(005)Thesis: Paul's concept of "death to The Sin" is rooted in the concept of significant "separations" involved with The Sin.
Introduction: In our last study we spent most of our time dealing with Paul's concept of "The Sin" as it involved two results. The first result is the eating of the fruit as it affected the physical body in that it set in motion the processes of gradual disintegration and, by that, introduced what Hebrews calls "bondage to the fear of death". In this manner, The Sin turned man's focus inward upon his own survival and installed in his soul "fear" as the motivation for choices. The second result is that the eating, as an act of what Paul calls "The Disbelief", opened the door to the dominant involvement of a foreign spirit which he calls "the spirit that is now working in the sons of The Disbelief".
This evening we are going to pursue what Paul calls our "death" to those two results of The Sin. In order for "death" to be the major issue so that we no longer live in the sins that are produced by The Sin, we need to better understand what "death" actually is.
I. The Use of Physical Death As The Major Metaphor.
A. Almost all of human reasoning that goes beyond the interpretation of sensory input depends directly upon divine revelation and its use of those interpretations to set up analogies between the physical realm and those realms beyond the physical.
1. This reality is revealed by an innumerable host of material level words applied to non material realities in the Bible.
2. This reality is most well recognized by the use of "parables" by Jesus to take us from the realm of the material into the realm of the relational.
3. Thus we are dependent upon a legitimate understanding of the physical realities so that we may see some analogies in the beyond-physical universe.
B. Physical death is a widely observable phenomenon that enables us to see the meaning of "death" when it is not the death of the body.
1. In Jesus' case, Jesus exhaled His Spirit as though it was his final "breath" immediately after He commended His Spirit to the Father (Luke 23:46, where "He gave up the ghost" is a translation of "He exhaled").
2. This gives us a fairly clear analogy.
a. The word "spirit" in the phrase "...into Thy hands I commend My Spirit..." is pneuma.
b. The word "He gave up the ghost" is ekpnew.
c. This exactly fits the creation account of God "breathing into man's nostrils the breath of life" so that he became a living soul.
3. But, this "last stage" of the "death" imposed upon Adam requires that we see from it a link to the very gradual descent into this last stage so that "death" is not only the final step, but also a process of many incremental steps that gradually make it impossible for the spirit to empower the body.
4. The most recognized metaphor of "death" in our current theological trends is our word "separation" wherein some form of "space" is installed between the spirit and the physical elements of the body.
a. Thus, as the poison of the forbidden fruit attacks the body, barriers are created between the spirit and the cell structure so that the spirit gradually loses its ability to use those cells to create function in the body: these barriers set up a kind of "separation" that eventually leads to the spirit's final exit from the useless body.
b. This "barrier building" is the main metaphor for our understanding of "death" when it is used in a non-physical realm.
II. The main illustration of "death" as a non-physical reality at the cross is Jesus' use of Psalm 22.
A. Jesus' "...why have You forsaken Me?" is a revelation of the barrier that has come to pass between the Father and the Son.
1. This "barrier" is expressed as "...I cry in the daytime but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent" (Psalm 22:2).
2. At the root is the reality that real interaction is the essence of "Life" in the soul ("Be not Thou far ("distance" of some kind-- a "barrier") from me, O Lord...deliver my soul... 22:19-20).
B. Jesus' "I thirst" may well be John's chief metaphor of the result of the barriers.
1. Just as dehydration affects the physical body, a lack of personal interaction affects the soul; the essence of which is the disintegration of the ability of the elements to interact with each other.
2. The promise of Jesus "...you shall never thirst..." (John 4:14) is a commitment by God to those who believe Him: they will never suffer His departure from being their "Helper".
III. Our Conclusions.
A. Being "dead" to The Sin has two significant parts.
1. In regard to the poison of the tree upon the physical body.
a. There is no particular contradiction of the poison in our "death" with Jesus: our bodies are under the sentence of the death by the poison without relief.
b. But, the innate result -- the fear of death -- is decidedly removed in those who believe the link between our "death" with Jesus and our "resurrection" by Jesus.
2. Likewise, in regard to the open door to the spirit that is now working in the sons of The Disbelief, we have a very specific gift from God to overcome that spirit: His very Own Spirit.
B. That there is no perfection of behavior even after the entrance of the Spirit of God, however, means that there is more to this "death" to "The Sin" than we have yet seen.