BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 19, Day 3: Romans 11:1-10

Summary of passage:  God did not reject His people.  They have rejected Him, but not all of them.  God has chosen a remnant (the elect) by grace and the others hearts’ were hardened towards Him.

Questions:

6)  Israel sought a law of righteousness.  They did not obtain it because righteousness is by faith, not works.

7 )  Personal Question.  My answer:

Isaiah 29:10-14:  The Lord has blinded some to faith and others He hasn’t.  Many have only a superficial faith–all words with no heart.

Psalm 69:22-26:  Some have eyes that cannot see the Truth and will face God’s wrath.

Matthew 13:12-15:  Jesus spoke in parables in order to reach those who do not understand and have hard hearts.

John 12:37-43:  Many did not believe in Jesus even after his miracles.  God had blinded them to the Truth and deadened their hearts. But some did believe.

Acts 28:24-28:  Paul would preach to the Jews and many would not believe.  Hence, God turned to the Gentiles who would listen.

Conclusions:  Nothing new here.  Many references in the Bible to the same idea:  Many heard the Truth and turned away.  Some believed.  This is true for us today.  Just tell the Truth.  Some will believe; some won’t.  It is God who chooses/elects.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s].  In the Old Testament, the Jews and Israel are God’s elect, those chosen to be those whom God revealed Himself and His will to, and through whom he could exhibit and declare to the world his purposes and salvation.  In the New Testament, Jesus is the Elect One, and through Him the church, replacing the old Israel in the purposes of God.  This new race is mostly composed of poor and ordinary people (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

The question as to whether the Jews are, as a people, still the elect of God is faced by Paul here in Romans 9-11 in the light of the salvation of God in and through Jesus.  In chapters 9 & 10 Paul painfully admits that, on the whole, the Jews did not believe in Christ.  Despite all the advantages of Old Testament history, they “stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone'” (Romans 9:32).  In chapter 11, Paul goes back over that history and asks whether it was futile.  Will the Jews come to believe in Christ some day?  Did their tragic experience produce any advantage for the rest of the world?  This chapter clearly shows God’s eternal love for his chosen people.  Paul will conclude with a poetic outburst, celebrating God’s mysterious ways of working on earth.

Paul answers in Chapter 11:  If Israel’s rejection of the gospel was somehow both consistent with God’s eternal plan (Romans 9:1-29) and Israel’s own choosing (Romans 9:30-10:21), then does this mean that Israel’s fate is settled, and there is no possibility of restoration?  No!

For one, Paul is a Jew and he has been saved. We first look to ourselves for God’s grace.  There is a remnant of Jews who embrace Jesus and like Elijah, God will work through them for the sake of the others.  God often works in small groups and in the first century Jews believers in Christ were small and in Elijah’s time it was just him!

A remnant is “something left over”.  In the Bible, it’s those who would survive God’s judgement and become the new, true Israel.  The elect are those whom God has chosen for salvation out of His great love, not merit.

And it is by God’s grace (not works), and elect was chosen.  God enlightens whom He so chooses because He’s God and can do whatever He wants.  The Jews of Paul’s day were so secure in their idea of being the chosen people that the very idea became the thing that ruined them.  This spiritual dullness had continued since Isaiah’s day.

The passage from Psalm was probably originally spoken by David concerning his enemies; Paul uses it to describe the results of the divine hardening.

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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 11, Day 2: Romans 6:12-14

Summary of passage:  Sin is not your master since you are under grace.  Offer yourselves and your bodies to God, not sin, as instruments of righteousness.

Questions:

3)  We are alive through believe in Jesus Christ.

4a)  Negative:  “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”  “Do not offer parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness.”

Positive:  “Offer yourselves to God” and “offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”

In this instance, lasting change has to have both:  you cannot keep your evil ways AND be instruments of God.  You have to consciously lessen the evil and increase the good.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any time I sin I’m giving myself up to sin and every time I choose God I’m giving myself to Him.  This is a daily, minute occurrence with no glaring examples that come to mind.  It could be when I’m being selfish or prideful or even mean.  This could be as well when I’m compassionate, giving, and kind.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is with me always and I can draw upon His power and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Very, very weak.

End Notes:  This is a call by Paul to Christians to live in the freedom Jesus’s blood provides us as many are unsure.  Paul says stop yielding to the fleshly desire to sin which leads to a life of discouragement, fear, anxiety, and defeat.

We are dead to sin and alive to God.  We must refuse to let sin reign in our lives and offer ourselves to God.

The parts of our body–eyes, ears, mouth, lips, etc–must be used for good and not given in to sin.  You could think of “instruments” as weapons.  How God used David’s hands to slay Goliath.  Later, how David allowed his eyes to be used for sin when he gazed upon Bathsheba.

Once we take away the sin we must use them for something–righteousness–offered to God.

The priests in the Old Testament consecrated their bodies to God. Sacrificial blood was applied to the ear, to the thumb, and on the big toe, showing that those parts of their body (and all other parts) belonged to God and were to be used for His glory (Exodus 29:20).  The idea is the same.

We present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead. This first has the idea that all connection with the previous life – the old man – must be done away with. That life is dead and gone. Secondly, it has the idea of obligation, because we owe everything to the One who has given us new life!

“For sin shall not be your master”:  Spurgeon said that these words give us a test, a promise, and an encouragement.

1) It is a test of our claim to be Christians. Does anger have dominion over you? Does murmuring and complaining? Does covetousness have dominion over you? Does pride? Does laziness have dominion over you? If sin has dominion over us, we should seriously ask if we are really converted.

