Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
November 11, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<450> Thesis: The prerogative of mercy is exclusively God's. Introduction: Last week we looked into Paul's question of whether the promises of God, being rooted in the divine prerogative and totally isolated from human performance issues, constitute some form of "unrighteousness". For Paul this is an absolutely impossible reality, but for most human beings it is a question that needs to be answered. So, in our study last week we addressed the issues of "righteousness" and "love" and saw that "righteousness" is a "Justice" issue and "Love" has nothing to do with "Justice". "Justice" issues are completely absorbed with "performance" issues. "Love" issues are completely absorbed with the "Lover's" commitment to producing "Life" for the "beloved". Also in that study we looked at the inescapability of "selectivity" in "love". In a perfect world, choices between objects of love are immaterial because all love with a total selflessness that is unqualified and unbounded. But, in a world where sin is permitted and, at least temporarily, tolerated, choices between objects of love become inescapable. What will mean "Life" for one will mean "Death" for the other. In a perfect world, "Love" is totally dominant; in a fallen world, "Hate" takes up a counter-balancing position. The question that Paul raised regarding whether this constitutes "unrighteousness" with God is inevitable in a fallen world for one reason: because love is deficient in many, the willingness to be an instrument of "Life" for others is seriously eroded and any "force" applied to the unwilling is invariably met by charges of "illegitimacy" or, as Paul would have it, "unrighteousness". This needs to be understood: it is only the unloving who complain about their "assignment" from God. Jesus did not whine about how "unfair" it was for Him to have to be the "Redeemer", and no one who has any integrity can claim to be as "loving" as Jesus was and still accuse the Father of "not being fair". This evening we are going to go one step further and look into Paul's counter-argument regarding those who would, in spite of their own serious unrighteousness, accuse God of being "unrighteous".