We’re moving through the New Testament, and have arrived in Romans this week, where Paul explains how we are made right with God.
Our Candy Drive is Over!
Thanks so much to everyone who donated to make this year’s downtown outreach a success! We received a great donation of FOUR CASES of candy from Walmart, and now we have more than we will need!
We definitely still need help with our big downtown outreach. In fact, we still need around 14 people to help out in one shift or another. Trust me, this event is really cool, and a lot of fun. Why don’t you talk together as a group about how you might help out?Put Me In!
Paul on Salvation
Our culture highly values productivity. Highly successful people accomplish a lot. Each day.
Do you keep a task list or a to-do list to manage all you have to do each day?
Do you use/have you used one of the popular methods, systems, or technologies to manage your task list? What have you tried? How do they work?
Do you feel a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment as you scratch off or check off each task you’ve completed? If so, why is that feeling so satisfying? If not, why are you keeping a task list to begin with?
How is it easy to translate that good “sense of accomplishment” to our relationship with God?
How much completed activity would it take to satisfy God?
Romans 10:1-4 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
What is Paul’s main desire in these verses?
Paul says the people of Israel have “zeal.” What does it mean to be zealous for the Lord?
How can the people of Israel be zealous for God, yet not be able to be right with him?
What are some ways that people try to be “right with God” apart from Christ today?
Romans 10:5-10 NLT
For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,
“The message is very close at hand;
it is on your lips and in your heart.”
And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
So, what is the difference between a righteousness based on the law (works) and a righteousness based on faith?
How would someone coming to God on the basis of works or performance be different from someone who comes to God by faith in God alone?
Paul makes the case for “justification by faith alone” numerous times In this letter…
Romans 1:16-17 NLT
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
I was talking with a believer recently who said, “that just seems too easy… I know there has to be something else I have to do.”
What do you think about that? Can that really be all there is?
It may sound too good to be true… Too easy. But Scripture is clear that being “right” with God is something we can never attain by earning it on our own. It’s already been done! Christ came down from heaven, suffered the punishment of our sin, died on the cross, rose, and ascended into heaven. So any attempt to win righteousness by bringing Christ down from heaven is unnecessary. And any attempt to bring Christ up from the dead is equally unnecessary. To do so denies Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection.
So what, then, is our responsibility?
What would you say to someone who insists that this message of righteousness by faith alone is just too simple, that there has to be more we have to do to earn God’s love?
The Jews knew the Scriptures, but Paul prayed for their spiritual discernment so they could see and experience the truth of the Scriptures about Jesus Christ. Who do you know who knows about Jesus, yet has not believed in faith? Take a few minutes to pray for these individuals by name.