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!

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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.”

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 3: Romans 1:8-10

Summary of passage:  Paul thanks God for the Romans’ faithfulness.  He says how he prays for them constantly and he prays God will allow him to visit them.

Questions:

6)  God through Jesus.  He was grateful for the faith of the Romans.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Serving goes hand-in-hand with prayer.  Prayer should be in the forefront of all of our lives and the decisions we make.

8a)  He prays to be able to visit them by God’s will.  Paul does visit them although as a prisoner.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God answers prayers and it may not be in the way we envision but it’s in His way.  I always ask.  No matter what.  If you don’t ask, God doesn’t answer (Matthew 7:7).  I pray for the impossible and expect the impossible but am not disappointed if it doesn’t happen cause it is in God’s will.  I have faith He’ll do His work through me.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on prayer and gratitude.  Paul is grateful and thankful.  He prays for the prayers answered, people, and prayers he wants answers.  Great prayer model!

End Notes:  Paul is especially grateful because of the visibility of the Roman church.  Rome remember is the most powerful place on the planet.  A strong Christian community goes a long way toward the spread of the good news.  In Rome, where the pagan Roman gods ruled, the Christians were strongly persecuted especially under Nero.  They needed Paul’s prayers!

A lesson to us:  remember to pray for your church as well!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 4: John 20:19-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus appeared to the disciples as they huddled together, afraid of the Jewish authorities.  He showed them his hands and thighs and the disciples were overjoyed at seeing Jesus.  Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit and commissioned them to the world.

Questions:

9a)  He personally appears to them.  He gifts them with the Holy Spirit to guide them in his ways.  He shows them his wounds.  He blesses them with peace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Above all, by choosing me to be a believer.  By giving me a purpose for my life and a means to achieve it through Him.

10)  He appears to Mary who clings to him physically.  He appears to the disciples and shows them his wounds physically.  Luke tells us he ate food with his disciples.  He appeared to the disciples and others over a period of 40 days and spoke of God’s kingdom.  He appeared to more than 500 of his brothers at the same time.  He appeared to James.  He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus.  Jesus must rise again to conquer death so we can live forever with the Father.  It proves the Gnostics of the time wrong that he only died a spiritual death.

11)  Privilege:  They are the chosen ones to spread the Good News.

Authority:  Jesus personally commissioned them.

Power to accomplish the commission:  Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit to aid in their mission and peace as well.

Message:  If you forgive others, they are forgiven as Jesus has forgiven them of their sins.  If you don’t forgive them, they aren’t.

Conclusions:  Not a big fan of these questions.  Repetitive.

End Notes:  This is the same day that Mary saw Jesus at the empty tomb.  5 times Jesus appeared on Resurrection Day:

  1.  To Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)

2)  To the other women (Matthew 28:9-10)

3)  To the two on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32)

4)  To Peter (Luke 24:33-35, 1 Corinthians 15:5)

5)  To ten of the disciples, Thomas and Judas being absent (John 20:19-23)

Jesus prayed for them to stay together and they did (John 15:17)–all except Thomas, who we don’t know why he wasn’t there.

Jesus visits small groups of people (one exception in 1 Corinthians 15:6) in remote areas or closeted indoors.  By the garden tomb, in a locked room, on the road toe Emmaus, beside the Sea of Galilee, atop Mount Olives–such private encounters bolster the faith of people who already believed in Jesus.

Fun Fact:  As far as we know, not a single unbeliever sees Jesus after his death.

What would have happened if Jesus made a public spectacle and appeared before Pilate?  Would it have bolstered faith?  Jesus tells us no.  “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even is someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

Jesus appeared amongst them despite the locked doors.  Jesus did not rebuke his disciples for abandoning him at the cross.  Instead, he told them “peace” or all is well.  Jesus revealed himself and invited all present to touch him to prove he’s real (Luke 24:39-40).  Jesus came for us.  He was also calming the disciples at his sudden appearance.

Jesus commissions them to do his work on earth such as he prayed in John 17:18.  Luke tells us there are others there besides the disciples.  Jesus sends them as well!  We are sent in the same way–for Jesus!

Jesus gives the disciples the Holy Spirit as their guide, John purposefully connecting this with Genesis, saying Jesus breathed on them.  Cool!  I want Jesus to breathe on me!  This is re-creation or born again.  This is Jesus’ spirit as well.

This also creates the duty of the church to forgive and warn of the consequences of unforgiveness.  We are the messengers, announcing forgiveness according to God’s word.  In essence, if you repent of your sins and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, you will receive God’s forgiveness.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 4: John 17:11-19

Summary of passage:  Jesus is continuing his prayer for the disciples, asking God to protect them except for Judas who betrayed Jesus.  He asks God to protect them from the evil one and to sanctify them.

Questions:

8a)  He prayed for God to protect them from the evil one and to sanctify them.

b)  God sent the Holy Spirit to protect the disciples and set them apart for His work.  I have my purpose for God as well.

