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 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 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 4, Day 5: Romans 3:19-20

Summary of passage:  The whole world is accountable to God and His Word.  His Word makes all conscious of sin and merely observing the law does not make you righteous.

Questions:

11)  The whole world is accountable to God and His Word.  His Word makes all conscious of sin and merely observing the law does not make you righteous.

12a) Just that:  To silence every critic, God is making it clear ALL are guilty before Him.

b) So far, it hasn’t really. I’ve learned more about the importance of it, but it hasn’t had an concrete effects on identifying and confessing sins.  It’s Week 4.

Conclusions: Unsure why we need a whole day on these two verses (besides the obvious that Romans only has 16 chapters for a 30 week study), which in my mind only emphasizes the facts we’re not righteous just because we obey the law, which is what we’ve been talking about all week.

End Notes:  The law cannot save you.  It gives you knowledge of your sins, not salvation.  In fact, it condemns you, not saves you.  Yes, God wants you to keep His laws and walk in His ways.  But that alone will not give you eternal life.  Only the purifying blood of Jesus can do so under the New Covenant.

J.B. Phillip’s paraphrase of “through the law we become conscious of sin” is striking.  He writes, “it is the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 3, Day 2: Romans 2:1-4

Summary of passage:  We have no right to pass judgement on others cause we do the same things (hypocrites). God judges us based on Truth and He’ll judge us as well.  His kindness leads us towards repentance.

Questions:

3)  We have no excuse to pass judgment on others because we commit the same sins.  God bases His judgement on Truth (facts).

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Passing judgment in condemning others for sins when that is God’s job.  We should teach God’s standards instead of judging.  Our standards in judging is different than God’s standards.  I struggle with those who do things that to me is outrageous that I’d never do.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He has given me all I have including my family.  He sticks by me when I’m stubborn and do dumb things.  He waits on me to figure out how dumb I’m being.  He forgives me for that and loves me anyways.  I try to be patient with others and kind.  I try not to judge because that is God’s job.

Conclusions:  This teaching is everywhere in our folklore:  It takes one to know one.  The pot calling the kettle black.  Paul is warning us to not be hypocrites as we all sin (often it’s the same sins) and then we criticize others for it.  God will handle it.  Let it be.  You insult God by trying to do His job.

End Notes:  Paul is going to set forth principles that govern God’s judgment.  God judges according to:

  1. Truth (verse 2)
  2. Deeds (verse 6-11)
  3. Light a person has (verse 12-15)

This will lay the groundwork for Paul’s discussion of the guilt of the Jews (verses 17-29).

Having pointed out some of the worst crimes in Romans 1, Paul doesn’t excuse those who may be thinking they are better than those in Chapter 1.  Man is not so different from each other.  We are all the same:  sinners.  We all deserve God’s judgment/wrath upon us.

We should repent and not have a superior attitude.

This teaching is in accordance with Jesus’s teaching who in Matthew 7:1 condemns hypocritical judging, not judging per se.  This is a warning for Jews who were inclined to look down on the Gentiles because of their ignorance of the Old Testament and their immoral lives.

God has been good to us because He has not judged us yet.  He tolerates our present sin.  He has patience knowing we will sin again and again–every day of our lives.  These riches show God’s mercy upon us.

God’s goodness and kindness towards the wicked (and us) is to lead us to repentance.  We choose.  He doesn’t make us.  Everything He gives us we don’t deserve.  For that alone, we must repent and lead a new life in Christ.  The Jews have misconstrued this patience to be a lack of intent to judge.

Poll on Posting BSF Lessons…

Hey all!

I have had one request to post Lesson 2 now instead of next week.  This gal lives in Hong Kong and is a week ahead of us.  I’m wondering who else needs Lesson 2 now?  Please leave me a comment below.

If there is sufficient response, I will post all of these on Saturday morning and going forward will be a week ahead. Also, tomorrow look for a post on BSF changes and what you all think!

Thanks and God Bless!

PS.  Prayer Requests will return on Sunday.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 2: John 21:1-14

Summary of passage:  While on an unsuccessful fishing trip, the disciples saw Jesus again.  He told them where to cast their net for fish.  John recognizes Jesus and impulsive Peter swims to him.  They all have a fish bake for breakfast on the shore, celebrating the 3rd time Jesus appeared to them.

