Chapter # 10 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
Thesis: Heart faith and mouth confession inexorably lead to ultimate vindication.
Introduction: The worst case scenario for a human being involves the first few minutes of post-death experience if that experience proves to be the opposite of what has been expected in the pre-death life. It is this ultimate experience toward which Paul points in his explanation of "the righteousness which is by faith" as he quotes from Isaiah 28:16 again.
If we consider the plethora of religions in the world and the universality of human death, we have this reality: either no one is going to be "ashamed", or most people are going to be. And, according to the way Paul put this together, there are few, if any, things that are going to be "worse" than dying and discovering that the reality is by far worse than the fear. Thus, he promised through Isaiah that for the one who embraced his Gospel there is no such thing as being proven wrong by the final experience.
This evening we are going to look into this again.
April 21, 2009
- I. The Issue: Salvation.
- A. At the end of 10:9, the promise is "thou shalt be saved".
- 1. This is the heartbeat of chapter 10.
- a. 10:1 -- Paul's intense longing.
- b. 10:9 -- Paul's explanation of his "message of faith".
- c. 10:10 -- the end result is "salvation".
- d. 10:13 -- the promise reiterated.
- 2. This is, for all mankind, the bottom line of experience.
- B. In the explanation of 10:10, "salvation" is lifted above "justification".
- 1. Justification is "reduced" to a means to an end (it always has been).
- 2. Salvation, beyond justification, is exalted.
- C. This raises the issue of what Paul had in mind with his "salvation" terminology.
- 1. It had to be tied to "deliverance" from more than judicial condemnation.
- 2. If we compare John's concept with Paul's we note that they both had one notion of the essence of Life: interactive participation with God.
- a. 1 John 1:1-3.
- b. Romans 8:15 compared with Galatians 4:6.
- 3. If we look at Jesus' doctrine of the impact of this interactive participation, we conclude that Paul, John, and Jesus had the same notion of salvation.
- a. Luke 18:1.
- b. Luke 22:40 and 46.
- II. The Details.
- A. Heart belief leads to justification.
- 1. The terminology is difficult because the Scriptures seem to distinguish between a man's heart and himself.
- a. The most elemental aspect of this declaration is the identification of what Paul calls "the heart" and the description of how that entity "believes".
- 1) In Paul's "theology of the heart", he has already made the claim that a "foolish" heart can be "darkened" as a consequence of rejecting God as God, withholding gratitude, and becoming vain in the imaginations (1:21). This seems to make the "heart" a "victim" of some other entity that contols the choices that are made.
- 2) However, he immediately went on to say that it was "the lusts of the heart" that caused men to dishonor their own bodies (1:24).
- 3) He also attributed the on-going heaping up of judgment to a "hard" and "impenitent" heart (2:5).
- 4) From there he went on to say that the behavior of people "shows" the presence of a "law written in the heart" -- strongly indicating that behavior arises out of the content of the "heart" (2:15).
- 5) And just a few verses further along, he claimed that it takes a "circumcision of the heart by the Spirit" to "constitute" a person a "true" Jew, with the result being a longing for praise from God instead of praise from men (2:29).
- 6) Jumping from there to 5:5, Paul taught that God sheds His love in our hearts so that we cease to be "ashamed" of the hope.
- 7) Then he moved to 6:17 where he claimed that it is "submission by the heart to the doctrine of the Truth" that moved his readers out of their bondage to sin. This is the first overt declaration that it is "with the heart that man believes".
- b. The conclusion seems to be that Paul considered the "heart" to be the most elemental aspect of "personality", the root of controlling desires and methods of thinking.
- 2. But, the question is this: is the "heart" the controller of the man, or is there something else in man that dominates the "heart"? In other words, is the essence of "man" his "heart", or is the "heart" merely a primary tool in the hands of "man" that is controlled by another "essence"? The answer seems to be that the "heart" was chosen to be the most fundamental metaphor for the essence of man. He is his "heart". He "thinks" in his heart (Isaiah 10:7), he "lusts" in his heart (Romans 1:24), he "acts" out of his heart (Romans 2:15), and God has to "circumcise" his heart if He intends to alter his essence (Romans 2:29). Thus, the word "heart" is used when it is the intent of the author to get to the "heart" of a matter -- i.e., "heart" signifies "the essential person". This means something highly significant in terms of "salvation": unless man "believes" at the "heart" level, he is not justified; but, on the other hand, if the "faith" arises from the "heart", God does not refuse him. The elephant in the room, however, is this: how does a person "believe with his heart"? The biblical answer is that, though a man who believes with his heart, believes with his heart, the "faith" is not something that his "heart" generated. There is no formula for "believing with the heart" that man can apply to himself that will empower his life. "Belief" is something that, though it happens in the heart, happens to the heart.
- B. Mouth confession lead to salvation.
- III. The Firm Promise: Isaiah 28:16.