by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 19 (Studies 17 & 18 are not available) January 14, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:Currently blessedness is being in a time-bound condition that, being tied to eternity through justice, underwrites an eternal experience of glory.
Introduction:In our studies we have come through James' exhortations to deal with difficulties by focusing upon the joy that is to be ours in eternity. This evening we are going to begin a look into the foundation of his argument as he gives it in 1:12. There he presents the issue of blessedness within a context of enduring trial because of love for God. The first question that faces us is: What does it mean to be blessed?
I. The Characteristics of Blessedness.
A. Blessedness is only indirectly related to temporal feelings.
1. Blessedness is tied to the ultimate divine objective for men.
a. As such, it is tied to the issues of life.
b. Being tied to the issues of life, it is directly linked to joy.
c. Being linked to joy means that it is tied to feelings.
d. Blessedness, however, is more focused upon the mechanics of joy than on joy itself.
2. The temporal divine objective is to get men to live in time by faith in eternity's truths because eternal blessedness is tied to man's thinking/function in time.
a. The tension of time is the absence of the experience of blessedness because of the presence of death by sin.
1) Experience is based on the mechanisms of righteousness and the mechanisms of unrighteousness.
2) Experience is a mixed bag for all, and especially believers.
b. Most of the proclamations of blessedness in the New Testament are hortatory, designed to produce motivation for man's choices because man's future is tied to his actions in time.
1) If man values eternal blessedness and finds a way to achieve it, he will act accordingly.
2) The promises of blessedness are designed to unfold the way to achieve it.
c. The divine reasoning is that life by faith in eternal truth does two things at the same time...
1) It diminishes the impact of death by reducing the importance of the problems of death in time.
2) It enhances the temporal experience of the eternal blessedness for those who are God's heirs of life.
3. Temporal feelings have multiple roots.
a. Feelings are often rooted in organic causes...the impact elements have upon the physical frame of man.
1) The Bible addresses pharmaceutics as a demonic issue because of the attempt to produce life apart from fellowship with God.
2) All biblical injunctions assume the power of faith over the material man.
3) Scripture acknowledges the death impact the body has over the spirit... the spirit cannot overcome the limits of the body-machine.
4) The pain/pleasure responses of the body can have a 'shut-down' effect on man as a thinking being.
b. Feelings are often rooted in psychological causes...the impact thinking has upon the emotional condition of man.
1) Psychological causes have two main frames of reference...
a) The success or failure of hedonism, materialism, and humanism.
b) The level of confidence one has in eternal truth and love.
2) Psychological issues are where the real battle is fought.