BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 3: Romans 12:4-5

Summary of passage:  All Christians form the body of Christ, acting as a whole with different functions.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The human body.  The body works together for one goal, which is the health and function of the human body.  So are Christians. We all have different functions in the body, working together for Christ.

8 )  Each member depends on the other member to function properly and efficiently.  Each member has its own unique skills, designs, and qualifications to contribute to the smooth functioning of the body.

Conclusions:  Inherently self-explanatory passage.

End Notes:  The church is a unified whole with distinct members.  In the body of Christ there is unity but not uniformity (unity within diversity).  There is a delicate balance between unity and individuality.  Both co-exist but not at the expense of the other.  Christ is our common ground.

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 2: Romans 11:33-36

Summary of passage:  This doxology that ends this section of Romans is the natural outpouring of Paul’s praise to God, whose wisdom and knowledge brought about his great plan for the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles.

Questions:

3)  Paul is praising God due to His grace extended to the Jews who will be saved.  God has not forgotten them, His call upon them is irrevocable, and Israel as a whole will turn to God.

4)  God has offered his grace and mercy to the Gentiles because of the Israelites transgressions.  This will make Israel envious and in turn bring the elect among them to Christ.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Given me a job opportunity from home where I can improve our income significantly.

Conclusions:  This whole lesson is on Paul’s Doxology (a liturgical formula of praise to God).  I’ll be curious to see where BSF goes with this.  This lesson covers the “why” behind this praise.

End Notes:  Paul is reflecting upon God’s overarching plan for the ages and all of mankind.  Paul realizes and states here how God’s ways are beyond men and we have no hope of figuring out His plan for the future.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are beyond him.

The quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.

You’ll never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you.  His is a debt only Jesus can clear.

The plan is God’s.  Only He can accomplish this plan.  All for God’s glory, honor, and pleasure.

The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 19, Day 5: Romans 11:25-32

Summary of passage:  God’s plan is to harden the hearts of the Jews until the full number of Gentiles has come in and then all of Israel will be saved.  Israel has become disobedient so that God may show them mercy like He has done the Gentiles.

Questions:

11)  All of Israel could mean that literally:  all people of ethnic, Jewish descent or it could mean all of Israel that God has chosen to be saved by faith in Jesus (the elect).  I think all of the elect because we know faith is a choice.  Man must choose God.  And not all will choose Him (even His chosen people).

12)  They will be saved.  We can be sure because God says so through Isaiah.  God will once again turn His attention to the Jews.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God has reasons behind all His actions.  He loves all His people and wants as many as will turn to Him to come.  God works through all for His purposes.  I am comforted because I know God’s ways are not mine and everything has a purpose for Him.

14)  He showed mercy by allowing them to be disobedient and then forgiving them and offering them salvation.  We all need mercy because we are all sinners and deserve death.  Instead, God offers us eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Without mercy, heaven would be empty.

Conclusions:  This is the first time I have read all of Israel will be saved at the End Times and I was hoping to dive into this truth more.  I love gaining insight into God and His ways and seeing how He won’t leave any behind is awesome!  God never gives up on you, on me, on the people of Israel, on anyone.  Just imagine what a world this would be if all of us embraced that truth!

End Notes:  The mystery religions of Paul’s day used the Greek word (mysterion) in the sense of something that was to be revealed only to the initiated.  Paul uses this word to refer to something formerly hidden or obscure but now revealed by God for all to know and understand.  This word is used of the incarnation, the death of Christ, God’s purpose to sum up all things in Christ and especially to include both Jews and Gentiles in the NT church, the change that will take place at the resurrection and the plan of God by which both Jew and Gentile will be included in his kingdom.

Paul continues from Romans 11:11-24 by saying Israel is blind for the sake of the elect Gentiles.  God’s attention is temporarily off the Jews until He is finished with the Gentiles.  However, He will come back to His people.  The hardening is partial and temporary.

“All of Israel” does not mean every last person of Jewish descent.  It means Israel as a nation.  And they will be saved the same way the Gentiles are saved:  by faith in Jesus.  There is no special or other way for the Jews.  Salvation is not universal.  All must choose God.

Jesus will not return again until God turns the focus of His saving mercies on Israel again, and Israel responds to God through Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:39Zechariah 12:10-11).  Isaiah confirms this truth.

The Jewish people will always be loved by God for the sake of the patriarchs.  God has not given up on them (or us) as His calling endures.

