Class Notes: 8/17/2008
Eph 6:1-4 Rom 11: 22 God's use of benevolence and severity in his discipline of Client Nations as an example for parents
Continuing where we left off in our study of the mandates of the PPOG for the church age believer, we are now looking at the mandates regarding parents and children found in Eph 6:1-4; and Col 3:20-21; in the context of the mandate found in Eph 4:32;
These passages restate the mandate of the Fifth Commandment found in Exod 20:12; but step them up because of the power of God the Holy Spirit and Bible Doctrine that is given to members of the Royal Family of God in the Church Age.
Last time we looked at the definitions of the words "mean" and "violent" that are commonly used by the Politically Correct in the kosmic system to refer to corporal punishment and found that they do not represent the application of the discipline that the word of God recommends. Prov 13:24;
We have found that the Bible indicates that the best English word to describe parental authority, supervision, and justice is "severe." that is translated from the Greek word "aptomia" in:
Romans 11:22 - Behold the benevolence of God (the Greek word "chrestotes" that means blessing and reward from the justice of God)] and the severity of God (the Greek word "apotomia" that means punishment and discipline from the justice of God) on the one hand, severity to those who fell [Jewish unbelievers], but on the other hand, the benevolence of God to you [Gentile believers], if you persist in the sphere of His integrity (3d class condition of "if" for maintenance of client nation status) Otherwise you also will be cut off (taken out with the 5th cycle of discipline).
We saw the application of this severity as it relates to the believer under the care of God found in Heb 12:4-11;
Continuing in the TDNT where this concept is addressed in the definition of "aptomia" in volume 8 page 108:
"apotomia" as used in The New Testament. The adverb, apotomos occurs in:
2 Corinthians 13:10 - For this reason I am writing these things while absent, in order that when I am present I may not use severity ("apotomos") in accordance with the authority that the Lord gave me for the purpose of edification and not tearing you down.
Paul is giving an unusually sharp warning here. His concern in the letter is to settle the matter so as to avoid the only other alternative: "… that when I am present I may not use severity in accordance with my authority."
The Greek word "apotomos" refers to a category of Paul's authority as the apostle to the Church, namely, the power of crushing judgment, which is not the intention of this authority, but which is implicit in it: "… that the Lord gave me for the purpose of edification and not tearing you down."
We have already seen Paul's comments to the Corinthian church in"
1 Corinthians 4:14 - I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
v -15 - For if you were to have countless tutors, (The Greek word paidagogos" a guide, or trainer of boys; child-leader, tutor) in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for I in Christ Jesus became your father through the gospel.
v -16 - I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me.
The Greek word "paidagogos" refers to a trainer of children who functions under the supervision of the child's father. The pedagogue's duty is to supervise the boy's conduct. He was not a teacher since this duty fell under the authority of the father.
It is used to describe the Law's role in leading the believe to TLJC in Gal 3:24-25;
In this passage, Paul is implying that others may have instructed the Corinthians in the doctrines of Christ but he was their father in that regard. As their spiritual father, he not only has the authority to instruct, teach, and guide "for the purpose of edification" but he also has authority "for the purpose of tearing down" if necessary. The approach taken for the latter is, "apotomos" that is translated " severity".
We can use an example that is found in John Rosemond’s book "The Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children" to explain the idea of Severe Parenting if we replace his inappropriate use of the word "mean" with the word "severe" in his dialog with a mother of a strong willed child...
The mother of a boisterous and very strong-willed 5-year-old girl explains, I feel so mean. I yell all the time.
"Yelling isn't mean," I said.
Her expression changed to bewilderment, and she stared at me for several seconds before asking, "What is it, then?"
It's not anything but yelling. As you've already discovered, it accomplishes nothing, unless you consider the guilt you feel afterward an accomplishment. Your problem is not that you're too mean, it's that you aren't severe enough."
After another bewildered look, she asked, "Not severe enough?"
"Right!" I said, "Not severe enough. In order to accomplish what you want to accomplish with this very headstrong and active little girl of yours, you're going to have to get really severe."
"I'm afraid I'm lost."
