Understanding The Bible
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
DIVISION I. DOCTRINAL:
The Righteousness of God REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL 1:18‑8:39
|Subdivision I||The NEED for
Man's Lack of Righteousness
1:18 – 3:20
|Subdivision II||The Gospel in Relation
to our SINS (acts)
God's Righteousness made Man's
3:21 – 5:11
|Subdivision III||The Gospel in Relation
to Indwelling SIN
How to Live the Christian Life
5:12 – 8:39
SUBdivision I. The NEED for the Gospel. CONDEMNATION.
Man's Lack of Righteousness, 1:18-3:20
The ungodliness and unrighteousness of the entire human family is here demonstrated. This is the review of a court scene: The verdict is announced (v. 18) before Paul reviews the evidence which led to it (1:19-3:20).
1. The Preliminary Statement: Under Wrath, 1:18
2. The Reason for Wrath; The Proof Marshaled, 1:19‑2:29
3. The Conclusion: Complete Indictment of Entire World, 3:1‑20
Statement: Under Wrath, 1:18
"Wrath revealed," not against men but against WHAT men do.
"Ungodliness" refers to Gentiles' sin‑‑they do not now know the true God.
"Unrighteousness" refers to Jews' sin‑‑they know the true God but "hold down" truth in unrighteousness.
"Hold," i.e., "hold down"‑‑not only sinfulness, but consent by choice to sinfulness.
The Reason for Wrath:
The Proof Marshaled, 1:19‑2:29
Paul, as prosecuting attorney, arraigns man before Supreme Court of universe.
The State of the
Degraded Heathen‑‑the Barbarian World, 1:19‑32
Here we have: The History of the Race. The resulting ruin was the prevailing condition of the Gentile world of Paul's day and of ours (cp. Israel, Ps.81.11‑12).
First reason and result, 1:19‑24
Reason: Because they changed the GLORY of God into idolatry (19‑23
"That which may be known": Man can know what the true God is like. Not to know implies willful shutting of one's eyes to facts of God's (a) eternal power and (b) deity.
"When they knew God": Man once knew God.
"Changed" the unchangeable God!!!
Result: "Wherefore God gave them up to an unclean heart" (24) A perversion of sex instinct always follows a perversion of the truth of God (i.e., apostasy).
Second reason and result, 1:25‑27
Reason: Because they "changed (R.V.="exchanged") the TRUTH of God into (R.V.="for") a lie" (25)
Result: "God gave them up to vile passions" (26‑27)
Third reason and result, 1:28‑32
they gave up the KNOWLEDGE of God (28a)
(i.e., refused to have God in their knowledge)
Result: "God gave
them over to an evil mind" (28b‑32)
Sister: "My conscience is that which tells me when my brother Johnnie does wrong!"
The State of the Cultured Gentile, the Moralist, 2:1‑16
The moralist's judgment of others but condemns himself, 2:1
God's judgment is and will be: 2:2‑16
According to TRUTH (2‑5)
According to DEEDS (6‑10)
Without respect of PERSONS (11)
According to AMOUNT OF LIGHT (12‑16)
THREE BASES OF JUDGMENT
without law, judged without (apart from) law.
(Have the light of nature and conscience)
sinning in the law, judged according to law.
Primarily Jews, but not excluding Gentiles who have the light of the law (promulgated through civilized world), but who have not heard the gospel.
|iii. Those who have received the full blaze of gospel light – judged on that basis. Christ who offered Himself as their Saviour will be their Judge, Jn. 5:22|
The State of the Religious Jew, 2:17‑29
The Jew boasts of his
religious privileges, 2:17‑20
Yet his privileges but increase his responsibility.
Paul says: "You're instructed well enough to be a teacher of morals by example. You pride yourself in this. But ARE you?"
