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.

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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 John Lesson 7, Day 5: John 5:31-47

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains how John the Baptist has testified for him.  How the work he is doing is a testimony for who Jesus is.  God has testified for him.  The Word has testified for him.  Jesus says they do not believe who he is.

Questions:

11)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  John the Baptist verse 33.  The work God has given him and that Jesus is doing verse 36.  God verse 37.  The Scriptures verse 39.  Moses verse 46.  My response is belief.

12)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  They refused to believe testimonies.  They do not have the love of God in their hearts.  They missed the Truth in the Word.  Pride, vanity, self-love.  They lived on each other’s praise.  Their belief in their own self-importance blinded them to the One who is truly important.  How will I pray?  Well, I’ll just pray.

13)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  They did not believe in the Scriptures.  They misinterpreted the Scriptures, looking for a military savior.  They were looking for what they wanted to find.  They were blinded.  We must read with an open mind and not preconceived notions.   We must be open to God speaking the Truth to us.  I’d ask for eyes to see and a humble heart from God to see the Truth.

Conclusions:  All personal questions.  All modern man has are the Scriptures.  John the Baptist is dead.  Jesus is not here on earth.  Again, the pride of man is the downfall of many.  We are blinded to the truth and we must ask God to show us.  We must let Him lead.  We must submit to Him.  Or all of us will be spiritually blinded and will miss Jesus.  And our lives are too short for that.

End Notes:  Jesus’ testimony about himself is not enough because anyone can claim anything.  Debt 19:15 says one witness is not enough.  Two or three are needed.  Here, Jesus goes beyond that by citing 5 witnesses.

The religious leaders for a time believed John the Baptist.  A lamp is light, the light of God.

Jesus’ works were of compassion to others, not military might.  This Messiah is not the one expected because again man misconstrues God’s word.

Everything Jesus does is God’s testimony but in Luke 3:22 God specifically anoints Jesus at his baptism.

They studied the Scriptures but never found the Truth there.  How tragic!  What a message for us!

The religious leaders were unwilling to come to Jesus out of pride.  They did not love God.  This was a heart issue.

Jesus prophesies the Anti-Christ here and others who will claim to be the Messiah.

New Testament writers all took the stand that the Old Testament as a whole points to Jesus (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46).

These men did not believe Moses who wrote extensively of the Messiah (Deut 18:15; Num 20:8-12, 21:8-9; Lev 1-7; Exodus 21:5-6).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 4: John 5:24-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to the Jewish leaders that whoever hears him and believes in God will have eternal life.  A time will come when the dead will hear his voice and those who hear will live.  He has the authority from God to judge.  The dead who have done good will live.  Those who have done evil will be condemned.  Jesus can do nothing without God.  He seeks to please the Father.

Questions:

9a)  “he has crossed over from death to life.”

b)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  If you hear the Word and believe in God and thus Jesus.  The results for the future is eternal life.  My help is to do everything I do with a focus on eternity.

c)  “Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” Verse 29

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am encouraged by the promise of eternal life as it influences my everyday decisions and it’s as easy as hearing the Word and believing.  All will be judged is an encouragement as well so I don’t have to worry about it.

Conclusions:  Weak.  That’s all I’ll say.  Could have done more on resurrection here.

End Notes:  Since God and Jesus are one, belief in one is belief in the other.  Here, Jesus says hear me AND believe in God and have everlasting life and escape judgment from sin.  Again, this is a radical idea to the Jewish people since Jesus is saying, “I am God.”

Again, radical ideas as Jesus says even the dead will hear his voice and have a chance to live forever with him.

Again, radical:  Jesus says his life is uncreated, derived from no one.  He has always been.  This is known as aseity.  He is claiming the same status as God where the Old Testament says life belongs to God and is his to give (Deut 30:20; Job 10:12, 33:4, Psalm 16:11, 27:1, 36:9).

All will live forever–the good and the bad.  The saved and the condemned.  All will receive a new body.  This power is from God.  Jesus is explaining further who he is and why he has come.

Judgement is based on what people have done in their lives (Romans 2:4-8; Rev 20:12).  Salvation is a gift from God in response to faith and faith in Christ results in changed lives.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 3: John 5:16-23

Summary of passage:  The Jewish leaders were unhappy with Jesus doing work on the Sabbath and calling himself the Son of God so they persecuted him.  Jesus explained how he does everything through God and will do great things and bestow ever lasting life.  God has granted Jesus the role of judger of mankind and whoever does not honor him, does not honor the Father.

Questions:

6)  The Jewish leaders were unhappy with Jesus doing work on the Sabbath and calling himself the Son of God.  “My Father is always at his work to this very day” and therefore he too works.  Because Jesus was breaking the Sabbath and calling God his Father, making himself equal with God.

7)  “Whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  God “will show him [Jesus] even greater things.”

8 )  Part-personal Question.  My answer:

1)  God has given Jesus the power of resurrection over the dead and eternal life and who to grant this to.

2)  God has given Jesus the role of judger of all mankind.

3)  God has given Jesus the same status to be honored by mankind the same.

It doesn’t.  I’ve always believed God, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one.  My attitude is the same.

Conclusions:  The personal question of 8 is lackluster.  Still would have liked to have delved deeper into the breaking of the Sabbath.  It’s important to understand that Jesus was not breaking any laws.  That these supposed laws are interpretations of God’s laws by mankind which are twisted and untrue.  These questions are too superficial.

End Notes:  No one cared that the man was healed.  All they cared about was their precious laws being broken–laws not in the Bible.

Jesus did not delve into the definition of what work is on the Sabbath.  Instead, he states simply:  God works on the Sabbath and so do I (since I am God).  This is important for us.  God never stops working.  He never stops listening to us or caring for our problems or working in our lives.  He is there always.

In Ancient Times, slaves did all the work.  It was considered beneath the nobles to lift a finger and the Greek and Roman gods never worked so the very idea of a working god was alien to most people.

God rests.  He never stops ruling.  God rests for our benefit–showing us how to live.  Not for Him.

“Breaking” and “calling” are continuous action.  Jesus was always breaking the laws and calling himself God’s son.

Jesus submits by choice to God’s will.  God shows Jesus what to do.

God the Son in becoming man separated himself and ceased not to be God, and became the separate personality of Jesus as the personality of God the Son.

“Loves” is continuous as well.  The Father always loves the Son.

Jesus refers to the power of eternal life–the ultimate power.  Jesus says he is the judger–again a separate but distinct part of God the Father.  Jesus was love and judge–full of grace and mercy.  Imagine looking upon Jesus and seeing both and feeling both–shame at your sin yet amazing love and forgiveness.

God’s people believed God did raise the dead.  Here, Jesus says he has that same authority–again, establishing the idea that he  is equal to God.  The same with being the judge.  The Jews believed God to be the final judge.  Here, Jesus says now I am.  These ideas were blasphemous, radical, revolutionary, and heretical.  It threw the Sadducees in turmoil, abutting long-held beliefs.  It’s hard for mankind to accept change especially quickly.  Jesus was on earth for so short of a time.  Think of all who missed him because they were stuck in their ways.  A lesson for us as well.

It’s hard for us to grasp this since we are thousands of years down the road and just know who Jesus is and what he does and how to honor him.  Try to think as these people did when studying John.

Being the judge requires honor equal to God.  One cannot honor just one.

God sent but Jesus came.  Both are equally important.