by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 3 August 6, 2017 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(105)Thesis: Any/every attempt by our opponents to get God to subject us to "Law" is doomed to failure.
Introduction: So far in our studies of this final paragraph in Romans 8 we have considered the first three of the seven questions that Paul raises. The first question asks for a firm conclusion to the declarations of the previous paragraph. The second question answers the first. The third question addresses the first part of the second question (If God is "for" us...) with a resounding promise of God's commitment to provide for us all things necessary for "Life" and "godliness" (Peter's terminology in 2 Peter 1:3).
Now we come to the fourth question. It (along with questions 5, 6, and 7) addresses the second part of the second question (...who can be against us?). Since there are four questions to address regarding those who are against us, this is a most necessary issue: there are those who seek our ruin.
I. The Tactics of Our Opponents.
A. At their root is a most fundamental admission.
1. The opponents admit that God remains "God": their accusation(s) are lodged against us in the presence of someone who can/will decide for them against us.
a. This means that they admit that they are not "gods" who are free to do whatever they wish to us.
b. There is no point to "laying a charge against us" if, in fact, they are the final arbiters of how we shall be treated.
2. The opponents admit that God remains "God": their accusation(s) are lodged against us as the "elect" of God.
a. This means that their real problem is God, not us.
b. The One Who has set us up as those who will receive all that God has "for" those to whom He has ministered in terms of the ministration of the Spirit and the sacrifice of the Son, is the real problem.
3. This puts the opponents in the unenviable position of challenging God in His own courtroom.
B. In the details of their tactics, two issues arise.
1. There is the "laying of a charge", a verb used only seven times in the New Testament.
a. It is only used by Paul three times.
1) It is found in our current text written by Paul.
2) It is found again in Acts 26:2 and 7 which was written by Luke but quotes Paul.
b. Luke uses the same term an additional four times in Acts.
1) In every case, Luke uses the term to mean "to take someone to a legal court and make accusations under law".
2) Luke's use establishes the meaning for our understanding to be a specific legal setting under "Law" and under the enforcer of that "Law".
c. This puts the opponents in the unenviable position of having to argue their case in God's court.
2. There is the objects of the opponents' ire: the "elect" of God.
a. There is considerable objection regarding these people identified as "elect".
1) All of the opponents of "election" oppose the concept of "specific individuals".
2) But the removal of specifics from "election" reduces it to a non entity: there is no point to "election" if no one is elected.
b. The opponents are not attacking non-specific people; charges are leveled against individuals under "Law".
c. However, ultimately the charges against God's elect are charges leveled at The Elector.
d. This puts the opponents in the unenviable position of trying to get God to admit that He is unqualified to be "God" in His own court.
II. The Futility of Our Opponents.
A. At the very roots of reason, it is unreasonable to attack the "God" of the courtroom.
1. "God", by fundamental definition, is the Executor of Power; there is no one to take over if He recuses Himself.
2. Even if the opponents could succeed in establishing the illegitimacy of the Judge, Who could take His place?
a. That He has the final position of arbiter is established by those making the charges in His court.
b. The opponents are in the unenviable position of trying to attack omnipotence, which they admit they do not have.
B. At the very point of this specific attack, the court's decision has alreadybeenrendered.
1. The attack is actually against the Judge and He has already "justified" His elect.
2. The attack is doomed to fail before it is ever put into action.
C. At the roots of God's defeat of the opponents, is His established accomplishment: He gave His Son to fulfill His own Law's demand for justice.
1. The accusers fault God for lawlessness in the face of the death of the Son.
2. This puts them in the unenviable position of denying the efficacy and legitimacy of the death of the Son of God.