BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 4: Romans 11:33-34

Summary of passage:  We humans are too stupid to know God’s wisdom and knowledge.

Questions:

9)  “Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?”  Answer:  No one.

10)  People often think they are greater than themselves.  They are blinded by pride and believe they can do no wrong.  They believe they have all the answers and don’t need help.  God points out in Job how He designed everything and virtually challenges him to do better than God.  After having experienced the Lord, Job admits he is no better than dust.  Job is the ultimate example of unfairness as is Jesus.  However, both have happy endings–something only God knows.

David explains in Psalm how lowly we are when compared with the God who created the universe.  Isaiah takes this even further by saying we are but dust in comparison to God and nothing.  Why waste time complaining when we have no knowledge of God’s ways?  He gives us strength and hope to continue on the path only He knows.

We believe we can do it all when in reality we do nothing at all.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting to know God’s in control and I don’t have to worry about things or others or their well-being.  God is in control of my relatives and my kids and our health and well-being.  It’s good to know He’s the one who prospers me, and not myself.  This is definitely a work in progress–letting go of things and giving God control.  But every day I become more like Jesus.  I need to trust God to bring me clients.  I need to trust God to put me where he wants me in terms of jobs.  I need to trust God to grow this blog how He sees fit.  I need to trust God to guide me always.  I need to trust God in the little things as well that I fret over that I shouldn’t (which I’m much better at doing).  I need to know God is there, doing everything, always and forever, and all I have to do is listen.

Conclusions: Another good lesson on the pride of man and how we are as little as ants and as helpless as newborns.  We know nothing and do nothing.  Only God knows it all and does it all.  Good lesson to keep us all humble!

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]

Paul is reflecting upon God’s overarching plan for the ages and all of mankind.  Paul realizes and states here how God’s ways are beyond men and we have no hope of figuring out His plan for the future.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond him.

The quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.

You’ll never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you.  His is a debt only Jesus can clear.

The plan is God’s.  Only He can accomplish this plan.  All for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure.

The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13 Day 3: Romans 8:5-11

 Summary of passage:  There are those who live according to sin and those who live according to the Spirit.  The sinful mind rebels against God.  The Spirit mind obeys God and experience life and peace.  The Spirit lives within those who belong to Christ.  Our Spirit is alive by righteousness and God will give life to our mortal bodies through the Spirit as well.

Questions:

6)  Those who live according to the sinful nature and those who live according  to the Spirit.  Sinful nature people have their minds set on what nature desires.  These people are set on death and hostile to God and do not submit to God’s law.  They can never please God.  Spirit people have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  Spirit people live in life and peace.

7)  Part personal Question we’ve answered before:  The fruits produced by the Spirit are:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  The mind is focused on heavenly things not earthly things.  I hope others say they see God in me, but I can never be sure since in my mind I fail too much daily to be Godly.

8 )  Part personal Question that doesn’t necessarily encourage me today:  Your spirit is alive through righteousness and your physical body will rise as well through the Spirit.  We are controlled by the Spirit, not by our sinful nature.  All who have the Spirit belong to God/Christ.  In general, I’m encouraged every day by the Spirit that lives in me, who guides me, and empowers me to get out of bed every day and face this fallen world that sometimes weighs me down with its brokenness.  It’s hard to put into words God’s amazingness.

Conclusions:  Question 6 you can basically copy verbatim verses 5-8 and have the answer.  Basically, if you have Christ, you have the Spirit.  The Spirit is God’s gift to us to guide us, lead us, be with us, comfort us, and strengthen us–to have God with us always.

End Notes:  You know if you’re in the Spirit or the flesh by where your mind is.  The flesh or sinful mind battles against God because it does not want to submit.  The law is powerless to help us in this battle.  You will never please God as long as the flesh is winning.

With the gift of the Holy Spirit, believers have the power to defeat the flesh.  If you are a Christian, you have the Spirit.  If not, you do not.  Simple.

However, you may still miss out on living the Christian life because you are not in tune with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

How do you know if you have the Spirit?  Are you striving to be more like Jesus every day?

