BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 5: Romans 8:35-39

[Last Lesson Before the New Year!  Lesson 16 will be posted the week of January 8th, 2018]

Summary of passage:  Paul says nothing can separate us from the love of God that shines forth in Christ Jesus.  Not trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword.  Not death, life, angels, demons, time, any powers, height or depth.  In all these things we are conquerors with Christ.

Questions:

11)  To encourage us and strengthen us.  He uses a well-known verse that’s pretty dismal and despairing to tell others that Christ now allows us to overcome all evil.

12a)  All are troubles that Christ overcomes and we do as well through Christ.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Knowing God is there during my husband’s job difficulties and in my struggle to find a career path is very comforting.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There’s way too many things that I get angry about or impatient with to list from my kids to other drivers on the road to standing in line to stupid, dopey emails.  I’ve learned a few years ago not to pay much attention to world events or worry over it cause all of that is out of my control.   Nothing can separate us from the love of God that shines forth in Christ Jesus.  Not trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword.  Not death, life, angels, demons, time, any powers, height or depth.  In all these things we are conquerors with Christ.

Conclusions:   So much more here that BSF missed in lieu of personal questions.

End Notes:  Paul’s list is to tell us that no matter what our sufferings are (persecution, famine, etc) we’ll never be separated from the love of God, which makes us conquerors, and suffering actually carries us along toward our ultimate goal:  union with God.

Nakedness meant a lack of clothes, which was a common concern in ancient times.

Sword implies execution. It is the only item on the list that Paul had not yet personally experienced (1 Corinthians 4:1115:30).

Paul’s second list is to emphasize that nothing good or evil can separate us from the love of God.

Conclusions half-way through BSF’s Study of Romans:  This lesson in particular took less time than any other so far this year.  Three weeks on Chapter 8 of Romans was too many.  Over half of the questions these days are personal ones.  Even the notes are dumbed down.  It’s very monotonous and frustrating.  Read my end notes for the lessons where I dive into the passage more.  I encourage you to use BSF as a springboard to do your own study if you are finishing days and weeks and asking yourself if you got anything out of it or not.  BSF is what it is now:  personal, friendly, and superficial.  If you want more, strive for more just like anything in life.  Don’t expect someone else (including BSF) to do it for you.  Let’s see what the next 15 weeks hold!

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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 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!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 2: Romans 8:1-4

Summary of passage:  Those who have Christ Jesus in their hearts are now free from condemnation and live according to the Spirit.  With Jesus’s death believers were set free.  He served as our sin offering forever and did what the law could not do due to man’s sinful nature.

Questions

3a)  Before Jesus’s death, it was not possible to be free from the Law (that is why God’s people lived under the law).  Now, after Jesus’s sacrifice we are free from the Law and under no condemnation or death and are saved.

Condemnation according to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary describes the judgment against someone or treating a person as guilty.  It could also refer to the specific penalty for the guilt.

In this passage, Christ made salvation possible by bearing the sin of men and women, because thus he “condemned sin” (Romans 8:3); that is, he showed the guilt of sin and bore its consequences, so that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

b)  Personal Question I could do without.  My answer:  It doesn’t.  The only changes are the ones I constantly pray/ask for:  to make me more like Jesus.  To catch my shortcomings/sins before they happen.  To not judge or condemn others quickly.  I know I am free and harbor no guilt.

4)  God sent Jesus who brought the Holy Spirit to us to guide us.  God was in charge of sending His Son to save us forever from our sins and implant the Holy Spirit in our hearts to be our guide.

5)  We fulfill the righteous requirements by being washed in the blood of Jesus.  The how is accepting Jesus as our eternal sacrifice.  The Holy Spirit serves as our guide in obedience to God’s “laws” (way we should behave).

Conclusions: Paul finally goes into the Great Hope:  our life now with Jesus as our Savior!  Such a gift God has given us all with the Holy Spirit.  So amazing!

