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Transcript
A Study of the
EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
(Chapters 1-8)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of
God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first
and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is
revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the
righteous man shall live by faith.’"
-Romans 1:16,17
Fellowship of Christian University Students (FOCUS)
Wildwood Community Church
NOTE: Additional copies of this study may be obtained from “http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/R/
William.R.Reed-1/Bstudies/index.html”
INSTRUCTIONS
This study is formatted to be a daily study of Romans
(Chapters 1-8) to be done over a period of 14 weeks. I have
tried to design questions that will require, on average, about
20 minutes a day to answer. That being said, please
remember that the death of a good Bible study is a legalistic
adherence to a “list” or schedule. Godly discipline requires
a sensitivity to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us. If you
find yourself being led in a direction different from where
my questions would take you, forget my questions, and listen
to the “higher authority.” Most of all, enjoy the Word of
God. There is no book like it in all of creation.
Note: I would very much appreciate any suggestions you might
have to improve this study. Feedback on whether the questions
are too vague, take too long to answer, are too academic, etc. is
very much appreciated. Feel free to email me any thoughts you
might have as they come up.
My email address is
[email protected] Thanks!
i
BRIEF BACKGROUND NOTES ON ROMANS
Who wrote it? The apostle Paul.
Who were the recipients? The church in Rome.
What was distinctive about the church in Rome? Paul did not found
this church, nor had he previously visited it. The church was probably
primarily Gentile, though a significant minority were Jewish believers.
Why was it written? Paul intended the church in Rome to be a
missionary base of operations for evangelism to the farthest reaches of
the Roman Empire in the West (e.g. Spain). It was necessary that the
church there understand the Gospel message that was to be spread—
especially since that church had not had the benefit of Paul’s teaching in
person. A second reason is suggested by Romans 15:30,31 (see also
Acts 20:3, 20:23). At the time of this writing, Paul feared for his life.
The Book of Romans may have been intended to serve as Paul’s “last
will and testament,” laying out the fundamentals of the faith that God
had revealed to Paul in anticipation of the day when Paul would no
longer be alive to explain it. Many scholars regard this book as the
“Constitution” of Christianity. A possible third purpose of this epistle is
that Paul wanted to defuse tensions that may have existed between
Gentile and Jewish believers at the time. Whether or not this is the case,
it is noteworthy that a significant portion of this letter elaborates on the
relationship between Christianity and its Jewish origins.
When was it written? The evidence suggests that it was written in 57
A.D. from Corinth.
ii
WEEK ONE:
1:1-6
An introduction to Paul.
1:7-15
The reason Paul wants to preach the gospel in Rome.
1:16,17
The power of the gospel.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 1:1-6.
2.
Read the following verses:
-1 Corinthians 1:1
-2 Corinthians 1:1
-Galatians 1:1
-Ephesians 1:1
-Philippians 1:1
-Colossians 1:1
-1 Timothy 1:1
-2 Timothy 1:1
-Titus 1:1
-Philemon 1:1
3.
Do you find anything noteworthy about how Paul describes himself? What is the
significance of Paul describing himself as a servant/apostle of Jesus Christ rather than the
more generic expression, “servant of God”? It is easy to look past this description and
miss the significance of what Paul is saying. The Greek word that is translated
“servant” in these passages is “doulos,” which has implied in it the notion of a being a
slave. In these verses, Paul makes his primary identification as a servant-slave of
Jesus. For a Jew to place his primary allegiance with any other than “God” would be
idolatry, punishable by death--unless that other happened to be “God in the flesh.”
Thus these verses comprise strong evidences for the Deity of Christ.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 1:1-6.
2.
Look up and write out the following verses:
Romans 1:1. “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for
the gospel of God…”
1 Corinthians 1:1. “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and
our brother Sosthenes…”
3.
Give a word that could be substituted for “called” in the verses above (i.e. a synonym).
“Invited” is one possibility, though the notion of being “called” is probably stronger
than simply being invited. “Summoned” might be a better synonym.
4.
What do you think Paul means when he says that he was “called” to be an apostle? It
means that God had singled him out and charged him with a God-given task.
1
5.
Is there any sense in which you can make the same claim to have been “called” by God?
Explain. It says in Scripture that all believers have been called. Believers are “called
to belong to Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6), “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7), and
“called to be holy” (1 Corinthians 1:2). In other words, God has singled out believers
and charged them a God-given task. If you are a believer, what do you think your
“task” is?
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 1:7-15.
2.
How do these verses characterize the recipients of Paul’s letter? Were they believers?
Were they living commendable lives? Romans 1:7 says that the recipients were “loved
by God and called to be saints.” Romans 1:8 says that their “faith is being reported all
over the world.” So yes, they were believers, and yes, they were living commendable
lives.
3.
Write out the following verse:
Romans 1:15. “That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at
Rome.”
4.
Frequently, the expression “to preach the gospel” is often meant “to tell people why and
how to become a Christian.” How do we know that this is likely NOT the primary
meaning that Paul has in mind in Romans 1:15? Precisely because the recipients of
Paul’s letter were believers who were living commendable lives of faith.
5.
When Paul says that he is eager to “preach the gospel to you…who are in Rome,” what
do you think he means? What particular message, if any, does he have in mind? This
will be developed further below. For now consider the following: “Gospel” simply
means “good news.” The “Gospel of God concerning His Son” (cf. verses 1-3) is the
“good news about Christ.” The “good news” is not restricted to what Jesus has done to
pay the penalty for our sins. It also includes the “good news” about the God’s plans
for us after we become Christians. It concerns His Son because the power that enables
a believer to live a “righteous” life comes from Jesus. The message concerns what we
need to believe in order to release the power of Christ in our lives.
NOTE: Two words that are crucial for understanding Romans are the words “gospel” and
“salvation.” Consequently, the next two days will focus on getting a better understanding of
what Paul means when he uses these words in Romans.
Day Four:
1.
In Romans 1:15, the expression “preach the gospel” is translated from the Greek word
“euaggelizö” (from which we get the word “evangelism”). Strictly speaking, the Greek
word “euaggelizö” simply means “good news.” This expression appears frequently (52
2
2A.
times) in the New Testament. Most of the time this expression can be understood to
mean the message directed to unbelievers as to why and how they can become a
Christian. However, the expression has a much broader (and sometimes different)
meaning than this. The following verses all contain the Greek word “euaggelizö”, where
the underlined words indicate where it appears in the verse. Read these verses and note
the meaning of the translated expression.
Matthew 11:4,5. “Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear,
the dead are raised, and the good news [gospel] is preached to the poor.””
Luke 3:18. “And with many other words John [the Baptist] exhorted the people and
preached the good news [gospel] to them.”
Luke 8:1a: “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another,
proclaiming the good news [gospel] of the kingdom of God.”
Acts 5:42. “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never
stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news [gospel] that Jesus is the Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-8. “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to
you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are
saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in
vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for
our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third
day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most
of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally
born.”
These verses illustrate that “euaggelizö” can take on a variety of different meanings. For
example, explain how the meaning of “euaggelizö” is different in Luke 8:1a compared to
Acts 5:42. When Luke 8:1a says that Jesus “proclaimed the good news of the kingdom
of God,” the content of that “good news” was very diverse. Jesus announced that “the
kingdom of God is near.” He also described different features of the “kingdom of
God”, giving a glimpse of what “God’s kingdom” looked like. In contrast, the “good
news” the disciples proclaimed in Acts 5:42 was that “Jesus is the Christ,” the
promised Messiah from the Old Testament.
2B.
How is the meaning of “euaggelizö” in Matthew 11:4,5 different compared to 1
Corinthians 15:1-8? Matthew 11:4,5 again talks about the gospel that Jesus was
proclaiming as He went from one town to another. For those burdened by their
poverty (material, spiritual, or both), the fact that the “kingdom of God” was near was
“good news.” In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the gospel takes a very specific form. There,
the “good news” is the facts concerning Jesus’ resurrection.
3.
Read the following verses below:
Romans 1:9,11,15: ”God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of
his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you…I long to see you so that I may
3
impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--that is, that you and I may be
mutually encouraged by each other's faith…That is why I am so eager to preach the
gospel also to you who are at Rome.”
Since Paul is writing to believers in Rome, and committed ones at that, it is unlikely that
when he says he wants to “preach the gospel of his Son” to them that he means only the
message about how to become a Christian, since they would already be familiar with that.
Consider the following [very rough] paraphrase of these verses:
“I can’t wait to visit with you and talk to you about the GREAT NEWS of Jesus. There is
so much to know about Him and how He affects our lives. Not just about how He has
caused us to come into faith. But how He continues to impact our lives after we become
a Christian. I just know that as we interact about how our lives are impacted by Jesus,
we will all be encouraged, you by me and me by you.”
Do you think this is a reasonable interpretation of what Paul had in mind when he said
that he longed to “preach the gospel” to the Roman Christians? Sounds convincing to
me!
Day Five:
1.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 1:16,17. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the
righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE
RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."”
2.
3.
In addition to “gospel,” the other key word in Romans 1 is “salvation.” There are three
aspects to “salvation:” past, present, and future. These are illustrated in the following
three verses.
Titus 3:5. ”He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness,
but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy
Spirit…”
Romans 5:10. “For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through
the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through
his life!”
Hebrews 9:28. “…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people;
and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are
waiting for him.”
Explain how each of these verses illustrates one of the three aspects of salvation.
(1) Titus 3:5 illustrates the past aspect of salvation. “He saved us” describes the
moment that Jesus transferred us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of
light and we became Christians.
(2) Romans 5:10 illustrates the present aspect of salvation. “…having been reconciled,
we shall be saved by His life” describes the process by which we are saved (delivered)
from the power of sin on a daily basis by the “life” of Jesus.
4
(3) Hebrews 9:28 illustrates the future aspect of salvation. “He will appear a second
time…to bring salvation” describes our ultimate glorification when Christ returns.
The essence of “salvation” is that believers are delivered (saved) from the power of sin.
The past aspect of salvation is that we received a new nature. The present aspect is that
we are learning to live by the power of the Spirit. The future aspect consists of
receiving glorified bodies and being freed from our flesh.
4.
Just as in English, the Greek word for “saved” can be thought of as “delivered from” (as
in, he was “saved from danger”/”he was delivered from danger”. Typically, when we see
the word “saved,” we think of the “past” aspect of salvation, in which we have been
“delivered from” eternal judgment. One possible interpretation of the expression “the
gospel…is the power of God for salvation” is that “the gospel…is the power of God for
deliverance from sin.” Do you think this is a reasonable interpretation? Yes. The
importance of this is that it emphasizes that Romans is written to believers and
describes not only how one becomes a Christian, but how one lives the Christian life
after becoming a Christian. In other words, the Book of Romans has a message that I
need to understand in order to live the Christian life the way God designed it.
5.
In your own words, paraphrase Romans 1:16,17 without using the words “gospel” or
“salvation.” “I am not embarrassed to keep talking about the good news of Jesus
Christ, because understanding that good news is key to being delivered from the power
of sin. This good news helps me to recognize that righteousness is received by faith
from God, so that I appropriate righteousness after becoming a Christian in the very
same way that I became a Christian (i.e., “by faith”).”
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 1:1-17.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
5
WEEK TWO:
1:18-32
The wrath of God.
2:1-4
Every one who judges others is condemned.
Day One.
1.
Consider the following verse:
Romans 1:18. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…”
2.
The “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” in verse 18 is contrasted with what in
verse 17? The “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” is contrasted with the
“righteousness of God” in verse 17.
3.
Verse 18 makes a remarkable statement about the knowledge that men possess about
God. What is it? It says that men “suppress the truth” about God.
4.
Do you believe that people have an innate knowledge of God that they suppress? Be
honest. It is impossible to really understand how other people think. It is my
experience that there are very few honest seekers of truth. That is, there are very few
people who are interested in changing their current view about God. What is your
experience?
5.
6.
Read Romans 1:18-21.
Explain what this means: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes
have been clearly seen [Romans 1:20].” From the context, it is clear that God’s eternal
power and divine nature are the invisible attributes being referred to. While these
attributes are not visible, they are “clearly seen” in the sense of being “clearly
perceived”—“being understood from what has been made, so that men are without
excuse.” While we may not know much about the character of God from the physical
world, it is hard to deny that there exists a supernatural being who brought the
physical world into being. This state of affairs is confirmed by the fact that the great
majority of the world’s population believes in some kind of God/divine force.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 1:18-23.
2.
Romans 1:21 states that even though “they knew God…they became futile in their
thinking.” The Greek word that is translated “thinking” in this verse by the NIV is
“dialogismos”, from which we get the word “dialogue.” It has the sense of “thinking
back and forth in one’s mind.” The NASB translates this word “speculations.”
2A.
If people “know” God, then what need was there for them to “speculate?” While God has
granted man an elementary knowledge of His Being, man’s knowledge of God is very
incomplete. Hence there is a great desire to “fill in the blanks” concerning what God
is like.
6
2B.
If God doesn’t want man “speculating,” then what DOES God expect man to do with the
incomplete knowledge that He has given him? God expects man to “honor/glorify” Him,
and give Him thanks (verse 21).
3.
Verse 23 states that man “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to
look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Why does the Bible condemn
this form of religious activity? Can’t this effort to build images be seen as a noble effort
on man’s part to “honor/glorify God” and “give Him thanks”, especially in light of the
imperfect knowledge of God that man possesses? No. God is not pleased when man
creates God according to the image man has for Him. God wishes to be known for
who He really is, not for what we want Him to be.
4A.
Consider the following verses:
John 4:23,24. “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will
worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father
seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
1 Corinthians 13:12. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see
face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
4B.
