by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 5 Study # 4 May 27, 2008 Lincolnton, N.C.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
1901 ASV Translation:
34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
I. Continuing Paul's "For Us" [8:31] Declaration.
A. In 8:33, the issue is a "charge" against God's elect.
1. The scenario of this question is: first, an accuser who is outside of the "loop"; second, one of the "elect"; and third, "God".
2. The objective of such a "charge" is the application of "Justice" to the failure(s) of one of God's "elect".
3. The attempt to lay a legitimate charge against such an one is fruitless. "Justice" has been addressed by the actions of Christ as the Substitute in atonement. There will be no further use of "Justice" by God in respect to those whom He justifies precisely because justification makes the application of "Justice" moot.
4. The "agenda" of any who would attempt to make such a charge is the destruction of one of God's "elect".
B. In 8:34, the issue is an attempt to "condemn".
1. The scenario of this question is: first, one of the elect, having been accused; and second, the individual members of the Trinity (no "other" could "condemn").
a. The issues in "condemnation" are revealed by the way the word is used in the New Testament.
1) In Matthew 12:41-42, the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South "rise up in the judgment ... and shall condemn..." in the sense of erasing any/all excuses for the failure of those under their "condemnation" (also Luke 11:31-32).
2) In Matthew 20:18 the "Son of Man" is to be "condemned to death" by the officials of Israel (also Mark 10:33 and 1:64).
3) In Matthew 27:3 Judas recognized that "he was condemned" and "repented himself".
4) In John 8:10-11 the concepts of "accusers" and "those who condemn" are linked. In this record, the woman is "accused" of being "worthy of death".
5) In Romans 2:1 he is "condemned" who judges another and does the same thing he finds "condemnable" in others.
6) In Romans 8:3 God "condemned sin in the flesh" in the sense that He rendered it ineffectual.
7) In the text before us, "condemnation" is made impossible by the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ.
8) But in Romans 14:23 "he that doubteth is condemned if he eats" because he does his eating in inexcusable unbelief and "whatsoever is not of faith is sin".
9) In 1 Corinthians 11:32 we are "judged" so that we shall not be "condemned".
10) Hebrews 11:7 is a return to the idea of Matthew 12:41-42 where one "condemns" another by making their "excuses" untenable.
11) James 5:9 holds up the possibility of being "condemned" by holding grudges.
12) 2 Peter 2:6 refers to the "condemnation" of Sodom and Gomorrah.
b. These issues involve one "bottom line" issue: the making of something ineffectual (the "excuses" of the guilty, the "potency" of Sin, the "attempted escape" of one who does not wish to be subject to what is coming). This idea is actually built into the formation of the word in that it implies "a judgment against" an argument that is supposed to make escape possible.
2. This is not much different from 8:33; it just takes the issue one further step. Bringing a charge had condemnation in mind, but is not the same thing. It is a prior step in the pursuit of the agenda. The issue of this question is whether the Father will respond to the agenda of the one bringing a charge, whereas the prior question was whether anyone could find a basis for bringing a charge, given the perfections of Christ.
3. The first issue in this text is whether the death that Christ Jesus died was sufficient to address the foundations of condemnation. In this "argument" it is not that an "excuse" for sin has been put forward, but that a "means of escape" has been.
4. The second issue in this text is whether the death that Christ Jesus died was a genuine reality as presented. Thus, Paul switches to "rather, was raised" because it was the resurrection that validated the claims. Anyone can "claim" to be a provider of great benefit; the question is of integrity and validity.
5. The third issue in this text is the interaction between the members of the Trinity: the Son, at the right hand of the Father, addresses the Father on the behalf of the elect.
a. Involved in this statement of "intercession" is this question: Does this ever really take place? What would be the point? It was the Father's love that instigated the plan of redemption in the first place. It was the Son's love that executed the details of that plan so that it could be effective. What would the Son have to say to the Father about us that could be seen as having any kind of "influence" to keep Him from condemning? It seems that Paul is simply taking advantage of the "idea" of an "antagonized deity" (which has to exist in order for any "charges" to have any hope of fulfillment) and presenting a scenario in which the One Who actually executed the plan argues for its effectiveness to this "antagonized deity". It seems, thus, that Paul is merely adapting his arguments for men of little understanding so that we may be encouraged that even if the Father wasn't "loving" enough to spare us, He is "just" enough to listen to the arguments of His Son.
b. In conjunction with this question, there is the reality of the teaching ministry of God to the angelic observers. It may be that the "accuser of the brethren" has been extended the opportunity to actually invoke this entire scenario on an occasion or two sothat it could be played out for the sake of the angels. But, it is difficult for me to see how this scenario could be a settled "routine" in heaven, given the fact that, once angels and men have the necessary understanding, there is no need for an interminable repetition ... unless the "necessary understanding" gets waylaid on a pretty regular basis. It is a fact that God set certain interminable procedures in place during the days of the "shadow" [1500 years of legal history]. Sacrifices were to be made morning and evening and on multiplied numbers of other occasions also for generation after generation. But, that was in the shadowland of earth; not in the reality of the Trinitarian heaven where neither the Father, nor the Son, have any need of being "reminded" of the details of their plans.
c. This is the second time we are introduced to the idea of divine "intercession" by One member of the Trinity in respect to Another. It was in 8:27 that we were told that the Spirit makes such intercession. There was some difference there in that the issues are the daily progress of believers in sanctification in life, not the question of whether the actions of Jesus are sufficient for our justification.