Thesis:The "intentionality of God" is the key issue of man's participation in spiritual Life.
Introduction:This evening we are going to attempt to wrap up our studies in Romans 9-11. For the past two weeks we have been involved with a consideration of the infinity of God's knowledge and skill and have been drawn into Paul's declaration that the "riches" of Life are to be found in an enthusiastic cooperation with Him in His pursuits.
This is no small matter and it has direct implications for the "daylies". The Scriptures are clear about several "facts" of Life. First is the fact that "Life" is under God's absolute dominion, but He has given us the privilege of prayer with the promise that we will obtain whatever we ask as long as we are on His wavelength (1 John 5:15 and James 4:2-3). Second is the fact that "Life" consists of being joyfully at rest once we have exercised our prayer privileges (Philippians 4:7 and 1 Timothy 2:2). Third is the fact that "Life" does not depend upon our understanding, but, rather, our confidence in His. This is the point of our present text.
Because we have looked into this focus on God's infinity of knowledge and skill at some length, this evening we are going to consider Paul's final comments and wind up this portion of our study.
I. Paul's Questions.
A. Who hath known the "mind" of the Lord?
1. The issue of "mind" in the New Testament is the issue of what Paul has already called "knowledge and wisdom".
a. The "mind" is the instrument of "thinking" and its fundamental "tools" are data and skill.
b. The actuality of the truth about God is that He does not have to "think", but He is presented in this light because of our frailty, who do have to think (this is anthropomorphism).
2. The question raises the spectre of the infinity of God's knowledge and wisdom, so the answer is easy: no one.
B. Who hath been His counselor?
1. The word translated "counsellor" actually means "sponsor of action".
a. The root issue of the word is "intention" as "determination to act, or not" (depending upon the requirements of the objective).
b. The focus is upon two related issues: the question of any need for collaboration and the question of enforcement of the decisions made.
2. The question raises the spectre of God being seen as "too frail to get the job done" and man being seen as a "helper of this frail god", so the answer here is also easy: because God is not "frail", no one has ever been His collaborator.
C. Who hath first given to Him [so that] it shall be recompensed unto him again?
1. The matter in view here is the issue of "first" kicking the cause/effect reality into gear.
a. The entire creation function is a cause/effect reality wherein each consequent "effect" becomes the next "cause".
b. The focus here is upon the primacy of "action" in a cause/effect universe and the eternality of God.
1) In such a universe, "thought" accomplishes nothing; only "action" generates response.
2) This does not make "thought" unimportant, but it does make "action" primary.
2. The question raises the spectre of the infinity of God's existence in contrast to man's recent coming into existence and asks which establishes a "first", so this answer is easy also: none.
II. Paul's Conclusion.
A. Of Him ... Source.
B. Through Him ... Agency.
C. To Him ... Objective
D. The glory ... Credit.
III. Man's Greatest Problem is His View of God as Competitor Rather Than Father.