God has given believers “knowledge” of Him, but our knowledge is also incomplete.
What does God expect from believers? He expects us to develop our knowledge of Him
through His Word (otherwise why would Paul be writing Romans!). He expects us to
acknowledge the limitations in our knowledge of God. He does not want us to fill out
our image of Him with what we want Him to be, but to know Him in “spirit and truth”
and worship Him for who He is, looking forward to the day when we shall see Him
“face to face.”
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 1:18-32.
2.
Romans 1:18 states that the “wrath of God is being revealed” (NIV). According to the
following verses, how is this “wrath" manifested (i.e., what form does this wrath take)?
The wrath described here is one of God “giving them over” to “degrading
passions/shameful lusts” (verse 26) and to a “depraved mind” (verse 28). In other
words, God’s wrath is described as being manifested in moral decay.
3.
According to Romans 1:18-32, what preceded man’s devolution into moral decay?
Remarkably, this section of Scripture teaches that man’s moral decline was directly
linked to his ignoring the knowledge of God that God had placed in man’s heart. I say
remarkably because we generally place a low emphasis on the importance of knowing
God for who He really is. Studies of God’s character are relegated to “theology,”
which is usually used in a pejorative sense to indicate spiritual knowledge that is
esoteric and “unpractical.”
7
4.
What do these verses say about the importance of nurturing a true concept of God?
These verses teach that righteousness is directly related to having a true concept of
God. In other words, what we believe is important! This is a key insight, because the
Book of Romans, particularly Chapters 1-8, can be viewed as addressing the question
of how can I be righteous (cf. Romans 1:17). The answer? Believing the “good news”
of who I am, who God is, and what God has done and is doing.
5.
There are two extremes when it comes to Bible study. On the one hand, we can study the
Bible and become “puffed up” in knowledge, with little overflow into love and good
deeds. On the other hand, we can become concentrated on activity (church programs,
missions, helping the poor) and disparage “theology”—literally, “the study of God.”
What warning do these verses contain about this latter extreme? The warning is that
having a “good heart” or “good intentions” is not a substitute for having “good
knowledge.” Freedom from the power of sin is directly linked to believing the right
things about God.
NOTE: We cannot help but ask why Paul focuses on sexual depravity in Romans 1:24 and again
in Romans 1:26,27? Scholars generally agree that the sexual immorality mentioned in Romans
1:24 refers to temple prostitution, while Romans 1:26,27 refers to homosexuality. Both
behaviors were distinctively Greek and would have been regarded by Romans and Jews as
morally repulsive. Yet the Greeks were universally recognized as being the intellectual elite.
The irony arises that the wisdom of the Greeks (cf. Romans 1:22) led them to practices that
Paul’s readers identified as abhorrent. In this fashion, Paul illustrates the inability of man-made
wisdom--substituting for God’s wisdom--to lead to righteousness.
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 2:1-4.
2.
No doubt Paul’s readers would have been startled to hear that they practice the “same
things” as the immoral unbelievers Paul condemned in Romans 1:18-32. One possibility
is that when Paul says “same things,” he means “same in kind/just as bad.” In other
words, while Paul’s readers may not practice temple prostitution, homosexuality, murder,
etc., they engage in behaviors that are “the same” in terms of being an affront to God’s
righteousness. Does this seem like a reasonable interpretation to you? It is consistent
with the view that sees Chapters 2 and 3 as emphasizing the depravity of all men and
women apart from God-supplied righteousness. All of us are prone to believe that we
have some inherent goodness, and thus are not really in desperate need of God’s
deliverance from the power of sin. In Chapters 2 and 3, Paul pulls out the howitzers to
blow that idea away.
3.
Write out the following verse:
Romans 2:3. “So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same
things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?”
8
4.
What is significant about the fact that a person “passes judgment” on others? How does
it make that person accountable for his or her own unrighteous behavior? A person who
passes judgment on others reveals that they “know better.” Further, by applying a
standard of righteousness to others, they implicitly endorse the idea that a standard of
righteousness be applied to themselves as well.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 2:1-4.
2.
Have you, “O man”, ever passed judgment on another? Think of a recent occasion in
which you judged another person. Just between you and God, explain how you have
done “the same things” (be specific). ---------3.
Do you believe that your sins are less deserving of judgment than the sins of those you
have judged? Don’t just give the textbook answer. Be honest about how you really feel.
I confess that I frequently believe that I am less deserving of judgment than others. It
is easy for me to cultivate a critical spirit towards others in which I believe that my sins
are not as severe as the sins of others.
4.
Now give the biblical answer to the question above. What does Romans 2:1-4 say about
how deserving of judgment our sins are compared to other people’s sins? The biblical
answer is that my sins are every bit as severe as those of others. To the extent I judge
others, I am holding others accountable for not changing their behavior. To that very
same extent, I am guilty of accepting my own sinfulness and not changing my behavior
to conform to God’s standard of righteousness.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 1:18-2:4.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
9
WEEK THREE:
2:5-8
There are only two kinds of people in the world.
2:9-16
God will judge Jews the same as Gentiles.
2:17-29
Jews should not think that they are exempt from God’s judgment.
3:1-2
What is the advantage of being a Jew?
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 2:5-8.
2.
According to verses 7 and 8, there are only two kinds of people in the world. Describe
these two types below. The first group is described in verse 7 as “those who by
persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality.” The second group is
described in verse 8 as “those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow
evil.”
3.
By implication, if one does not belong to the group of “those who by perseverance in
doing good seek glory and honor and immortality,” then which group does one belong
to? If one does not belong to the first group then by process of elimination he/she
would be a member of the second group; i.e., one of “those who are self-seeking and
who reject the truth and follow evil.”
4.
Write out the following verse:
Romans 2:7. “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and
immortality, he will give eternal life.”
5.
Would an objective observer of your life conclude that the essence of your life could be
characterized by “perseverance in doing good?” (NOTE: The expression “perseverance
in doing good” has the idea of “doing good” even when it is costly to do so; i.e., when it
is unrewarding and unenjoyable.) Most of the good I do is good that comes easy for me.
When it becomes very difficult to do good I typically fail to do it.
6.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 3:10-12. “As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is
no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have
together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
7.
On the basis of Romans 3:10-12, what is the biblical answer to question #5? The answer
would be no. An objective evaluation of my life would say that I could not be
characterized as one who “persists in doing good,” because Romans 3:12 says “there is
no one who does good, not even one.”
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 2:9-16.
10
2.
Why do you think Paul brings up this issue about “Jews and Greeks/Gentiles”? Paul
wants to make it clear that when it comes to sin and judgment, there aren’t separate
dispensations for Jews and Greeks/Gentiles. The responsibility to be righteous, and the
judgment against unrighteousness, are the same for both groups.
3.
How do verses 14-15 address the argument that “Jews are special because they have been
given the Law?” Greeks/Gentiles have also been given the Law. It says in verse 15 that
“the requirements of the law are written on their hearts.” So while God did not give
Greeks/Gentiles the inspired Word in written form, He did press onto their hearts
fundamental notions of God’s righteous requirements.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 2:9-16.
2.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 2:14-15. “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things
required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the
law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their
consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even
defending them.”
3.
C. S. Lewis, in his classic book Mere Christianity, argues that one of the greatest
evidences for the existence of God is man’s conscience. He argues that if man were the
product of random chance and there was no divine Creator, we would never expect man
to have a conscience. Do you agree with Lewis’ argument? Why or why not? It’s hard
to disagree with C. S. Lewis. But let me try. I don’t think the fact that man has a
conscience proves the existence of a moral Creator. Social norms and mores might be
expected to arise that would impose an internal conscience in individuals even in the
absence of a moral imprint by a righteous God. In my opinion, it is probably too strong
a statement to say that man’s conscience proves God’s existence. I believe there are
other proofs that are more compelling. However, the fact that man has a conscience is
certainly consistent with the existence of a moral Creator. In other words, if God were
a holy, righteous being, and He demanded righteousness from his creation and held
man/woman accountable in the area of righteousness, it would certainly be expected
that He would provide a moral compass to guide him/her.
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 2:17-29.
2.
Verses 21-23 make the following charges against the Jewish community:
(verse 21): “You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal?”
(verse 22): “You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit
adultery?”
(verse 22): “You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?”
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3.
4.
(verse 23): “You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor
God?”
We must surmise that these are rhetorical questions, for which the Jewish readers would
have been forced to answer yes, for Paul then writes in verse 24: “For the name of God is
blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” In other words, your immoral behavior
is giving God a bad reputation!
Many unbelievers say the same thing about Christians today. Write down some
“charges” that one could make against the Christian community today. Try and mimic
the style of verses 21-23. For example, “You who preach that one cannot serve God and
Money (cf. Matthew 6:24), do you not consume yourself with making money?”
“You who say, ‘Love your brother,” do you give sacrificially to those who need your
help?”
“You who are told that one cannot serve God and Mammon, do you make idols of your
wealth and careers?”
“You who say, ‘Do not commit abortion,’ do you provide a home for the orphan and
the abused child?”
“You who say, ‘Homosexuality is an abomination to God,” do you not commit divorce
like unbelievers even though your God says that He hates divorce?”
“You whom God has set apart to be a royal priesthood, do you live any differently than
those who are not Christians?”
Write out the following verses:
Romans 2:13. “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight,
but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
Romans 2:25. “Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law,
you have become as though you had not been circumcised.”
5.
It seems as if the emphasis in Romans, Chapter 2 is on performance. Paul seems to be
saying that it’s not what you believe, it’s what you do that counts. Why do you think
Paul is emphasizing this? Do you think this has relevance to Christians today? God is
concerned about “performance,” and He has very high standards. Paul emphasizes
the lowly standards achieved by humans because he wants us to realize how far we fall
short of God’s intentions. Yes, this has relevance for Christians today. God is still the
God of holiness. Our faith is not the “end,” but the “means to the end”--that He would
glorify us and make us worthy worshippers.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 3:1-2.
2.
According to verse 2, what is the great benefit of being a Jew? (NOTE: The careful
reader might note that after saying “First of all…” Paul never follows with additional
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benefits. This suggests that when Paul says, “First of all” he means “Above all”.) The
great benefit of being a Jew is that Jews were entrusted with the divine utterances of
God. In other words, they were given authoritative details about who God is and what
He is about.
3.
What do you think is the greatest benefit of growing up in a Christian family/community?
The greatest benefit is the availability of resources (pastors, written materials, wise
counselors) that/who can point us towards God and give us encouragement and
support to know Him better.
4.
Read through Romans 2:17-3:2, replacing “Jew” with “Christian”, “the Law” with “the
Word of God”, and “circumcision” with “baptism”. Do you think Romans 2:17-3:2 can
be applied to Christians as well as Jews? Why or why not? I think it can be applied to
Christians as well. Just as the Jews saw themselves in a privileged position, so
Christians too can think they are superior because they are the “keepers” of the Word
of God. But simply “knowing the right answer” is not sufficient to be pleasing to God.
God is interested in the heart. True knowledge of God should be reflected in actions.
This was true of the Jews, and is equally true of Christians today.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 2:5-3:2.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK FOUR:
3:3-8
The unbelief of the Jews only proves the truth of God’s righteousness.
3:9-18
No person can claim to be righteous before God.
3:19-31
Righteousness does not come through the Law, but through faith in Jesus
Christ.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 3:3-8.
2.
Write out the following verse:
Romans 3:5. “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what
shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in
human terms.)”
3.
How does the unrighteousness of man “demonstrate the righteousness of God?” We often
measure things in relative terms. A football team is considered “great” if it can defeat
all the other football teams. A student is considered to be smart if he/she performs
better than the other students in the class. Man’s failure to be righteous, even when
he/she has been entrusted with “the very words of God,” establishes God’s relative
greatness in the area of righteousness. It demonstrates that God’s standard of
righteousness lies way beyond anything that man could ever achieve on his/her own.
4A.
Verse 3 makes a play on words that is brought out in the NIV. The word faith (Greek
root: “pistis”) appears three times in verse 3. Man’s faithlessness is pitted against God’s
faithfulness. A paraphrase of verse 3 is: “The fact that man turned away from God did
not cause God to turn away from man, did it?”
With (4A) in mind, complete the rest of the sentence: “The fact that man turned away
from God did not cause God to turn away from man, did it? Not at all, in fact it…
demonstrates that God is faithful and true, sticking with man even after man has
deserted God.”
4B.
5.
It is implicit in verses 3-8 that—not only did man’s unrighteousness demonstrate the
righteousness of God—but that God intended/planned/designed it to be that way. In what
verses do you see it implied that God planned for man to be unfaithful? Explain. Verse 7
states, “If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why
am I still condemned as a sinner?" In other words, the “falsehood” of man is a point
of evidence designed to underscore “God’s truthfulness.” Since God is sovereign, this
could not be accident. At some level, God intended/planned/designed for man to fail,
thus highlighting man’s desperate need for God.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 3:9-18.
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2.
There is some question about who Paul has in mind when he asks “Are we better than
they?” in verse 9. Who do you think the “we” are? Who do you think the “they” are?
My opinion is given in (3) below.
3.
One possibility for verse 9 is that the “we” refers to Paul and his readers, while the “they”
refers to the Jews. If that is so, then Christians can be included in the “we”. With this
interpretation in mind, read verses 9-18 and complete the following sentence in your own
words in the space below: “Are we Christians today any better than those Old Testament
Jews? Not at all, for…
“all are under sin.” We only deceive ourselves if we think that somehow we are made
of better stuff than the Old Testament Jews.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 3:19-24.
2.
