by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6 February 24, 2004 Lincolnton, N.C. No CD Available
(009)Thesis:The stewardships of grace are given to generate surrogates for Christ as the Mediator of Life.
Introduction:Last week we saw that Jesus, Who taught the necessity of two births, actually, Himself, had two "births" (when 'birth' is seen, not as a beginning of existence, but as a beginning of identity). The first was at His entrance into the realm of humanity as the fulfillment of the promise of a human seed, through David, Who would be the Qualifier of Men for participation in God's Restored Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. The second was at His resurrection into the realm of the Spirit of Holiness as the fulfillment of the promise of the Victorious Seed of God Who would destroy Death so that the Kingdom could actually be Restored. This is the essential core of the Gospel: there is a Redeemer and a Victorious King in one Person, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now, we shall move on into Paul's place in God's plans to bring men into the redemption that is in Christ and, thus, into the Kingdom over which Christ will reign.
I. Our First Thesis: Paul is an Archetype (An Original Model).
A. Paul was concerned with presenting himself as a legitimate author of the Gospel of God.
B. His personal presentation is, however, a typical model for every believer.
II. Our Second Thesis: Paul was a Surrogate of Christ (a Person Appointed in the Place of Another).
A. Paul identified himself as a recipient of grace in the form of apostleship.
B. He went further to say that the grace given to him was a form of substitutionary representation: his 'apostleship' was 'on behalf of Christ' ("for His name's sake").
III. Our Third Thesis: Paul's Identity as Surrogate Was Unto Life Among the Nations.
A. God has a current focus on a major aspect of His overall Plan.
1. His overall Plan is the Restoration of the Kingdom of Righteousness.
2. His current focus is the Preparation of the Ruling Echelon of that Kingdom as the Bride of His Son.
3. His Preparation of the Ruling Echelon involves every nation in the world: the Bride is going to be an international Body that includes all nations including Israel.
B. God's current focus involves two specific issues for the rising echelon...
1. They are to be brought to faith in the provisions of God for fundamental involvement in His Son's Kingdom: forgiveness, justification, new birth, transferral into the kingdom of light, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
a. These provisions have all been extended without regard to the behavior of the recipients.
b. These provisions have all been extended because of the Christ's identity and labor as the Seed of David.
c. These provisions are extended with the proviso that they be accepted as true and genuine gifts from God.
d. The acceptance of these provisions is dependent upon faith alone; each participant is to simply receive them as free gifts without attempting to qualify oneself for them.
2. They are then to be brought to faith in the effectiveness of these provisions as foundations for the choices and actions of life.
a. The gifts are not given to be stored away on a shelf somewhere; they are 'life' provisions.
b. The targeted objective is "obedience out of faith" by those who are recipients of the provisions.
1) No one can be qualified for ruling status who does not understand that obedience is absolutely crucial to the promotion of life.
2) No one can be qualified for ruling status who does not understand the link between faith and obedience [faith produces obedience, but obedience does not produce faith].
3) No one can be qualified for ruling status who does not move into the behaviors of a servant.
C. Paul's place in God's Plan was "apostle".
1. As such, he was primarily a mediator of Truth.
2. As such, he gave us a pattern as fellow-recipients of special "places" in the Plan.