BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 3: Romans 8:29-30

Summary of passage:  Christians are conformed to the likeness of Jesus.  They are predestined, called, justified, and glorified.

Questions:

6a)  Foreknew:  God knows who will come to Him and who won’t and He chose believers as well.

Predestined:  Christians are chosen ahead of time. (Also called election).

[Foreknowledge in Biblical terms is also called election and predestination and are frequently lumped together.  For God to predestine is for him to decree or foreordain the circumstances and destiny of people according to His perfect will. For God to elect if for Him to choose for salvation and/or service a people or a person; the choice is based not on merit but on His free, sovereign love.  Taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary].

Called:  We are called by God to be believers.

Justified:  Through Christ’s blood we are able to stand before God.

[We’ve already defined this previously:  Justification is the judicial act of God by which on the basis of the meritorious work of Christ, imputed to the sinner and received through faith, God declares the sinner absolved from sin, released from its penalty, and restored as righteous.  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

Glorified:  Through Christ as well we are glorified.

[We’ve discussed this previously as well:  The glory of God is the worthiness of God, more particularly, the presence of God in the fullness of his attributes in some place or everywhere.  We participate in God’s glory (are able to be worthy) through the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ.  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

b)  God knows everything.  He’s in control.  He called and chose all believers to be like His Son and justified us.  It’s good news because we are like Jesus and we can be with God forever.

7)  Through our sufferings, persecution, and through the Holy Spirit.  Through His Word which teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains us and teaches us obedience.  There’s one main reason:  sin.  Temptation, fleshly desires, selfishness, “it’s too hard”, the excuse of “God will forgive us so what’s the point” that Paul refutes.  Jesus’s life was hard.  We don’t want a hard life.  We want an easy life.  The easy life is sin.  The hard life is following Jesus despite yourself.  A Christian life is and supposed to be uncomfortable and painful.  Man by nature hates this.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Every day is a challenge to be more Christlike and some days I fail miserably.  We are challenged every day to love others, be kind and compassionate, be sympathetic and helpful, be God’s light, and sacrifice for God.  All these little moments in my day are challenges God puts there so little by little I can be more like Christ.  The devil keeps throwing obstacles in my way and God is seeing how much I rely on Him to pull me through.

Conclusions:  Question 6 we’ve seen before and answered before.

End Notes:  Paul explains that God has always planned to save us from beginning to end (predestination).  We work to become more like Christ because that is why God saves us–so that Christ will be of highest honor in the family of God.

God knew us before we knew Him and He knew us before the beginning of the world.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 5: Romans 8:14-17

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.

Questions:

11)  We are Christ-like.  We are heirs of God and Christ and share in his glory.  We relate to God as Christ did.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God knows what we need before we ask. God values us.  He disciplines us so that we can share in His holiness, peace, and righteousness.  We are loved and like God.  God has provided me with everything I need and more.  He cherishes me and takes care of me and loves me.  He grows me.  He walks with me and holds my hand and picks me up when I fall.  God is there always for me.

13)  Personal Question.  My response:  I don’t doubt God’s love.  I don’t understand it, but I know He loves me always.  With Christ, we are with God forever.  There is nothing to fear.  Only love.

Conclusions:  Overall, Lesson 13 was weak with repetitive questions.  Paul repeats himself a lot here and BSF would have been better not spending an entire lesson on these 17 verses.

End Notes: Living under the law brought fear.  Paul says now we are in close kinship with God and call Him Abba!

In the Roman world of the first century AD, an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no inferior in status to a biological son.

Under Roman adoption, the life and standing of the adopted child changed completely. The adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all new rights in his new family; the old life of the adopted son was completely wiped out, with all debts being canceled, with nothing from his past counting against him any more.  Hence, Paul’s listeners would have completely grasped what a privilege this is and its meaning.

Jewish law stated that at the mouth of two or three witnesses everything had to be established (Deuteronomy 17:6). There are two witnesses to our salvation: our own witness and the witness of the Spirit.  We know if we’re God’s children or not.

