BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 3: Romans 12:4-5

Summary of passage:  All Christians form the body of Christ, acting as a whole with different functions.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The human body.  The body works together for one goal, which is the health and function of the human body.  So are Christians. We all have different functions in the body, working together for Christ.

8 )  Each member depends on the other member to function properly and efficiently.  Each member has its own unique skills, designs, and qualifications to contribute to the smooth functioning of the body.

Conclusions:  Inherently self-explanatory passage.

End Notes:  The church is a unified whole with distinct members.  In the body of Christ there is unity but not uniformity (unity within diversity).  There is a delicate balance between unity and individuality.  Both co-exist but not at the expense of the other.  Christ is our common ground.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 4: Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:3-5; and Ephesians 2:1-2

Summary of passages:  Romans 12:2:  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

Galatians 1:3-5:  This is part of Paul’s greetings to the church of Galatia where he offers up grace and peace from God and Jesus who sacrificed himself for you to rescue us from our sins and this evil age according to God’s will forever.

Ephesians 2:1-2:  Here Paul reminds the church of Ephesus how they were dead in their transgressions and sins when they lived in the world which is ruled by Satan who is still working in those unsaved by Christ.

Questions:

10)  The world is the world system that contains evil and corruption and is opposed to God and rebels against Him.

11)  Those who love the world are not in God.  The world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does.  The world is temporal.  In my own words, the world is anything opposed to God’s Word and His will.  Anything the devil has a hold of.  Any temptation you face.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The world tries to justify sin.  And it puts a high priority on self.  I fight against selfishness every day and it’s hard not to get caught up in doing what “feels good.”  I’ve found putting God at the center of all you do helps to break the influence of the world and re-focus your attention on Him, His ways, His goals and priorities.

Conclusions:  It’s important to realize the influence of the world on yourself, which has some influence if you interact with anyone at all especially unbelievers.  Satan is sneaky and is always seeking your weaknesses.  Use His weapons (the Word, prayer, etc) against him always.

End NotesRomans 12:2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the live that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.

Galatians 1:3-5:  Written by Paul to the churches in Galatia around 50 AD.

“Grace and peace to you”:  This was Paul’s familiar greeting, drawing from the traditional greetings in both Greek culture (grace) and Jewish culture (peace). Paul used this exact phrase five other times in the New Testament.

Fun Fact:  Paul used the word grace more than 100 times in his writings. Among all the other writers of the New Testament, it is only used 55 times. Paul was truly the apostle of grace.

“These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity.” (Martin Luther)

Note the first thing Paul says about Jesus is he gave himself for our sins.  Throughout the epistle Paul points the Galatians to the centrality of the cross. He cannot wait to make this plain, and we find a reference to it in his very first sentence.

Jesus gave. We know from John 3:16 that God the Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Yet God the Father was not the only giver; Jesus also gave. Jesus is a loving, giving God and a loving, giving Savior.

Jesus gave the greatest thing anyone can give–Himself.  There is a sense in which we do not even begin to give until we give ourselves.  Why did Jesus give himself?  For our sins.  If God did not do something to save us, our sins would destroy us. So out of love, Jesus rescues us.

The purpose of Jesus’s sacrifice is to glorify God.  Yes, we are saved.  But it’s for the glory of God.

Ephesians 2:1-2:   Paul ended the last chapter by considering that the ultimate example of God’s power was the resurrection of Jesus. Now Paul considers what the implications of Jesus’ resurrection power are for our life.

Paul is speaking of spiritual death here not physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.  Transgressions is crossing God’s boundaries.  Sins is falling short of God’s standards.

Satan is the ruler of the kingdom of air and is active in those who are disobedient to God.

Once walked is our old self.  We should now feel uncomfortable with sin in our new life.  Satan guided us in the old life.  Now God does.

This is a unique title that speaks to Satan’s authority and realm of influence.

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.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 18, Day 5: Romans 10:18-21

Summary of passage:  Israel heard the Good News, but chose to be disobedient and obstinate.  Instead, the Gentiles believed when the Good News was revealed to them.

Questions:

12) God revealed Himself to the Gentiles in an attempt to make the Israelites jealous and then turn to Him.  Hearing is listening to words but no action.  Understanding is knowing what the words mean but no action.  Believing is taking action and agreeing with the words.  For example, “Go pick up your room.”  My kids hear the command.  They understand it.  Then they ignore me and don’t do it.  Same with God.  “Believe in my Son.”  The Israelites heard this.  They understand it’s meaning.  But they turned their backs on Christ.

13)  The Israelites who did not believe in Christ.  The Gentiles who heard the Good News.