Look up and write out the following verses:
Galatians 2:21-3:3. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be
gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" You foolish Galatians! Who has
bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I
would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the
law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the
Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”
3.
In Romans 3:19,20, as well as in the Galatians passage above, Paul is clearly
distinguishing two spiritual paths. One path is characterized by “law” and “human
effort.” The other path is characterized by “grace” and “faith.” As clearly as you can,
explain the differences between these two “spiritual paths.” The path of “law” and
“human effort” consists of man trying out of his/her own resources to do good works
for God. The path of “grace” and “faith” consists of God doing good works through
man. A synonym for grace is “God doing it,” as opposed to “man doing it.”
4.
Perhaps you have heard it said that salvation cannot be earned, only received. That is, a
person becomes a Christian not by doing anything, but simply by believing in the “good
news” of Jesus Christ. Do you think this saying applies in equal force to “sanctification,”
the process that follows after a person becomes a Christian by which they grow in their
faith? Yes.
5.
How does Galatians 2:21-3:3 relate to your answer above? This is clear from verse 3:
“After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human
effort?” In other words, having become a Christian by faith/grace/the Spirit, the
believer is to continue by faith/grace/the Spirit. These verses clearly contrast
righteousness as a result of the “spirit doing it” to attempted righteousness as a result
of “man doing it.”
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Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 3:21-28.
2.
How many times do the words “just/justifier/justice/justified” appear in Romans 3:21-28?
The NIV shows these words appearing 6 times in Romans 3:21-28. If one looks at
related Greek words, these words actually appear a total of 8 times in Romans 3:21-28.
The three related Greek words are “dikaiosunë”/”dikaioö”/”dikaios”. “Dikaiosunë
appears 4 times in these verses and is alternately translated “justice” (in verses 25 and
26) and “righteousness” (in verses 21 and 22). “Dikaioö” appears 3 times and is
translated “justifies/justified/justify” in verses 24, 26, and 28. “Dikaios” appears once
and is translated “just” in verse 26. The bottom line is that the concept of
“justification” is prominently emphasized in these verses.
3.
What are some synonyms for the word “justify.” Interestingly, if one looks up “justify”
in a thesaurus, one finds suggested like terms such as “vindicate,” “give good reasons
for,” and “rationalize”. These greatly miss the biblical concept of “justify.” The entry
that comes closest in my thesaurus is “to make justice or right prevail.” The best
synonym that I can think of is “righteous-ize, as in “to make righteous.”
Unfortunately, “righteous-ize” is not a real word.
4.
Rewrite Romans 3:28 using another word besides “justified.”
For we maintain that a man is made righteous by faith apart from observing the law.
5.
The following is a frequently cited illustration of Christ’s saving work in our lives. Read
the illustration and identify the major omission in it. “A young man is brought before a
judge for a serious traffic violation. The judge reads the charges to the young man and
asks, “How do you plead, young man?” The defendant looks up at the judge and says, “I
am guilty, Your Honor.” The judge then announces the punishment, “This court
recognizes the defendant’s admission of guilt. As punishment for his crimes, the law
requires that the defendant pay a fine of $1000.” The young man hangs his head and
states, “I do not have $1000, Sir.” The judge then stands up, takes off his judge’s robe,
walks around the bench to the young man’s side and says, “I am the father of this young
man. I take on his punishment and agree to pay this man’s fine.” Pulling out his wallet,
the father pays the fine. He then walks back around the bench, dons his robe, and
declares his son forgiven, “You are free to leave this courtroom, young man. Your fine
has been paid in full. You are a free man.” What major part of Christ’s saving work is
unmentioned in this illustration? (HINT: See Romans 3:26.) The major part of Christ’s
saving work that is left out of this illustration is that of justification. In the illustration,
the young man leaves the court fundamentally unchanged. That is, he has been
pardoned, but his essential nature remains the same. If he was an inherent lawbreaker
before his appearance in court, he remains a lawbreaker by nature after his court
appearance. In contrast, when a person becomes a Christian, not only do they end up
being pardoned, but they are fundamentally changed in nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17
says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new
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has come!” God gives the believer a new nature. It is this new nature that makes man
righteous before God.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 3:29-31.
2.
Does God have different ways of dealing with different groups of people? What answer
do verses 29 and 30 suggest? Verse 30 states that God “will justify the circumcised by
faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” God only has one way of
dealing with man, and that is by faith.
3.
Look up and write out the following verses:
Matthew 5:17. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I
have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Romans 3:31. “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold
the law.”
4.
Explain what Paul means when he writes in verse 31, “we do not nullify the Law…On
the contrary, we establish the Law.” (HINT: Check out Hebrews 7:18,19; 2 Corinthians
5:21.) When Paul speaks of “the Law” here, he does not mean a system of living, as in
“law” versus “grace.” Rather, he means “God’s standard of righteousness.” God
hasn’t lowered his standards. (In fact, one could argue on the basis of the Sermon on
the Mount that God raises His standard of righteousness under the New
Testament/New Covenant.) Rather, God has provided a means for seeing His standard
of righteousness achieved. As Paul will argue later, God’s forgiveness should never be
an excuse for sloppy living. On the contrary, God has enabled believers to live out
righteousness in a way that would have been impossible for most Old Testament
believers. In this sense, God “establishes the Law.”
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 3:3-3:31.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK FIVE:
4:1-25
Righteousness by faith was illustrated by Abraham for our benefit.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 4:1-8.
2.
Who do you think are the three most prominent individuals in the Old Testament? Moses,
Abraham, and David.
3.
What unique status does Abraham possess as an Old Testament figure? Abraham was the
“founding father” of the Jewish nation.
4.
What unique status does David possess as an Old Testament figure? David led Israel at
its spiritual zenith.
5.
After arguing that his teaching on “justification by faith” is new in that it is at
loggerheads with the spiritual path of the Law, Paul argues in Chapter 4 that his teaching
is not new at all. On the contrary, “faith” has always been God’s ordained avenue for
relationship with Him. Why is it important for Paul to make this argument? In other
words, why is it important that Paul make this connection to these Old Testament saints,
particularly Abraham? For whatever reason, it is extremely difficult for us to really
believe that the primary response God expects from man is faith, not works. Because
Abraham is so central to God’s work in the Old Testament, it carries great weight when
Paul demonstrates that God viewed Abraham as righteous not because of any works he
did, but because he had faith in God.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 4:1-13.
2.
Read Genesis 12:1-4.
3.
Read Genesis 13:12-18.
4.
Read Genesis 15:1-6.
5.
How old was Abraham when God first promised him that he would make of him a great
nation? Abraham was 75 years old (Cf. Genesis 12:4).
6A.
6B.
Three times God tells Abraham that he will “make him a great nation”, “make his
descendants as the dust of the earth”, and “make his descendants as many as the stars of
the heavens.” The third time, in Genesis 15:6, it is recorded that Abraham “believed”
God. This is the FIRST instance in the Bible where it is recorded that someone
“believed” God. The Hebrew word for “believe” is “'aman”, and it has the sense of
“placing one’s trust in.” The Hebrew word for “righteous” is “tsedhaqah”. Interestingly,
Genesis 15:6 is also the FIRST instance where an individual is called “righteous” in
Scripture.
With (6A) in mind, explain why the story of Abraham effectively makes Paul’s point that
“a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law (Romans 3:28).” It turns out
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that not only is Abraham the “founding father” of the Jewish nation, but he is also the
“founding father” of “all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that
righteousness might be credited to them (Genesis 4:11).” The Jews are intimately
associated with the Law. Thus, when Paul is able to show that Abraham received his
righteousness on the basis of faith, a Jew--or anybody who might be disposed towards
relating to God on the basis of works—would be forced to reexamine their
fundamental notions of how to relate to God.
Day Three:
WARNING: This is an extremely important, lesson--perhaps the most important lesson in the
entire Romans study.
1.
Read Romans 4:14-17.
2A.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 1:16,17. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the
righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE
RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."”
2B.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 3:28. “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the
law.”
Romans 4:4,5. “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but
as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the
wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
Galatians 2:21-3:3. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be
gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" You foolish Galatians! Who has
bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I
would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the
law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”
Galatians 3:11,12. “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The
righteous will live by faith." The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man
who does these things will live by them."”
Galatians 5:3-6. “Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is
obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been
alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await
through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither
circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith
expressing itself through love.”
3.
For Old Testament Jews, “circumcision”, along with keeping the Sabbath, would have
been among the two or three absolutely essential things that a Jew would have to do to
consider themselves a Jew in good standing. Likewise, when Paul speaks of “the Law,”
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he is talking about a system of rules that must be kept in order to get oneself in good
spiritual shape. For this teaching of grace to affect us, it is imperative that we identify in
our lives how we live by “law/works” and/or by “faith/grace.” In the space below,
identify some things in your life that when you do them, you consider yourself in good
spiritual shape; and when you don’t do them, you consider yourself in bad spiritual shape.
Give this one a lot of thought, and be honest!
4.
React to the following statement: “I am seeking to be ‘justified by the Law’ whenever I
do certain things (see my answers to (3) above) to feel good about my spiritual life.” I
think this is a good test of how we fundamentally view ourselves before God. If
fundamentally we believe that there are things we can “do” to get in God’s good
graces, then we are living under the Law. Personally I know it is “biblically incorrect”
to think that I can do anything to improve my standing with God. Practically, I
frequently fall into this trap. I especially see this is evident in my life when I screw up.
When I have had a particularly bad day or days, and have egregiously sinned, I want to
avoid God because I feel worthless before Him. That is very revealing about me. It
shows that at the core of my being, I still implicitly adopt the mindset that my standing
before God depends on my performance. In other words, it shows that as a practical
matter, I am seeking to be “justified by the Law.” How about you?
5.
According to Paul, how bad a mistake is it to be live “by the Law?” Is it something that
is not God’s best, but basically innocuous; or is it really bad? The Book of Galatians
clearly communicates that living by the Law is not innocuous—rather, it is really bad.
How bad? Consider what Galatians 5:3-6 says, “You who are trying to be justified by
law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” What does
this mean? That’s a whole ‘nother Bible study! Briefly, it does not mean that one
loses their salvation (how can one lose what one never earned in the first place?). It
does mean that the believer is on his/her own. In other words, if the believer chooses to
take the wheel of his life and “do the driving”, God will not intervene. The believer has
“become alienated” from God, and the resources that God provides for life are not
employed for the believer’s spiritual growth.
Day Four:
1.
Read James 2:14-26.
2.
In the space below, provide a reconciliation of the (inspired) statement that “You see that
a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone (James 2:24)” with the (equally
inspired) statement that “a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law (Romans
3:28).” Do these verses contradict each other? Explain. If one believes that the Bible is
the inspired Word of God, then these verses cannot contradict each. Rather than being
a contradiction, we should look at James as providing clarification of what genuine
faith is. Faith unaccompanied by works is not genuine faith, it is merely intellectual
opinion. James makes it clear that intellectual opinion is not what God is looking
for—in fact, it is “dead,” “useless”. If you tell me that you believe that the world is
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going to come to an end on Monday, but I catch you studying for an exam Sunday
night, I can only conclude that you don’t really believe what you say. You don’t really
have faith that the world will come to an end. If you did, you would certainly being
doing something other than studying for an exam Sunday evening! The fact that I
catch you studying Sunday evening reveals the fact that your intellectual opinion has
little grip on how you live your life. As James says in verse 18, “I will show you my
faith by what I do.” Real belief cannot help but be represented in actions. This is
convicting stuff! It makes me think through what I really believe about God, as
opposed to what are merely intellectual opinions I hold about God. How about you?
Would you say that your faith is “genuine faith?” Or does it fit more in the category of
“intellectual opinions?” How can you tell the difference?
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 4:16-25.
2.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 4:19-21. “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was
as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was
also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but
was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God
had power to do what he had promised.”
3.
Explain why the physical picture of Abraham’s body being “as good as dead” and the
“deadness” of Sarah’s womb is a beautiful picture of man’s inability to produce
righteousness through his own efforts. Abraham well recognized that he did not have the
physical ability to produce the “fruit” of children from his own body. In the same way,
the believer does not have the ability to produce the “fruit” of righteousness from his
own body. For believers to produce righteousness requires a supernatural act of God,
just as Abraham required a supernatural act of God for him to produce a child.
Further, just as God required faith from Abraham for God to do His work, so the
believer is required to “live by faith” in order for God to do His work in his/her life.
4.
According to verses 23 and 24, for whose benefit is this Old Testament teaching on
Abraham’s life intended? This teaching was not intended for Abraham alone, but for
us “who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
5.
According to Romans, Chapter 4, is a Christian any better able to live “righteously” than
a non-Christian? The answer is a definite “it depends.” Left to his own devices, the
answer is no. That is, in the power of his/her own flesh, he/she is no better able to live
righteously than an unbeliever. That can only be done through God’s supernatural
intervention in the believer’s life. When there is no supernatural intervention, when
the believer attempts to live by law rather than grace, the Christian has no greater
resources to live righteously than the non-Christian.
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Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 4:1-25.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK SIX:
5:1-5
We have been made to be glorified.
5:6-21
Jesus Christ will enable us to live righteously.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 5:1-5.
2.
What are the two references in verses 1 and 2 that suggest that Paul is now beginning a
discussion of the spiritual life of the Christian after having received Jesus into his/her
life? Verse 1 speaks of being justified in the past tense (“since we have been justified).
Then the verb tenses shift to the present. Verse 1 states “we have peace” with God
(present tense). Verse 2 speaks of the grace “in which we now stand (present tense).”
Finally, verse 3 speaks of the appropriate current response of the believer when it says
that “we also rejoice.”
3A.
3B.