Our Spirit is alive because of Jesus abiding inside us and we will experience resurrection in the Last Days because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 8, Day 3: Romans 5:3-5

Summary of passage:  We rejoice in our sufferings since suffering produces perseverance, character and hope.  God has given us the Holy Spirit whereby He pours out His love to us.

Questions:

6a)  Believers rejoice in suffering because suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope.  This is all because of God’s love poured out unto us by the Holy Spirit.

b) Personal Question. My answer:  If we didn’t suffer, we wouldn’t need God as much.  We seek Him more and seek to understand Him and His ways more in our suffering.  Otherwise, we’d be complacent in our faith.  I refuse to give up.  I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  All through God’s power.  Some days are rougher than others.  But keeping Him my focus and my light guides my way.

7)  God is with us always through the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we’re broken, the Holy Spirit puts the pieces back together.  It leads and we follow. Our path in life is taken care of.  Worries fall away and God shines.  Hope is the promise of a better tomorrow.  We all know where we’re spend eternity—the ultimate hope.  Everyday hope is where we find the peace of God in our steps.  It’s the courage to get out of bed in the morning and the courage to face the day.  Hope.

Conclusions:  One of the most often quoted verses in the Bible.  We all need a bit more perseverance, character, and hope and the daily struggle to achieve that is what makes life worth living.

End Notes:  Continuing from verse 3 where Paul says to rejoice  in the hope he now says to rejoice in tribulations (real hardships) in life.  Paul knows what he’s talking about, having been persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, etc.  These tribulations give us endurance (perseverance) to grow in our faith with God.

Hope is the confident expectation and blessed assurance of our future destiny and is based on God’s love, which is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and objectively demonstrated to us in the death of Christ.  Paul moves from faith (verse1) to hope (verse 2, 4-5), to love (verse 5).

Tribulations give us more character and more hope.  The easy life does not.  We must be stressed (like muscles in the body) in order to grow.

God pours His live into us through the Holy Spirit, which continues to live in us.

Everyone who is a Christian has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). But not every Christian lives in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and not every Christian walks in the Spirit (Romans 8:4-5).  Which are you?

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 7, Day 4: Romans 4:9-15

Summary of passage:  In essence, Paul says it does not matter if you are circumcised or when.  All that matters is you accept Christ.  Then and only then will you be credited as righteous by God.  The law does not matter; only faith.

Questions:

9)  Abraham was 99 when God gave him the sign of the covenant of circumcision.  He was 86 when he had Ishmael.  He had been in Canaan 10 years since he was declared righteous.  So it was 23 years between credited as righteous and circumcision.  Galatians tells us it was 430 years after this that the Law was given.  Paul argues that circumcision does not matter because Abraham was declared righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.  So fast-forward to first century AD and circumcision still is not required to be credited as righteous by God.

10a)  Most of the time people become complacent and fall into sin if that’s their excuse for sin.  God’s measure of righteousness is faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to becoming more like Jesus.  Obedience has value since we must be obedient to God and to His word.  Depends on the sign as well.  However, it’s when you only depend on the sign or obedience for your salvation that you’re in trouble.  Paul says ultimately none of that matters:  only Jesus matters.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m righteous (and this is a dumb question) because I accept Jesus as my Savior. We spent all of last week on how we are righteous through faith and now all of this week.  It’s simple:  if you accept Jesus died as your Savior through faith, you are credited as righteous.  If you don’t, then you’re not righteous.

End Notes:  In Chapter 4, Paul is trying to make a theological point:  all that matters is faith.  He starts with Abraham who lived hundreds of years before Moses and the coming of the Old Testament law.  Abraham pleased God how we do:  through faith.  The Old Testament law was never meant to bridge the gap between God and people. Only Jesus can do that.  The point of the law was to show people/us our need for a Savior (Christ) and redemption. The law showed us that need.

Paul’s point is because circumcision is not a requirement to be counted as righteous then the Gentiles can be counted as righteous as well.  He uses Abraham to prove this point because Abraham was counted as righteous with God in the Bible 14 years BEFORE he was circumcised.

For the Jews of the day, many of them were convinced you had to be circumcised before you could be counted as righteous.  This is whom Paul is addressing.  They also believed Jews only could call Abraham their father.  Again, Paul says no.  Abraham is the father of all those who believe.

