07.5 Romans – Hopeful

Paul seems to divide the times into three sections: Before the Law, Between the Law and Christ, After Christ.  In our lesson today he provides examples from the first and second periods to speak to the third.  God does not change, but it is good to see the application of righteousness throughout our time periods.

One of the biggest lessons in this is time.  We quickly grow impatient.  We begin to doubt.  We worry and fret.  We become anxious.  We take matters in to our own hands.

All of these are opposites to having hope.  I don’t mean the type of hope that is just a wish.  I mean hope that is looking forward to an event that is promised and paid.

From the stories of the bible we see that years may sometimes pass, decades at times, between when we receive a promise and when it is fulfilled.  What we fail to see is the perspective of what else is happening during that time.  We don’t see how we are becoming stronger by feasting on His word.  We don’t see how God is moving all the pieces of the world into alignment.  We only see that it isn’t happening right now, which is what we would prefer.

What should we do when we feel impatient and anxious?  We should do the same thing that Paul did for the Jews in Rome – remember God’s faithfulness.  As children of Abraham through our shared faith in God, we receive and inherit all of the promises and covenants God provided to “His People.”  He has never failed to deliver on those promises.  He doesn’t rush.  He doesn’t delay.  He provides them as the time is right and we are prepared.

By filling ourselves with hope, by serving, studying, reading, teaching, praising, praying, trusting, obeying – we keep hopelessness, doubt, worry and anxiety at bay.  God is the creator and His timing is perfect.

 

My Answers:

11.
faith was hopeful, not weakened, strong. We (all who have faith) are Abraham’s offspring

12.
With hope, with faith that was not weakened, with strength in God

13.
Family challenges

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07.4 Romans – Passing the Test

As humans, we love to arrive, don’t we?  We love to reach an accomplishment.  It means celebration.  It is a mark, a medal, something to add to our side of the tally.  Something to be proud of accomplishing.  It really doesn’t even matter what it is, we celebrate it.  We set goals.  We set milestones.  We benchmark against others.

But last week in Romans we discussed the downside of pride and how it separates us from God.  Circumcision was a covenant, not an accomplishment.  Faith, works, deeds, when they become religiosity and plaques on our walls are not longer things that point to God because they have become things that point to us.

So, what is the value of obedience and the law?  What is the point of doing good works?

An interesting answer to this comes from Deuteronomy 30.  As the Israelites were preparing to make their entry into the promise land, God provides them with instruction.  As you read it, you will see that He lays out two paths from which they can choose.  They can choose the path that leads to peace and long term possession of the land which involves following God’s laws and commandments and continuing to commune with Him.  Or they can choose the path that leads to battles and loss and being scattered in exile from the land with disobedience and separation from God.  The outcomes of each of these choices is not a threat, it is not a blessing or curse per se, it is simply a fact from one who knows the future.  The choice is completely left to the Israelites.

We get the same choices.  Following the laws of God and being obedient is not an accomplishment to check off, it is simply a sign that we are still on the right path.  When we recognize that we are not being obedient to God, that too is a sign, one telling us to repent and turn back.

While we could hang signs on our walls, the more practical thing is to use them for their intent – to provide direction.

My Answers:

9.
~14 years. Ishmael was 13 and he had not been conceived when God declared Abraham righteous. ~430 until law.  Not earned. years wait

10.
a.
They, in essence, say that the price Jesus paid for their righteousness was insufficient so they need to “add to” what Jesus did. Obedience and signs is not a currency that God accepts for righteousness and salvation

b.
Easy – I have sinned. Any sin is an imperfection. Any imperfection is not “right”.
But, I do not believe that God looks at my righteousness but at the covering that Christ has provided to me.

07.3 – Romans – The name on your jersey

In yesterday’s lesson we learned that faith is accepting the free offer of adoption by God.  It is nothing more complex or less complex than that.  To be faithful is to fully accept the gift, body and soul, outward and inward.  It is a truth of the truth.

In God’s adoption we receive righteousness.  While this is a gift, it is much more.  It is a new heart and a new spirit.  It is God writing His name on our foreheads.  It is being a brother to Christ.

Think of it like a jersey.  When we become faithful followers we still sin; we fumble the ball, we foul other people, we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  While God, who knows everything, sees and knows this, He also sees that the name on the back of the jersey we wear says Jesus Christ, not our name.  When we sin, Jesus already paid the price.  When we foul, Jesus paid the price.  When we fumble, Jesus paid the price.  That does not mean there aren’t repercussions. Our sin is like a wave crashing over others and causing damage, even to the 3rd and 4th generations.  But it doesn’t change who gets called out and pays the penalty for our sin – Jesus, not us.

So, what does the bible call us to do?  Just go on sinning?  Not at all (I’m starting to write like Paul).  Specifically we are called to suit up every day and get back in the game.  The bible calls this putting on the “full armor of God.”

My Answers:

6.
David committed extreme sin (adultery/murder), but when confronted he confessed and repented and was forgiven by the Lord

7.
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us PS 103:12

8.
I had been proud in Bible study. I was humbled to take the time to read through the bible. I completed the NT and felt a joy of spirit not only in the accomplishment but in how it deepend my walk with God. I’m in the OT now (reading this week was, amazingly, the story of Abraham!)

07.2 Romans – Family or Hired Hand

Driving down the street you might see many people out working on their yards and houses.  Mowing the yard, cleaning gutters, decorating, painting, trimming, you name it.  Some of these people are the family members who live in the house.  Others are hired hands.  Sometimes it is easy to predict which is which based on uniforms they might wear or the tools they have to work with.  But other times the hired hand may be another kid from the neighborhood.

While they are all doing work that is visible to anyone looking, there are vast differences in the benefits they receive and the reasoning behind their activity.

The hired hand is contracted to do work and earn a wage.  The family member is doing the work because they are part of the family.  It may be something they enjoy doing.  It may be something they have skills and talents to perform.  It may just be something that they appreciate the outcome of the labors.

At the end of the day when the work is done, the hired hand receives the wage and nothing more.  The family member however receives far more.  They receive food and shelter, love and companionship, education, coaching, trust, guidance, goodwill and so much more.

No matter how good of a job the hired hand does they never receive the same status as family with the same benefits.

God does not hire us, He adopts us.

 

My Answers:

3.
Abraham believed that God is God, that He would keep His promises and provide. Abraham listened, obeyed and worshiped God. He also worked and prepared accepting all that God blessed.

4.
Because it is a quid pro quo (something for something). It is an exchange, a trade.

5.
a.
The gift is salvation and righteousness. The earned wages are death.

b.
I walk with God daily. I also sin daily. My trust is in the Lord and I pray my actions and language serve Him.