Two key concepts in Chapter 5 are the “Christian’s hope of glory” and “grace.” With
respect to the former, read the following verses:
John 17:20-23. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe
in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me
and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent
me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I
in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that
you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
2 Corinthians 3:18. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are
being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the
Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 4:17. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an
eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Colossians 1:27. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the
glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
2 Thessalonians 2:14. “And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you
may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 2:10,11. “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and
through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect
through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of
the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”
Zondervan’s NIV Bible Software Library describes the Christian’s “journey to glory” as
follows: “The word "glory" implies more than a disclosure by God of who he is. It
implies an invasion of the material universe, an expression of God's active presence
among his people. Thus, the OT consistently links the term "glory" with the presence of
God among Israel in tabernacle and temple (e.g., Ex 29:43; Eze 43:4-5; Hag 2:3). God's
objective glory is revealed by his coming to be present with us, his people, and to show us
himself by his actions in our world…Paul explores the great wonder that you and I are
on a journey toward glory. Speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit in us, Paul says we
"reflect the Lord's glory." This is because we "are being transformed into his likeness
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3C.
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Co 3:18).
This process is hinted at in many passages (e.g., Ro 2:7, 10; 5:2; 8:17, 30; 2 Co 4:17;
Php 3:21; Col 1:27; 3:4; 1 Th 2:12; 2 Th 2:14; 2 Ti 2:10; Heb 2:10; 1 Pe 1:7). The
reality underlying it all is that, through our personal relationship with Jesus, the very
splendor of God's presence enters our lives. Because of his presence, we are new
creations, on a journey toward the very likeness of Christ (Ro 8:29; 1 Jn 3:1-2), to enter
and to share the ultimate presence--the glory--of God, there to display in our transformed
selves the beauty of our God.”
In light of (3A) and (3B) above, explain in your own words what Paul means when he
writes in verse 2: “…we exult in hope of the glory of God.” I think Paul is saying that
he is excited about what God is doing and will do in transforming the believer to
become Christ-like.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 5:1-21.
2.
How many times does the word “grace” appear in Chapter 5? I count six times, more
than any other chapter in Romans.
.3.
Give a definition for the word “grace.” It is difficult to find a good definition for this
word. In my opinion, the acronym “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” is not close
enough to the mark to constitute a good definition. For me, the definition that comes
closest to the meaning of “the grace of God” is “the freely-given manifestation of
God’s power.”
4A.
Look up and write out the following verse:
1 Corinthians 15:10. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was
not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God
that was with me.”
4B.
How does your definition fit into 1 Corinthians 15:10? If I substitute my definition into 1
Corinthians 15:10 I get: “But by [the freely-given manifestation of God’s power] I am
what I am, and [the freely-given manifestation of God’s power] to me was not without
effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but [the freely-given
manifestation of God’s power] that was with me.” Admittedly, it doesn’t read real
smoothly!
5A.
The word that is translated “grace” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word
“charis,” from which we get charity. Here is how Zondervan’s NIV Bible Software
Library describes this word: “The biblical concept of grace is much greater than is
suggested in the common definition of "unmerited favor." "Grace" is a word that
expresses a radical view of life and of relationship with God. Grace teaches that God's
attitude toward us is one of acceptance and love; knowing God's heart, we can
"approach the throne of grace with confidence" (Heb 4:16) with every sin and need.
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5B.
Grace is a dramatic statement about the human condition. Each person is helpless,
trapped in sin and incapable of pleasing God or winning his favor. Grace is a
proclamation. It is the triumphant announcement that God in Christ has acted and has
come to the aid of all who will trust him for their eternal salvation. Grace is a way of
life. Relying totally on Jesus to work within us, we experience God's own unlimited
power, vitalizing us and enabling us to live truly good lives…grace is not simply a basic
orientation to relationship with God. It is also a practical approach to living the
Christian life. This aspect of grace helps us to understand the warning found in Gal 5:4,
that those "who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; [they]
have fallen away from grace." Any attempt by believers to struggle toward a life of
goodness by works of the law means a return to the futile way of religion. It involves
reliance on ourselves and an abandonment of reliance on Christ, who alone can enable
us to live righteous lives. We cannot approach Christian experience from the old
perspective, for grace and religion are contradictory. We can only live by full
commitment to the way of grace and all that grace involves.”
In light of (5A), what does Paul mean he says in verse 2, “this grace in which we stand.”
It means that we have entered a new way of life where “my doing it” has been replaced
by the principle of “God doing it.” This “grace in which we stand” refers to New
Covenant living, based on faith, not works. In other words, it is the spiritual life that
counts on God to do things rather than trying to power righteousness through the
bankruptcy of our own flesh.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 5:6-11.
2.
Consider the following verse:
Romans 5:6. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died
for the ungodly.”
3.
What does it mean in verse 6 when it says that we were “powerless/helpless”? Powerless
or helpless to do what? The Greek word translated “powerless” (NIV)/”helpless”
(NASB) is “astheneö” which is commonly translated “weak” or “sickly.” Here it
means that we were powerless to produce righteousness on our own.
4.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 5:9,10. “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we
be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were
reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through his life!”
5.
Complete the following sentences from Romans 5:9,10.
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“Much more…
“having been….
“we shall be saved…
Verse 9:
…justified by his blood”
…from God’s wrath”
Verse 10:
…reconciled to Him through
the death of his Son”
…through his life”
NOTE: When it says in verse 9 that “we shall be saved from the wrath of God,” it is likely
referring to Romans 1:18 where it says that the “wrath of God is (being) revealed from heaven”.
As discussed in Day Three’s lesson in Week 2, this “wrath” refers to God allowing man to
devolve into moral decay.
6.
A possible paraphrase of Romans 5:9,10 is: “Much more, having become Christians,
God is now saving us from the power of sin, enabling us to live righteously through the
life of Christ in us.” What do you think? Is this a reasonable interpretation of what Paul
is saying in verses 9 and 10? There are two keys to this interpretation. First, the
context of Romans Chapter 5 is God’s design of glorification (i.e., producing Christlikeness in His children) and the inability of man to produce righteousness on his/her
own. Second, is the idea that believers are “saved” (i.e. “delivered from the power of
sin”) by the life of Christ in the Christian. Put those two keys together and they open
up what these verses are saying.
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 5:12-19.
2.
Identify those parts of verses 12-19 that explicitly support the doctrine that all men and
women are condemned sinners by virtue of being descendants of Adam and Eve. That is,
write out those passages that indicate that men and women have inherited a “sin nature”
from Adam and Eve that makes them condemnable in God’s sight.
(1) Romans 5:12: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and
death through sin, and in this way death came to all men…”
(2) Romans 5:15: “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the
trespass of the one man…”
(3) Romans 5:16: “Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin:
The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation…”
(4) Romans 5:17: “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that
one man…”
(5) Romans 5:18: “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation
for all men…”
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(6) Romans 5:19: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were
made sinners…”
3.
Explain how the “gift” of salvation is like the inheritance of the sin nature from Adam
and Eve. The gift of salvation is like the inheritance of the sin nature from Adam
because one man’s actions had a direct impact on the spiritual destinies of the rest of
mankind.
4.
Explain how the “gift” of salvation is not like the inheritance of the sin nature from Adam
and Eve. The first difference is given in Romans 5:15: “But the gift is not like the
trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did
God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow
to the many!” The second difference is given in Romans 5:16b: “…The judgment
followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and
brought justification.” The first difference speaks to the fact that the power of the
“gift” dominates the power of the sin nature (grace is stronger than sin). The second
difference speaks to the fact that condemnation is the just consequence of sin, but the
gift of salvation is the unexpected and undeserved consequence of “many trespasses.”
In other words, man deserves the punishment that comes with sin. In contrast, man
does not deserve God’s gift of salvation.
5A.
Consider the following verse:
Romans 5:17. “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one
man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of
the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”
5B.
What do you think it means when it says in verse 17 that “those who receive the
abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life”? I think it means
that God intends that man will prevail over sin (i.e. reign over sin) as a result of the
grace that God makes available to man.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 5:20-21.
2A.
Consider what the following verses have to say about “the Law.”
Romans 3:20b. “…through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 4:15b. “…where there is no law, there is no violation.”
Romans 5:13b. “…sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
Romans 5:20. “And the Law came in that the transgression might increase…”
Galatians 3:24a. “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ…”
2B.
According to these verses, what is the purpose of “the Law;” i.e., God’s rules for holy
living. The Law is intended to point out where we fall short and, in so doing, to make
us realize how much we need Jesus.
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3.
Read Romans 5:20. With that verse in mind, complete the following sentence, “The
more miserably I fail to live up to God’s righteous standards, the greater …
…the grace that God makes available to me.”
4.
According to Romans 5:21, is there an expectation that Christians will live lives that will
reflect the righteousness of Christ? Absolutely.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 5:1-21.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK SEVEN:
6:1-11
Consider yourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 6:1.
2.
Does the question, “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” seem like a
reasonable question given what Paul has previously stated? Just say “yes” or “no. Yes.
3A.
We are constantly being exhorted in Christian circles to do this or that. We are
“challenged” to go on short-term missions projects, or to share our faith, or to lead Bible
studies, or to be in Bible studies, or to memorize verses, or to give money, or to pray
more, or…you name it. Can you think of some time in the recent past when you were
“challenged” to do something? Write it below. - - - -
3B.
Focusing on the incident that you identified in (3A), what do you think was the
motivation behind the challenge? Was there the sense that you need to do this in order
for you to grow in your spiritual life? Was there the sense that you owe God something
back for what He has done for you? In the case that I’m thinking, there was definitely
the sense that this was something I needed to do to grow spiritually.
4A.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 4:4,5. “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but
as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
4B.
In light of the verse above, respond to the following statement: “God gives us eternal life
as a free gift. We don’t have to do anything to get it. However, after we become
Christians, God expects us to work in expanding His Kingdom so that others can learn
about God’s free gift of salvation.” This sounds so good. Yet I believe it is not
consistent with the God-authored notion of grace. Everything that God has for us is a
“free gift.” There is no “quid pro quo” in which God gives us something and then we
owe him back. That would not be grace. The primary responsibility in my life after
becoming a Christian is the same as my primary responsibility in becoming a
Christian—namely, to believe and not to “do.”
5.
“Grace” is a potentially scary thing. Let us, for the moment, contemplate the idea that
“grace” means that we are entirely incapable (“powerless/helpless”) of doing anything
good for God on our own. Recognizing this, God expects us to give nothing back from
ourselves, but has given everything to us as a free gift. Can you think of an objection to
this? Complete the following sentence. “If Christianity really is a free gift, and there are
no rules or obligations associated with being a Christian, then Christians would be free to
do whatever they wanted, and that would be bad because…
…Christians might want to do bad things, like engage in wanton sinfulness, and have
nothing to do with seeing God’s kingdom expanded.”
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Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 6:1-3.
2.
Look up and write out the following verses:
Romans 6:6. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of
sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—“
Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives
in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me.”
Colossians 3:9,10. “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with
its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the
image of its Creator.”
3.
In your own words, explain what it means when it says in verse 2 that “we have died to
sin?” (HINT: What does this say about who you really are?) It means that, at the core
of my being, I have been fundamentally altered. The part of me that received deep
satisfaction from living life in sin has been mortally wounded and is in the terminal
stages of existence. It no longer constitutes the core of who I am, and in that sense it’s
reign over my identity has “died.” In its place is a new nature that, fundamentally,
rejoices to do God’s will.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 6:4,5.
2.
Write out the following verses:
Colossians 1:27. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the
glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has
gone, the new has come!”
Galatians 2:20. ““I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives
in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me.”
Philippians 2:12,13. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only
in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your
salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act
according to his good purpose.”
3.
In your own words, explain what it means when it says in verse 5 that “we have become
united” with Jesus Christ in “His resurrection?” (HINT: What does this say about who
you really are?) It says that, in some metaphysical sense that I cannot intellectually
30
fathom, my identity has been altered and irrevocably linked to Jesus. Christ now
indwells me, and that act has caused my fundamental nature to change. I have been
linked to the person of Christ in such a fashion that His desires, interests, and passions
are becoming my desires, interests, and passions.
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 6:6-10.
2.
Look up and write out the following verse:
Romans 6:14. “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but
under grace.”
3.
What does Romans 6:6-10,14 say about the power of sin in believers’ lives? The power
of sin over us has been broken (i.e., we have been “freed” from sin).
4.
Romans 6:14 connects the power to live righteously with “grace.” Do you understand
that connection? Try and explain it as best as you can. Once I understand that “grace”
is the freely-given manifestation of God’s power, I understand that when Scripture says
“I am under grace,” it means that I am living under the regime in which God has
freely extended to me His power to live righteously.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 6:11.
2.
Romans 6:11 begins with “In the same way” (NIV)/”Even so” (NASB). It points us back
to Romans 6:8, where it says that “we believe that….” According to Romans 6:8-10,
what is it that “we believe?” Romans 6:8 says, “…we believe that we will also live with
him.” In words, we believe that believers will be united to Jesus as He indwells them
(i.e., believers will “live with him”), and by implication, that Jesus will live out his life
through the believer, empowering the Christian to overcome sin.
3.
With Romans 6:11 in mind, complete the following sentence: “In the same way that we
believe that Jesus lives and that one day we will be in heaven with Him, we should also
believe that…
…He indwells us even now, having fundamentally changed who we are, and having
empowered us to live righteously.”
4.
Do you feel as if you have been released from the power of sin and that Christ lives in
you and enables you to live righteously? Be honest. Personally, I do not feel as if I
have been liberated from the power of sin. However, I do feel as if I am no longer
enslaved to sin, as I once was and felt.
