BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 3: Romans 8:29-30

Summary of passage:  Christians are conformed to the likeness of Jesus.  They are predestined, called, justified, and glorified.

Questions:

6a)  Foreknew:  God knows who will come to Him and who won’t and He chose believers as well.

Predestined:  Christians are chosen ahead of time. (Also called election).

[Foreknowledge in Biblical terms is also called election and predestination and are frequently lumped together.  For God to predestine is for him to decree or foreordain the circumstances and destiny of people according to His perfect will. For God to elect if for Him to choose for salvation and/or service a people or a person; the choice is based not on merit but on His free, sovereign love.  Taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary].

Called:  We are called by God to be believers.

Justified:  Through Christ’s blood we are able to stand before God.

[We’ve already defined this previously:  Justification is the judicial act of God by which on the basis of the meritorious work of Christ, imputed to the sinner and received through faith, God declares the sinner absolved from sin, released from its penalty, and restored as righteous.  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

Glorified:  Through Christ as well we are glorified.

[We’ve discussed this previously as well:  The glory of God is the worthiness of God, more particularly, the presence of God in the fullness of his attributes in some place or everywhere.  We participate in God’s glory (are able to be worthy) through the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ.  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

b)  God knows everything.  He’s in control.  He called and chose all believers to be like His Son and justified us.  It’s good news because we are like Jesus and we can be with God forever.

7)  Through our sufferings, persecution, and through the Holy Spirit.  Through His Word which teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains us and teaches us obedience.  There’s one main reason:  sin.  Temptation, fleshly desires, selfishness, “it’s too hard”, the excuse of “God will forgive us so what’s the point” that Paul refutes.  Jesus’s life was hard.  We don’t want a hard life.  We want an easy life.  The easy life is sin.  The hard life is following Jesus despite yourself.  A Christian life is and supposed to be uncomfortable and painful.  Man by nature hates this.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Every day is a challenge to be more Christlike and some days I fail miserably.  We are challenged every day to love others, be kind and compassionate, be sympathetic and helpful, be God’s light, and sacrifice for God.  All these little moments in my day are challenges God puts there so little by little I can be more like Christ.  The devil keeps throwing obstacles in my way and God is seeing how much I rely on Him to pull me through.

Conclusions:  Question 6 we’ve seen before and answered before.

End Notes:  Paul explains that God has always planned to save us from beginning to end (predestination).  We work to become more like Christ because that is why God saves us–so that Christ will be of highest honor in the family of God.

God knew us before we knew Him and He knew us before the beginning of the world.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 2: Romans 8:28

Summary of passage:  God works for the good of all Christians.

Questions:

3)  Ultimately, the ability to be with God in His presence forever.  The good is justification, sanctification, and  glorification.  We are conformed to the likeness of Jesus who also intercedes for us.  He gives us all things.  He loves us and grants us eternal life with Him.

4a)  God works for the good of all Christians who have a God-given purpose.  Everything that happens to us has a reason for it even if we can’t see it.  And it’s for our good.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “Lord, I know this suffering is for my good.  Help me to see that as I struggle to overcome it.  Help me to put this in your hands and to trust in your purpose in all things.”

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is good.  God is in control.  God loves me.  God wants me to succeed.  I can put all my pressure, worries, and burdens on God’s shoulders.  I can live the life God wants me to live because of His grace.

Conclusions:  One of the most often quoted verses in the Bible.  It’s fitting we spend a whole day meditating on it.  Can you imagine if we could internalize this in every aspect of our lives what peace we’d have?

End Notes:  Even the difficulties in life are used for God’s overall plan for good.  Nothing can separate us from God’s love.  This verse should be read along with the next two paragraphs as people often think only good things are supposed to happen to us.  Paul says all things together.  For those who love Him and trust Him and He will manage the rest.

This is one of my favorite songs which prominently features this verse.  Enjoy!!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 5: Romans 8:26-27

Summary of passage:  The Holy Spirit helps us and intercedes for us on this side of heaven.

Questions:

11) Part personal Question.  My answer:

Romans 8:26-27:  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, intercedes for us, and guides us in prayer.

Luke 12:12:  The Holy Spirit teaches you what to say.

Acts 1:8:  The Holy Spirit brings you power and is a witness.

Acts 16:6-10; 20:22: The Holy Spirit protects you in various ways such as guiding your path and in some cases preventing you from going places and re-directing you such as in this case with Paul who was prevented from speaking in Asia (probably because it was too dangerous).  The Spirit also compels you to go places as well and warns you of dangers and hardships (Read Acts 20:23) and in Paul’s case, prison.

Ephesians 4:3-4:  Be peaceful with others (especially believers) as you all all one like God the Father.

