Note: If you are looking for any posts you have missed, or a FREE copy of the study guide, you can find the table of contents by clicking here.
Below are my thoughts for each of the chapters we studied this week along with the answers to the questions I posted in the study guide.
Also, make sure that you get a copy of the coloring page I have pasted below. Have a great weekend!
Please note: These videos are a BRAND NEW ADDITION to our studies. If you don’t find videos on the old lessons, it’s because they just started this week. If you don’t find a video further down this page, it’s because I haven’t done one yet. 🙂 They were created through Facebook Live (follow my page here) which is why I’m talking in real time. Hope you enjoy them!
My thoughts on this chapter…
As I’ve studied this chapter time and again, I’ve come to believe that Paul was talking about the internal struggle that takes place within a believer when we crucify the flesh.
“This is a strange contradiction,” Spurgeon writes, “a man who has grace enough to will to do good, and yet does it not. There are two men in the one man, — the new nature struggling against the old nature. This must be a renewed man who talks in this fashion, or else he could not say that he hated sin; yet there must be a part of him still imperfect, or else he would not do that which he hates.”
The flesh is more than skin deep. It’s our sinful passions, desires, and a hunger for this world.
Galatians 5:24 says, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts,” but this crucifixion isn’t easy. There’s a battleground within, where the flesh wars against our Spirit, and so we struggle to both resist temptation and to stand firm in our faith.
We’ve made a decision—a firm commitment–to follow Our Lord, but now the flesh needs to follow Him too.
Do Christians sin? When you consider that a selfish motive or a prideful thought is sin, we can easily see why the Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Questions and Answers…
Why is Paul suddenly talking about marriage here? What point is he trying to make?
Paul is comparing marriage to the law of sin and death and the power it has over a person until the moment of death. A certificate of marriage is valid until the death of one’s spouse.
The law of sin and death remember, is that death sentence that was passed down from Adam to each one of us.
The law of sin and death was our spouse so to speak, until we found deliverance through the death and resurrection of Christ. Without that redemption we would still be bound to the former.
The word “law” simply means the power or the authority that we’re under. We’re either under the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit.
And so Paul talks about adultery in verse three so that we might understand that life in the Spirit is the very thing that frees us from the law of sin and death. We can’t have both as one is not valid until the other is dead.
What sets us free from the law of sin and death?
The Spirit of Life that comes through faith in Jesus.
Paul writes, “I had not known sin except through the law.” Give a few examples of the way the Ten Commandments has made us aware of our sin.
I think that some sin just comes naturally to us like lying and stealing for example. If we never knew that it was wrong to take what wasn’t ours, we would probably do this without even realizing that it’s hurting the person we’re taking it from.
We lie because it gets us out of uncomfortable situations. Sin gives us a false sense of security that way.
People commit adultery every day because they tell themselves they’re not hurting anybody and that it’s okay to do so.
The law (whether it was written on tablets of stone or placed upon our hearts) teaches us what is sin and what isn’t.
What does this mean, “without the law, sin was dead?”
Without the law, there is no knowledge of sin.
Note: As we study verses 14-25, let’s keep in mind the fact that crucifying the flesh is a struggle for Christians. Not only do we have the sinful patterns of our past to let go of, we also live in a fallen world in which we’re constantly facing temptation. Paul is reiterating his statement from chapter 6 where he wrote about the infirmity of our flesh, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God.”
In verse 14, Paul writes, “the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Look up the word “carnal” at dictionary.com. What does it mean?
Pertaining to or characterized by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites; sensual.
As long as we’re still in this world, we struggle with the temptation of sin and the weakness of our flesh.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” – Galatians 5:17
It’s for this reason that we must crucify the flesh at the moment we accept Christ and every time it wars against our Spirit, which is a day-after-day crucifixion.
Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
Paul is struggling with a sense of helplessness here. He knows what is good, and he wants to do good, but he doesn’t have the strength to walk in obedience on his strength alone. What advice would you give a new Christian who felt this way?
I would tell them to walk in the Spirit. In other words, turn your eyes away from your sin and keep your focus on God.
This is two part. The first is turning our back on sin and the other is running to God.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7
Those who love sin, entertain it. They stay focused on it. They dream about it, and they lust after it. Those who follow Jesus detest anything that stands in the way of a relationship with Him. Yes, they still struggle with temptation and sometimes they fall, but the difference is the choice that they make to walk in the light.
There’s a definite struggle between our sinful nature, and our spiritual nature, but the key to victory is not found within ourselves. Where does Paul say it comes from?
God is the one who delivers us through faith in Jesus Christ. When we are in Christ, we have the Spirit working on our behalf. Not only only are we pardoned of our sin, we have power to fight that sin that we never had before. We’ll read more about this exciting victory in the next chapter!
What are four ways we can strengthen our walk and prepare ourselves for temptation?
Psalm 119:11 – Studying God’s Word
James 4:7 – Resisting temptation the moment we sense it
1 Peter 5:8-9 – Staying alert
Philippians 4:6 – Praying
Paul sums up this chapter by dividing the mind from the flesh. What does he say about each?