"Let me explain. Severe isn't screaming and yelling. That's an out-of-control, end-of-your rope, 'I've had it!' response. Severe isn't cruel either. Truly severe parents are calm, consistent, and insistent. They do not tolerate misbehavior. Therefore, they do something about it long before they get to the end of their proverbial ropes.
"Severe parents are assertive. They don't give second, third, and fourth chances. They insist that children do what they're told the first time they're told. They don't count to 10 or engage in other equally ridiculous games of chance. They don't make threats; they make promises.
Severest of all, they keep their promises.
"Severe parents are consistent. They uphold the same standards from one day to the next. The ways they enforce those standards may vary from situation to situation, but the standards do not. Their children can therefore rely upon them. They learn to trust that what their parents say is exactly what they're going to do.
"Severe parents don't shoulder emotional responsibility for their children's misbehavior. When the child of truly severe parents misbehaves, the parents don't feel bad about it. Instead, they take whatever steps they must to make sure the child ends up feeling bad about it.
"Severe parents don't run interference for their kids. They don't make excuses for them. They let them make mistakes. They let them fall flat on their faces. They allow them the benefits of learning by trial and error, with emphasis on the error.
"It's very simple, really. Severe parents make rules and enforce them dispassionately, without any great to-do. Their children may not like the rules, but they respect them.
"But," she said, "my daughter already accuses me of being mean."
"She doesn't know what she's talking about. She uses the word because she's learned it jerks the rug out from under you. When she calls you 'mean,' you get upset, you start explaining yourself, apologizing, compensating and so on. As it stands, the word 'mean' makes you feel like a bad parent. But to a truly severe parent, being called 'mean' is the highest of compliments."
"But don't children grow up to resent you if you're severe?"
"There you go, confusing severe with nasty.
Severe parents create a loving climate characterized by certainty and security and trust. What's there to resent?"
"It sound's like being severe is really being kind."
"You got it! Now, go do it!"
The word "severe" stresses the authority that parents possess and their prerogative to use its approach to enforce divine standards.
As we can see from the comments by Paul to the Corinthians, parents are not to be severe most of the time, they are only to become severe when necessary.
At all other times they are to be benevolent toward their children.
Since we are using Paul's contrast between divine benevolence and divine severity as found in Rom 11:22; that describe God's dealings with client nations as a tutorial for parents on the difference between benevolence and severity it is useful for us to examine the passage in detail.
In the TDNT Volume 8 Page108 we have the following statement:
The noun " apotomia", occurs in the New Testament only at Romans 11:22. Here we find it twice as the opposite of chrestotes: benevolence. Those who do not cleave to God's goodness ("benevolence") are threatened by the "inflexible hardness and severity" of the Judge as the only alternative.
The severity of the divine judgment is described here by an expression that was used to describe the merciless severity of the law and which was applied by Paul to God's judicial work.
Romans chapters 9 through 11 describe this as it relates to Client nation Israel:
Chapter 9: Israel in the past has been selected as God's client nation. (Exodus 19:6)
Chapter 10: Israel at present, the Church Age, is rejected as God's client nation.
Chapter 11: Israel in the future is accepted as God's client nation.
Chapter 11 is divided into three paragraphs:
The rejection of Israel is not total, even though God has set aside Israel as a client nation in the Church Age, all of "True Israel", the Israelite believers in the Church Age are being saved as part of the church and there will emerge a remnant of Jewish believers out from the Tribulation at the Second Advent. (verses 1-10)
The rejection of Israel is not final. A remnant of Israel will come out from the Tribulation will make up the population of client nation Israel in the millennial kingdom. (verses 11-24)
The perpetuation of the Israelite remnant in the Church Age. The Jews formed the nucleus of the Body of Christ in the Church Age since the first believers of the Church Age were Jewish. (verses 25-36)
It therefore becomes the height of arrogance for Gentile believers to be anti-Semitic.
Gentiles are grafted into the Good Branch among the original Jewish believers. (The 120 Jewish disciples in Acts 1:15 and Acts 2:1-4;, combined with the Roman Gentile Cornelius in Acts 10.)