Ephesians 6:17:  The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (so a weapon) to defend against evil upon you.

1 Corinthians 2:12:  The Spirit imparts God’s wisdom and discernment and knowledge so that we may understand what God has freely given us as well as God’s character, Jesus, the Bible, and all things God desires us to know.

In my life, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent to guide me, protect me, move me from wrongs and nudge me to rights, and comfort me in my daily life.  The Holy Spirit offers me understanding and discernment when I pray and events happen in my life.  The Holy Spirit is power against the devil and strength and fortitude and perseverance.  The Holy Spirit is God within.  How amazing!

12a)  The key here is the definition of “intercede” which is according to Webster’s Dictionary “to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences; mediate.”  Intercession (the noun form of intercede) means “the act of pleading on behalf of someone else.”  God sent the Spirit to plead on behalf of us to Him.  Or God Himself (who is the Holy Spirit) helps by making intercession for us.  The Holy Spirit searches our hearts and guides our prayers according to God’s will.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus and anyone who prays for you:  pastor, friends, family, strangers, etc.  I pray chiefly for family, self, friends, kids, neighbors, and strangers and all who are lost and broken and need Jesus.

Conclusions:  Good lesson on the importance of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives, what the Spirit does for us and its importance, and how we really couldn’t function without it.  I pray quite often when I don’t know what to pray for this:  “God you know what I need, the needs of those around me, and others, please do your Will because I don’t know it.”

End Notes:  “In the same way” connects verses 25 and 26.  As hope sustains believers when they suffer, so the Holy Spirit helps them when they pray.

Verse 23 we saw us groaning.  Here it is the Holy Spirit.

Groans with words that cannot express:  This help from the Spirit may include praying with the spiritual gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:214-15), but it is certainly not limited to praying in an unknown language.  Paul could mean unspoken words as well.

The idea is simply of communication beyond our ability to express. The deep groanings within us cannot be articulated apart from the interceding work of the Holy Spirit.

This, of course, is the purpose of the gift of tongues – to enable us to communicate with God in a manner that is not limited to our own knowledge or ability to articulate our heart before God. The purpose of tongues is not to prove that we are “filled with the Spirit” or to prove that we are especially spiritual.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 4: Romans 8:23-25

Summary of passage:  We groan as we wait for our future glory.  Hope for what we don’t have makes it all the more sweeter when it arrives.

Questions:

9)  We/our bodies groan as we await Jesus’s Second Coming and the freedom he shall bring from death and decay.  Creation also groans (in the previous passage) for the same reasons.

10a)  We hope for what we do not yet have (in this case our future glory and resurrection and end of suffering) patiently.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably the same things we all wait and hope for.  On this side of heaven, an easier/better life away from suffering, pain, anxiety, fear, etc.  On the other side of heaven, Jesus and glory.

Conclusions:  This was merely an exposition on the previous verses as Paul says the same things in different ways with different analogies.

End Notes:  The firstfruits of the Spirit is we have a taste of what is to come as we experience a bit of Jesus’s glory here on earth, but we long for its fulfillment.  Same thing with adoption.  We await its fulfillment (Romans 8:15).  All with perseverance.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in believers is evidence of our present salvation and a pledge of our future inheritance.  We are already God’s children and we await our inheritance in Christ.

The redemption of our bodies (resurrection) is the final stage of our adoption.  We see the first stage in Ephesians 1:5 and the second is us living as God’s children (Romans 8:14 & Galatians 3:25-26).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 3: Romans 8:19-22

Summary of passage:  All of creation (everything outside of man like earth and the animals) awaits Jesus’s Second Coming (the liberation of the bondage man created with the First Sin and the glorious freedom promised).

Questions:

6)  Creation is everything outside of man like the earth and the animals.

7)  Everything is subject to death (the plants and animals).

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus’s Second Coming.  No where does this passage talk about “proper creation care”, “idolizing nature”, or “trusting in people’s efforts to renew the planet” which wasn’t a concern 2000 years ago when Paul wrote these words.  This question does not make sense to me (so if it does to you, please leave a comment) and in my opinion has nothing to do with this passage.  In my life, I have little time to worry about renewing the planet or the few who idolize nature.  Frankly, it’s none of my concern.  I have way too much going on in my own little world to worry about others and their problems.

Conclusions:  I have no clue how BSF got question 8 from this passage besides out of nowhere.  Paul is simply saying everything will be renewed when Christ comes again.  Period.  None of this other stuff.  Baffled to say the least.  The rest of the questions on this lesson as well don’t make much sense.  Worst Lesson of this study so far for me.