In sum, we relate to God as Christ did since we are in Christ.  Awesome!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 13, Day 2: Romans 8:1-4

Summary of passage:  Those who have Christ Jesus in their hearts are now free from condemnation and live according to the Spirit.  With Jesus’s death believers were set free.  He served as our sin offering forever and did what the law could not do due to man’s sinful nature.

Questions

3a)  Before Jesus’s death, it was not possible to be free from the Law (that is why God’s people lived under the law).  Now, after Jesus’s sacrifice we are free from the Law and under no condemnation or death and are saved.

Condemnation according to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary describes the judgment against someone or treating a person as guilty.  It could also refer to the specific penalty for the guilt.

In this passage, Christ made salvation possible by bearing the sin of men and women, because thus he “condemned sin” (Romans 8:3); that is, he showed the guilt of sin and bore its consequences, so that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

b)  Personal Question I could do without.  My answer:  It doesn’t.  The only changes are the ones I constantly pray/ask for:  to make me more like Jesus.  To catch my shortcomings/sins before they happen.  To not judge or condemn others quickly.  I know I am free and harbor no guilt.

4)  God sent Jesus who brought the Holy Spirit to us to guide us.  God was in charge of sending His Son to save us forever from our sins and implant the Holy Spirit in our hearts to be our guide.

5)  We fulfill the righteous requirements by being washed in the blood of Jesus.  The how is accepting Jesus as our eternal sacrifice.  The Holy Spirit serves as our guide in obedience to God’s “laws” (way we should behave).

Conclusions: Paul finally goes into the Great Hope:  our life now with Jesus as our Savior!  Such a gift God has given us all with the Holy Spirit.  So amazing!

End Notes: Since God the Father does not condemn Jesus, neither can the Father condemn those who are in Jesus. They are not condemned, they will not be condemned, and they cannot be condemned.

The “Therefore” is Paul proving his argument logically.

“In Christ”:  Christ is in believers by His Spirit, and believers are in Christ by faith.

If you are not in Christ, then you are condemned.

Romans 8 is the peace from the conflict of Romans 7.

We are free from the guilt and power of sin.

Paul uses the word “law” in several different ways in Romans.  Here, it means controlling power.  God’s law (Romans 2:17-20; 9:31; 10:3-5).  The Pentateuch (Romans 3:21).  The Old Testament as a whole (Romans 3:19).  Principle (Romans 3:27).

The law guides us and teaches us and we obey out of love of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, but it can never please God nor sanctify us.

Manson said, “Moses’ law has right but not might; sin’s law has might but not right; the law of the Spirit has both right and might.”

The law detects sin; Jesus defeats sin.  The law is weak because of human nature.  Hence, Jesus came “in the likeness of” meaning Jesus can’t be sin in order to defeat sin.  Jesus was righteous and since we are in Jesus we hence are righteous as well.  Jesus is our substitute.

Those who walk according to the Spirit means their life is directed by the Holy Spirit in continued and progressive motion.  Obedience is on display, not rebellion.  The flesh is always present, but it is powerless.

Fun Fact:  Romans 8 begins with no condemnation; it ends with no separation, and in between there is no defeat

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 Revelation Lesson 24, Day 2: Revelation 19:1-5

Summary of passage:  Nothing new here.  The roar of the great multitude praised God’s glory and power and salvation and His just judgments against the great prostitute.  The servants’ blood has been avenged by the burning city and the 24 elders and 4 living creatures fell down and worshiped God.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Salvation, glory, and power.  Salvation means eternal life with God.  Glory is God’s amazing holiness and justice.  Power is God’s control over the universe.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s justice, truth, power, glory, and salvation.  Salvation for I am forgiven and promised a place in heaven by God’s side for all of eternity.