Yet his unchanged
life voids his privileges, 2:21‑29
"Do you do that which you profess to abhor?" His life:
Robs him of exemption from judgment (21‑22) and brings the greater condemnation
Robs God of His good name (23‑24)
Robs religious rites of their reality (25‑26)
Robs the Jew of any
privileged position in religion (27‑29)
The Conclusion: Complete Indictment of Entire Word, 3:1‑20
Summary of case against Jew: Jewish "special pleadings" answered, 3:1‑8
First objection, 3:1‑2
Question: Has the Jew no advantage nor profit? (1)
Answer: "Much every way," chiefly in being custodian of Word of God (2)
Second objection, 3:3‑4
Question: Are you not, by your doctrine, making Israel's faithlessness nullify God's faithfulness? (3)
forbid, "etc. (4)
God is righteous in any event. Israel's failure but proves the truth of what God says about man's nature. (Example: David's failure and confession of it but exonerated God.)
Third objection, 3:5‑6
Question: Doesn't this tie God's hands, prohibiting judgment on His part? (5)
forbid, "etc. (6)
Man's confessed unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God. But, of course, God can and must judge unconfessed sin. Man's own moral sense recognizes as absurd such a possibility as that of God being unable to judge sin, Gen. 18:25.
Fourth objection, 3:7‑8
Question: But doesn't your doctrine, of our unrighteousness commending God's righteousness, argue for loose living?
Answer: Paul says,
"My only reply‑‑God will certainly condemn such blasphemers."
Jew and Gentile alike under condemnation: Proved from (Jewish) Scripture, 3:9‑20
The accusation, 3:9
The quotation, 3:10‑18
sinners / Universality of sin (10-12) – (See Ps. 14:1-3; 53:2-4)
"None," "all" in solemn cadence, like tolling of death knell.
ALL have failed in something (10)
ALL have become willfully ignorant (11a)
ALL seek their own glory (11b)
ALL have deliberately turned their backs on truth (12a)
ALL have dishonored God and been of no profit (12b)
ALL practice evil instead of good (12c)
Conduct of sinners / Totality of sin (13-18)
Speech: "Throat" "Tongue" "Lips" "Mouth" (13‑14) (See Ps. 5:9; 140:3, cp. Mt. 15:18‑20)
(a) "Throat": They are corrupt and corrupters(13a)
(b) "Tongue": Lying and deception are characteristic (13b)
(c) "Lips": Man has been bitten and poisoned by that Old (Ancient) Serpent, Satan (13c)
(d) "Mouth": Instead of blessing and praise, "cursing and bitterness" (14)
Action: "Feet" "Ways" (15‑17)
(a) "Feet": Hatred is natural to man, and hatred produces murder. How quick the chain: anger‑hate‑murder. "Swift" (15) Contrast Isaiah 52:7
(b) "Ways": Get out of their way IF you can. Relentless plunderers! They have rejected God's "Way"; their end: "the ways of death" (16‑17)
Vision: "Eyes": On the wrong target (18) (See Ps. 36:1)
Cause of sinner's
conduct / Brazenness of sin (18)
Men brazenly challenge God to interfere, acting as though they can successfully evade Judgment. But to no avail, for. . .
"Every mouth stopped": contrast 13‑14 (19a)
"All world guilty before God": compare 10‑12 (19b)
"No flesh justified in His sight" (i.e., no excuse for actions and attitude of vv. 15‑18; (see Ps. 143:2)
SUBdivision II. The Gospel in Relation to our SINS (sinful acts). JUSTIFICATION.
God's Righteousness made Man's, 3:21‑5:11
1. Justification by Grace through Faith is God's Gift on the Ground of Accomplished Redemption, 3:21‑31
2. Justification by Grace through Faith Witnessed by the Old Testament, 4
3. Justification's Blessed Spiritual Results, 5:1‑11
Justification by Grace through Faith is God's Gift on the Ground of Accomplished Redemption, 3:21‑31
God's righteousness revealed, 3:21‑23 (contra 1:18)
Apart from the law‑‑though in harmony with Old Testament (21) (compare chapter 4)
Available to all (22)
Needed by all (23)
How God's righteousness may righteously be given man, 3:24‑31
The GRACE of God the FATHER provides it (24) (purposes it)
The BLOOD of God the SON procures it (25‑26) (purchases it)
Christ our Mercy
"His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads o'er His body on the tree" Isaac Watts
God righteous in forgiving sinners (25b‑26)
Before the Cross (25b)
Since the Cross (26)
FAITH inwrought by God the SPIRIT appropriates it (27‑31)
The faith principle excludes boasting and deeds of law (27)
The faith principle assures justification (28a)
Tie faith principle is the ONLY and SUFFICIENT means of justification for both Jew and Gentile (28b‑30)
The faith principle
honors the law by recognizing the utter sinfulness and helplessness of
all, both Jew and Gentile (31)
Justification by Grace through Faith Witnessed by the Old Testament, 4
By faith: Not by works of morality, 4:1‑8
Abraham's justification‑‑a man not under law (1‑5)
justification‑‑a man under law (6‑8)
For God NOT to impute iniquity under law is to impute righteousness.
