Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8
Thesis: The giving of the Law, resulting in human beings having a written form of "revelation" from God, marked a huge step forward in God's provisions for men.
Introduction: In Paul's list of the reasons he was overloaded with grief because of the condition of his fellow Jews, the overall concept seems to be that though they had so much privilege, they did not allow it to actually bring them to the benefits of Life. The list of things that extended so much privilege to Israel began with "the adoption" and in our studies we have come this evening to "the giving of the Law".
Since the point of Paul's list is extended privileges, it must be that he was not thinking in terms of the "down side" of the Law -- a problem so great that he took pains to try to make sure that his readers understood that they have to "stand clear" of "the Law" and not be taken back into the yoke of bondage that is so closely associated with it (Galatians 5:1).
Thus, this evening we will focus, not on that "down side", but on the "privilege" side of what it means to have "the giving of the Law".
September 2, 2008
- I. The Fundamental Benefit: Immutable Revelation From God.
- A. We know from our studies of what people knew before Moses came on the scene approximately 2500 years after Creation that there was a relatively specific body of legitimate doctrinal truth in the world from Adam to Moses.
- B. We also know from what the Bible reveals about what men did with that body of doctrine that it was "at the mercy" of those who explained it to those who would carry it into the next generations.
- C. When Moses came on the scene, one of his tasks was to put the truth about God and His dealings with men into written form.
- 1. This immediately accomplished one superior result: it removed the "freedom" of those who would alter the true sense of the doctrine by giving all (who were willing to use it as the "touchstone" of Truth) a source for Truth.
- a. Paul called this "having the form of knowledge and of the truth" in Romans 2:20.
- b. This did not eliminate the presence of those who would "alter" the doctrine.
- c. It did establish the presence of a "touchstone" for the doctrine.
- 1) It is true that even written words can be misunderstood and construed to say even the very opposite of what their author meant.
- 2) But it is also true that written words provide a setting and context that allows "argument" regarding what their author really meant.
- a) A "classic" example is the phrase in Galatians 5:4, "...ye are fallen from grace."
- i. The phrase is very often declared to teach that a person can lose his salvation by sufficiently evil behavior.
- ii. But the words of the whole verse in its context deny that the people Paul had in mind were "justified before God".
- iii. Thus, the very people who are using the phrase to support their doctrine are the very ones addressed by the larger context.
- b) That all men approach "words" out of their own "context" (former learning, etc.) is a problem, but it is not insurmountable if .... .
- i. Paul's contextual problem with his "kinsmen" is that they did not apply themselves to overcoming this problem.
- ii. Any time violence is used against an opponent because his/her arguements cannot be answered it is a dead certainty that those engaged in the violence are, themselves, involved in serious error (note Acts 6:10 in its context).
- 3) This is a huge improvement over "pictorial symbolism" as a means to preserving information to the generations to come.
- 2. This also, however, removed the "freedom" of the instructed to simply believe what they are told by their "guru".
- a. God is not "into" mechanical salvation ("salvation" by means of "getting the meaning right" and then "doing" that meaning without a personal, one-on-one relationship as the overriding objective of that meaning).
- b. A personal relationship with God carries all of the attendant responsibilities of relating and no one is accepted into the benefits who refuses the responsibilities [Note Jesus' criticism of the Jews in John 5:39-40].
- II. Attendant Benefits.
- A. Romans 2:17 addresses a crucial issue: "rest".
- 1. Both Jeremiah 6:16 and Matthew 11:29 mark "rest" as a highly significant possession.
- 2. In both cases the "rest" has to do with the "soul" -- the most vulnerable and the most easily dissatisfied aspect of our being -- as an outworking of the relationship issue.
- B. Romans 3:1-2 addresses a "much every way" advantage to "Jewishness" that has at the top of the list "the oracles of God".
- 1. In this text, as in chapter nine, a fundamental issue "hovers": 3:3, "what if some did not believe?"; does this negate God's plans and declarations?
- 2. Romans 7:10 says "the commandment was unto Life".
- 3. Romans 7:12 says "the law...is holy, and just, and good."