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 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 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 Romans Lesson 5, Day 5: Romans 3:25-26

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

Questions:

11)  It’s the utter test of belief in God.  Do you believe in His Son?  Yes or no.  This is just.  If not, hell.  If yes, eternity.  This is as clear-cut as justice gets.  Paul answers this question in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Because I have faith in Jesus who justified all believers by taking our sins upon himself, absolving me of sin, releasing me of its penalty, and restoring me as righteous with God.  Share it with all.

Conclusions:  Let’s not forget that just because we are free from sin and the penalty of sin that we’re free to do anything we wish.  On the contrary, it is our obligation and responsibility to live as righteous people, devoted to the service of what God declares to be right.

End Notes:  These are yesterday’s End Notes since it covers the same passage.

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.”

Concluding Note to Lesson 5:  Paul opens with one of the darkest summaries in the Bible:  “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10 and echoing the OT from Ecclesiastes 7:20).  But there is hope:  Christ. Verses 21-31 is a compact expression of the core message of the gospel.  God is so, so good!

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.”