By faith: Not by rites of religion, 4:9‑12
Abraham was justified while still a Gentile, BEFORE circumcision (9‑10)
Circumcision was but the seal of a righteousness ALREADY possessed (11a)
Hence Abraham is the father of all who believe (11b‑12)
Whether Gentiles (11b)
Or Jews (12)
By faith: Not by the merit principle of the law economy, 4:13‑25
The faith principle rather than the merit principle
The proposition proved (14‑16b)
If only Jews (those "of the law") were included in the promise, then Gentiles (those not "of the law") would be excluded automatically (14)
If obedience to law were required to sustain the promise, on the other hand Jewish disobedience would inevitably have nullified the promise (15)
Hence, the promise was "of faith" (unconditional) that ALL the seed of Abraham (believers, both Jew and Gentile) might share in it (l6a‑b)
The proposition illustrated by Abraham himself (16c‑22)
Abraham's faith was rewarded by the promise being made to him as forerunner and father of all who believe ("many nations") (16c‑17a)
Abraham's faith was in a God of RESURRECTION (or miraculous power) (17b‑2l)
This faith of Abraham's (in a God of RESURRECTION) was the means of his justification by God (22)
The proposition applied to us (23‑25)
a. Incident recorded not for Abraham's sake (he did not need it), but for ours (we do) (23‑24a)
WE are called upon to believe in this God of Resurrection who raised Jesus, our Substitute, from the dead (24b)
To believe God in
this respect means our justification (25)
Read "on account of our offences...justification"
Justification's Blessed Spiritual Results, 5:1‑11
A. In relation to the believer's position (Godward), 5:l‑2a
Judicial peace with God (1) (Contra, peace of God)
Freedom of access to the Father (2a)
IN GRACE (2a)
In relation to the believer's experience (manward), 5:2b‑ll
Rejoicing in certainty of FUTURE glory (2b)
Experiential peace of_God in PRESENT tribulation (3‑4)
Of God's love (because of Christ's sacrifice for us while sinners) (5‑8)
Of deliverance from future judgment (because we have been justified) (9)
Of resurrection victory (because we also shared His death) (10) Present deliverance as well as future bodily resurrection is involved here.
Joy in God because of
reconciliation received (11)
Note that "atonement" is improper translation here. It is an O.T. word.
Subdivision III. The Gospel in Relation to Indwelling SIN. SANCTIFICATION. How to Live the Christian Life, 5:12‑8:39
1. The Two Representative Heads and the Two Races, 5:12‑21
2. The Two Masters‑‑Sin and Righteousness (Christ), 6
3. The Two Husbands and the Two Natures with their Two Principles of Action, 7
4. The Twofold Triumph of Grace: Now and Ultimately, 8
The Two Representative Heads and the Two Races, 5:12‑21
Adam's headship of sin and death, 5:12‑14
Solution to the problem of universal death (12‑14b)
Death is the result of sin, which entered the world through Adam (12a)
The race is
reckoned as present in its head (Adam), so that his one act of sin not
only removed him from a state of innocence to a state of sin, but also
removed all the race as reckoned in him. As result of this universal
state of sin, death passed upon ALL the members of the Adamic race
(i.e., descendants of Adam).
Since all human beings are descended from Adam, ALL die, whether they have individually committed sinful acts or not. Tills is the experience of sinless infants and mentally (and therefore morally) irresponsible people, as well as mentally and morally responsible members of the race (l2b)
The tense of the Greek reckons all 01 us as being present in Adam and participating in the one act of sin: "for that all had sinned." However, the fact that all members of the race (who come to the age of moral discretion) do practice sin proves the righteousness of God's universal decree of death (12c).
