by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 8 Lincolnton, NC June 20, 2006
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
1901 ASV Translation:
17 For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.
I. What Does "Shall Reign in Life" Mean?
A. The issue of "reigning" is the issue of having the ability (authority) to determine the nature of the circumstances of experience.
1. This includes the establishment of the principles which shall be the guides of the actions.
2. This also includes the enforcement of those principles in the actions taken.
a. This may include the kind of enforcement that compels (which implies some level of commitment to a different agenda). This is the "rod of iron" concept.
b. But it also includes the kind of enforcement that simply illuminates the wisdom of the processes that enable the fulfillment of the "agenda". This is the "shedding abroad of the love of God" concept.
B. Clearly, the Bible reveals that "Life" is "maximized" in the reality of Peace.
1. This means that, as long as there is a "rod of iron" necessity, there is a somewhat diminished experience of "Life".
2. This also, then, means that "Life" has one major "process": the generation of the Love of God within the hearts of the creatures of God and the coupling of it to the Faith so that what is valued is rightly pursued.
C. Since it is true that "peace" is the "context" of "Life", the more "peace" a person has, the greater is his "reign in life".
1. There are two sides to this issue.
a. There is the "external" side in which "peace" is conceived of as "between persons".
b. There is the "internal" side in which "peace" is conceived of as "within a person" (so that he/she has "peace" between the various aspects of his/her personal being).
c. These are inter-related: a lack of "external peace" often upsets the "internal peace" and a lack of "internal peace" often upsets the "external peace"; and the presence of "external peace" often enhances the "internal peace" and vice-versa. Sometimes these inter-relationships are healthy and sometimes they are destructive. Much is determined by how tied one is to a pure conscience and to inter-relational harmony. If one does not care enough about inter-relational harmony, one will often violate his/her conscience; and, if one cares too much about inter-relational harmony, one will also violate his/her conscience.
2. There are two factors in this issue.
a. On the one hand, there is the "love" issue that insists on a certain "agenda".
b. On the other hand, there is the "faith" issue that insists on a certain "methodology".
3. There is, then, this conclusion: the more "confident" a person is that the processes are leading to the fulfillment of the agenda, the greater is his "inner peace". This means that "faith" is the key to "reigning in life" because God has already declared that all of the processes are working toward the fulfillment of the agenda [Romans 8:28]. The wisdom of God is great enough to be able to "weave" everything that is done into the "fabric" of the final objective so that there is nothing that anyone can do to frustrate that objective. Anything that anyone would "propose" that would absolutely not be able to be turned into an instrument of "good", God simply disallows and blocks by His sovereign power. But, a comparison of Romans 8:28 with what "is" in history signals few things that fit into this category of things simply not possible to be used. Fatalists pose God's "determinism" to be the basis for the actions that are taken (so that many proposed actions are simply not allowed by sovereign power); the rest of us pose the wisdom of God as sufficient to include all actions that are taken (so that there is at least a certain level of "freedom" to act according to one's "propositions"). The difference is to be found in the level of "management" that is exercised. There is such a thing as "Macro-management" (by which certain big-ticket agenda items are determined) and there is such a thing as "Micro-management" (by which all items are determined). Fatalists have the problem of supposing that there is only a certain number of "actions" that can bring a given "result" into being, while non-fatalists subscribe to a "depth of wisdom" in God that can accommodate a very large number of "actions" in bringing the "result" into being (Romans 11:33). Thus, the difference between "determinists" involves a perception of the magnitude of the wisdom of God. The smaller God's wisdom is, the smaller the number of "permissible options" there can be; the greater the wisdom of God is, the greater is the number of "permissible options" that can be. The "wiser" God is, the lesser is the need for Him to be a Micro-manager. The smaller the wisdom of God is, the greater the need for micro-management.