BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 17, Day 2: Romans 9:30-33

Summary of passage:  Israel has been denied righteousness because they pursued it by works.  The Gentiles were granted righteousness because they had faith.  This is all according to God’s will.

Questions:

3)  Israel tried to earn righteousness by works and were denied.  The Gentiles had faith and were thus granted righteousness by God.

4)  Pursuing righteous behavior is trying to be more like Jesus, obeying God’s calling and His rules.  Only God can grant us righteous standing.  That is, only He can tell us if our behavior is right or wrong and give His stamp of approval or not.  We cannot make ourselves righteous before God.  Faith is what we need to be granted righteousness.  Faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Savior.  Without faith all you do is meaningless.

5)  A crucified Savior–Jesus Christ.  The fact Jesus died for our sins and his death covers our sins and saves us and thereby accepting this fact you are saved eternally.  Simple concept.  Hard to accept in its simplicity.

Conclusions:  Paul’s conclusion to Chapter 9, saying faith is the way to righteousness, not works, no matter who you are.

End Notes:  Israel missed the Messiah because they refused to come by faith.  The Gentiles found righteousness even though they weren’t necessarily seeking it.  Israel tried to work for the righteousness of God and couldn’t find it.  The Jews tried to justify themselves before God by performing works according to the law of righteousness instead of the righteousness of faith.  The Jews needed to seek righteousness by faith.

Paul does not use God as an excuse here and His right to choose.  Nope.  It’s all on the Israelites; they did not seek it by faith.  This is Paul presenting the problem from the side of human responsibility and not from the side of God’s right to choose.  Both are responsible for Israel’s unsaved state.

Israel was rejected because she failed to obey her own God-given law, which in reality was pointing to Christ.  She disobeyed, pursued the law–not by faith but by works–failing to believe.  Hence, God rejected Israel.

Paul has already shown in Romans that the only possible way to be saved is through faith, not the works of the law; and that this salvation comes only through the work of a crucified Savior – which was a stumbling block to Israel (1 Corinthians 1:22-23).

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 2: Romans 9:1-5

Summary of passage:  Paul is lamenting how the Jews have not accepted Christ as their Savior and he says how he’d give up his relationship with Christ for their sakes.

Questions:

3)  The truth in this passage is that the people of Israel are God’s chosen people.  The truth Paul is going to talk about in the rest of Romans 9 is how the Jews are not saved because they don’t believe in Christ.  He is grieving how they have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Moses and Jesus were the same way:  wanting all to come to God, praying for them, and willing to sacrifice his life for them.  See Galatians 3:13.

4a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Cursed is condemned here probably to eternal damnation.  No believer will ever be cut off from Christ (which we just studied LAST LESSON).  Paul’s point is he wants all to come to Christ.

b)  We should always be praying for unbelievers, grieve for them, and desire them to turn to Christ.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I was raised a Christian so it’s been a relatively easy journey to Christ.  It’s easier as a child when you’re not bogged down with life’s junk to choose him.  I could always be doing more for God’s kingdom.  Give Him the credit more.  Talk about Him more.  Evangelize more.  I myself could be closer to God as well personally and spiritually.

Conclusions:  We see Paul’s heart here.  He loves his people so much he’d sacrifice his eternity for them.  That’s powerful!  What a motivator for us when we encounter unbelievers either in our own circle of family and friends or those on the street.  We need more heart for them!

End Notes:  Chapter 9 brings a slight shift in focus to the Book of Romans.

In Romans chapters one through eight, Paul thoroughly convinced us about man’s need and God’s glorious provision in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

Now in Romans 9-11 Paul deals with the problem associated with the condition of Israel. What does it mean that Israel has missed its Messiah? What does this say about God? What does it say about Israel? What does it say about our present position in God?

In essence, how can I be secure in God’s love and salvation to me when it seems that Israel was once loved and saved, but now seems to be rejected and cursed? Will God also reject and curse me one day?

If God cannot bring his ancient people into salvation, how do Christians know that he can save them? Paul is not here proceeding to a new and unrelated subject. These three chapters are part of the way Paul will make plain how God in fact saves people.

Paul left us at the end of Chapter 8 on a high note:  nothing can separate us from God.  Now, he turns somber as he considers the Jews, God’s chosen people, who are separated from God.

Consider this:  Paul was concerned about the souls of men.  What does this say about your worries over what others think of you, the guy who cut you off in line, the increasing number of wrinkles on your face, the neighbor’s hideous lawn ornaments, your mother-in-laws quirks and fallacies, and any other daily or not-so-daily petty worry?  Worry about the souls of men and these will all disappear.