Further, the fact
that men died before the law was given demonstrates that it is the
inherited Adamic sinful nature (and not the individual's own acts of
sin) which causes death (13a‑14b).
The individual may shorten life and hasten death by sinful practices, but death itself is the result of a hereditary disease called sin. Not only does sin cause physical death, but also spiritual death (present separation from God) and, if persisted in, the second death (eternal punishment and separation from God in the lake of fire).
But Adam is the
antitype ("figure") of Christ ("Him that was to come") (l4c)
Through death, Christ defeated death (and its cause, sin), that He might be the Head of a New Race by a New Creation.
Christ is called the "last Adam."
Christ's headship of righteousness and life contrasted with Adam's headship of sin and death, 5:15‑21
|OLD (Adamic) CREATION
|NEW (Christic) CREATION
|SOURCE||From One||12, 17, 18||From One|
|First Adam||14||Last Adam|
|EXTENT||Unto All||12, 18||Unto All|
|To Many||15, 19||The Many|
|NATURE||Judgment (due)||16||Free Gift (not due)|
|CAUSE||Disobedience By The One||OLD (Adamic) CREATION
|Offense Of The One||SOURCE||From One|
|EFFECT||Sin and Death||21||Righteousness and Life|
The Two Masters‑‑Sin (the Old Nature) and Righteousness (Christ), 6
We must KNOW, 6:l-10
An objection and its answer:
Objection, v. l
"If where sin abounds, grace super‑abounds (5:20), should we not sin that grace may abound? Does not your doctrine tend to loose Christian living, Paul?"
"No! Christ died to deliver us from the power of Sin (our old nature). And we have died to Sin by identification with Christ in His death." (Throughout chapters 6 and 7 we capitalize and personify Sin, making it personal, as being the Old Master, the Old Nature the Old "I".)
The fact stated (2)
The Searching Counter‑Question: "How shall we who by identification with Christ in His death have died to Sin (the Old Nature which was our Old Master) live any longer therein (i.e., in its sphere and power)?"
Our baptism should have settled the matter, because by the very initiatory rite of Christianity (i.e., baptism) we testified that we had died to Sin (as our Old Master) and were now alive to Christ (our New Master) and purposed to obey Him! He desires, yea commands us to walk in newness of life, attaining true holiness through His resurrection life and power.
Note: Most expositors emphasize baptism with the Holy Spirit as being intended by verses 3‑4. This writer respectfully disagrees: (a) Baptism with the Spirit is unto life‑‑into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), whereas this is unto death; (b) the baptism involved is not the doctrinal fact of identification in His death, but verse 5 says, "We have been identified with Him in the LIKENESS of His death." A likeness is a pictorial representation. In picture language, we have, in baptism, died, been buried, been raised.
There is no suggestion that the act of baptism is efficacious. He simply called to their remembrance that these were the spiritual truths emphasized by the fact of their baptism. He is asking: "Do you not recognize that this is what you were saying to God in symbolic action when you were baptized?"
The fact discussed
Comment upon the doctrine that is pictured by baptism:
Death releases a person from the obligations of the sphere he occupied prior to his death. Hence we are released from the sphere of authority of the Old Nature (Master), Sin, having died to its authority (6‑7).
Being no longer in Sin's sphere of authority (having been liberated through death with Christ), we believe we shall be permanently moved into Christ's sphere of authority (through resurrection with Him) (8).
This belief is
justified by the facts of Christ's death and resurrection. He
died to sin ONCE FOR ALL; He EVER LIVETH unto God! So with us! For we
were IN Him when He died and rose! (9‑10)
must RECKON and YIELD, 6:11‑23
This is the practical expression of this doctrinal knowledge. We should not sit with folded hands exclaiming: "Ain't that wonderful!" but should act upon what we know.
We must RECKON (11)
Count upon it, stand upon it as absolute fact. We have died to the Old Master (Sin) in Christ. Being raised with Christ, we are alive to our New Master! This is the TRUTH. Believe it! God has judged Sin. It is a finished transaction, an accomplished fact!