Romans 11:22; is in the second paragraph and contains the information regarding God's management of the client nations. Presently Israel is under divine severity while Gentile client nations vacillate between benevolence and severity.
Romans 11:22; Behold the benevolence of God (, chrestotes: blessing and reward from the justice of God) and the severity of God (apotomia: punishment and discipline from the justice of God): on the one hand, severity to those who fell (Jewish unbelievers), but on the other hand, the benevolence of God to you (Gentile believers), if you persist in the sphere of His integrity (3d class condition for maintenance of client nation status). Otherwise you also will be cut off (5th cycle of discipline).
This verse is introduced by an aorist active imperative of the verb "horao" that means to look at or see or to focus on.
This is a mandate to focus one's attention on the benevolence and the severity of God.
The first direct object is the accusative singular of the noun:
"chrestotes" - "benevolence"
The choice of this translation is drawn from the etymology provided in The Theological Lexicon of the New Testament), Volume 3 Pages 512-515:
Chrestotes is a divine attribute. The major acclamation of Israelite worship is of the Lord who is chrestos, benevolent, favorable, and merciful. (page 512)
These words describe God's goodness toward His children. Parents must strive to imitate these characteristics and teach them to their children.
A virtue of honest folk. Anyone who shows goodness and concern toward others can be described as chrestos. The term takes on an ethical meaning: the person who is chrestos (man, woman, or child) behaves properly, conforms to the rule of honesty, what is called "good morals." (page 513)
Paul uses this vocabulary, making chrestotes a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Gal 5:22; a virtue of the apostles in 2 Cor 6:6; and of all Christians in Eph 4:32; (page 514)
In our study we have previously translated the Greek word "chrestotes" in Eph 4:32; as "become kind, performing gracious acts."
Whether the source of chrestotes is divine or human, it is a reflection of divine love and integrity that may be described as "benevolence":
The occurrences of it as an expression of love are so common and so diverse that it is impossible to discern the specific nuance in each instance: goodness, kindness, willingness to be of service, honesty, nobility, loyalty, probity.
The point is love, a loving attitude that includes a willingness to serve one's neighbor. This virtue is possessed only by magnanimous and unselfish souls who are characterized by kindness, friendliness, and liberality.
The Christian is both delicate and generous in his relations with other believers, seeking to be useful, considerate, helpful, beneficent, always in an agreeable way, even with a smile; the expression of a person who is happy to meet his neighbor and to be able to offer him his help. (page 515)
Jerome, in his commentary on Galatians 5:22, states, "… the Greek chrestotes means a mild, tender, tranquil virtue, prepared to share its goods; it invites to friendship; it is moderate in its morals." (page 515)
All of these attributes when assigned to God add up to benevolence, the expression of His grace policy to the positive and advancing believer in the form of blessings and rewards that are the example for us regarding how parents are to deal with the children that God has assigned to them at birth.
The second direct object is the accusative singular of the noun:
apotomia - "severity"
The source of this severity is revealed by the possessive genitive of:
Theos - "of God"
In these two direct objects we are presented with a contrast.
First, we see the benevolence of God, the effect caused by the love of God, carried out under His policy of grace, and executed by His justice from which blessings are issued to the believer's imputed righteousness.
Second, we see the severity of God, the effect caused by the love of God, carried out under his policy of grace, and executed by His justice from which divine discipline is executed to the believer out of fellowship.
This same process is used by God in His dealings with client nations.
When the policy of a client nation reflects compliance with the laws of divine establishment and supports and promotes the five attributes of client nation status then everyone in the country is blessed by the love of God, under His policy of grace, and imputed to its Pivot. Blessing by association results for all citizens of the nation outside the Pivot.
When the policy of a client nation reflects noncompliance with the laws of divine establishment and rejects and diminishes the five attributes of client nation status then everyone in the country is disciplined by the love of God, under His policy of grace, and directed to its entire population.
The Pivot is not disciplined, but because it is not large enough to maintain prosperity for the entire nation, has to endure undeserved suffering but it continues to be blessed and protected because of the love of God through the grace of god by the sovereignty and omnipotence of God.
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