Paul reminds all of us we are lawbreakers and all of us have received mercy from God.  None of us are better than another.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 16, Day 5: Romans 9:22-29

Summary of passage:  God reserves the right to choose whom He wants to choose for salvation and let those whom choose destruction be destroyed.

Questions:

11)  God demonstrates His power by choosing those for salvation whom He wants to choose (he also is showing mercy here to those chosen).  This includes both the Jews and the Gentiles.  He also shows His power by letting those heading down the path of destruction continue so, being destroyed, and showing His power in the process.  He does all of this to show His power and mercy and ultimately to bring more to Him.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The fact I am saved and chosen moves me to bring more to Him.  The fact I have life and heaven and hope here and now moves me to thank Him and follow Him and do His will in my life.  The fact I do have grace and works to do here on this side of heaven moves me to praise Him and love Him and obey Him.

13)  God has a right to call whom He wants to call.  He has a right to choose a remnant.  It is in His mercy that a remnant is even chosen for He could destroy us all like in Sodom and Gomorrah.

Conclusions:  A difficult passage to understand due to the nature of Paul’s questioning and his use of the Old Testament, but an important point:  God in His infinite power and control does what He wants, chooses whom He wants, shows mercy to whom He wants, allows those to stay in wrath whom He wants, and saves whom He wants.  God is in control and it is only by mercy that we are His!

End Notes:  Here Paul asks doesn’t God have the right to glorify Himself as He sees fit?  Here, God lets people go their own way and receive his righteous wrath to make His power known.  And on the flip side, if God decides to show mercy, being more than fair, who can oppose Him?  And if God wants to show mercy to the Gentiles as well, who can oppose Him?

Hosea says God has a right to call whom He wants as well.  God also has the right to choose a remnant for salvation.  In the original context these passages from Hosea refer to the spiritual restoration of Israel.  Paul finds in them the principle that God is a saving, forgiving, restoring God, who delights to take those who are “not my people” and make them “my people.”  Paul then applies this principle to Gentiles, whom God makes his people by sovereignly grafting them into covenant relationship.

Isaiah is speaking first of the remnant saved from the Assyrians who were all afraid they’d be destroyed.  God’s promise of salvation never applied to all.  It applies to the remnant whom God chooses.  Isaiah says how Sodom and Gomorrah were completely destroyed.  It is only in God’s mercy that a remnant is chosen.  It could always be worse!

Isaiah 10:22-23; 1:9 indicate only a small remnant will survive from the great multitude of Israelites.  God’s calling includes both Jews and Gentiles but the vast majority are Gentiles.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 9, Day 3: Romans 5:14-19

Summary of passage:  Death reigned since Adam’s sin but so has life through Christ since Jesus’s death!  Adam’s sin condemned man but Jesus’s gift of sacrificial life justifies us!  Disobedience made us sinners; obedience makes us righteous.

Questions:

5)  Adam and Jesus are the same because in one act they brought universal consequences.  Adam brought sin and death when he ate the apple and Jesus brought eternal salvation through his death.  Condemnation was brought versus justification.  Adam disobeyed which led to sin for all; Jesus obeyed which led to justification for all.  God’s gift of eternal life (brought through Jesus) has no comparison to the life of sin brought through Adam.  The good trumps the bad a gazillion to one!

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Eternal life, justification, righteousness before God.  Paul keeps repeating this using different words and variations so us stupid humans will get it!  Like above, how can words describe God’s gift of salvation?  Eternal gratitude and desire for Him and to obey and do His will in my life.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Disobedience and consequently sin unites people to Adam.  Obedience and consequently salvation unites people to Christ.  Christ because in my heart I know He is Lord and Savior to which I have confessed and believe and trust and obey.

End Notes:  If interested in verse 14 commentary, see YESTERDAY’S lesson.  It’s so interlinked with verses 12 & 13 that I didn’t want to try to separate the explanation out.

Paul is continuing his contrast of Adam and Jesus.  What it boils down to is this:  Adam bit apple.  Death consequence to all men.  Jesus died a sinless death AND rose from the dead.  Eternal life consequence to all men WHO believe.

We can say Jesus and Adam are both kings, each instituting a reign.  Adam has death reigning.  Jesus has life reigning.