All of God’s promises to Abraham were given before the Law.  Hence, they had to be based on faith.  The problem with the law is man is unable to keep it (hence, Jesus Christ, and a reason for God’s wrath).  And hence, faith only.

Transgressions (or an act that goes against a law) come down to trust and love and the heart.  You can sin without breaking a law or transgressing.  What matters to God is are we breaking trust and love with Him.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 7, Day 3: Romans 4:6-8

Summary of passage:  Paul quotes David who says he whom the Lord forgives and counts as righteous is blessed.

Questions:

6)  David sinned against the Lord but he repents and is forgiven.

7)  The Lord does not hold our sins against us.  He forgives us if we repent.  We are forgiven.  We all sin but what matters most is accepting the consequences, admitting it, and moving on in God’s way.

8 )  Too many to list (not that you all care anyways–most are mundane).  The joy of forgiveness is living in the present moment, not the past.  Letting go of all guilt, putting that on Jesus, and accepting his sacrifice for me.  Living for now for Him is joy.  Being grateful every day for my life and for Christ.  Walking deeper with God.  Trying harder to be more like Jesus.  Praying.  Learning.  Growing.  Sharing.  That’s how Christ wants us to express thankfulness for him.

Conclusions: Short passage again.  Another pillar of God (David–the man after God’s own heart–1 Samuel 13:14) is justified by God alone as well.

End Notes:  David understood that he could not earn righteousness.  It is a gift from God.  And we are blessed when we are cleansed.

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 5, Day 5: Romans 3:25-26

Summary of passage:  God granted us redemption through Jesus’s death on the cross through his blood in order to demonstrate his justice.

Questions:

11)  It’s the utter test of belief in God.  Do you believe in His Son?  Yes or no.  This is just.  If not, hell.  If yes, eternity.  This is as clear-cut as justice gets.  Paul answers this question in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Because I have faith in Jesus who justified all believers by taking our sins upon himself, absolving me of sin, releasing me of its penalty, and restoring me as righteous with God.  Share it with all.

Conclusions:  Let’s not forget that just because we are free from sin and the penalty of sin that we’re free to do anything we wish.  On the contrary, it is our obligation and responsibility to live as righteous people, devoted to the service of what God declares to be right.

End Notes:  These are yesterday’s End Notes since it covers the same passage.

Christ was our substitute sacrifice/atonement/propitiation so God could demonstrate His righteousness in judgment.  Propitiation is in all cultures.  It’s the act of appeasing the gods and the gods’s anger against mankind through a sacrifice of some kind.  Aztecs, Mayas, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Native Americans, etc.

The ancient Greek word for propitiation (hilasterion) is also used in the Septuagint for the mercy seat, the lid covering the Ark of the Covenant, upon which sacrificial blood was sprinkled as an atonement for sin. While it might be said that this passage means “Jesus is our mercy seat,” it probably has the more straightforward idea of propitiation – a substitute sacrifice.

Inside the Ark of the Covenant was the evidence of man’s great sin: the tablets of law; the manna received ungratefully; the budded rod of Aaron, showing man’s rejection of God’s leadership. The Ark was decorated with golden cherubim as symbols of God’s holy presence.  In between the cherubim stood the mercy seat, and as sacrificial blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), God’s wrath was averted because a substitute had been slain on behalf of sinners coming by faith.  Jesus is our “mercy seat,” standing between guilty sinners and the holiness of God.

God willingly gives His Son.  He wants us with Him!

God no longer passed over sin with the temporary OT sacrifice of animal blood.  He freed us forever from sin with Jesus’s sacrifice.  Jesus paid the price.

At the cross, God demonstrated His righteousness by offering man justification (a legal verdict of “not guilty”), while remaining completely just (because the righteous penalty of sin had been paid at the cross).

Clarke states:  God “Of his justice, in requiring a sacrifice, and absolutely refusing to give salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing the sacrifice which his justice required.”

Concluding Note to Lesson 5:  Paul opens with one of the darkest summaries in the Bible:  “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10 and echoing the OT from Ecclesiastes 7:20).  But there is hope:  Christ. Verses 21-31 is a compact expression of the core message of the gospel.  God is so, so good!