BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 6, Day 5: Romans 3:31

Summary of passage:  Faith upholds the law.

Questions:

11)  We can only be righteous if we are cleansed of our sins.  Jesus cleanses us of our sins so that we can live in Spirit.  For all of this to occur, we have to believe Jesus died for us.  Simple faith.

12)  One word:  Sin.  Sin occurs.  That’s what goes wrong.  God is holy.  He cannot abide sin.  Thus, we cannot be saved if we spit in His face and continue to purposely sin.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He prods me when I’m on the wrong path until I turn.  And then He keeps prodding and adjusting my radius.  He is doing this now.  I know because I’m restless again.  When I get restless, it’s God saying “Um, yeah, you are not quite there yet.”

We all have free will to obey or not.  This is a gift from God as well.  If we wear His armor, we will persist and obey.  If we turn from Him, we will Fall.

Conclusions:   Notice how all of these questions refer to other passages. I’ve been in a pretty pessimistic mood this week if you couldn’t tell by my answers.

End Notes:  Paul will explore this more in Romans 4 (next week) but the law predicted the saving grace of faith and Jesus. Jesus establishes the law.

Antinomianism (Greek for “anti” against and nomos “law”) was a word coined by Martin Luther during the Reformation when people questioned salvation.  It means those who think they don’t have to obey the Law if they have Jesus.  God’s grace discounts moral effort.  Like I explained before, God cannot abide sin.  Purposely sinning goes against everything God says.  A new life in Christ means death to old evil desires (Galatians 5:24).

BSF referenced Romans 8:31, one of my favorite all-time verses.  Here’s Chris Tomlin’s song (again, one of my favorites) that uses this verse repeatedly.  Enjoy!

Conclusions to Lesson 6:  So we covered a whopping 5 verses.  But we read a ton more out of the Bible than just these. Next week we pick up the pace.  As much as I don’t really enjoy these slower lessons, it does allow the verses to sink in, for those of us who are drowning in “busy” work to catch up, and to explore more in depth what God is telling each of us.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 6, Day 4: Romans 3:29-30

Summary of passage:  God is the God of everyone.

Questions:

8 )  Gentiles are everyone who is not a Jew.  Because the Jewish rabbis had taught for generations that the Jewish people is special since they were chosen by God to be the bearer of faith and the keep of God’s laws.  They believed they were superior to others because they did believe in the One, True God in a world dominated by pagans.

9)  All throughout history people believed in the afterlife and in various gods.  Many think if they are good people they will get to heaven.  Many people worship other gods.  Many don’t even think.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Easy:  There are not many ways to God.  It’s only Jesus.  The entire Bible says so.  Graciously?  Unsure.  You can’t convince someone with a hard heart to God to soften.  All you can do is speak the Truth.  God will (or will not) do the rest in His power.

Conclusions:  Question 8 is repetitive.  We’ve already studied why the Jews thought they were special.  Again, nit-picking this passage about only one way to heaven.  All Christians know this and accept this (or they’re not Christians).  We all know how others think.  What is the value in discussing it?  I would rather meditate on how much God loves me, the sinner, than waste time debating the fallacies of others.

End Notes:  God is the God of all and He justifies all the same–through faith.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 6, Day 3: Romans 3:27-28

Summary of passage:  A man is justified by faith, not the law.

Questions:

6)  Faith by definition according to Webster’s Dictionary is “allegiance to duty or a person; belief and trust in and loyalty to God.”  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines faith as “a true commitment of self to God, an unwavering trust in his promises, and a persistent fidelity and obedience.”

Today a lot of people have loose definitions of faith.  They say they have faith until the bad times hit and then God is thrown under the bus.  I also think people have half-hearted faith.  They lie to themselves or others when asked.  They don’t have faith in anything.  They wander through their lives, looking for something besides God.  If only they realized He is right here.  Always and forever.

7a)  Faith is believing in the unseen and taking God’s word at face value.  Faith is blind obedience.  Faith is stepping forward even though you cannot see the ground in front of you.  Faith is relinquishing control to God and believing He will keep His promises.  It’s believing the Bible as God-breathed.  It’s undeniable love.  Abel offered God a better sacrifice than his brother, Cain.  Noah built an ark and brought 2 of every animal inside.  Abraham moved an incredible distance for Ancient Times and became a father.  He offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  Joseph predicted the Exodus.  God’s people followed Moses to the Promised Land (despite hiccups along the way).  The prophets spoke God’s words despite dangers.  Rahab hid the spies.  The walls of Jericho fell.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Quit my banking job.  But I’m still not convinced I’m on the right path.  I’m restless and when I get restless I know it’s God trying to correct my path.

Conclusions:  Study of Hebrews 11 day and faith.

