by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6 September 4, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(338)Thesis:The leading of the Spirit is highly productive, but is a significantly distorted concept in our day.
Introduction:According to Paul, God is most clearly visible to others when the "mirror" of His character is "led" by His Spirit. This is an enormous benefit, both to the "mirror" and to those looking on. And, for that reason, the adversary of our souls has made the "leading of the Spirit" a major object of his attack so that, the longer time goes by, the greater the deception that settles in. For that reason, we are going to begin a study this evening regarding "being led by the Spirit".
I. The Fundamental Issue.
A. At the heart of Paul's words is the issue of Paul's doctrine of the application of the power of the indwelling Spirit to the deeds of the body.
1. At the heart of Paul's interest in Romans 8 is one thing: believers who manifest the Truth about God.
a. This is the essence of the promise of 8:14.
b. This is at the core of his statements in 8:4; 8:7; 8:10; and 8:13.
2. The single greatest hindrance to the fulfillment of Paul's interest is the behavior of the people of God.
a. Every time a believer acts upon a desire that is "ungodly", a picture of God emerges for those observing it that corrupts their understanding of God.
b. Every time a believer corrupts the understanding of God in the eyes of others, both he/she and they lose eternal glory and temporal "Life".
3. Paul's solution to this scenario of disaster is the application of the power of the Spirit to the deeds that are creating it.
a. At the manifestation level, it is the deeds that are most crucial because the manifestation level exists in the realm of things seen.
b. But, at the production level, it is the dual motivations that are most critical.
1) As always, the most crucial of these dual motivations is "Love" as defined by the demonstration of God in Christ.
2) And also, as always, the next most crucial of these dual motivations is "Faith" as defined by the demonstration of God in Christ.
c. And, at the wisdom level, the third most crucial element is the determination of the believer to kill off the deeds of the body by application of the power of the Spirit.
1) This is a task assigned by God to the believer (8:13).
2) This task has absolutely no hope of accomplishment without two basic weapons in place.
a) The first of these weapons is the "healthy" doctrine of the "deeds of the body".
i. This requires that we understand that the "deeds of the body" are simply the actions that the body undertakes because it is moved to do so by the false values and beliefs that have settled into place within the person.
ii. This also requires that we understand that the false values and beliefs have fundamental roots in the appetites of body, soul, and spirit.
iii. And, the third, and most crucial requirement is that we be without mercy in the slaying of all those false values and beliefs without engaging in the fine art of "justification" [What does the death of these appetites look like?].
b) The second of these weapons is the "healthy" doctrine of the "leading" of the Spirit.
i. Fundamental to a "healthy" understanding of the "leading" of the Spirit is this fact: this "leading" is defined as "guidance into the slaying of those deeds which corrupt the picture of God being painted by the life of the believer."
ii. A basic conclusion we can draw from the definition is that the "leading" of the Spirit is not to be understood as a superficial guidance into the specifics of daily living [when a person addresses the "drivers", the "fruits" are automatic; and when a person attempts to simply address the "fruits" without dealing with the "drivers", he is frustrating the grace of God].
B. At the heart of Paul's words is also Paul's commitment to genuine "Life", not superficial conformity to some "standard" that can be accomplished by the flesh while it suits itself.
1. It is a manifest reality of the flesh that it seeks easy expectations, quick answers, and certainly not deliberate and painful death.
2. It is also a manifest reality that life by the Spirit involves a deliberate progression into the "Life" that this world calls "death".