Death is a 100% guarantee (unless Jesus comes again of course and you are still alive).  Paul is saying Jesus’s reign of life is even more than 100% guarantee.  God’s grace is infinitely greater for good than is Adam’s sin for evil.

Verse 18 Paul summarizes.  These verses has both Adam and Jesus known as the two men.  Between them they represent all of humanity and you are either identified with Adam or Jesus.  We are all born under Adam.  We are born again when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

This idea of Adam and Jesus as two representatives of the human race is sometimes called Federal Theology, or Adam and Jesus are sometimes referred to as Federal Heads. This is because under the federal system of government, representatives are chosen and the representative speaks for the people who chose him. Adam speaks for those he represents, and Jesus speaks for His people.

One may object: “But I never chose to have Adam represent me.” Yes, you did–with the very first sin you committed. Hence, Jesus stands apart.

So, once you are old enough, you choose: Adam who brings judgment and condemnation or Jesus who brings grace and justification and thus life.

The important thing to note is not all are given free life.  The gift of life is presented. However, you must choose to receive it (verse 17).  The idea that all men are saved by the work of Jesus whether they know it or not is called universalism.  Paul never propounds this belief.  He clearly states not all will be saved in all his writings.  NIV Bibles take out the word “free” to avoid this confusion.

Verse 19 sums up this entire section:  Since we were made sinners by one man, we can be made righteous by one man!  Praise God!  This is God’s fairness and justice in play.  Paul is about to discuss our change in character (sanctification) in chapters 6-8.

To be clear:  none of us can stand by ourselves.  Remember, we are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in God’s eyes without Jesus.  To choose to do so is death.  I choose life!

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 5, Day 4: Romans 3:24-26

Summary of passage:  God granted us redemption through Jesus’s death on the cross through his blood in order to demonstrate his justice.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  To atone is to reconcile.  Atonement is a cleansing of sins.  It is the central doctrine of faith and can properly include all that Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.  Jesus stands as our substitute/sacrifice that satisfies the righteous wrath of God.  Without this, we’re all destined for eternal punishment.  It doesn’t.  I don’t need assurance.  God said so.  Done.  God loved us so much He sent Himself (Jesus, Holy Trinity) as the only thing to justify us.

10) Part personal Question.  All of our answers are mere guesses. Love.  I would say God loved his creation, mankind, so much He sent His perfect Son to us to help us, guide, us, and cleanse us so we can be with Him for all of eternity.  Jesus was the only perfect human and thus the only one worthy to be our final atoning sacrifice.. There are no words of thanks large enough for this.

Conclusions: I don’t like the “assured” questions.  For me, I shouldn’t have to be assured of anything.  If you have faith, you don’t need assurance because you don’t question or doubt.  God in His mercy and love gives us proof and assurance because of our humanity.  But we shouldn’t need it.

End Notes:  Christ was our substitute sacrifice/atonement/propitiation so God could demonstrate His righteousness in judgment.  Propitiation is in all cultures.  It’s the act of appeasing the gods and the gods’s anger against mankind through a sacrifice of some kind.  Aztecs, Mayas, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Native Americans, etc.

The ancient Greek word for propitiation (hilasterion) is also used in the Septuagint for the mercy seat, the lid covering the Ark of the Covenant, upon which sacrificial blood was sprinkled as an atonement for sin. While it might be said that this passage means “Jesus is our mercy seat,” it probably has the more straightforward idea of propitiation – a substitute sacrifice.

Inside the Ark of the Covenant was the evidence of man’s great sin: the tablets of law; the manna received ungratefully; the budded rod of Aaron, showing man’s rejection of God’s leadership. The Ark was decorated with golden cherubim as symbols of God’s holy presence.  In between the cherubim stood the mercy seat, and as sacrificial blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), God’s wrath was averted because a substitute had been slain on behalf of sinners coming by faith.  Jesus is our “mercy seat,” standing between guilty sinners and the holiness of God.

God willingly gives His Son.  He wants us with Him!

God no longer passed over sin with the temporary OT sacrifice of animal blood.  He freed us forever from sin with Jesus’s sacrifice.  Jesus paid the price.

At the cross, God demonstrated His righteousness by offering man justification (a legal verdict of “not guilty”), while remaining completely just (because the righteous penalty of sin had been paid at the cross).

Clarke states:  God “Of his justice, in requiring a sacrifice, and absolutely refusing to give salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing the sacrifice which his justice required.”