5.
Read and consider the following verses:
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Romans 4:19-21. “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as
good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also
dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was
strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had
power to do what he had promised.”
6.
What does Romans 6:11 say is our primary responsibility when it comes to overcoming
sin in our lives? Our primary responsibility is to believe. Specifically, it is to believe
that we have been fundamentally changed, so that our old sinful desires, interests, and
passions do not characterize who we really are (i.e., “count yourselves dead to sin”).
Second, we are to believe that in our own strength we are powerless to live righteously-that, just like Abraham, our bodies are as good as dead. Lastly, we are to believe that
Jesus indwells us, and that through His power, and not our own, we are empowered to
live righteously (i.e. “count yourselves…alive to God in Christ Jesus”).
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 6:1-11.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK EIGHT:
6:12-23
Present your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 6:12,13.
2.
REVIEW: According to Romans 6:11, what is our primary responsibility when it comes
to overcoming sin in our lives? Our primary responsibility is to believe. Specifically, (i)
that we have been fundamentally changed, (ii) that, like Abraham, our bodies are as
good as dead when it comes to producing righteousness, and (iii) that Jesus enables us
to live righteously by faith.
3.
Verse 13 says that believers are to “present/offer” themselves to God. The Greek word
that is translated “present (NASB)” or “offer (NIV)” is “paristëmi”, and it can also be
translated as “to stand near” or “to stand beside.” With this in mind, explain what it
means to “offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life;
and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.” One
interpretation is that we are called to “stand near” to God, acknowledging our altered
natures, and being available for what He wants us to do. This places the emphasis on
righteous living on God, not us. The emphasis placed on us is to “stand near to God”,
believe what the Bible says about who we really are, and be available.
4.
Respond to the following statement: “Some people make such a big deal of this “law
versus grace” thing. Yet at the end of the day, it comes down to the same thing. Like it
says in Romans 6:12,13, believers are to refrain from sin and live righteously.” The goal
is the same, but the means to get there are dramatically different. Both law and grace
are systems for producing righteousness. However, the system of law, of trying to
produce righteousness in the power of the flesh, is fatally flawed and destined to fail.
That is why it is so important for us to recognize the difference and embrace this new
life of grace that God has called us into.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 6:14-16.
2.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 6:14. “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but
under grace.”
Hebrews 7:18,19. “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless
(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw
near to God.”
1 Corinthians 15:56. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”
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3.
In light of the preceding verses, complete the following sentence. “’The law’ is not only
an ineffective means for living righteously, it…
…is counter-productive in that it stimulates sin.”
NOTE: We see this intimated in 1 Corinthians 15:56 where it says that “the power of
sin is the law.” We will see this truth in greater detail when we get to Romans Chapter
7.
4A.
4B.
At the risk of redundancy, let us review the meaning of the word “grace.” The word that
is translated “grace” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “charis,” from
which we get charity. Here is how Zondervan’s NIV Bible Software Library describes
this word: “The biblical concept of grace is much greater than is suggested in the
common definition of "unmerited favor." "Grace" is a word that expresses a radical view
of life and of relationship with God. Grace teaches that God's attitude toward us is one
of acceptance and love; knowing God's heart, we can "approach the throne of grace with
confidence" (Heb 4:16) with every sin and need. Grace is a dramatic statement about the
human condition. Each person is helpless, trapped in sin and incapable of pleasing God
or winning his favor. Grace is a proclamation. It is the triumphant announcement that
God in Christ has acted and has come to the aid of all who will trust him for their eternal
salvation. Grace is a way of life. Relying totally on Jesus to work within us, we
experience God's own unlimited power, vitalizing us and enabling us to live truly good
lives…grace is not simply a basic orientation to relationship with God. It is also a
practical approach to living the Christian life. This aspect of grace helps us to
understand the warning found in Gal 5:4, that those "who are trying to be justified by
law have been alienated from Christ; [they] have fallen away from grace." Any attempt
by believers to struggle toward a life of goodness by works of the law means a return to
the futile way of religion. It involves reliance on ourselves and an abandonment of
reliance on Christ, who alone can enable us to live righteous lives. We cannot approach
Christian experience from the old perspective, for grace and religion are contradictory.
We can only live by full commitment to the way of grace and all that grace involves.”
In light of the above, when Romans 6:14 says that Christians are “under grace,” does that
mean that Christians are freed from the requirement of living righteously? If not, what
does it mean? It definitely does NOT mean that Christians are freed from the
requirement of living righteously. Instead, it means that Christians cannot live
righteously in their own power. Any attempts to do so will backfire, making us worse
off than if we did nothing. Instead, grace demands that we live righteously while
pushing us towards Jesus as the only avenue by which this may be accomplished.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 6:17-19.
2A.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 8:5-8. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on
what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their
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minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind
controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not
submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please
God.”
2 Peter 2:19b. “…for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”
2B.
In light of the verses above, what do you think it means when it says in verse 17 that “you
used to be slaves to sin?” It means that, fundamentally, I was compelled to sin. Just as
being human compels me to eat and sleep, so my unregenerate nature was such that I
was compelled to sin.
3A.
(Answer this question if you are NOT a Christian.) Would you say that those who
observe your life would say that you engage in a life of wanton sinfulness? If you
answered no that question, how do you reconcile your own experience with the fact that
the Bible says you are a “slave to sin?”
3B.
(Answer this question if you are a Christian.) Would you say that those who observed
your life before you became a Christian would say that you engaged in a life of wanton
sinfulness? If you answered no that question, how do you reconcile your own experience
with the fact that the Bible says you were a “slave to sin?” It would take a lot of space to
answer this question thoroughly. Most observers of my life would not have thought me
to be a slave to sin. First, most of my sinfulness took place in private, so that publicly
the state of my depravity was not evident to others. Second, most others would have
been fooled by my moderately good behavior, which was motivated more by a selfish
desire to be liked and approved by others—and to be regarded as good—than by any
thing resembling true Christian love. However, the fact of the matter is that I was
trapped in a lifestyle that was weak and sinful and I could no more escape that lifestyle
of my own accord than I could decide to stop eating and sleeping.
4A.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 6:17,18. ”But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you
wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been
set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
Romans 8:29,30. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the
likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he
predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also
glorified.”
Ephesians 1:11-14. “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to
the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in
order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of
your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy
Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who
are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.”
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4B.
Philippians 2:12,13. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in
my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation
with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his
good purpose.”
In Romans 6:22 it says that Christians have “become slaves to God.” At its essence, the
idea of a slave has in it the notion of “no choice.” A slave has “no choice” but to do the
will of his Master. With this and the preceding verses in mind, what do you think the
Bible means when it says that Christians “have become slaves to God?” First, it doesn’t
mean that I am incapable of sinning. Romans 6:19b says, “Just as you used to offer
the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now
offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” The fact that we are
commanded to “offer the parts of our bodies in slavery to righteousness” implies that
we have a choice to NOT do this. But in another sense the eventual outcome of
righteousness is inevitable. Our salvation has set us down a road in which the ultimate
destination is the full manifestation of God’s righteousness in our lives. We can no
more stop this process of glorification than we can stop the aging process. In this life,
I have the choice to live righteously, and my choices have consequences. However,
when I choose to disobey God’s commands, I am merely choosing a more circuitous
route, a detour, that changes my “travel itinerary” to glorification--but not my ultimate
destination. It is in this sense that I have “no choice.”
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 6:20,21.
2.
Do unbelievers have a conscience? (HINT: cf. Romans 2:14,15). Of course unbelievers
have a conscience. When the Bible says that unbelievers are “slaves to sin,” it doesn’t
mean that they engage in wanton debauchery devoid of a moral conscience.
3.
If unbelievers have a conscience, then what does it mean when it says in verse 20 that
“…when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness?” What does it
mean to be “free in regard to righteousness?” It means that unbelievers were free in
regard to God’s righteousness. Much of what passes for righteousness in the eyes of
men is simply the flesh’s desire to be self-righteous; that is, to be ethically superior on
one’s own, apart from God. While this passes as righteousness in the world, it is as
sinful as wanton licentiousness in God’s eyes.
4.
Write out the following verse:
Romans 6:21. “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now
ashamed of? Those things result in death!”
5.
Are there things in your life that you did when you were an unbeliever that you are now
“ashamed” of? Do you still do those things? Can you see God’s work in your life
producing righteousness in you? How does that make you feel about your life?
Elaborate on your answers below. In my case, the answers are (i) “Yes;” (ii) “Yes for
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some things, No for others;” (iii) “Yes;” and (iv) “Hopeful.” I have seen God set me
free from areas of sin in my life in which I was definitely enslaved. Further, I know
that this liberation has come as no result of my own self-discipline or internal moral
strength. Rather, it has been the result of God changing my desires and preferences.
This gives me hope for the continuation of my glorification through the supernatural
agency of God working His righteousness into my life.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 6:22,23.
2.
When you think of the “benefits” of the Christian life, what comes to mind? Be specific.
Romans 6:22 describes the benefit as that which “leads to holiness”. By this I
understand the benefits associated with having Jesus indwell the believer. At a
practical level, the benefit of having Jesus indwell me is that I can experience
fellowship with Deity and that I have the privilege of leading a redeemed life, in which
I see God infuse me with purpose and meaning. I have also seen God create in me the
capacity and enjoyment of love, something I did not possess before I became a
Christian.
3.
What does it mean in verse 23 when it says that the wages of sin is “death,” but the free
gift of God is “eternal life?” I believe that the words “death” and “eternal life” refer to
the states of “spiritual death” and “spiritual life”—that is, the states of being divorced
from, or in fellowship with, the Spirit of God.
4A.
Read Galatians 6:6-10 below.
Galatians 6:6-10. “And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him
who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he
will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap
corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.
And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow
weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to
those who are of the household of the faith.”
Galatians 6:6-10 is directed to believers. When it says that “the one who sows to his own
flesh shall reap…corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall…reap eternal life”
it indicates that some Christians can lose out on “eternal life” if they sow to their own
flesh and not the Spirit. Since all Christians are guaranteed a life with God in heaven
after death, what do you think “eternal life” means in this context? I think it means that
Christians can forego having fellowship with God when they choose to turn their back
on God’s grace. It is possible to be a believer and yet be “alienated from Christ”
(Galatians 5:4). That is, as a practical matter a believer can live in the power of their
flesh just like an unbeliever, without experiencing any of the “benefits” associated with
the indwelling Jesus.
4B.
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5.
6.
Zondervan’s NIV Bible Software Library has this to say about the meaning of “eternal
life”: “We tend to think of eternal life as life with endless duration. That is part of it. But
when the New Testament speaks of eternal life, its emphasis is on the quality or character
of that life. Eternal life stands in contrast to biological life. Biological life is derived and
fleeting; it has no shaping impact on the personality. Eternal life is God's own life,
burning brightly not only with his vitality but with his own character. The wondrous
message of the Scripture is that God has chosen to share this life--to share himself!--with
human beings. "You have been born again," Peter writes, capturing the wonder of it, "not
of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God"
(cf. 1 Pe 1:23). God's life alone is able to break the grip of death on humanity. God's life
alone can provide a basis for a warm personal relationship with the Lord. God's life
alone can lift humanity to the destiny for which we were originally intended. As the Bible
presents the stunning possibility of eternal life now, that possibility is always linked with
Jesus. It is only through faith in the Son of God that a person receives eternal life. It is
only through faith that a close fellowship develops, and it is through this that God's life is
released to find expression through us.”
In light of the above, explain in your own words what Romans 6:23 is saying without
using the words “death” and “eternal life.” I believe that Romans 6:23 is saying that the
result of choosing to sin is that one is divorced from God. In contrast, God makes
available to every one the possibility of having Jesus indwell that person and live
through him/her, with all its associated blessings and benefits.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 6:12-6:23.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK NINE:
7:1-4
We are no longer under Law.
7:5-13
Sin, operating through the Law, produces spiritual death.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 7:1-4.
2.
Romans 7:1-4 presents an analogy to help the reader understand the relationship between
a believer and “the law.” With this analogy in mind, complete the following sentences.
2A.
A wife is “freed” from her husband when her husband
2B.
The believer is “freed” from the law when the believer
3A.
The analogy is imperfect because the wife is released from her obligation when the other
party (her husband) dies, but the believer is released from his/her obligation when the
believer dies. A more “symmetrical” analogy would say that the believer is “freed” from
the law when “the law” dies. Interestingly, the Bible never says this. What would it
mean for God to do away with the law? To do away with the law would imply that God
was giving up His righteous standard—that he was relinquishing His requirement that
men live holy lives.
3B.
If the law is such a problem, why wouldn’t God just do away with it altogether? The law
is not of itself a problem. The problem lies with man. As Romans 7:12 says, “…the
law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.”
4.
In your own words, explain what it means to be “released/freed” from the law. First let
me say what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that man is freed from the obligation to
live righteously. Rather, man is freed from the requirement of trying to produce
righteousness on his own. God’s commandments have not been done away with it.
God is still zealous to see His people live righteously. The ends have not changed.
Only the means by which God intends man to achieve that end.
dies
dies
.
.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 7:5-8
2.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 7:5. “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions
aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.”
Romans 7:8. “But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced
in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.”
1 Corinthians 15:56. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”
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3.
