BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 2: Romans 12:3

Summary of passage:  Don’t be high and mighty and prideful.  Remember it is only in God’s grace that we are saved.

Questions:

3)  The grace given him by God.  So his audience knows he speaks with authority and his words are from God, not himself.  Hence, we should take him seriously.

4)  “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”  We become prideful.  Think all we accomplish is because of how great we are when it’s because of how great God is.

5)  Being humble is a work in progress.  Small steps count.  Don’t judge yourself too harshly as you work to overcome human nature.  Same with others.  They are a work in progress as well and are at different places in their walk with God.  Grant others grace as they work towards overcoming pride.  Forgive them.  Encourage them in their walk as you yourself need encouragement as well.

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  So you don’t think you’re better than others when we’re all the same.  Always approach others with grace and forgiveness.  Like Jesus would do.  Be slow to anger and slow to react and quick to forgive and quick to encourage.

Conclusions:  Good emphasis on relating to others.  It’s so hard to approach others as Jesus would without man’s human nature of judging to interfere.  Small steps will get you there!  Same with seeing ourselves as we truly are not as some fluffed up image we carry in our mind.

End Notes:  Paul will soon speak in Verse 4 about how we should exercise spiritual gifts in the body of Christ, but a warning about humility is in order, given the inordinate pride that often arises from those who regard themselves as spiritually gifted.  Just being spiritually gifted does not equate to spiritual maturity.

Paul urges us to see the truth of ourselves and live in the light of it.  If we do, it will be impossible to live a prideful life.  We should see ourselves in light of God’s gift of saving faith with no basis for ourselves being superior.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 3: Romans 12:1

Summary of passage:  Paul urges Christians to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.

Questions:

6)  Personal Question.  My answers:

Romans 9:15:  This is the verse God says He will have mercy and compassion on whom He chooses. This shows us we are all in God’s grace to be chosen as believers and God is the one in control of whom He chooses and He doesn’t.

Romans 9:23:  God chose all of those who comes to Him in advance.  He showed his wrath and power in order to demonstrate his glory to those of us whom He shows mercy to.

Ephesians 2:4-5:  God gives us His mercy when He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins to make us alive again.

1 Peter 1:3:  Similar to Ephesians, God demonstrates His mercy when though the living hope in His Son Jesus whom He brought back to life in order that we can live with Him forever.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First, by choosing me and my family to be believers and to be saved.  Second, by blessing the US with all of its riches so that we live an easy life. By continuing to bless my family financially, spiritually, mentally, physically, etc every day of every year.  By always being there.

8 )  According to Webster’s Dictionary, a sacrifice is “an act of offering to deity something precious; especially the killing of a victim on an altar, destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else or to suffer loss of, give up , renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief or end”.  According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, a sacrifice is “a religious act belonging to worship in which offering is made to God of some material object belonging to the offerer–this offering being consumed in the ceremony, in order to attain, restore, maintain, or celebrate friendly relations with the deity.”

The history of sacrifice in the Old Testament would fill a book.  Sacrifices have been around since Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:4-5 where it states Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice to God.  Furthermore, we’d need another book to dive into the different types of sacrifices offered in the Old Testament to God for many purposes.  BSF is sending us to Leviticus which is the Day of Atonement sacrifice where the High Priest had to cover himself  and the Israelites (figuratively here) with the blood of an animal in order to approach God and cleanse themselves of sin.  Hebrews tells us Jesus is the final sacrifice that takes away all of our sins in God’s eyes and cleanses us.

To answer the question, the Old Testament sacrifices served one goal:  to make ourselves acceptable and pleasing to God through honoring Him, worshipping Him, and giving Him glory.  We had to atone for our sins in various ways and thank Him for all He’d done.  Paul is urging us to give our bodies as a living sacrifice (our body being our heart, mind, soul, body, and spirit–all of us) to God.  To live our lives for God in every way.  To let His will reign, not ours.

9)  Ordinary is living each day with Him in mind and as the center.  Choosing Him in the little things in life:  forgiving a wrong, helping the poor and downtrodden, letting kind words out instead of angry words, being generous and compassionate with people, and meeting them where they are at.  Extraordinary examples are Mother Theresa, pastors, Popes, monks, nuns, those who work in the Christian industries such as non-profits, book publishing, bible publishing, missionaries, Focus on the Family, and everyone else I am forgetting who strive to do God’s work here on earth (this includes us whose names will never be known but who do God’s work every day!).