A change of rulers must take place. Having reckoned on the fact that God has judged Sin, I must likewise judge Sin, repudiate it as my Master, and not permit it to frustrate Christ's purpose in dying and rising to deliver me from it (11).
We must YIELD (12‑23)
practical deliverance from the Old Master (Sin) (12‑14)
Observe the tense, "Let not sin be reigning" or "do not keep on allowing sin to be king" (12)
The other side of the truth is given in verse 13. Again the tenses make a striking contrast: "Do not .keep on presenting your members as weapons of unrighteousness to sin, but once for all present yourselves to God, as those who are alive from the dead, and your members as weapons of righteousness for God" (v.l3, Griffith Thomas). There is a crisis of decision here; a once for all decision, not to be debated again and again; a decision to make Christ permanently King, Lord of our lives.
The basis for thus reasoning is verse 14. We are not living on a basis of self‑effort ("under law"), but on a basis of God's gracious power producing deliverance ("under grace"), Hence the promise, that "Sin (the Old Master) shall not reign as king over you." God does not intend it; He has provided the way and the power for it to be otherwise. Therefore, you should not allow it. Repudiate the Old Master (Sin); yield (once for all present yourself) to your New Master (Christ).
The absurdity of continuing under the dominion of the Old Master (the proposal of v. l) is further shown (15‑17).
"fruit unto holiness" (18‑23).
Serving Sin brought no fruit‑‑only death. Serving Christ brings forth fruit (holiness). Verse 23, though often quoted to sinners and perfectly true in principle to them, is rather spoken to saints: "The poor wages of serving the Old Nature (Sin) is fruitlessness (death); but through God's enabling grace the second tense of eternal life (Christ's present resurrection life surging through you) will produce fruit unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (cp. w.21‑22 and 7:4).
The Two Husbands and the Two Natures with their Two Principles of Action, 7
A. Our identification with the risen Christ by marriage, 7:1‑6
The illustration (1‑3)
The principle in
"Man" is generic, meaning men and women (mankind). A man or woman is under the authority of law as long as life persists.
The principle in
As pertains to marriage, two things are equally true:
Remarriage is unlawful as long as both married partners are alive.
ii. The death of one partner in marriage frees the other partner to remarry, if, and whom, he will.
This point is closely reasoned but simple if we watch the language:
Christ has died; that is basic but not the point. The point is rather that I have died (by identification with Him) in His death. Hence my former husband (the Law), whom it was formerly my duty to obey, is no longer the one I obey, for it is no longer my husband. I am freed from the law's domination (my old husband's dominion).
Further, I am freed to marry another. And who is that other? It is Christ, the new man, raised from the dead.
But, in terms of the illustration, we are the one who died. How then can we be remarried? Again, the point is not so much that Christ rose‑‑although that is basic fact‑‑but that WE ROSE WITH Him. We live anew. He has obtained through death and resurrection a Bride akin to Himself (cp. Gen. 2:18‑24). Hence, as resurrected ones, we are married to our New Husband, the resurrected Christ.
To summarize: My relationship with my Old Husband (the Law) has been nullified by my identification in the death of a Dead Christ. But having been resurrected with Him, I am free to be married to the Living Christ. I brought forth no fruit for God by union with my old husband (the Law), but now I can and should bring forth fruit unto God, by my holy union with Christ.
Note: The law is not said to have died. Nor I, except judicially. "The wife died, the woman remains; the relationship is gone, the person remains."
The Old Husband (Law)
distinguished from the Old Master (Sin), 7:7‑14
"I don't mean to cast a slur on the law. It did its work and did it well. It revealed my sinful self (Sin = the Old Master) but could not help me. It was all right in its place, but is not intended as my rule of life as united to Christ by marriage,"
deliverance from the Old Master (Sin) are not obtained
By serving the Old Husband (Law), 7:15‑25
In fact, the strife of the two natures is accentuated by serving the Old Husband (Law). Paul was wrong in delighting in the Old Husband (the Law), v.22. He should have been delighting in Christ, his New Husband (vv.4,6). So with us. My New Husband is not pleased by my giving my affection to the law. I am to lavish my affection on Christ‑‑trust and obey Him. As I do that, I shall be delivered from the Old Master (Sin). The Old Husband never gave deliverance nor fruit unto God. Further, he is ineligible (7:1‑6), since I am no longer married to him. Only the One who SAVED me can DELIVER me in practical experience. And He will (25a), if I let Him (8:1‑4)!