According to the verses above, the law actually “incites” the flesh to sin. Why would the
command to “not covet” result in greater coveting? Explain how you think this works. I
think the way it works is like this: First, I read the command to “not covet.” Being
convicted of the need to change in this area, I resolve to stop coveting. I set my mind to
not focus on the things that others have and I don’t. However, the more I try to keep
myself from wanting the things that others have, the more discontent I become with my
own lot, and the more I long for the things of others. I redouble my efforts to be
content with what I have, but soon I discover that I have opened up a “Pandora’s box”
of coveting that I never knew I had within me. In this sense, the law has the effect on
my sinful nature like an opponent in arm wrestling. The harder the law “pushes” me
towards righteousness, the harder my sinful nature pushes back.
4.
Do you have any experiences with sin in your own life that are similar to Paul’s
experience with coveting? Elaborate. Yes, I do. However, I am not willing to share
them here.
5.
Do you have any “besetting” sins in your life (a “besetting sin” is a particular sin that you
habitually commit and is very discouraging to you, but deeply ingrained and seemingly
impervious to your efforts to eliminate it)? Have you ever tried to really focus on that sin
in a major effort to eliminate it? Were you successful? Can you relate that experience to
Romans 7:5-8? In order, the answers are “Yes,” “Yes,” “No,” and “Yes.” I found that
the more I tried to fight this sin, the more powerful and ugly it became.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 7:6.
2.
Look up and write out the following verses:
Galatians 3:1-5. “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very
eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing
from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you
heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain
your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for
nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you
observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”
Galatians 5:18. “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”
3.
According to the verses above, is a New Testament/New Covenant believer supposed to
live differently from how an Old Testament/Old Covenant believer would have lived?
Explain your answer. Clearly, a New Testament/New Covenant believer is supposed to
live differently. Romans 7:6 says we are to “serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not
in the old way of the written code.”
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4.
Give an example that illustrates the difference between serving “in the new way of the
Spirit” versus serving “in the old way of the written code.” Let us take Paul’s coveting
illustration. Under the “old way of the written code,” a man or woman would resolve
to be free from this sin. He or she would make a commitment to control their thought
life. When they caught themselves thinking about how much better somebody else had
it, they would make a mental exertion to push those covetous thoughts out of their
minds. However, like one of those inflatable boxing figures that we played with when
we were kids, the more one knocks those covetous thoughts down out of one’s mind,
the more they come bouncing back. In contrast is the “new way of the Spirit.” The
new way of the Spirit recognizes that I will never be victorious over coveting on my
own. I do not resolve to rid myself of coveting. Instead, I resolve to set my heart on
Jesus and place my faith in Him. Since I am already a believer, placing my faith in
Him consists of believing that He is sufficient for me. As I set my heart on Him, I trust
Him to change me. Righteousness, represented here by “not coveting,” is produced as
a byproduct of my relationship with Jesus. It is the “fruit” that results from “abiding”
in the vine.
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 7:9-11.
2.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 7:9-11. “Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came,
sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to
bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the
commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”
2.
What do you think Paul means he writes “this commandment, which was to result in life,
proved to result in death for me?” Explain what Paul means by “death” in this context?”
“Death” in this context refers to spiritual alienation from God. Paul is saying that this
commandment, which was supposed to being Paul closer to God, actually drove him
further away from God.
3.
With Romans 7:9-11 in mind, complete the following sentence: “Spiritual death results
both from rebelling against God’s law by engaging in wanton acts of sin and from…
…trying to live righteously using my own spiritual strength.”
4.
Can you think of an example from your own life where “the commandment” resulted in
“spiritual death” for you? Elaborate. I have experienced times in my life when I have
tried to live righteously, only to find that the result was not greater righteousness, but a
deeper sense of frustration and “aloneness” from God.
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Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 7:12,13.
2.
Verse 13 states that the purpose of the commandment was to demonstrate that sin is
utterly sinful. Explain in your own words how the interaction of “the law” with sin
serves to convince the believer that sin is utterly sinful. The believer becomes convinced
that “sin is utterly sinful” because (i) the sin will not die, but becomes stronger and
more deeply ingrained the more one tries to fight it, and (ii) it causes “death,” i.e.,
spiritual frustration and separation of fellowship with God.
3.
Have you ever had an experience in your own life where your attempts to overcome a
particular sin have only served to highlight the stubbornness and pervasiveness of that
sin, perhaps even making that sin worse? Elaborate. - - - -
4A.
Consider what the following verses have to say about the law.
Romans 3:20b. “…through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 4:15b. “…where there is no law, there is no violation.”
Romans 5:13b. “…sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
Romans 5:20. “And the Law came in that the transgression might increase…”
Galatians 3:24a. “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ…”
In light of Romans 7:13, explain how the law serves as “our tutor to lead us to Christ.”
The law focuses our attention on the sin in our lives. Further, as we attempt to be
obedient to the law and live righteously, we become exasperated by our inability to
change ourselves. This “leads us to Christ” because we seek relief from the sin that
oppresses us. In other words, the law is like a long hallway, at the end of which are a
number of doors. As we try the various doors in our efforts to find a way out, we find
that they are all locked, save one. Only the door marked Jesus Christ provides a way
out of our predicament.
4B.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 7:1-13.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK TEN:
7:14-25
We are trapped in a body of death.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 7:14-25.
2.
In these verses, is Paul describing his life before he became a Christian? Or is he
describing his life as a Christian? What “evidence” do you find to support your answer?
To be fair, one should acknowledge that there is considerable controversy over this
question. It is my opinion that these verses describe Paul’s experience as a Christian,
or at the very least, the experience of a Christian who attempts to live righteously “by
law.” The evidences for this position include: (i) Paul is writing in the present tense as
a Christian, not the past tense. For example, in verse 25, Paul writes, “So then, I
myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of
sin.” (ii) These verses describe an inner turmoil that most Christians, if they were
honest, are only too familiar with. (iii) Lest one complain that the previous evidence is
based on experience, and experience should not be conclusive in determining what is
true, note that Paul describes this same sense of inner turmoil in Galatians 5:17, “For
the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary
to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what
you want.” There can be no question that Galatians 5:17 is intended to be descriptive
of Christians. (iv) The very next section of Romans begins by stating, “Therefore,
there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” This reassurance
make perfect sense if one presumes a context in which Christians, reflecting on their
inner turmoil, would question their salvation. (v) Throughout Romans 7:14-25, Paul is
careful to make a distinction between the “sinful nature” and who he really is. For
example, in verse 20, Paul writes, “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer
I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” This verse would not apply to a nonChristian, since a non-Christian could not claim that he/she was not the one doing the
sinning. Only believers, who have been given a new nature, can make this claim.
3A.
3B.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 6:6,7. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of
sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone
who has died has been freed from sin.”
Romans 6:17,18. “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you
wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been
set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
Romans 6:20,22. “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of
righteousness…But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to
God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
In verse 14, Paul writes that he is “of flesh, sold into bondage into sin.” Assuming that
he is describing his current life as a believer, how do you reconcile this statement with
the verses in (3A)? (HINT: The key to this question is to remember who you really are
(cf. Romans 7:20).) As the hint suggests, the reconciliation follows from recognition of
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who we really are. If you are a believer, you have been set free from sin. You have a
new nature that “agrees that the law is good” (verse 16), that “desires to do what is
good” (verse 18), and that “delights in God’s law” (verse 22). This new nature stands
in stark contrast to the “old you,” the you that was characterized by the sovereignty of
the sin nature. And while the “old you” still exerts an influence, the fact of the matter
is that the “new you” is fundamentally separated from the power of sin. Built into the
“new you” is an inevitable growth process that will result in a glorified state in which
sin will be nothing more than a memory. That is why we can rejoice with Paul when
he says, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Day Two:
1.
Write out the following verses.
Romans 7:15. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but
what I hate I do.”
Romans 7:19. “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to
do--this I keep on doing.”
2A.
Are there certain habitual things in your life which you do but “you do not wish to do?”
What are they? The answers are “Yes” and “I’d rather not say.”
2B.
Explain in detail why you can’t seem to stop doing those things that “you do not wish to
do.” In other words, if you sincerely “do not wish to do” them, then why do you keep on
doing them? Basically, when push comes to shove, it’s because it’s too costly to not
give in indulge my “habitual sin.”
3.
Can you relate to Romans 7:23? Yes, I can. The neat thing is that I have seen God
change me so that I am no longer the slave to sin that I once was.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 7:14-25.
2.
What explanation does Paul give for why he “practices the very evil that he does not
wish?” Paul’s explanation is that it really isn’t “he” who is practicing these things.
Rather, it is “sin living in me that does it.”
3.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 7:17. “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”
Romans 7:20. “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is
sin living in me that does it.”
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4.
In your own words, explain what Paul means when he says, “I am not the one doing it,
but sin which dwells in me.” Paul is saying that he is conflicted. At the core of his
being, he wants to do the right thing. He wants to be holy, to be righteous, to be done
with sin. However, like a toddler who is learning to walk, he finds that his desire is at
variance with his body’s ability to implement his desire.
Day Four:
1.
Review the previous day’s lesson.
2.
Is it fair to say when you sin that “that’s not who you really are?” Elaborate. I believe
that is a fair and accurate thing to say. Before I became a believer, I was
fundamentally a sinner, enslaved to sin. When I became a believer, God gave me a
new nature. That new nature desires to be pleasing to God in every respect.
Fundamentally, I am no longer the person that I used to be. However, I still carry
around my old body that is sin infested. Like a nervous twitch that cannot be
controlled, my old body (“the flesh,” “the sinful nature”) still lusts after sin.
3.
If “that’s not you really are,” then what is your true identity? What does the Bible say
about who you really are? The Bible says that Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit now
indwells me. To the best of my knowledge, the precise relationship between God
indwelling the believer and the believer’s new nature is not explicitly described. Yet
somehow my new nature is related to the fact that God has now taken up residence
inside me. As such, God’s desires, passions, and interests have become my innermost
desires, passions, and interests.
4.
Look up and write out the following verses:
2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has
gone, the new has come!”
Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives
in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me.”
5.
What should be a believer’s response to this biblical teaching? What practical things can
a believer do to incorporate this teaching in his/her life? The believer’s main
responsibility is to embrace these truths by faith—to believe! For this biblical teaching
to impact my life, I must do more than familiarize myself with the intellectual
arguments. I must take the weight of my life and rest it upon these foundational
truths. I must not distance myself from these truths by doubting them. I must embrace
them. I can do that through prayer, by lifting up these truths to God in prayer by
saying, “Father, I certainly don’t feel as if I have a new nature and that Christ lives in
me. But that is what your word says, and I choose to believe your word over my
experience.” Galatians 2:20 speaks to this when it says, “The life I live in the body, I
live by faith…” As I believe God’s word, His righteousness becomes manifested within
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me. Romans 1:17 speaks to this when it says, “…the righteousness of God is revealed
from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith."
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 7:24,25.
2.
One interpretation of Romans 7:14-25 is that it describes a believer who is inhabited by a
“sin nature.” That is, by virtue of the fact that he/she is human, the believer still
possesses a sin nature that is in rebellion against God and that compels him/her to sin. If
that is the case, then in what sense has Jesus “set us free”? As will be discussed below,
there are three senses in which Jesus has set believers free: a past sense, a present
sense, and a future sense. Note that Romans 7:24 is future-oriented when it says,
“Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Essentially, the grip of sin over my life
has been broken. While I still have a tendency to sin, I am not a slave to sin. That is a
big difference. Further, the deathblow to sin has been struck. The days of sin’s
influence over me are numbered. One day soon I will be dispose this earthly tent,
receive a glorified body, and be entirely out of sin’s reach.
3.
The Greek word for “rescue (NIV)”/”set free (NASB)” in verse 24 is different
from the Greek word for salvation, but it has the same general sense. That is, in context,
both words have the idea that Jesus has delivered believers from the power of sin. As
discussed in Week One, there is a “past”, “present”, and “future” sense in which Christ
has set Christians free from the power of sin. Review Day Five’s lesson of Week One
and explain the three ways that God has set us free from sin through Jesus Christ. The
past sense of being set free is that I have been freed from the sin’s penalty of God’s
eternal wrath by virtue of Jesus having taken that penalty upon himself. The present
sense of being set free is that I have been freed from enslavement to sin. I now have
the capacity to do what is right, though my sin nature fights this desire. The future
sense of being set free is that I will one day be completely released from the influence
of sin when I obtain my glorified body.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 7:14-25.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK ELEVEN:
7:25-8:4
Jesus Christ has released us from spiritual death.
8:5-11
We have the Spirit of God in us.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 8:1-3.
2.
The word “condemn” appears twice in these two verses. It appears first in verse 1 when
it says “there is now no condemnation” and again in verse 3 when it says God
“condemned sin in the flesh (NASB)”/”condemned sin in sinful man (NIV)”. Give a
synonym for condemn, as it is used in these verses, in the space below. One possible
synonym is “sentence,” as in “sentenced to death.”
3.
Romans 8:1 states there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Why
might a believer think they deserve condemnation by God? (HINT: What is the context
of Romans 8:1?) The context of Romans 8:1 is the failure of the believer to live
righteously (Romans 7:25b: “So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but
in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”). Because the Christian fails to live up to
the standards God has placed in his/her heart, it would be reasonable to suppose that
God would punish that sin. However, Romans 8:1 clearly states that that is not the
case.
4.
Verses 1-3 are confusing because they seem to contain an inconsistency. In verse 1 it
says that believers are not condemned but the sin that is resident in believers’ lives (“sin
in the flesh”) is condemned. If God is so opposed to sin, then how can He both hate the
sin and love the believer who sins? (HINT: Who is the real you?) The inconsistency is
removed by the teaching of Romans 7:15-25. God is able to fully embrace me because
He knows that the person responsible for the sin in my life isn’t me, but “sin living in
me.” The real me delights in God’s law and desires with all my heart to be obedient to
the will of God. When God looks at me, that is the person he sees, and that is the
person He loves unreservedly.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 8:2-4.