9)  As believers in Jesus as Savior, we are awaiting our home in heaven, we are forgiven, and we are sanctified.  We are in the world, but not of the world, indulging in sin and the things of the devil.  We do not have the mind-set of the world, which is hostility to God.

10)  The definition of sanctify according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to set apart as or declare holy; consecrate; to free from sin, purify.”  We are set apart as holy as God’s chosen people, made righteous by Jesus’ sacrifice, and justified before God.  We are to lead holy and godly lives, full of joy and mercy.

Sanctify means to be set apart for God’s special pleasure and use. It implies holiness, being set apart from the corruption of the world and for God’s use.

Conclusions: Well, we focused on the idea of holiness here instead of the passage, which we haven’t really focused on in this study as of yet.  Reasonable enough.  Dissection of the passage below.

End Notes:  Jesus is praying for the disciples because their lives are about to dramatically change.  They won’t have Jesus to go to for questions and answers.  They will be on their own, still in this world but not of it.  They will begin to face persecution and will have to rely upon the Holy Spirit.  A major life-changing even for sure!

Christ’s power is adequate for every need.

Most disciples of the time found a new rabbi to follow once the old one died.  Jesus prays for God to keep the disciples true to him.  We need to be kept true to Jesus as well with God’s power for we’d never survive the temptations of this world without Him.  He wants our joy as well–why else would Jesus pray for it?

Jesus prayed to keep them together and unified so they wouldn’t scatter upon his death.  The meaning is they stay unified as the church was meant to be.  He prayed for their joy–Jesus’ joy.

Judas was lost as he was meant to be lost according to Scripture (Psalm 41:9 and Psalm 109:8, Acts 1:20).

Jesus was a messenger as well and always spoke God’s words.  We are to be in this world and not cloister ourselves in monasteries.  For without us, there would be no light, no service, no witness, no grace, no mercy, no compassion from God to others.  We are God’s witnesses and we can’t do that isolated.  We must do His work He has given us to do.

Sanctification is by truth–the word of God read, heard, understood, and applied.  The more truth you believe, the more sanctified you are.  The disciples are sent into the world to continue Jesus’ work.

Jesus sanctifies himself, unparalleled in the Bible.  The same verb is used of priests in the Old Testament.  Jesus sets himself apart to do God’s will, which is death.  Jesus’ death saved us and consecrated us to God’s service.

Fun Fact:  “Holy Father” is a form of address found only here in the New Testament.  It suggests both remoteness and nearness, awe and love.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 5: John 16:16-33

Summary of passage: Jesus says he is leaving, but they disciples will see him again after the Resurrection and he appears before them.. The grief will turn to joy once they realize all Jesus’ death means. When they see him again, they will know all. If you ask for things in Jesus name, God will give them whatever they ask and they will have complete joy.

You will pray in Jesus’ name.  At last, the disciples get it and Jesus rejoices.  A time will come when they will be scattered.  In Jesus, they will have peace even though in this world they will have trouble.

Questions:

11a)  If we have faith in Jesus and ask in his name, God will answer our prayers according to His will.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To do His will through my writings and my kids.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Whether to work for money in the immediate future or whether to work for Him for patience for money to come.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus has overcome Satan to rule and despite any troubles we will be with him one day.  Knowing I’m following him despite troubles is a great comfort.

Conclusions:  Personal day.  Understanding who Jesus is and belief in Him will allow God to answer all our prayers.

End Notes:  The disciples didn’t know like we do that he is about to be arrested and crucified. Jesus is telling them he will rise from the dead. This obviously would confuse anyone.

The disciples are talking among themselves, asking if anyone knows what Jesus is saying here. Jesus interrupts them to give them more clarity. He says their grief will turn to joy once all is revealed. This is true. We see no writings of regret from the apostles. They got it after all!

The disciples will have access to God through Jesus by speaking in Jesus’ name.  There will be no need for Jesus to do it for them.  They can go directly to God in prayer since they have loved him and have faith in him and God will hear them.

Our love for God is evidence that He loves us.  Jesus’ death shows God’s love and God’s love is the reason for Jesus’ death–so we can be saved.

Verse 28 is a summary of God’s love and work for us:  Jesus is God, born into this world as man, and he will die and rise again into heaven.

The disciples declare they finally get it, but Jesus warns their faith will be shaken and tested.  They will leave Jesus, but he won’t be alone–God will not abandon him (nor us) ever.  It would be God and Jesus at the cross–together forever.

He concludes his discourse with his disciples, offering them peace in Him.  It’s not a promise; we have to find it.  He offers peace with God and peace with others and peace realized through conflict and struggle, which is promised we’ll have.

Fun Fact:  Jesus speaks of his victory.  “Overcome” is used only once here but 22 times in the 1 John and Revelation.

The world conquers when it comes between you and God.  Jesus is in control.  He never abandons us.  He loves us.  He overcomes.  Be of good cheer!