Paul's great trouble is with his "I". The first person pronouns are mentioned 37 times in these few verses, while the Holy Spirit is not mentioned once! How different when we get into chapter 8!
The Twofold Triumph of
Grace: Now and Ultimately, 8
On the basis of what Christ, our Head (5), Master (6), and Husband (7), has done for us, the Holy Spirit‑‑as the active agent of the Godhead in applying the work of Christ to us‑‑does as follows:
The Holy Spirit provides PRESENT deliverance from the Old Master (Sin), and assures of relationship and heirship, 8:1‑17
Deliverance and fruitfulness through the Spirit's power (1‑4) Not fulfilled "by us" but "in us"!
The futility of the flesh contrasted with the triumph of the Spirit (5‑13)
The folly of
A solemn declaration. This is the normal walk of the unregenerate. It is the abnormal walk of the Christian.
Our position in Christ argues for Spirit‑mindedness (9‑11)
Our position (past)‑‑not in the flesh but in the Spirit (9)
(present) condition in God's sight (10) The body is dead (i.e., unable
to produce any fruit for God‑‑cp. Abraham, 4:19‑21), but we are IN the
Spirit of Life and through Him can now produce fruit (life) for God,
despite the fact that our body is indwelt by Sin (the Old Nature).
iii. The promise (future) (11)
Assurance of the body's redemption‑‑cp. v.23
duty = to die (to self) that we may live (to God) (12‑13)
We owe nothing to the flesh.
The Spirit's witness
to our relationship (children) and privileged position (sons and heirs)
The Holy Spirit assures the believer of FUTURE deliverance from the Old Master (Sin), whose abode (the body) is to be redeemed and glorified, 8:17‑23
The glory ahead! (17‑18)
All creation groans, awaiting that day (19‑22) For it shall be delivered in our deliverance
We believers groan,
waiting for the redemption of our bodies ‑ ‑our last contact with the Old
Creation (23) It is important to note that our bodies still belong to the
Old Creation. This effectively negates the idea of the healing movement
that in this age God has "redeemed" the body as well as the soul at the
cross. No, we shall not be delivered from these Old Creation bodies until
the Lord Jesus comes.
(Contrast this groaning of a man under grace with that of one seeking to serve the law, 7:24.)
The Holy Spirit produces patience amid the testings of the interim in which God's eternal purpose is being fulfilled (worked out), 8:24‑30
Hope (i.e., certainty
of expectation) is, for the : resent, a matter of faith (24‑25)
When one is saved, the Spirit immediately directs the attention of the born‑again one to the promise of full and final deliverance at the coming of Christ‑‑"that blessed HOPE." The verse should read, "We are saved in hope, " not "by hope. "
The Spirit produces patience to wait for the consummation by: (26‑30)
"Infirmity" is singular. Our peculiar "infirmity" is in not knowing enough to know what to pray for,
Interceding for us
We have two intercessors‑‑Christ in heaven, and the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
Assuring us of God's providence (28)
All of this He
does, in line with God's eternal purpose (29‑30)
God's goal: Our conformity to the image of Christ. God will not fail in performing this. He has predetermined (predestined) the successful conclusion of His plan. Predestination has to do with the future, not the past; the completion, not the choice.
The believer is safe and fully blest in Christ, 8:31‑39
No PERSON can
separate us (31‑34)
The only ones who could (God and Christ) won't!
No PERSECUTION can
"More than conquerors through Him!"
No POWER can separate
God's love outreaches and overcomes all (Eph. 3:17‑19).
200 Manor Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047
United States of America
|"Mason's Notes" Study materials on this website are made available here free, through the generosity of Cairn University, and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them. No further distribution or use of these materials is allowable under U.S. or International Copyright Law without the express permission of Cairn University.|