2.
Read and consider the following verses:
Romans 8:3,4. “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the
sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin
offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements
of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but
according to the Spirit.”
3.
What is it that “the Law could not do (NASB)”/”was powerless to do (NIV)” (cf. verse
3)? The law was powerless to produce righteousness in a person’s life.
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4.
Verses 3 and 4 state that God sent His own Son so “that the requirement of the Law
might be fulfilled in us…” In plain English, explain what it means when it says “that the
requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us…” It means that God intends to make us
holy according to His definition of holy. It won’t be some watered down, broughtdown-to-our-level brand of righteousness. God will produce a righteousness in us that
will satisfy His exacting demands for holiness.
5A.
Read the following verses:
Hebrews 7:18,19. “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former
commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing
perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we
draw near to God.”
Matthew 5:17. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have
not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
2 Corinthians 5:21. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we
might become the righteousness of God.”
Explain how these verses relate to Romans 8:3,4. These verses echo the teaching of
Romans 8:3,4. Hebrews 7:18,19 particularly emphasizes the inability of the law to
produce righteousness in the believer’s life. Matthew 5:17 underscores the fact that
Jesus never intended to lower the standard of righteousness to the point where it was
within the sinner’s reach. Rather, He intends to transform us to the point where we
can live out God’s righteousness in all its exacting holiness. 2 Corinthians 5:21
emphasizes the “exchanged” life. Jesus, who knew no sin, produces in us His
righteousness, “that we might become the righteousness of God.”
5B.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 8:3,4.
2.
In verse 4, Paul qualifies “us”. Complete the following statement:
requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who…
…live according to the Spirit.”
“…that the
NOTE: If you have the NIV, you completed the above sentence by writing, “who live according
to the Spirit.” The NASB is more faithful to the original language. The Greek word translated
“live” according to the Spirit is “peripateö”, from which we get the English word “peripatetic”
(i.e., “of or relating to walking”). The NASB translates this verse 4 “who walk according to the
Spirit.” All Christians are indwelt by the Spirit, but not all Christians “walk according to the
Spirit.” God has condemned sin in our bodies and given us His Spirit, who indwells us, in order
that we might live righteously, something we could never do on our own. However, it is our
responsibility to “walk according to the Spirit.” This raises the question, what does it mean to
“walk according to the Spirit?”
3A.
Read and prayerfully consider the following verses:
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3B.
Romans 8:4. “…in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do
not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:16. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the
flesh.”
Galatians 5:25. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:18. “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
Romans 13:14. “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think
about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Galatians 3:27. “…for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves
with Christ.”
NOTE: All of these verses describe a way of living that is dependent upon the Spirit of
God. Further, these verses clearly imply that Christians can choose, or not choose, to
“walk according to the Spirit.” In this sense, the clothing illustration of Romans 13:14
and Galatians 3:27 is quite apt. Just as all of us continually put on and take off clothes,
so believers can “put on” and take off Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:27 says that all believers
begin their Christian lives by “putting on” Jesus Christ. The call in Romans 13:14 to “redress” ourselves implies that believers can also allow themselves to become spiritually
naked.
Notably absent from these verses is a description of what it means to “walk according to
the Spirit.” What do you think it means? To find out what I think it means, work
through the next lesson.
Day Four:
NOTE: Today’s lesson continues yesterday’s study of what it means to “walk according to the
Spirit.”
1.
Read the following verses:
Galatians 3:3-5. “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying
to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really
was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because
you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”
2.
Do you see a connection in these verses between “walking according to the Spirit” and
“believing what you heard?” Elaborate. Galatians 3:3-5 equates “trying to attain your
goal by human effort” with “observing the law.” Likewise, “beginning with the Spirit”
is equated with “believing what you heard.” The latter “equation” makes clear the
connection between “walking according to the Spirit” and “belief.”
3.
Explain what it means to “believe what you have heard.” As believers, we are constantly
exposed to God’s truth. But exposure doesn’t necessarily mean that we become
“infected” by it. To become infected we need to embrace it by faith. In other words,
even though I might not feel as if I am a new creature and my inner man delights in
God’s law, that is God’s truth. I can hold that truth at arm’s length. Or I can choose
to believe that truth despite my experience to date. When I do the latter, I am “walking
according to the Spirit.” That is one example. More generally, when I embrace God’s
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truth and choose to believe it, I open myself to the direction of the Spirit of God, who
then works His righteousness in my life.
4.
Explain how it is possible for a believer to try and live righteously without really
“believing.” As the Book of James makes clear, there are different kinds of belief.
One kind of belief is “intellectual assent.” This type of belief recognizes truth in the
sense that a crime victim would identify a suspect in a police lineup. This type of belief
is little more than identification. It is far closer to “knowledge” than to real belief. As
a practical matter, it has no grip on a person’s life. It is very easy for believers to live
with this kind of belief. For example, a believer could read these verses in Romans and
“believe” that there is a real distinction between living by law and living by grace/faith.
However, as a practical matter, this teaching has no impact. In practice, this truth is
left on the shelf.
5.
Can you see a connection between “law” and “unbelief?” Elaborate. Galatians 3:5
presents “observing the law” and “believing what you heard” as opposites. In other
words, “law” and “belief” are opposites. Since “unbelief” and “belief” are also
opposites, this implies a connection between “law” and “unbelief.” But what could
that connection be? Living by “law” is devoid of the supernatural. It is done by
human effort—even if it is done to please God. In contrast, living by faith requires the
supernatural. It is a lifestyle that recognizes the complete inability of human effort to
produce righteousness. Therefore, it is necessarily dependent upon God to produce
something good in a person’s life.
6.
Can you see a connection between “grace” and “faith?” Elaborate. In Week 6, “the
grace of God” was defined as “the freely-given manifestation of God’s power.” But
God’s manifestation of power in our lives is connected to our believing Him. Romans
4:16 states, “…the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace…” God requires
us to count on Him in order for Him to His work in our lives. God’s job is to do the
work (i.e., to exercise power in our lives). Our job is to believe (i.e., to depend on Him
to do that work).
Day Five:
1.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 8:5-11. “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things
of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the
mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the
mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God,
for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in
you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And if
Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of
righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He
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2.
who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through
His Spirit who indwells you.”
These verses provide a number of descriptions of unbelievers. For example, unbelievers
are described as those who are “according to the flesh.” Make a list of the different
descriptions of unbelievers. Unbelievers are those whose “mind is set on the flesh.”
They are “hostile toward God.” They are unable to “subject themselves to the law of
God.” They “cannot please God.” They “do not have the Spirit of Christ.” They “do
not belong” to God. Their bodies are “dead because of sin.”
3.
These verses provide a number of descriptions of believers. For example, believers are
described as those who are “according to the Spirit.” Make a list of the different
descriptions of believers. Believers set their minds on “the things of the Spirit.” The
mind of believers is “life and peace.” Believers are “in the Spirit.” “God dwells” in
believers. “Christ is in” believers. “God’s Spirit” dwells in believers. The spirit of
believers is “alive.” Their bodies will have “life.”
4A.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 8:11. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he
who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his
Spirit, who lives in you.”
2 Corinthians 4:11. “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for
Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.”
What does the Bible mean when it says that “Jesus will give life to our mortal bodies?”
(HINT: You may be tempted to say this verse speaks of the resurrection of believers and
life after death. However, this is out of place with the thought context of Romans 8. The
context is that the Spirit of God indwells believers so that the “requirement of the Law
might be fulfilled in us”.) It means that Jesus will produce righteousness in the lives of
believers. Abraham looked at his body and considered it as good as “dead” (Romans
4:19). Yet God was able to produce “life” from that dead body. In the same way, God
produces righteousness from the deadness that is characteristic of our flesh.
4B.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 8:1-11.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK TWELVE:
8:12-17
We are under obligation to live according to the Spirit.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 8:12.
NOTE: The Greek word that is translated “obligation”, as in “under obligation” is
“opheiletës”. It has the meaning of “to be in debt,” or “to owe somebody” (cf. Matthew
6:12, where it is translated “debtors”; and Matthew 18:24 where it is translated “owed”).
2.
Answer the following question. Is salvation a free gift? Absolutely.
3.
If somebody gives you a gift and then tells you that you have an obligation to do
something because they gave you a gift, is that a “free gift?” Definitely not.
4.
How do you view God? Is God someone who has given you great things without asking
anything in return? Or has He given you great things, but requires something back from
you in return? It’s a great question. What’s your answer?
5A.
Look up and write out the following verses:
Romans 4:4,5. “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but
as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
Romans 11:6. “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would
no longer be grace.”
5B.
Reconcile your answer to (4) with the verses above. There is no getting around the fact
that Romans 8:12 says that believers are obligated. There is also no getting around the
fact that “grace” is a free gift. Here is one possible reconciliation: God gives us a new
nature and His Spirit to indwell us, and He does that “without charge,” independent of
any response on our part, free of either pre- or post-conditions. However, he does hold
us accountable to employ that “free gift” for His glory. Think of it like this. God
makes a huge deposit in our spiritual bank account when we become believers. In
effect, we become “spiritual millionaires.” The deposit is irrevocable and will never be
recalled. Since there is nothing we did to earn it, there is nothing we can do to lose it.
That is the free gift/grace part. However, God does expect us to “spend” that deposit.
He does not give us His money just so it can collect dust in the bank. Further, he holds
us accountable to spend His money. This is the obligation part. The gift is “free” in
the sense that God does not charge us for its use. However, we are obligated to use it,
and if we do not, God will hold us accountable (i.e., there is something called “the
believer’s judgment” in which Christians will be judged with respect to how they
employed God’s gifts—cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-15).
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Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 8:13.
2A.
Read and consider the following verses:
Romans 6:22,23. “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive
your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of
sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2B.
When it says in Romans 6:23 that the “wages of sin is death,” does it mean that sin leads
to physical death? Does it mean that sin leads to damnation? What does it mean?
(HINT: Review the study from Week 8, Day 5.) As discussed in Week 8, Day 5’s
lesson, we can substitute “spiritual death” for “death” in Romans 6:23. Since the
believer’s eternal destiny is secure, “spiritual death” can never mean damnation when
applied to Christians. Instead, it means being divorced or alienated from God.
Spiritual death for a believer means that the believer is on his or her own and,
experientially, has no more resources to live life or experience God than an unbeliever.
2C.
When it says in Romans 6:22 that “you derive your benefit…eternal life,” does it mean
that sanctification leads to physical life? Does it mean that sanctification leads to the
believer going to heaven? What does it mean? (HINT: Review the study from Week 8,
Day 5.) When applied to believers, “eternal life” describes the state of living in
fellowship with God, armed with His resources and enjoying His supernatural
presence in the Christian’s life.
3.
When it says in Romans 8:13 that if “you are living according to the flesh, you must die”
does it mean that sin leads to physical death? Does it mean that sin leads to damnation?
What does it mean? It does not imply physical death and, since this verse is applied to
Christians, “death” in this context cannot mean damnation. Rather, when it says that
if “you are living according to the flesh, you must die”, it means that submitting to sin
breaks fellowship with God, resulting in a loss of His resources and the experiential
enjoyment of His presence in the believer’s life.
4.
When it says in Romans 8:13 that “if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of
the body, you will live,” does it mean that sanctification leads to physical life? Does it
mean that sanctification leads to the believer going to heaven? What does it mean? It is
important first of all to emphasize what this verse is not saying. It is not saying that the
believer works himself into a better situation with God by living more morally. God
fully embraces the believer, not because of anything the believer does, but because of
who the believer really is—a new creature who has the mark of Christ internally (and
eternally!) stamped upon his or her soul. There is nothing the believer can do to
improve his/her standing with God. However, there are things the believer can do to
speed-up the process by which God causes the believer’s true nature to permeate
his/her life. This is what Romans 8:13 refers to when it says that “if by the Spirit you
are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Think of it like this: In a
sense, the new nature that believers receive from God is like an artificial arm or leg
given to an accident victim. Just as the patient needs to learn how to use the prosthetic
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limb, so believers need to “learn” how to use the resources God has made available to
them. When they sin, either by blatantly rebelling against God’s law or by trying to live
that law in the power of the flesh, they fail. When they are “putting to death the deeds
of the body by the Spirit,” they succeed in experiencing the kind of life God intends for
them.
Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 8:14.
2A.
Consider the following verses:
Galatians 3:26-29. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you
who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew
nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you
belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
2B.
Can we conclude, based on Galatians 3:26-29, that anyone who is a believer is a “son of
God?” Absolutely.
3.
3A.
Romans 8:14 states that “those who are being led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Based upon (2), is it fair to say that “if one is being led by the Spirit of God, then they are
a Christian?” Yes.
3B.
Is it possible, maybe even common, for believers to live “according to the flesh,” and not
“according to the Spirit?” In other words, is it possible for believers to not be “led by the
Spirit?” (HINT: What is the context of Romans 8? Other supporting verses include
Galatians 3:3, Galatians 5:16-18, Galatians 5:25.) If it weren’t possible for Christians to
live “according to the flesh,” Paul would not be spending so much time emphasizing
how important it is to live “according to the Spirit.”
3C.
Does Romans 8:14 imply that if one is not being led by the Spirit of God, then they are
not a Christian? It cannot imply that, because if it did, it would directly contradict (2B).
3D.
What does Romans 8:14 mean? It is important to first understand what Romans 8:14
does not mean. It does not mean that if a believer is not living according to the Spirit
that he/she is not a Christian. Nor does it mean that all Christians are led by the Spirit
at all times. What does it mean then? See the next two questions for a possible
answer.
4.