End Notes:  Isaiah 11:6-9 describes what will happen in that day as the lion lays with the lamb.

Was subjected to frustration refers to Genesis 3:17-19 and God subjects creation in hope refers to Genesis 3:15.

The physical universe is not destined for destruction (annihilation) but for renewal.  Living things will no longer be subject to death and decay as they are today under the Fallen World.  I think this is BSF’s intended point in Question 8 is to get us to come to this conclusion (basically not to believe the doomsdayers who say the world is going to end–it’s not) but the way BSF went about it was convoluted, befuddled, and confounding.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 2: Romans 8:17-18

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.  Our sufferings are miniscule compared to the glory that awaits us.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul suffered terribly as we all know.  He was imprisoned and murdered by the Romans.  He was tortured and beaten, robbed and stoned.  He was scared for his earthly life most of the time and on the run from persecutors.  He was shipwrecked and starving.  This does not affect my understanding of these verses in any measurable way.  When I suffer, it’s nothing compared to Paul or any other 1st century human.  It’s hard to compare apples to oranges.  All I know is my suffering is miniscule to Paul’s and I try not to complain about it.

That being said disregarding Paul who lived 2000 years ago, Paul’s words are encouraging because in my suffering there is hope and a glory that is unseen.  Suffering is fleeting; glory is forever.  And when you think you have nothing you really have everything.

4a)  The definition of glory according to Webster’s Dictionary is “praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent: renown.  worshipful praise, honor and thanksgiving.  great beauty and splendor; magnificence.”  According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, glory is “Great honor or praise; used especially of God’s majestic splendor; weight, burden, wealth, magnificence, honor.  The glory of God is the worthiness of God or the presence of God in the fullness of his attributes in some place or everywhere.”

b)  2 Corinthians 3:18:  “We all reflect the Lord’s glory and are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Philippians 3:20-21:  Our bodies will be transformed into Jesus’s glorious body.

Colossians 1:27:  Christ in us is the hope of glory and a glorious mystery.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14:  We were called and chosen by God to share in Christ’s glory.

Hebrews 2:10:  Jesus brought us to glory through his suffering and death. (read Hebrews 2:9)

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Suffering and glory go hand in hand.  You can’t have one without the other.  Christ suffered; we suffer.  Christ has glory; we have glory.  You have to suffer in order to have glory.  Suffering is a part of life.  It’s something we have to walk through.  It doesn’t last forever–heaven and Jesus are forever.  In heaven, our glory will shine.  Keeping a heavenly perspective through suffering and keeping faith in Christ gives us/me hope during the trials and tribulations of life and will go a long way towards us getting through suffering here on this side of heaven.  Glory outshines the suffering.

Conclusions:  Every question is outside of this passage.

End Notes:  Our sharing in Christ’s suffering is a condition of our future glorification.

Without a heavenly hope, Paul considered the Christian life foolish and tragic (1 Corinthians 15:19). Yet in light of eternity it is the wisest and best choice anyone can make.

This coming glory will not only be revealed to us, but it will actually be revealed in us.

God has put this glory into the believer right now. In heaven the glory will simply be revealed.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 5: Romans 8:14-17

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.

Questions:

11)  We are Christ-like.  We are heirs of God and Christ and share in his glory.  We relate to God as Christ did.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God knows what we need before we ask. God values us.  He disciplines us so that we can share in His holiness, peace, and righteousness.  We are loved and like God.  God has provided me with everything I need and more.  He cherishes me and takes care of me and loves me.  He grows me.  He walks with me and holds my hand and picks me up when I fall.  God is there always for me.

13)  Personal Question.  My response:  I don’t doubt God’s love.  I don’t understand it, but I know He loves me always.  With Christ, we are with God forever.  There is nothing to fear.  Only love.

Conclusions:  Overall, Lesson 13 was weak with repetitive questions.  Paul repeats himself a lot here and BSF would have been better not spending an entire lesson on these 17 verses.

End Notes: Living under the law brought fear.  Paul says now we are in close kinship with God and call Him Abba!

In the Roman world of the first century AD, an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no inferior in status to a biological son.

Under Roman adoption, the life and standing of the adopted child changed completely. The adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all new rights in his new family; the old life of the adopted son was completely wiped out, with all debts being canceled, with nothing from his past counting against him any more.  Hence, Paul’s listeners would have completely grasped what a privilege this is and its meaning.

Jewish law stated that at the mouth of two or three witnesses everything had to be established (Deuteronomy 17:6). There are two witnesses to our salvation: our own witness and the witness of the Spirit.  We know if we’re God’s children or not.

In sum, we relate to God as Christ did since we are in Christ.  Awesome!