Chapter # 10 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
Thesis: Christ, believed, ends all of the fears/lusts generated by the Law.
Introduction: In our last study we made the claim that rebellion against God is the automatic result of a focused intent to exalt oneself. That is what Paul wrote in Romans 10:3 when he said that, "...going about to establish their own righteousness ... [they] have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." The point is this: they were deliberate in their attempt to "establish their own righteousness" whether, or not, they knew, or understood, why that was so important to them.
The fact is that most of us do not know, or understand, the things that drive us except at a most superficial level. That level is, in a word, fear. We know when we are afraid, but we are, as often as not, not only oblivious to why we are afraid, but also disinterested in finding out. We simply take it as a basic fact of life that fear is to be handled by aversion.
But aversion is not only an ineffective method of handling fear, it is positively destructive. So, this evening we are going to consider Paul's affirmation that Jesus is the "end" of fear for those who believe. Since those are not the words Paul chose to use to express this conviction, we are going to consider what he said so that we might understand his meaning.
March 17, 2009
- I. The Significance of "Christ" As the End of the Law.
- A. To understand this significance, we must understand the impact of the Law.
- 1. To understand the impact of the Law, we must understand the basic motivations of men.
- a. All men are driven by two "drivers": love and fear.
- 1) On the "love" side of the issue, values precede all else.
- 2) On the "fear" side of the issue, capabilities are constantly "suspect".
- b. All men are easily seduced into superficiality because of the extreme nature of their "drivenness".
- 1) The expressions of superficiality are legion, but they all have one thing in common: they tie up the brain with minutia so that there is no occasion for thoughtfulness.
- 2) It is easier to be "busy" than it is to be "thoughtful", so the seduction is readily present.
- 2. To understand the impact of the Law, we must understand its place in regard to these motivations.
- a. On the "love" side of the issue, "Law" was understood by men to be the explanation of how one could achieve his goals.
- b. On the "fear" side of the issue, "Law" intensified the "suspect nature" of the capabilities issue.
- c. On the "seduction of superficiality" side, those involved in "Law" as the solution to "Life" simply blinded themselves to the "fear" side by minutely developing the details of the demands so that they might "keep them unto Life".
- B. Given this impact of the "Law", Christ is the "end".
- 1. On the "love" side, there are two demonstrated realities with one conclusion.
- a. Christ "loved" the Father above all else so that He stands as the example of what is truly valuable and the Father loved Christ above all else.
- b. Christ "loved" the created people of His world unto Death and the Father made His death the demonstration that He shared this love of Christ's.
- c. The conclusion is this: we are beloved of God.
- 1. This directly addresses the "drivers" of men.
- a) On the "love" side, we know as the beloved that we are to love (Ephesians 5:2/ 1 John 4:19).
- b) On the "fear" side, we know we have nothing to fear because we are "beloved".
- 2. This "direct address" is, however, marred by one reality: unbelief.
- 2. On the "fear" side, the issue of capabilities is muted because there was no failure of Christ.
- a. Christ, as the God/man did everything the Law declared so that He was sinless.
- b. This Christ must, however, be believed if fear is to die.
- II. The Significance of Christ as the "End" of the Law.
- A. The word translated "end" refers to "the conclusion of a process".
- 1. Since there are many processes in the details of life, we must understand to which of the processes of "Life" the "Law" was being applied.
- a. There are many processes into which the Law is inserted.
- 1) The "Law" was given to establish a criterion for judgment (Romans 2:14-16 compared with 2:6).
- 2) The "Law" was given to make the truth about God known (Psalm 119:18).
- 3) The "Law" was given to create a national constitution for the nation of Israel so that it could function as a nation.
- 4) Etc.
- b. The particular process to which Paul addresses the "Law" for which Christ is the "end" is identified as "righteousness".
- 1) On the face of it, this means that the Jewish application of the Law to this issue of obtaining a standing before God for blessing was "ended" by Christ.
- 2) But under the face of it, the Jewish application was not just to obtain a standing before God for blessing.
- a) In the definitions of "Life" by the Jews stood one very definitive commitment: to be recognized by God as worthy because of personal effort.
- b) Thus, the idea of a grant of acceptance in spite of unworthiness was an enormous scandal.
- 2. In regard to the Jewish application of "Law" to their real agenda, Christ is not the "end".
- B. The true "end" has the issues of "Life" in clear focus.
- 1. In the love of God, being embraced as a part of oneself is totally unrelated to worthiness; it is, rather, related to the question of whether life can flow between two, or not.
- a. This "flow" is illustrated by the embrace.
- b. The blockage to "flow" is illustrated by distance.
- 2. In the process of God's application of love, faith is the "closer": faith closes the distance and enables the embrace.
- III. The Significance of the "Qualifier".
- A. Many think that if one is "beloved", all will be well (who could do damage to one who is beloved by the doer?).
- B. But the fact is that being beloved is not all that effective: one must believe in the love for the Love to flow.