The context of Romans 8 is that Christians are called to live “according to the Spirit.”
Unlike unbelievers, Christians have been given the ability to live righteously because the
Spirit of God indwells them. They therefore have an “obligation” to utilize this
empowerment that God has given all His children. One interpretation of Romans 8:14 is
that when a believer allows himself/herself to be led by the Spirit, they are showing their
“true colors.” They are revealing who they really are; namely, “sons of God.” It’s not
that those who are not living according to the Spirit are not Christians, it’s just that their
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Christianity is disguised. It is not manifestly evident. In contrast, “…all who are being
led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Does this seem like a reasonable
interpretation to you? I find this interpretation very compelling.
5.
Re-read Romans 8:1-14. A possible summary of these verses is that God has empowered
believers with His Spirit to live righteously. Therefore, we have an obligation to display
what He has given us! Do you think this captures the main idea of these verses? Yes I
do!
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 8:15-17.
2.
Why might a Christian interpret their Christianity as a “spirit of slavery?” A Christian
who took seriously the call to live for God could easily become overwhelmed by the
burden of trying to live a holy and God-honoring life.
3.
Look up and write out the following verses:
Matthew 5:48. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Romans 12:1,2. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your
bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of
worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will
is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
1 Peter 1:15,16. “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is
written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
4.
God has incredibly high standards for how he wants His children to live. Given the
difficulty (could we say the impossibility?) of meeting these standards, and the almost
certain probability of failure, how can a believer who earnestly embraces God’s call for
holiness not succumb to a “spirit of slavery?” What does Romans 8:15 say about how a
believer can keep from being overwhelmed and overburdened with the task of trying to
be the person God wants them to be? God has not left us alone to do that which He has
commanded. He has adopted us as children, brought us into His family. Accordingly,
He makes His resources fully available to us so that we can, indeed, be the people God
wants us to be. If we find ourselves falling short of that goal, as we will, the solution
for us is not to work harder and give more effort. Rather, the solution is to appropriate
more of what God has already given us. This takes the pressure off of us to put out for
God.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 8:16,17.
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2A.
2B.
3.
3A.
3B.
4.
Consider the following verses:
1 Peter 1:3,4. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great
mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in
heaven for you…”
All believers are heirs. Just as Abraham was promised an inheritance—real estate in the
Promised Land (cf. Exodus 32:13 and Hebrews 11:8)—so believers are guaranteed an
inheritance—“real estate” in heaven! If all believers are heirs, then why is there an “if”
in Romans 8:17? Why does it say “if indeed we suffer with Him…?” There is an
inheritance that is unrelated to entrance into heaven that is dependent upon our
willingness to suffer with Jesus. What is that inheritance? Work through the
questions below!
There are two “inheritances” implied in Romans 8:17: (i) the inheritance that is promised
all believers; and (ii) Christ’s inheritance, of which we may be co-heirs “if indeed we
suffer with Him”. Among other things, Jesus’ inheritance includes a kingdom that some-but not all--believers will one day help Him rule.
Consider the following verses:
Matthew 19:28. “Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things,
when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit
on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
2 Timothy 2:12. “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also
will deny us…”
Revelation 20:4. “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given
authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their
testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or
his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to
life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
Do you think it is reasonable to conclude from these verses that some believers, based
upon how they live their lives on earth—specifically, if they “share in Christ’s suffering”-will also share in Christ’s inheritance by one day “reigning” with Him during the
Millennial Kingdom? I do.
Why do you think the Holy Spirit, through Paul, concludes this section of Scripture by
focusing attention on the inheritance that awaits believers? How does this fit into the
context of Romans 8:1-14.
Romans 8:1 starts off by saying “There is no
condemnation…” God embraces us in love because He sees His Son when He looks at
us. However, we have an “obligation” to allow that Son to become more visible in our
lives. This will entail suffering, as we by the Spirit “put to death the misdeeds of the
body.” For those who are willing to embrace that life, there are rewards. One of those
rewards is to reign with Christ in the world to come.
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Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 8:12-17.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK THIRTEEN:
8:18-25
We look forward to the future glory that awaits us.
8:26-39
Nothing will keep us from our eternal destinies because God’s love is secure.
Day One:
1.
Read Romans 8:18-25.
2A.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 8:17. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with
Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his
glory.”
Romans 8:18. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the
glory that will be revealed in us.”
Philippians 3:10. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the
fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”
Hebrews 2:9,10. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now
crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he
might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for
whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation
perfect through suffering.”
1 Peter 4:13. “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you
may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
2B.
What are the “present sufferings” that are spoken of in Romans 8:18? One possible
interpretation is given in (3B) below.
2C.
Why do believers “groan inwardly”/”groan within ourselves” (cf. Romans 8:23)? The
verse does not explicitly give the reason for why we “groan within ourselves.”
However, the context suggests that the reason lies in the frustration of having a new
nature that desires to do the will of God at the same time that we have an old nature
that rebels against God. This generates a conflict that distresses the soul of the believer
(cf. Galatians 5:17 below), causing the Christian to long for the day of his/her release.
3A.
Consider the following verses:
Galatians 5:17. “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit
what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do
not do what you want.”
Romans 8:13. “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the
Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…”
3B.
One interpretation of the “present sufferings” is that it relates to the spiritual warfare that
takes place within the believer (cf. Galatians 5:17). God has given believers a new
nature; indeed, Christ Himself indwells us (cf. Romans 8:9-11). Just as Christ suffered in
putting to death the sins of the world, so He suffers in our life in putting to death the
deeds of our sinful nature (cf. Hebrews 2:9,10). We are called to participate in that
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process (cf. Romans 8:13, Romans 8:17, Philippians 3:10, 1 Peter 4:13). Suffering comes
into play both because (i) there is pain in our lives as we put to death fleshly things that
we are addicted to, and (ii) there is frustration at the slowness and difficulty of this
“sanctification” process. Given the context of Romans 8:18-25, does this interpretation
seem reasonable to you? Elaborate. This interpretation makes sense to me. It also
helps to explain the nature of the sufferings of Christ. Ephesians 4:30 commands,
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of
redemption.” The sin in my life distresses not just me, but Jesus who indwells me. I
am called to feel the pain that Jesus endures when I sin—and to participate in the
process of putting that sin to death.
Day Two:
1.
Read Romans 8:18-25.
2A.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 5:2b. “…and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
Romans 8:18. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the
glory that will be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:19. “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be
revealed.”
Romans 8:21. “…that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and
brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
Romans 8:23. “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan
inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
2B.
What is the “Christian’s hope of glory”? (HINT: Review Day One of Week Six.) It is
the expectation that one day we will be “glorified”—a state of being in which our new
natures will be unencumbered to reflect the full power of Christ in our lives.
3A.
3B.
4.
Consider the following verses:
Romans 8:24,25. “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for
why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with
perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
What is it that “we do not see” now, but for which we “eagerly wait?” We do not see the
righteous people that we one day will be. Instead, we “hope” for this day, knowing that
as God’s word is sure, that day will come.
Complete the following sentence: “Right now my life has a lot of sin and spiritual failure
in it, but one day…
…I will be free from this body of death, and I will enjoy a state of holiness and
righteousness and fellowship with God and freedom from sin that I can only dimly
appreciate now.”
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Day Three:
1.
Read Romans 8:26-30.
2.
A number of ministries of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life are mentioned in Chapter 8
of Romans. Look up the following verses and identify the respective activity of the Holy
Spirit:
Romans 8:11: The Holy Spirit “gives life” to “your mortal body.”
Romans 8:13: The Holy Spirit enables us “to put to death” the “deeds of the body.”
Romans 8:16: The Holy Spirit “testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
Romans 8:26: The Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot
express.”
3.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 8:29,30. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the
likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he
predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also
glorified.”
4.
Respond to the following statement: “When it comes to my sanctification, the ultimate
outcome is never in doubt. God will produce His glory in me whether I choose to work
with Him or against Him. In the end, it doesn’t matter what I do.” While I can choose to
either work with God or against Him, it is true that, in the end, God’s will for me will
prevail. He has implanted Himself in my life. His Spirit works in my life, permeating
my being, eventually causing God’s righteousness to be manifested in my life. This
process is inevitable, for “those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also
justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
Day Four:
1.
Read Romans 8:31-34.
2.
Write out the following verses:
Romans 8:33,34. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It
is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than
that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Romans 14:4. “Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he
stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
3.
Complete the following sentence: “Though I fail in many ways and my spiritual life is far
from where I know it should be (and where I want it to be), yet I am free from reproach
from myself and others because…
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…God Himself has invested all of His resources to ensure that I will become the
person He wants me to be.”
4.
When you think of God, do you think of Him primarily as someone who places demands
on you? Or do you think of Him as one who is primarily a giver rather than a taker in
your relationship? Be honest. It depends what day you catch me! I often revert to a
default belief that God has saddled me with burdens and responsibilities that I need to
live up to. Yet, when I am confronted with the Word of God, I am encouraged by the
reality, and I believe it, that God certainly doesn’t look at things that way. He has
given me, and is giving me, everything I need to be the person that I—at the core of my
being—want to be: somebody who desires to know God better and who wants to be
pleasing to Him in my thoughts and actions.
5.
How does your answer to (4) fit in with Romans 8:32? God is a God with great
expectations about who we should be and how we should live. For that reason, one
could think of God as being demanding—i.e., a “taker.” But that is not what Scripture
teaches. God is a “giver” (cf. Romans 8:32!). He is a “giver” because in living our
lives, He does not expect us to “use” anything apart from what He has given us. And
even if we allow our sinful natures to dominate our behavior and fight Him every step
of the way, He will do it all to make sure that we become glorified children who reflect
their Father’s image.
Day Five:
1.
Read Romans 8:35-39.
2.
After asking “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Paul continues the question
by asking “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril,
or sword?” This is surprising. If Paul were thinking merely of events you would think he
would have asked “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” instead of “Who…”
This suggests that the tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, etc. are the results of
attacks by spiritual enemies working against Christians. What evidence do you see in
verse 36 to support this interpretation? Verse 36 begins, “For your (i.e., God’s) sake…”
In other words, these hardships are targeted towards Christians by enemies of God.
3.
Why might Christians think that they had become “separated” from the love of Christ
when faced with persecution for their faith? It is easy to start thinking that if God really
loved me, He would protect me from hardships and sufferings.
4.
Does God’s love guarantee that we will be spared difficult circumstances? These verses
clearly teach that that even though God loves us, He never guarantees that believers
will be spared difficult circumstances. In fact, 2 Timothy 3:12 states, “In fact,
everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”
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5A.
5B.
The word that is translated “conquer” in verse 37 is the Greek word “nikaö”, which can
also be translated as “overcome.” Consider the following verses:
1 John 5:4,5. “…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that
has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who
believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
According to verse 37, God’s love guarantees that we “overwhelmingly conquer”
(NASB)/”we are more than conquerors” (NIV) in “all these things.” What do you think
this means? The ultimate “destination” of the believer is glorification (cf. Romans
8:28-30). Despite the hardships that may be directed towards believers by the enemies
of God, God’s purposes in our lives will not be thwarted. We will overcome these
difficulties--indeed, “overwhelmingly conquer” these difficulties--as God leads us
towards our ultimate spiritual destination.
Day Six:
1.
Reread Romans 8:18-39.
2.
What did you learn about God this week that was either new or especially impacting for
you?
3.
Can you think of some personal applications from what you learned this week?
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WEEK FOURTEEN:
Day One-Day Five:
1.
Read through Chapters 1-8 of Romans several times.
2.
Read through the outline below and see if you can find a succinct “heading” for each of
the indicated sections of Romans. Try and write your headings so that by reading them,
one after the other, you can “walk through” the main ideas in the Epistle to the Romans.
(Feel free to rearrange sections, or come up with your own outline if you’d like.)
HEADING:
1:1-6
1:7-14
1:16,17
The Apostle Paul and Why He Wants to Preach the Gospel
An introduction to Paul.
The reason Paul wants to preach the gospel in Rome.
The power of the gospel.
HEADING: God’s Wrath Is Directed Against Sinners
1:18-32
The wrath of God.
2:1-8
Every one who judges others is condemned.
HEADING:
2:9-16
2:17-29
3:1-2
3:3-8
Jews Are Not Exempt From God’s Wrath
God will judge Jews the same as Gentiles.
Jews should not think that they are exempt from God’s judgment.
What is the advantage of being a Jew?
The unbelief of the Jews only proves the truth of God’s righteousness.
HEADING: There Is Only One Way To Be Righteous In God’s Eyes—And That Is To
Accept His Righteousness By Faith
3:9-18
No person can claim to be righteous before God.
3:19-31
Righteousness does not come through the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ.
4:1-25
Righteousness by faith was illustrated by Abraham for our benefit.
HEADING: God’s Grace Will Enable Us To Live Righteously
5:1-5
We have been made to be glorified.
5:6-21
Jesus Christ will enable us to live righteously.
HEADING: Released From the Slavery of Sin
6:1-11
Consider yourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ.
6:12-23
Present your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
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HEADING: Released From Living By Law
7:1-4
We are no longer under Law.
7:5-13
Sin, operating through the Law, produces spiritual death.
HEADING: Trapped In a Body of Death
7:14-24
We are trapped in a body of death.
HEADING:
7:25-8:4
8:5-11
8:12-17
Live According To The Spirit
Jesus Christ has released us from spiritual death.
We have the Spirit of God in us.
We are under obligation to live according to the Spirit.
HEADING: God Will Bring Us To Glory
8:18-25
We look forward to the future glory that awaits us.
8:26-39
Nothing will keep us from our eternal destinies because God’s love is secure.
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