Conclusions:  Mercy and living for God.  Great topics that are huge and BSF did a good job on focusing on the importance of it all.  1)  God chose us out of His mercy.  2)  We do God’s work by giving all of ourselves up to Him.  Every day.  In the daily grind at work and at home.  Living for Him.  Raising our kids for Him.  Helping others for Him.  Love it!

End Notes: [Same as Yesterday’s just for Verse 1 only]  Chapters 12:1-15:33.  Paul now turns to the practical application of all he has said previously in the letter.  This does not mean he has not said anything about Christian living up to this point because as we saw Chapters 6-8 touched on this already but now Paul goes into detail to show that Jesus Christ is to be Lord of every area of life.  These chapters are not a postscript to the great theological discussions in Chapters 1-11.  In a real sense the entire letter has been directed toward the goal of showing that God demands our action as well as our believer and thinking. Faith expresses itself in obedience.

“Therefore”  It is Paul’s pattern to begin a letter with a strong doctrinal section and follow with exhortations to Christian living. Paul begs Christians to live a certain way in light of what God did for them.  Here, God gives us all things.  Now, how do we show Him gratitude for that?  With our bodies and our minds.

“Urging us” reminds us that we still have a choice in how we live for God.

“In view of God’s mercy” reminds us we do this because of the mercy God grants us (Romans 1-11).  In fact, we are only able to offer ourselves to Him because of His mercy.  Some of the mercies Paul has told us about already:

· Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin

· Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ

· Placed under grace, not law

· Giving the Holy Spirit to live within

· Promise of help in all affliction

· Assurance of a standing in God’s election

· Confidence of coming glory

· Confidence of no separation from the love of God

· Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness

Think of “body” here as your entire being for your heart, soul, spirit, and mind are in your body. Paul is saying here give God your entire self.  God wants you!

Many today let their body rule in terms of engaging in physical pleasures.  Paul says no!  Our mind is the will and our mind brings the body as servant to God.

Ancient Greeks dismissed the body as unspiritual so this teaching would have shocked them.  Paul says God is concerned about our bodies, which were dearly bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20).

A living sacrifice is a dichotomy especially in the first century AD where sacrifices involved death.  The whole idea is the sacrifice is ongoing.  Paul could be contrasting dead animal sacrifices here as well or perhaps “living” in the sense of having the Holy Spirit.

“Holy and pleasing to God”:  The standard for sacrifices made to God under the New Covenant are not any less than the standard under the Old Covenant.

Sacrifices in the Old Testament:

· He shall bring a male without blemish (Leviticus 1:10)

· But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 15:21)

The idea of a sweet aroma to the Lord is almost always linked to the idea of an offering made by fire. There is a “burning” in this matter of a living sacrifice. It also shows that Paul has in mind the burnt offering, in which the entire sacrifice was given to the Lord. In some sacrifices, the one offering the sacrifice and the priest shared in the some of the meal, but never in the burnt offering.

Today, the holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of holiness in our life.  As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities.

“Spiritual act of worship”:  This was translated as “reasonable service”.  The ancient Greek word for reasonable (logikos) can also be translated “of the word” (as it is in 1 Peter 2:2). Reasonable service is a life of worship according to God’s Word.

Another translation says “true and proper worship”.  This is to emphasize not merely ritual worship activity but the involvement of heart, mind, and will in worship and obedient service.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 20, Day 5: Romans 11:35-36

Summary of passage:  God has given all things to us and we can never repay Him.  No one has ever given God anything.  He needs nothing.  He’s God!

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Everything.  This planet.  All we need to survive on this planet.  A capacity to survive (our minds).  Everything on this planet.  Rule over this planet and the plants and animals created.  Everything is from Him.  Life and breath.  Our place in time.  God has given us his son to die for us so that we’ll have eternal life.  Respond with gratefulness, praise, humility, a heart to do His will, a desire to not waste my life on earthly pursuits but on heavenly treasures.  The greatest response is to do His will.  Keep Him at the center of all you do and you’ll succeed.

13)  Nothing.  All He asks is our praise of Him.

14)  This thought creeps in when you live a life of entitlement.  When you think people or even God owes you for something.  This life is a gift and treat it as such.  No one owes you anything.  God gave us life.  He owes us nothing.  It is us who owe him everything.