2) It is a promise of victory. It doesn’t say that “sin will not be present in us,” because that will only be fulfilled when we are resurrected in glory. But it does promise that sin will not have dominion over us because of the great work Jesus did in us when we were born again.

3) It is an encouragement for hope and strength in the battle against sin. God hasn’t condemned you under the dominion of sin – He has set you free in Jesus. This is encouragement for the Christian struggling against sin, for the new Christian, and for the backslider.

Law clearly defined God’s standard, and shows us where we fall short of it. But it cannot give the freedom from sin that grace provides. Remember that grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21). Grace (not law) provides the freedom and the power to live over sin.

This shows again that a life lived truly under grace will be a righteous life.

For the Jews, their life was completely about living under the Law.  Now Paul says after Jesus we live under grace.

Paul has answered his question from Romans 6:1. Why don’t we just continue in habitual sin so grace may abound? Because when we are saved, when our sins are forgiven, and God’s grace is extended to us, we are radically changed. The old man is dead, and the new man lives.

In light of these remarkable changes, it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Jesus to be comfortable in habitual sin. A state of sin can only be temporary for the Christian. As Spurgeon is credited with saying: “The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul.”

John states the same idea in another way: Whoever abides in Him does not [habitually] sin. Whoever[habitually] sins has neither seen Him nor known Him . . . Whoever has been born of God does not[habitually] sin, for his seed remains in him; and he cannot [habitually] sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:6 and 3:9).

The changes may not come all at one time, and they may not come to each area of one’s life at the same time, but they will be there and they will be real and they will be increasing as time goes on.

You cannot sin for you love God. We are changed and free through grace.

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 8, Day 5: Romans 5:9-11

Summary of passage:  We are reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Saved.  Rejoice!

Questions:

10)  We are justified by the blood of Jesus, saved from God’s wrath.  We are reconciled to God because of Jesus.  We are saved through Jesus!  We rejoice in God because of this!

11a)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, reconciliation means “to settle to friendship or harmony; to settle, resolve.”  Zondervan’s definition is “the act of restoring harmony, bringing again into unity or agreement what has been alienated.  There is need for reconciliation between God and human beings because of the alienation between them, which is caused by sin but God provided Jesus as the means.”

One more definition:  “to put an end to hostility”.

b)  We are reconciled to God because it is our sin that created the enmity.  We are changed through Christ so we can be reconciled as we become more Christ-like.  Reconciliation is of God through Christ to the sinner.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Christ’s death atoned for our sins, justified us before God as we received Christ’s righteousness through God’s grace.  Through Christ’s resurrection, we received eternal life.  I will perpetually thank Him and use my life to do His will and shine light to others.

Conclusions:  Paul reiterates again how Jesus’s death reconciles us to God so that we can be with Him forever.

End Notes:  Humans are enemies of God, not the reverse.  Thus the hostility must be removed from humans if reconciliation is to be accomplished.  God took the initiative in bringing this about through the death of his Son (verse 11 & Colossians 1:21-22).

We see a parallel here between justify and reconcile:

v9                                           v10

justified                                reconciled

by his blood                         through the death of his Son

shall we be saved                shall we be saved

Jesus’s death saves us from God’s righteous wrath.

saved through his life.  This refers to the unending life and ministry of the resurrected Christ for his people (Hebrews 7:25)  Since we were reconciled while we were God’s enemies, we will be saved because Christ lives to keep us!

Think of what God will do now that we are friends and not His enemy!  The blessings!  This reconciliation happens right now. God’s wrath towards us is gone, replaced by loving corrections and guidance.

All because of and through Jesus.  Period.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 23, Day 5: Revelation 18:21-24

Summary of passage:  An angel threw a millstone into the sea and said Babylon will be thrown down in the same way.  Nothing will be heard, found, or seen again.

Questions:

11)  It would be thrown down never to be found again like a millstone in the sea.

12a)  Because believers live forever.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37) or with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  Nothing is ever hopeless.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The truths apply to all no matter the age.  Most importantly, talk about it.  Bring it up.  Start with BSF and how you do a bible study and invite them to join.  Point out to them where their treasure lies and when you see them chasing things of this world.  Be a good witness.  A good observer.  A good friend.  A good friend doesn’t at least mention God and heaven occasionally.

Conclusions:  I don’t think I can take another “give you hope” question for the rest of this year!  Did not need the references to question 12a.  Seems almost silly to ask.

End Notes:  Jeremiah 51:61-4 ties a scroll containing God’s judgment of ancient Babylon to a stone and throws it in the Euphrates and says “So will Babylon sink to rise no more.”  Jesus says as well in Matthew 18:6 that it is better to tie a millstone around your neck and hurl yourself in the sea than  to lead others to sin.

“Magic spell” in Greek is pharmakia which means to prepare drugs.  Sin was like a drug.

The fact the saints and prophets were killed is listed last because it’s the most important reason Babylon is judged.  When you mess with God’s people, you mess with God!

Conclusions to Revelation 18:  Be different than the world.  Live outside the world.  Don’t be a part of the world.  We have to live in it but we don’t have be of it.  Choose wisely or face judgment!

Conclusions to Lesson 23:  Good reminder of what is actually treasure and what isn’t and where our home is. Also, love how God’s judgment is for vindication of His people’s death.  Very, very encouraging in this broken world where life is not fair and we as Christians often face harshness.  God will judge.  Give it to Him to handle.  We have no need to cloud our life with anger and bitterness and strife.