Consider this as well:  The Jews are Paul’s persecutors.  They (along with the Romans) are the ones casting stones, running him out of towns and villages, and beating him.  Yet Paul still has this much heart for them.

For us average people, it’s hard for us to grasp this deep love and heart like Paul, Moses, and Jesus had.  But this love is something we can build up and increase daily as we walk with Christ.  He can do all things in us!

Paul lists how privileged the Jews are/were in having the law, covenants, promises, etc.  They even had the divine glory (this is God in the cloud that led Israel out of Egypt Exodus 16:7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23; Numbers 16:19), God Himself, with them.  All the patriarchs are Jews and Jesus himself is a Jew from the nation of Israel.

Conscience is reliable only when enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

People of Israel:  The descendants of Jacob (who was renamed Israel by God in Genesis 32:28).  The name referred to the entire nation (Judges 5:7), then of the northern kingdom after the nation was divided (1 Kings 12) with the Southern kingdom being called Judah.  After this time and later in New Testament times, Palestinian Jews used the title to indicate they were the chosen people of God,

Paul is about to show that despite Israel’s unbelief and disobedience, God’s promises to her are still valid.

Adopted as sons:  Israel had been accepted as God’s son (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1).

Covenants:  Genesis 15:17-21; 17:1-8; Exodus 19:5; 24:1-4; Deuteronomy 29:1-15; Josiah 8:30-35; 24; Numbers 25:12-13; Jeremiah 33:21; Malachi 2:4-5; 2 Samuel 7; 23:5; Psalm 89:3-4, 28-29, 132:11-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34

Promises:  Genesis 12:7; 13:14-17; 17:5-8; 22:16-18; 2 Samuel 7:12, 16; Psalm 110; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5; 31:31-34; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; Daniel 9:25-27; Micah 5:1-4; Zechariah 9:9-10

Patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons.

IMPORTANT FACT:  Verse 5 has Paul stating that JESUS IS GOD.  No where else is this written in Romans and some scholars even argue if this is in fact what Paul meant (Interesting commentary on this verse HERE)

Other passages explicitly or implicitly affirming the deity of Christ:  Romans 1:4; 10:9; Matthew 1:23; 28:19; Luke 1:35; 5:20-21; John 1:3, 10, 14, 18; 5:18; 8:58; 20:28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15-20;2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:2-3, 6, 8; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:13-18; 22:13

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 12, Day 3: Romans 7:7-13

Summary of passage: The law reveals what sin is as man’s natural tendency is to break the law.  The law defined sin and therefore gave birth to sin and with sin the consequence of death ensued.

Questions:

6)  The law reveals what sin is as man’s natural tendency is to break the law.  The law defined sin and therefore gave birth to sin and with sin the consequence of death ensued.  Sin uses the law to cause us to rebel more.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All sin is harmful, period.  In short, sin draws me away from God.  That’s the most potent consequence.  The rest is varied based on the sin.  You can both spiritually and emotionally harm your body, mind, and emotions.  Sin reveals what God is not and does not want and magnifies His holiness.  I respond by obeying Him with reverent awe.

Conclusions:  2 questions on some of the most key verses in all of the Bible.

End Notes:  Paul is now answering the question raised, “Well if the law is bad, is the law sin?”  Paul says, “No.  The law is good because it reveals sin to us.”  Sin, however, corrupts the law because of our natural tendency to break what is forbidden to us.  The desire is awakened by the prohibition.  Look at Prohibition in the United States.  Once a law is instituted we want to break it.

The word opportunity in the original is a military term meaning a base of operations where sin is awaiting a chance to spring from.

The weakness isn’t the law–it’s us.  We took something good–God’s law–and turned it to evil.

Paul was once alive because he didn’t know or understand the law like children.  He had not been put to death yet because of the law.  With the knowledge of law, it excited our rebellion, bringing sin and death.  Paul is either referring to the time before his bar mitzvah or before his conversion where the true rigor of the law became clear to him (Luke 18:20-21; Philippians 3:6).

The law does not deceive us.  It’s the sin that uses the law to cause us to rebel.  The truth sets us free from the deception of the law (John 8:32).

Sin kills us.  Satan tries to twist this by making sin seem like a good thing that God merely wants to deprive us of (Eve, anyone?)

There is nothing wrong with the law.  The law is holy.  The problem lies within man.  However, because of man’s nature, sin ends up corrupting the law so we must die to both (Romans 6:2; 7:4).

The law, however, is good because it makes our sin more pronounced so we recognize it!

Sin becomes utterly sinful by hiding within God’s good laws.

Explanation on BSF’s note (Romans 7:13-25):  Whether Paul is describing a Christian or non-Christian experience here has been hotly debated through the centuries.

