did, and he did it as the outworking of his own relationship with God. So, let us get into this text again.