We’ve been asked about God’s attributes as well before:  Lesson 2 Day 4, Lesson 14 Day 3

5a)  Salvation, justice, and permanence (the city of Babylon has been destroyed and it will never rise again).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We’ve been asked this before (Lesson 2 Day 4, Lesson 3 Day 5, Lesson 9 Day 2 & Day 5, Lesson 10 Day 5, Lesson 14 Day 3, Lesson 16 Day 4 .  It doesn’t do either of those listed.  My worship stays the same.

Conclusions:  All personal application questions.  Like I said in my summary, no new information here.  It’s a repetition of what we’ve just seen in heaven.  John is summarizing.  This day’s questions should have been combined with the third day’s.  Weak lesson.

End Notes:  In Revelation 18 the inhabitants of the world mourned Babylon’s fall.  Here, God’s people celebrate it.  We see heaven rejoicing throughout the book of Revelation for Christ’s return and God’s culmination of His plan for mankind happening or about to happen (Revelation 4, 5, 7, 11, 15, 16).

We saw the great multitude in Revelation 7:9-14 who came out of the great tribulation.  It was in Revelation 6:10 where the martyred saints cried out for justice and here we see that prayer answered.  Revelation 4 is where we met the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures.

Fun Fact:  Hallelujah appears 4 times here in Revelation 19 but no where else in the New Testament.  Hallelujah is a two-word transliteration of the Hebrew phrase for “Praise the Lord”.  It is found 24 times in the book of Psalm.

In verse 5 the “voice from the throne” could be Jesus but more likely is one of the attending angels at God’s throne.  The words the voice speaks is from Psalm 113:1; 115:13.

Similar language in terms of speaking of the End Times judgement:  Isaiah 34:10 and Deuteronomy 32:43.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 16, Day 4: Revelation 12:10-12

Summary of passage:  A loud voice announces that the kingdom of God has come and the accuser has been hurled to earth.  He was overcome by the blood of the Lamb.  Heaven rejoices but woe to earth for the devil has been flung down and he is full of fury as he knows his time is limited.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The accuser was hurled out of heaven unto earth.  Honestly, I don’t feel guilty.  I let them go.  The past is in the past and I know God has forgiven me and I know Jesus has defeated the devil and cleansed me.  Take to heart Hebrews 9:14:  “How much more then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Romans 8:1:  “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:33-34 are good as well.

By not fully allowing Jesus’s sacrifice into our hearts and by letting feelings of guilt overwhelm us we are doing a huge disservice and dishonor to his sacrifice and letting Satan win.  Please.  Let go.

Note on Question 10:  This question is very confusing.  The emphasis should be on the three ways the saints (who are the pronoun “they” here) and ultimately us as believers overcame the devil:  1)  by the blood of the Lamb  2)  by the word of their testimony  3)  by not loving their lives so much to fear death.  By separating out the verb (triumphed or overcame in NIV), the meaning is lost and jumbled and befuddled.

10)  Personal Question.  My answers:

“They triumphed over him”:  It means just that:  we overcame the devil.  Period.  The scriptures they give here are not very helpful.

“By the blood of the Lamb”:  Jesus paid the price for my sins, making me righteous and able to stand before God.  God chose me through unimaginable grace as His.

Note here:  BSF missed the more important verse in Romans!  Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”  It is God’s love that brung us back to Him.  He sent His only Son to die for us.  In Romans 5:7, Paul astutely points out:  what person do you know would die for you?  Someone who loves you.  But a stranger?  And would they die for a sinner like you?  A righteous man, maybe.  God’s love saved us.  He is so good.  See also:  (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, and Hebrews 9:14).

“And by the word of their testimony”:  Knowing and remembering God’s work in my life is my testimony.  It allows me to overcome the lies Satan whispers in my ear.  As I walk in God with faith, my life is a powerful testimony to unbelievers as I proclaim His power in my life.  See End Notes for explanation on testimony.

Should say Revelation 1:2, not Revelation 1:3 here in my opinion since 1:2 uses the word “testimony”.  This is referring to the Gospel as John says “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ”.  John is using Jesus’ life to overcome the devil.  And so should we.