Argument supporting non-Christian life:

  1. The use of the phrases such as “sold as a slave to sin”, “I know that good itself does not dwell in me” and “What a wretched man I am” which do not seem to describe a Christian experience
  2. the contrast between chapters 7 & 8, making it difficult for the other view to be credible
  3. the problem of the value of conversion if one ends up in spiritual misery.

Argument supporting Christian life:

  1. the use of the present tense throughout the passage
  2. Paul’s humble opinion of himself (vs 18)
  3. his high regard for God’s law (vs 14, 16)
  4. the location of this passage in the section of Romans where Paul is dealing with sanctification–the growth of the Christian in holiness.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 11, Day 3: Romans 6:15-16

Summary of passage:  Paul concludes again that we don’t sin just because God forgives.  We are like slaves and we are slaves to the one we obey.  It’s up to us if it’s God (who leads to righteousness) or Satan (who leads to death).

Questions:

6)  Paul starts by asking us what do we say and conclude.  In verse 1, Paul is focusing on the argument that one goes on sinning so grace may increase.  In verse 15, Paul focuses on the fact we should sin because we are under grace and forgiven.  Also, note the subtle difference in verb tense (more pronounced in the ancient Greek:  “go on sinning” and “sin”.  Verse 1 is talking about perpetual sinning.  Verse 15 is speaking of an occasional sin here and there.  More explanation in End Notes.

7a)  Under Satan, you will forever sin because of human nature.  Under God who offers us righteousness through grace we are forgiven and our sins are washed away.  We are free from our sins and will thus serve righteousness instead of sin.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Slave to righteousness because I accept Jesus as my Savior who through God’s grace forgives my sins, cleanses me, and thus makes me righteous before God.

Conclusions:  I groaned on 7b and felt like a school kid forced to recite the class rules for the thousandth time.  It’s basically asking you if you’re saved.  A yes or no would have sufficed or better yet a question on the passage.

End Notes:   Wuest explains the verb tense in verse 1 & 15:  “The verb in verse one is in the present subjunctive, speaking of habitual, continuous action. The verb in verse fifteen is in the aorist subjunctive, referring to a single act.”  Again, the answer is no.  Sin and a saved life do not go hand in hand.

Paul is saying in verse 16 that you serve someone so why not Christ instead of the devil (obedience versus sin)?  You can apply this across the spectrum such as slave to food or others’ approval or success or wealth, etc.

It seems the question came from those who were afraid that the doctrine of justification by faith alone will remove all moral restraint.  Paul rejects this idea and shows in the following verses how Christians don’t throw morality to the wind.  Instead, they exchange sin for righteousness as their master.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 9, Day 2: Romans 5:12-14

Summary of passage:  Sin entered the world through Adam and death as a consequence.  Death and sin has been in the world ever since.

Questions:

3)  Adam.  In Genesis (not in this passage in Romans), God warns Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because he will die if he does.  God curses man because of this sin, initiating death to all of mankind and enmity (the devil) into the world.  Pain in childbirth came and man was cursed to work for his food.  Man was banished from the Garden of Eden forever and under sin forever.

4)  That people are born good.  We are all born sinners.  I believe this because we are told so in the Bible multiple times (like verse 12) and because of man’s nature–selfish, prideful, greedy, lustful, etc.  After Original sin of Adam, all were born sinners.

Conclusions:  I realize we gotta spread 16 chapters of Romans out over 30 weeks, but this was another “duh” day (as evidenced by the number of extra passages BSF had to send us to).  If you’re a Christian, question 4 was dumb.  Everyone wants to think they’re good, but deep down we’re evil.  Only Christ makes us good.  I fail every day and I readily acknowledge that.  It’s a good way to stay humble.

End Notes:  Romans 5:12-21 is a contrast between Adam and Christ.  Adam introduced sin and death into the world; Christ brought righteousness and life.  These two verses sum up the comparison that ends in verse 18.  Furthermore, these two men also sum up the message of the book up to this point:  Adam stands for humanity’s condemnation (1:18-3:20) and Christ stands for the believer’s justification (3:21-5:11).

pattern  Note both are one act: biting the apple (universal ruin), dying on the cross (universal blessing).  What a lesson for us on how powerful (and consequential) our actions can be!

Significantly, Adam is responsible for the fall of the human race, not Eve.  Eve was deceived when she sinned, but Adam sinned with full knowledge (1 Timothy 2:14). Death entered through Adam and has never left.  And it won’t until the Second Coming.

All men are subject to death and therefore subject to sin–even babies–through Adam.