End Notes:  We cannot boast of anything we do for saving grace.  That is all God.  All it takes if faith, not boasting.

Martin Luther said, “Sola Fide”.  Latin for Only Faith.  That is all that is required.

James did not argue against this fact.  He was describing how works prove to others the saving faith of God for Christians are expected by God to do and be more.

Fun Fact:  When Martin Luther translated this passage, he added “alone” after “by faith”, which although was not in the original Greek (and has been taken out of modern versions of the Bible) accurately reflects this passage.

Fun Fact:  The New Testament draws all of its examples of faith from the lives of Old Testament believers and Paul rests his doctrine of faith on Habbakkah 2:4 in Romans 1:17.  Please see my collorary post on Paul’s Doctrine of Faith HERE.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 6, Day 2: Romans 3:27-28

Summary of passage:  A man is justified by faith, not the law.

Questions:

3)  They boast about how they are such great Christians by following God’s laws, going to church, volunteering at church, helping others, you name it.  Because boasting is all about you, not God.  Boasting according to Webster’s Dictionary is “bragging, a cause for pride, to puff oneself up in speech.”

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  By following the law instead of having Jesus like Paul says.  They excuse sins by saying they have Jesus.  The classic one:  others do it.  Neither for me really.  I don’t justify myself because none of us can.  It’s only mercy and grace and faith that saves me.  I know this so I don’t bother otherwise.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It becomes about them and not God.  This is most apparent when we are judging others.  We all must keep in mind we are sinners and are only righteous through Jesus and God’s grace.

Conclusions:  Nit-picking this passage to the extreme, and I don’t think we need two days on it (today and tomorrow).  Just believe and live like Jesus.  Period.

End Notes:  We cannot boast of anything we do for saving grace.  That is all God.  All it takes if faith, not boasting.

Martin Luther said, “Sola Fide”.  Latin for Only Faith.  That is all that is required.

James did not argue against this fact.  He was describing how works prove to others the saving faith of God for Christians are expected by God to do and be more.

Fun Fact:  When Martin Luther translated this passage, he added “alone” after “by faith”, which although was not in the original Greek (and has been taken out of modern versions of the Bible) accurately reflects this passage.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 5: John 4:43-54

Summary of passage:  Jesus departs Samaria after 2 days and heads for Galilee.  He was welcomed as the Galileans approved of what he did at Passover (turn over the money lenders’ tables) in Jerusalem.  He visited Cana again where he had turned the water into wine at the wedding feast.  He was approached by a royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum and was begged to heal him.

Jesus said unless the people see miraculous signs, they won’t believe.  Jesus healed the man’s son from a distance.  This was the second miraculous sign (the first being the water into wine at the wedding).

Questions:

10)  Jesus said unless he performs this miracle, the official will not believe.  He performed the miracle.  But the nobleman had to believe in Jesus’ words alone since the miracle was performed from afar.  True faith is taking Jesus at his word.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus answers prayer even if your faith is not perfect.  Pray always and ask him.  He is waiting to answer and to strength our faith in him.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First, the man asked.  You can’t receive if you don’t ask (Matthew 7:7-8).  The official had faith enough to come to Jesus or was desperate enough.  Many a believer comes to Jesus desperate for him.  The man believed in Jesus’ ability to do it.  Jesus can do anything.  The miracle turned the man and his household into believers.  Miracles change lives.  Believe Jesus can handle anything you are facing.  Give it to him.  Let him do the rest.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on faith.  Great lesson on miracles happening.  Great lesson on Jesus caring for the people no matter who they are and deepening their faith no matter where they are on their walk with Him.

End Notes:  This is the 2nd sign of 7 we will study (remember from our study of Revelation that 7 is the number of completion).  The first is the water turning to wine at the wedding in chapter 2.

Because the people knew him and Galilee is where Jesus grew up, they did not honor him.  However, we can be in danger of not honoring Jesus as well, a false sense of familiarity.  They were interested only in his miracles.  In essence, they were rejecting Jesus the Savior here instead of welcoming him.

Scholars debate if “his own country” means Judea or Galilee.  A case can be made for both.  Other Gospels relate to Galilee (Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4).

All Jews traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast (Exodus 23:14-17) as dictated by Jewish law.

Jesus had made His home in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13 and John 2:12). Though Jesus was at Cana (John 4:46a), the nobleman travelled the 20 or so miles (32 kilometers) from Capernaum to Cana.  He was probably an officer of Herod Antipas (Jesus’ eventual killer).

Jesus rebuked those who depended on signs and wonders before they would believe.  The you is plural so in general all Galileans.  Signs and wonders can be a good thing, but they should not prove God to us.  They do not change the heart.  Just ask the Israelites who were wandering the desert before coming the Promised Land.  So many miracles God did daily (like manna) and still they worshipped a golden calf.

