by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1 May 31, 2005 Lincolnton, N.C.
(130)Thesis:The Law brings every man to just condemnation.
Introduction:We have been looking for many months at the case God has against man. Last week we wound up our consideration of the specific charges that God's Law has leveled against man. But, we are not yet finished with this issue. This evening we are going to look at Paul's conclusion: that the Law, though not addressed to every man specifically, does bring every individual man to a certain and humanly hopeless condemnation. The conviction that man's situation is certain and hopeless is critically necessary. Without it man's situation is not just "humanly hopeless", it is absolutely hopeless. God has put the final issues of life and death squarely upon the foundation of "faith" and that foundation cannot exist without man's arrival at the conviction that man's situation is certain and humanlyhopeless.
I. The "Faith" Foundation.
A. At the very beginning, God made Life and Death dependent upon whether man would believe Him.
1. This was a two-fold question.
a. Would man "believe" His statement(s) regarding the nature of His creation (that death existed in the eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil)?
b. Would man "believe" in His character as True Light (a Revelator of integrity and good intent)?
2. This was indisputably a crux issue in respect to Life and Death.
a. The experience of man was "life" at every level.
b. The warning was of "death" at every level.
B. Without dispute, God made "faith" the issue for any, and every, kind of "recovery".
II. The "Point" of the Law.
A. In terms of specific "application".
1. The Law was, technically, only addressed to those within its sphere of application.
a. Paul says this as a matter of indisputable fact: "we know".
b. Paul says this to establish an indisputable foundation: the Jews were used as a universal demonstration regarding the essence of humanity.
2. The Law allows no "exception" outsideof "Jewry".
a. There are those whose hatred for the Jews includes a kind of "self-exalting superiority" over them, but it is completely without any rational justification.
b. The hatred that moves a person to exalt himself over the Jews actually proves the universality of the "Jewish" condition.
1) The "Jewish condition", according to 2:17-29, was one of knee-jerk self-exalting superiority.
2) The only way anyone can distance himself from that "condition" is to do the very same thing: knee-jerk, self-exalting, superiority.
3) Obviously, then, it is impossible to escape Paul's rationale: the Jews are a microcosm of the whole world.
c. Paul's statement is that the Law's application to the Jews results in a blanket condemnation of the whole world.
B. In terms of specific "content".
1. The "content" of the Law was, at root, a revelation of the "necessity" that exists for Life to exist in a cause-and-effect universe.
a. "Life" is not "content-free".
1) There are real "particulars" that have a distinct and different essence in both "Life" and "Death".
2) The real particulars of "Life" are all issues of peace between the participants.
b. Neither is "Life" "foundation-free".
1) The issues of Peace rest upon the character of God.
2) The character of God has produced both a process for the development of Life and a commitment to a culmination of that process.
c. The Law was, fundamentally, a revelation of the character, the process, and the culmination of the Master Plan, all of which are impossible to eliminate: the "necessity" exists.
2. The "content" was never intended to be a regulator of the dead.
a. It would be beyond foolish for anyone, especially the omniscient, all-wise, God, to think that the principles of Life could govern the practitioners of Death.
b. It remains beyond foolish for anyone to expect that the dead can live by simply applying the principles of life to their conduct.
C. In terms of specific "results".
1. The intended result of Law was the revelation of man's total incapacity.
a. The Law was not intended to simply reveal a few flaws in man's practice of the principles of Life...flaws that could be corrected by proper instruction.
b. The Law was intended to reveal the condition of the entire world so that it would be brought to an absolute silence of self-justification.
2. The intended result of Law was the creation of a total hopelessness in man of any solution from man.
a. The Law was designed to bring man's sin-condition to the fore and make it an inescapable fact.
b. There are three consequences to this designed intent.
1) Paul says it goes without saying that "by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified before God".
2) It also goes without saying (and Paul did not actually say it) that if there is to be any hope whatsoever, it must come from the character, and then the actions, of God.
3) It, finally, goes without saying (though this is said everywhere in the Bible) that the original issue has been put, again, on the front burner: is man going to come to the conviction that he must both believe the statements of God and believe in the character behind those statements?