End Notes: Since God the Father does not condemn Jesus, neither can the Father condemn those who are in Jesus. They are not condemned, they will not be condemned, and they cannot be condemned.

The “Therefore” is Paul proving his argument logically.

“In Christ”:  Christ is in believers by His Spirit, and believers are in Christ by faith.

If you are not in Christ, then you are condemned.

Romans 8 is the peace from the conflict of Romans 7.

We are free from the guilt and power of sin.

Paul uses the word “law” in several different ways in Romans.  Here, it means controlling power.  God’s law (Romans 2:17-20; 9:31; 10:3-5).  The Pentateuch (Romans 3:21).  The Old Testament as a whole (Romans 3:19).  Principle (Romans 3:27).

The law guides us and teaches us and we obey out of love of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, but it can never please God nor sanctify us.

Manson said, “Moses’ law has right but not might; sin’s law has might but not right; the law of the Spirit has both right and might.”

The law detects sin; Jesus defeats sin.  The law is weak because of human nature.  Hence, Jesus came “in the likeness of” meaning Jesus can’t be sin in order to defeat sin.  Jesus was righteous and since we are in Jesus we hence are righteous as well.  Jesus is our substitute.

Those who walk according to the Spirit means their life is directed by the Holy Spirit in continued and progressive motion.  Obedience is on display, not rebellion.  The flesh is always present, but it is powerless.

Fun Fact:  Romans 8 begins with no condemnation; it ends with no separation, and in between there is no defeat

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 4: Romans 6:17-18

Summary of passage:  We are freed from sin thanks to our obedience to God.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  You obey because you love God.  You obey out of reverence.  The Holy Spirit abhors sin and you flee towards God and obedience.  The opposite is you have a hard heart and you hate God.  Hence, you disobey and rebel.  Following the rules is going through the motions and is motivated by a fear of repercussions.  God frees us; there are no repercussions if we confess our sins and give them to Jesus.  We want to obey as opposed to being forced to obey.  My actions:  from the heart.

9) The pattern of teaching is the teaching of the Word that is stamped (allegiance) on our heart.

10)  Personal question that I’m sick of answering:  Freedom to pray.  To believe.  To serve.  To evangelize.  Freedom from fear.  Freedom from hell.  Freedom from worry.

Conclusions:  I don’t think BSF changed Question 9 because my NIV version does not use any of the words in quotes.  See my End Notes discussion on God’s mold for us.  Wish BSF would have asked about that instead of Question 10.

End Notes:  Paul puts it in the past tense because we have been freed from our slavery to sin. He also says that we have been set free by faith, which he describes as “wholeheartedly obeyed”.  The faith is put in God’s Word, which he describes as that form of teaching.  With faith in God and His word, you are set free.  Now live every day consistent with that freedom.

In Romans 6, we can be legally free and still choose to live like a prisoner. Paul has a simple command and encouragement for the Christian: be what you are.

Faith comes from the heart, not only the mind, and obedience is the result

The word “form” describes a mold used to shape molten metal. The idea is that God wants to shape us – first He melts us by the work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Then He pours us into His mold of truth – and shapes us into His image.

Adam Clarke on that form of doctrine or teaching: “Here Christianity is represented under the notion of a mould, or die, into which they were cast, and from which they took the impression of its excellence. The figure upon this die is the image of God, righteousness and true holiness, which was stamped on their souls in believing the Gospel and receiving the Holy Ghost. The words . . . refer to the melting of metal, which, when it is liquefied, is cast into the mould, that it may receive the impression that is sunk or cut in the mould; and therefore the words may be literally translated, into which mould of doctrine ye have been cast. They were melted down under the preaching of the word, and then were capable of receiving the stamp of its purity.”

Verse 18 answers the question in verse 15.  Righteousness is now in charge, not sin.  We are born again as slaves (willing servants) to righteousness as Jesus’s death broke the bonds of sin.  We willingly serve Jesus and we never have to sin again although we will as long as we’re in the flesh. It’s resisting one temptation at a time.  We can live free!