14)  Personal Question we just answered in Question 8.  My repetitive answer: Where is everywhere I encounter others whom He puts in my path whom He desires to be there.  I encourage others just by listening and sharing God’s truths about love and comfort and purpose, etc.

Conclusions:  Paul is saying Israel has no excuse for they have heard the message and declined.

End Notes:  Israel is ignoring God and the prophets, Moses and Isaiah, making them more accountable and responsible.  This, however, God knew.  God’s chosen people ignored Him, all the more heart-breaking to God.  He holds out His hands and they slap it away.  He continues to reach out to His people in spite of their disobedience.  Same for us.  God hurts when we reject Him.

Conclusions BSF Romans Lesson 18:  Not a lot of verses covered and a simple message by Paul:  All have heard the message and it is simply have faith in Christ.  Nice respite and should be fairly quick to complete.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 7, Day 5: Romans 4:16-25

Summary of passage:  The promise of justification by faith is through faith and grace and is guaranteed to all who are of the law and who are of Abraham’s faith.  Abraham is our father though God’s promise to make him a great nation.  He believed God’s promise to give him and Sarah a son when they were both in their nineties.  He was strengthened in his faith and gave God the glory.  Thus, he was credited as righteous.  We are credited as well if we believe in God who raised Jesus from the dead for our sins and our justification.

Questions:

11)  Abraham’s faith did not weaken despite God’s promise that seemed to him impossible of having children.  Because of this his faith grew.  Abraham’s offspring in essence is anyone who believes in Christ.  “Those who are of the faith of Abraham” and “those who are of the law.”

12)  He knew the situation was impossible but Abraham had faith God would do as He said.  Because of this his faith was strengthened.

13)  Personal Question. My answer:  Two things:  my husband is currently in-between jobs so having faith through this transition.  Secondly, I believe I’m on the wrong path again for where God wants me.  Relying on Him to get me through this time until I have the opportunity to do another about-face and find Him again.

Conclusions:  Was anyone else thinking how Paul conveniently left out Hagar and how Abraham’s faith did waver in terms of God’s promise to provide him with kids when it wasn’t happening fast enough for him?

Anyways, Paul’s point is emphasized.  God credits us righteous through faith.  There is nothing man can do or can ever do to earn sanctification.  Nothing.  God in his love and mercy and grace gives it to us.  It’s that easy.  Say “Yes, Lord!” and it’s yours!

End Notes:  Technically speaking, we are saved by God’s grace not our faith.  Faith is the means to earn God’s grace but it is HIM who does it all!

Salvation is of faith.  Of grace through faith.  Nothing you can ever do will get you to God.  It’s all Him!

Think on it:  if it were works or keeping the law, none of us would make it.  We are all sinners.  Hence, our need for a Savior and grace.

Paul is emphasizing again how we are all Abraham’s children if we have Abraham’s faith and thus are all saved by God as such.

God calls us righteous (things) even though we’re not.  He calls the dead (us in sin) to life like He did with Sarah’s womb.

Abraham hoped and believed.  Just because God does it all doesn’t mean we do nothing.  We obey.  Obedience is faith in action.  We do everything with trust and reliance on God.  As we take steps and obey works results. God’s works.

God will bless us in proportion to our faith.  Hence, we attend BSF and bible study–to grow our faith.  The stronger we are, the more God will bless us, the more we shall bless others, the more works of God we will accomplish here on Earth.

When Abraham’s faith did not waver in God and God’s promise to him, God gave him a son.  It wavered with Hagar.   Do you have faith God will do as He says He will do?

The promise to Abraham is a promise to us as well.  Abraham is an example for us to follow.

For clarification sake:  you must believe that Jesus died for your sins on the cross and that he rose from the dead as we shall too in order to be saved.  Period.  You can’t believe in a Jesus who lived a good life or who is a deity.  You must believe in the cross.

The resurrection proves God’s acceptance of what Jesus did on the cross.  He died for our sins.  God accepts Jesus’s sacrifice.  Jesus rises again.  We are justified.

The ancient Greek word translated delivered (paradidomi) was used of casting people into prison or delivering them to justice. “Here it speaks of the judicial act of God the Father delivering God the Son to the justice that required the payment of the penalty for human sin.” (Wuest)

Verse 25 is the cusp of the gospel.  If death had held Jesus, he would have failed.  Since Jesus was raised from death, his sacrifice sufficed, God set his seal upon it by raising him up.” (Lenski)

Salvation is by grace through faith.  The gospel is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and Abraham – justified through faith – is our pattern.

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.