The nobleman’s plea was based on need–not status.  This is what Jesus wants-to fulfill our needs not our wants.

Had Jesus gone with the man, the man’s unbelief would still exist.  This miracle is just as much about strengthening the father’s faith as it is about healing the child.  God is amazing!

Fun Fact:  Of Jesus’ recorded miracles, only 2 were done over a distance. The other is fulfilling the Roman centurion’s request (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:2-10).  Note both are Gentiles and upper class.

Note there is no dramatic effects.  Jesus says simply, “Your son will live.”  No show or pomp.  That’s Jesus.

The nobleman believed before the evidence rolled in.  Exactly what we must do.

In faith, the nobleman walked home.  He did not run.  The nobleman’s faith was deepened by God’s power and personal experience of it.

In John the signs are given to lead the reader to faith (John 20:29-31). The relation between belief and signs is clear in John chapter 2 and chapter 4.

· The first sign persuaded His disciples

· The second sign persuaded a Jewish nobleman and his household

· The Samaritans believed without a sign

These first two signs take place at Cana of Galilee.  The first was a happy occasion–a wedding.  The second a horrible and tragic event–a dying child.  Jesus is there in both the ups and down of our lives.  Always and forever.

Map of Cana and Capernaum:

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 4: John 4:39-42

Summary of passage:  Many Samaritans were converted due to the woman’s testimony at first and then because of Jesus himself.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  1) Because of the woman’s testimony.  2)  They came with an open heart and mind and listened.  3)  Because of Jesus’ words many more became believers.  Family and friends.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  John the Baptist testified to what he saw.  He told Andrew and John the Apostle to come and see and hear for themselves.  They did.  They believed.  Just like the Samaritans.  Come with an open heart and mind and God can do anything.

9a) Very similar.  Philip went to Samaria, proclaimed Christ, performed miraculous signs which got the people’s attention, believed and were baptized.  Same thing in this passage.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As the days pass and trials and joys come and go, I think our faith grows as well.  My family’s has grown significantly.

Conclusions: Amazing how belief is entered into!  It’s a very simple process and has been since Abraham.  Someone testifies or encounters Jesus, they come with open hearts and minds, they listen and see miracles, and then they believe and commit their lives to Christ.  We must remember this as we’re inviting others to church and to events that have Jesus as the center.  It’s easy on our part.  God does the rest.

End Notes:  It’s important to note that Jesus loved the Samaritan woman despite everything she did.  He chose her to reveal the secret to eternal life!  Can you imagine?

It’s remarkable at this time in history that Jesus stayed two days with the Samaritans.  Samaria remember was a place to avoid by Jews at all cost and to enter and exit as quickly as possible.  That the people wanted a Jew to stay and that Jesus agreed broke all social bounds!  This shows just what an impression Jesus made on people.  Oh, to have been there!

Listening to Jesus deepened their faith.  We can do the same thing through reading the Word, praying, and listening for God to speak to us.

Note John records Jesus as the Savior of the world.  Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles, everyone!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 3: John 4:35-38

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells a parable to explain what he means by his food is doing the will of God and finishing his work.  Jesus’ disciples will reap the reward of his work:  eternal life.  The reaper works now for a harvest later when in truth his harvest is now since the work is the reward.

Questions:

5)  The harvest is all of the people the disciples are trying to reach to come to Jesus.  The reapers are the workers (disciples) for the harvest (people).  The harvest is now, not in 4 months.  Wages is the reward (eternal life).  Receptive hearts of the Samaritans are the fields and the crop.  The sower is Jesus in this case, spreading the gospel to the Samaritan woman who spread it further.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s Kingdom is immediate.  We can have it now and not spend our entire lives waiting to get to heaven.  There is a heaven here on earth:  it’s with Jesus as the Holy Spirit inside of us.  If we listen close enough, the rewards are endless.

Conclusions:  A difficult proverb for us westerners today since most of us have never worked in a field before.  This ties in nicely with Lesson 1.  It is God’s work and grace, not ours, that we are saved.  We do none of the work.  It is all God.

End Notes:  The common amount of time from sowing the seeds until harvest is about 4 months.  The seed has already sprung up in the hearts of the people.  Traditionally, “ripe” is translated as “white”.  Grain seeds, when ripe, turn from green to a yellow to a white color, which indicates it’s time to harvest.

Scholars use this time frame to date this to the beginning of December since Christ has just come from Passover and flipping over the money lender’s tables.

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 uses a similar field analogy with the emphasis on God making things grow.

Growing together urges unity.  All share in the joy of the crop.