15)  We were created (along with this universe) to praise Him.  To live for Him.  To give Him the glory.  As the creator of the universe, God is the only one who can give us anything.

16)  For His glory, honor, and power.  God’s ultimate plan is for man to be redeemed and inhabit the earth with Jesus at the End Times–to spend all of eternity worshipping Him–through the blood of His Son.

Conclusions:  Another good lesson on how we are God’s and how we only exist through Him.  Hence, He deserves all of our praise and exaltation.  Imagine our daily lives if we remembered our existence is only because of Him.  How this would change the world!

End Notes: [Same as Yesterday’s]

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.

Conclusions to Lesson 20:  This is the BSF I know and love.  Great study, questions, and reflection on some powerful verses in the Bible.  We got to study the fundamentals of the Bible (why we were created) and our role in the world.  A lesson we all need every few months to remind us we deserve nothing, God owes us nothing, and everything is from Him and through Him and to Him.  Keep it up, BSF!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 19, Day 3: Romans 11:1-10

Summary of passage:  God did not reject His people.  They have rejected Him, but not all of them.  God has chosen a remnant (the elect) by grace and the others hearts’ were hardened towards Him.

Questions:

6)  Israel sought a law of righteousness.  They did not obtain it because righteousness is by faith, not works.

7 )  Personal Question.  My answer:

Isaiah 29:10-14:  The Lord has blinded some to faith and others He hasn’t.  Many have only a superficial faith–all words with no heart.

Psalm 69:22-26:  Some have eyes that cannot see the Truth and will face God’s wrath.

Matthew 13:12-15:  Jesus spoke in parables in order to reach those who do not understand and have hard hearts.

John 12:37-43:  Many did not believe in Jesus even after his miracles.  God had blinded them to the Truth and deadened their hearts. But some did believe.

Acts 28:24-28:  Paul would preach to the Jews and many would not believe.  Hence, God turned to the Gentiles who would listen.

Conclusions:  Nothing new here.  Many references in the Bible to the same idea:  Many heard the Truth and turned away.  Some believed.  This is true for us today.  Just tell the Truth.  Some will believe; some won’t.  It is God who chooses/elects.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s].  In the Old Testament, the Jews and Israel are God’s elect, those chosen to be those whom God revealed Himself and His will to, and through whom he could exhibit and declare to the world his purposes and salvation.  In the New Testament, Jesus is the Elect One, and through Him the church, replacing the old Israel in the purposes of God.  This new race is mostly composed of poor and ordinary people (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

The question as to whether the Jews are, as a people, still the elect of God is faced by Paul here in Romans 9-11 in the light of the salvation of God in and through Jesus.  In chapters 9 & 10 Paul painfully admits that, on the whole, the Jews did not believe in Christ.  Despite all the advantages of Old Testament history, they “stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone'” (Romans 9:32).  In chapter 11, Paul goes back over that history and asks whether it was futile.  Will the Jews come to believe in Christ some day?  Did their tragic experience produce any advantage for the rest of the world?  This chapter clearly shows God’s eternal love for his chosen people.  Paul will conclude with a poetic outburst, celebrating God’s mysterious ways of working on earth.

Paul answers in Chapter 11:  If Israel’s rejection of the gospel was somehow both consistent with God’s eternal plan (Romans 9:1-29) and Israel’s own choosing (Romans 9:30-10:21), then does this mean that Israel’s fate is settled, and there is no possibility of restoration?  No!

For one, Paul is a Jew and he has been saved. We first look to ourselves for God’s grace.  There is a remnant of Jews who embrace Jesus and like Elijah, God will work through them for the sake of the others.  God often works in small groups and in the first century Jews believers in Christ were small and in Elijah’s time it was just him!

A remnant is “something left over”.  In the Bible, it’s those who would survive God’s judgement and become the new, true Israel.  The elect are those whom God has chosen for salvation out of His great love, not merit.

And it is by God’s grace (not works), and elect was chosen.  God enlightens whom He so chooses because He’s God and can do whatever He wants.  The Jews of Paul’s day were so secure in their idea of being the chosen people that the very idea became the thing that ruined them.  This spiritual dullness had continued since Isaiah’s day.

The passage from Psalm was probably originally spoken by David concerning his enemies; Paul uses it to describe the results of the divine hardening.

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 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.

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!