Is this fair?  No.  But is it fair to be made righteous by the work of another man?  Yes!  Since we are made sinners by the work of another man.  If we aren’t made sinners by Adam, then it isn’t fair for us to be made righteous by Jesus.

Most people don’t want to admit babies and kids are sinners.  But think about this:  did you teach your child to be bad?  No.  By nature, they just are.

If babies are sinners, does that mean that they go to hell if they die?  Not necessarily.  First, we know that the children of believers are sanctified by the presence of a believing parent (1 Corinthians 7:14). Secondly, David had the assurance that his baby would meet him in heaven (2 Samuel 12:23). Finally, we know that at the end of it all, God, the judge of the entire world, will do right (Genesis 18:25).

If there are children of unbelieving parents in heaven (we don’t know), it is important to understand that it is not because they are innocent. It’s because of God’s grace and mercy that He let them in.  We are are guilty and undeserving of salvation.  It’s all God!

Sin and death were in the world before the Law was given–even to those who didn’t sin.  However, the Law cannot save us–people still died.  Death still reigned.

Paul says Adam is like Jesus because both were sinless and both brought eternal consequences to the world!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 7, Day 2: Romans 4:1-5

Summary of passage:  Abraham was righteous because he had faith in God.  He was not righteous through works.  This is the truth for all men:  trust God–be righteous.  Rely on works–not gain righteousness through works alone.

Questions:

3)  Abraham believed God.  He obeyed God in all he was told to do (except with regards to Hagar).  He moved.  He circumcised his kids.

4)  Because people have to work to earn those wages.  Gifts are free.  Wages are earned.

5a)  Salvation/eternal life.  Death/hell.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  One of faith.  Reliance on Him for everything.  I have expectations but only because I have faith in God to answer and provide.  I expect Him to show up because He says He will.  I expect Him to answer prayers because He says He does.  I don’t expect anything of God that He doesn’t already promise.

Conclusions:  Good passage by Paul and analogy of what our relationship is supposed to be:  faith.  All of us can relate to working for others.  Great clarity!

End Notes:  Paul is answering his question from Romans 3:31 and he uses Abraham (the George Washington of the Jewish faith and one who is undeniably justified) as his example.  Abraham was accounted as righteous (Genesis 15:6).  He did not earn righteousness.  No one can earn it.  It’s a gift from God as a reward for faith in Him.  The Jewish leaders of the day taught that Abraham earned righteousness.  Before God, Abraham earned no credit.

Remember righteousness is the right relationship with God and the life one leads because of this.  Through faith this righteousness justifies us and we live according to God.

Grace (ancient Greek word charis) means the unmerited favor of God toward sinners who through Jesus Christ provides us with redemption.  Grace maintains Christians throughout their earthly life.

Grace is given. Works are earned.  Works connotes the idea that God owes us because we are good.

God justifies the wicked/ungodly.

All are credited as righteous through faith.  This was not just for Abraham.

There are NOT two ways to salvation – saved by works through law-keeping in the Old Testament and saved by grace through faith in the New Testament. Paul is saying (using Abraham as an example) that everyone who has ever been saved – Old or New Testament – is saved by grace through faith, through their relationship of a trusting love with God.  Because of the New Covenant we have benefits of salvation that Old Testament saints did not have but we do not have a different manner of salvation.

Fun Fact:  Paul uses the Greek word for “credited” 10 times in Chapter 4 alone.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 3: Romans 1:8-10

Summary of passage:  Paul thanks God for the Romans’ faithfulness.  He says how he prays for them constantly and he prays God will allow him to visit them.

Questions:

6)  God through Jesus.  He was grateful for the faith of the Romans.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Serving goes hand-in-hand with prayer.  Prayer should be in the forefront of all of our lives and the decisions we make.

8a)  He prays to be able to visit them by God’s will.  Paul does visit them although as a prisoner.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God answers prayers and it may not be in the way we envision but it’s in His way.  I always ask.  No matter what.  If you don’t ask, God doesn’t answer (Matthew 7:7).  I pray for the impossible and expect the impossible but am not disappointed if it doesn’t happen cause it is in God’s will.  I have faith He’ll do His work through me.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on prayer and gratitude.  Paul is grateful and thankful.  He prays for the prayers answered, people, and prayers he wants answers.  Great prayer model!

End Notes:  Paul is especially grateful because of the visibility of the Roman church.  Rome remember is the most powerful place on the planet.  A strong Christian community goes a long way toward the spread of the good news.  In Rome, where the pagan Roman gods ruled, the Christians were strongly persecuted especially under Nero.  They needed Paul’s prayers!

A lesson to us:  remember to pray for your church as well!