“They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”:  Remembering my home is in heaven instead of here on earth and we find life by losing it to Jesus (Mark 8:35).  The Greek word here for love is “agape”, the love that is all-encompassing, self-sacrificing, profound love.  Willing to sacrifice for my faith even my life marks a Christian.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As my faith has grown, my reliance on Him to overcome not only the evil in my life but the evil in the world has grown.  I give it to God and let Him take it from there.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  So many!  Scripture foremost is Philippians 4:6; John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Exodus 20; Romans 8:31 to name but a few.  Songs:  My Savior My God by Aaron Shust is my all-time favorite.  Others:  Great I Am by Phillips, Craig & Dean and Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets.

Conclusions:  All personal questions but only a part of one directly asking what’s happening here.  Again, asking about worship when we see here the beginning of God’s final victory over Satan and soon we’ll see his capture and banishment.  This is to be celebrated!

Question 9:  Sometimes I think questions like this do the opposite:  we feel guilty because we don’t feel guilty over our past sins when you shouldn’t feel guilty at all.  Living in the past and dwelling on guilt from past sins robs you of your life today.  Give it to God.  He will handle it.  Know you are His and move on!  You life will dwindle away moment by moment until one day you realize you didn’t accomplish God’s purpose for your life because of the past.  Live for Him today.  That’s all you have.  Tomorrow you may not be here.  And then what?

BSF’s worst lesson in Revelation in my opinion so far.  So I made it my own.  By researching what exactly are the saints telling me here THEN AND ONLY THEN can I tell you what they mean to me.  Since I am a saint, I need to know this!

I personally feel beaten up by the “how my worship has been affected” questions.  Because I don’t feel my worship has been affected and thus being asked the question makes me feel guilty because I feel like it should be affected.  I spoke of this as well in Lesson 14 Day 3 and counted the number of times we’ve been asked.

The same goes for “comforted” and “encouraged.”  Right now, I’m not.  But I feel I should be.  So guiltily, my response is “I’m not affected” or “I’m not comforted” or “I’m not encouraged.”  Or I’m just cynical, hard-hearted, or shallow.  In time I pray.  In time.

End Notes:  The loud voice is NOT Jesus or God or an angel.  We know this because of the text says “the accuser of our brothers”, our being humanity.

Once Satan is thrown out of heaven, the accusing stops.  Until then, we must fight the good fight.  However, Satan’s accusations are meaningless if we have Christ.

Jesus’s victory is our victory.  Imagine if we lived our lives every day knowing that one Truth.

Definition of testify according to Webster’s Dictionary:  “to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief: bear witness; to serve as evidence or proof.”

Definition of testimony according to Webster’s Dictionary: “firsthand authentication of a fact; evidence; a public profession of religious experience.”

In the book of Revelation, testimony refers to the Gospel (Revelation 1:2).

“by the word of their testimony”.  John, being the symbolic guy that he is, speaks of testimony in 1 John 5:6-12.  Water may be Jesus’ baptism.  Blood is his death on the cross.  The Spirit is the Holy Spirit.  He says these three together are God’s testimony about Jesus.  We are saved eternally through God’s testimony of His Son, Jesus Christ–as long as we believe this in our hearts.

Thus, the saints who are speaking here know what they’ve seen and heard and experienced in their lives from God and can recognize Satan’s lies that go against God.

Also, here, notice “the word”.  This doesn’t explicitly apply to God’s Word (the Bible) but we can use that as a testimony against the devil.  The more we know the Word, the more we can use that against the devil.

The angels and all of heaven is relieved Satan is gone.  It’s like when a visiting relative overstays their welcome and they finally leave!  You can almost hear the sigh of relief upon the door closing forever to Satan’s presence.

Satan’s release upon the earth is the third and final prophetic “woe” announced earlier upon the inhabitants of the earth (Rev.8:13).

In Revelation 20, we will see what ultimately happens to Satan.  Looking forward to it!