Chapter # 11 Paragraph # 6 Study # 1
October 27, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<540> Thesis: Anything that diverts our "faith" from the God of Promise is destructive to the flow of Life from Him to us. Introduction: In our studies of Romans 9-11 we have seen Paul set forth argument after argument in the attempt to get his readers to actually "focus" their "faith" upon the God of Promise. His opening salvo was 9:8 where he made the critical distinction between "the children of the flesh" and "the children of the promise". This distinction had a fundamental background in 4:21 where he claimed that Abraham had come to "full persuasion" of a key doctrinal truth: the One Who makes the promise(s) is the One responsible to keep it/them. Additionally, the One who is responsible for keeping it/them is the One who is to be credited with the outcomes. Thus, in 9:11 he firmly declared that neither Jacob, nor Esau, had any practical participation in their placement in the Plan of God. There is a very good reason for this "argument after argument" mode of writing. It is found in the emphasis in our text upon the knee-jerk tendency of all men everywhere to seek ways to make their experience of good the outcome of their own doing. The problem with this knee-jerk tendency is that it is rooted in the attitude that brought sin into existence in a "very good" creation in the first place. It consists most fundamentally in a misdirection of the focus of faith. Faith, first and last, is supposed to be absolutely "in God"; not in His "works", nor in His "words", nor in the outward ripples of either. As soon as faith's focus is diverted from the Person, human elements creep in that corrupt it. Paul's concern is fixed upon these creeping corruptors because they, like flesh-eating bacteria, have the ability to destroy the Life that flows when God is the actual focus of our confidence. Therefore, this evening we are beginning a study of the next salvo in Paul's push to purify our faith: his "revelation" of a mystery that God had kept hidden for 4,000 years.