Questions:

3)  John recognizes Jesus.  Peter is impulsive and enthusiastic.  Peter perhaps doesn’t want John to beat him again to Jesus like at the tomb so he throws himself overboard.  Or perhaps he thought he’d walk on water.  Peter is competitive.  Jesus’ power is unlimited and he uses it for specific purposes–here to encourage and fellowship.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus shows up when the disciples are discouraged on an unsuccessful fishing trip.  He provides them food when they need it.  Jesus meets their every day needs daily.  All of them do.  Jesus is there always in my little moments, which frequently are the moments I need him most.  He provides.  He encourages.  He walks with me and has breakfast and coffee!  Great stuff!

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Encourages me to always seek and ask him.

Conclusions:  I love this fish bake!  Jesus is amazing, isn’t he?  He cares about us in the daily struggles of life as much as he cares about our spiritual health.  He encourages us when we are discouraged and seeks to fellowship with us.  Jesus can have a cup of coffee with you.  Make a cup and open his word and he’ll speak!

This is my favorite scene in the whole book of John.  You can just see the enthusiasm of Peter as he jumps in the sea to swim to his Lord.  He’s gotta be on cloud 9.  This is a moment of pure pleasure and relaxation for all of them as they refuel in preparation for a hard road ahead.  I love how Jesus gives us these moments in our lives of pure fun to recharge before the grind of His work.  All are sitting around the fire, enjoying an incredible meal in fellowship.  Encouraging one another.  Laughing.  Having a good time.  Telling stories.  Great, great life stuff!

End Notes:  Now the disciples are back in Galilee near the Sea of Tiberias.  Peter’s name is listed first again amongst the 7 disciples there.  2 were unnamed and scholars say these represent the majority of the saints whose works do go unrecognized except by Jesus.

Jesus told them to return to Galilee in Matthew 28:7, 10.  Previously, the disciples had their food provided for them by donors of followers of Jesus.  Now, they must return to their previous occupation to earn a living.  This could also show their uncertainty as to their next move so they retreated to what they knew best (fishing) while awaiting clarity from prayer.

Perhaps it was hard to see Jesus on the shore so they didn’t recognize him.  It could have been foggy or too far.

“Friends” would better be translated “lads”.  The Greek word is a common greeting.

Jesus’ request was small and strange but still a test of faith in stranger’s fishing advice.  He rewards workers.

This story shows us the results of activity with Divine guidance and without.

The word for garment is the only time it appears in the New Testament.  Jews regarded a greeting as a religious act that could be done only when one was clothed.  Peter was preparing himself to greet the Lord.

Jesus is a servant again, having food already prepared for his disciples.  Peter drags up a net probably weighing close to 300 pounds by himself, the exactitude of the numbers is eyewitness detail.

Scholars have debated what the number 153 means.  However, it’s just a number.  Be wary of those trying to find hidden meanings in God’s word.

Jesus probably appeared different since John writes how none questioned Jesus’ identity.  Perhaps his scars never went away.  Jesus eats with them and fellowships with them.

This is the 3rd time John has recorded Jesus’ appearance after the resurrection to the group of disciples–not the 3rd time in order Jesus has appeared.

The Apostle Peter (taken from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by JD Douglas and Merrill C Tenney):  “The personality of Peter is one of the most vividly drawn and charming in the New Testament.  His sheer humanness has made him one of the most beloved and winsome members of the apostolic band.  He was eager, impulsive, energetic, self-confident, aggressive, and daring, but also unstable, fickle, weak, and cowardly.  He was guided more by quick impulse than logical reasoning, and he readily swayed from one extreme to the other.  He was preeminently a man of action.  His life exhibits the defects of his character as well as his tremendous capacities for good.  He was forward and often rash, liable to instability and inconsistency, but his love for and associations with Christ molded him into a man of stability, humility, and courageous service for God.  In the power of the Holy Spirit eh became one of the noble pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9).”

And to think:  Jesus chose one such as him.  And he chose one such as you and I.  Despite our character flaws, God has great plans for us.  We merely have to believe in ourselves and in our Lord.  We can’t do it on our own.  Only God can.

Peter recedes into the background after Jesus’ resurrection, almost unheard of until his letters from Rome.  Tradition asserts that Peter went to Rome, labored there and was crucified there under the Emperor Nero.