Mind – His mind serves the law of God. He stays focused on God. He is looking to Christ. He is walking in the spirit.
Flesh – His flesh serves the law of sin. There’s a struggle going on, and it has yet to fully come under the obedience of the Spirit.
My thoughts on this chapter…
Paul’s words are empowering. He doesn’t hold back when it comes to the struggles ahead. He lays it all out in chapter 7 where he talks about the inner turmoil of a crucified life. He goes on in chapter 8 to talk about the perils of walking in faith and the many ways one will suffer.
But here’s the thing, he puts it all in perspective when he shares the good news of the incomparable glory to come. Every thing he said about pain and suffering up to this point pales in comparison to our union with Christ when we’re finally free from the weight of this world.
The best thing we have going for us isn’t the mansion we have waiting in heaven. It isn’t a street of gold, or the absence of pain. It’s the love of God, and the peace that was bridged between God and man when Christ died on the cross.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (v. 38-39)
Questions and Answers…
What does Paul mean in verse one when he says those who are “in” Christ Jesus?
Acts 17:28 says, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being..”
This means that we live for Christ, we are moved (effected) by Christ, and are spiritual beings in Christ.
What has set us free from the law of sin and death?
When Jesus died on the cross He purchased our freedom. He set us free from the law of sin and death that condemned us. By one man (Adam) sin entered the world and the condemnation of death with it. That death reigned upon all men from the time of Adam until Christ came to redeem us. Exchanging His life for ours, He set us free once and for all.
When we die to our old life, we are baptized with Christ and risen with him.
Paul wrote, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit.” (Romans 7:6, NIV)
Ellicott’s Commentary describes the law of the Spirit of life this way, “A phrase defining more fully the mode in which the union with Christ becomes operative in the believer. It begins by imparting to him the Spirit of Christ; this Spirit creates within him a law; and the result of that law is life—that perfect spiritual vitality which includes within itself the pledge of immortality.”
Paul says that the law was “weak through the flesh.” What does that mean?
It pointed men to their need for redemption, but didn’t hold the power necessary to redeem our sinful nature the way that Christ could.
What is the difference between a “carnally” minded person and a “spiritually” minded one?
The difference is what we set our affections on. A carnally minded person entertains sin, while a spiritually minded person turns their back on it. We set our focus on Christ, as we battle against the flesh to follow the Spirit. A spiritually minded person will exercise their mind by meditating on God’s Word and following His will.
In verse 5, Paul talks about minding things of the flesh or minding things of the Spirit. The original Greek word in that text is phroneo (Strong’s G5426). Can you find Strong’s definition of that word?
To exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication, to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction); intensively, to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience):—set the affection on.
How can one exercise their heart to be mindful of the Spirit? Can you think of a Bible verse for this?
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9
Verse 13 tells us to “mortify the deeds of the body.” Compare this with Romans 12:1-2. What does this look like in a believer’s life?
A believer who mortifies the deeds of the body is living a sacrificial life. They have taken up their cross to follow Christ. A cross is more than emblem that symbolizes our faith, it’s a symbol of death, and pain, and of execution. So when Jesus says, “Take up your cross and follow me,” He’s talking about crucifying the flesh—giving up the person we were, along with the sinful passions we had, to follow His will.
Paul talks self-discipline in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27. His words are intense when he says, “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (NIV)
What hope does Paul give us about present suffering and future glory?
The suffering of this present time is incomparable to the glory that lies ahead. When we’re finally glorified together with Christ we’ll be delivered from the bondage of this body that is subject to pain and corruption, sorrow and grief.
How are believer’s more than conquerors?
Paul listed several things that cause a believer to suffer: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and death. Immediately after he reminds us of the victory we have in Christ. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, and the peace we have through Jesus Christ. Believing that there’s more to this world than our present suffering is the beginning of that peace. It not only conquers the fear within us, it empowers us to face each day with hope.
How does the Holy Spirit help us in our ‘weaknesses’, especially in our prayer life?
The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.
What 5 key words describe God’s purposes for the believer?
** Note: I have to apologize for this question. When I originally wrote it, it made perfect sense. Looking back now I see that I should have clarified the question more, because even I’m stumbling to find the answer I was looking for.
To be spiritually minded
To be glorified
To be justified
To be united with Christ
To be conformed to the image of Christ
To be conquerors
And I would also add to be sanctified
My thoughts on this chapter…
This chapter is often met with the question, why? Why does God choose one man over another? Why did God prefer Jacob over Esau? Why does God pick and choose the way He does?
God’s wisdom excels ours in every way possible. To try to understand the mind of God and make sense of His choices would be like a lump of clay trying to understand The Potter’s mind.
Francis Chan explains it this way, “I’m like a piece of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what The Potter is like.”
Sometimes we don’t have the answers we want, and we don’t have to. Praise God I’m not in charge of this universe. I can’t orchestrate my own life; how could I possibly orchestrate others? And so I rest in His wisdom. I trust in His words when they are tough. And I lean on His strength.
Questions and Answers…
What was the source of Paul’s sorrow?
He has sorrow for his fellow kinsmen–the Israelites. So many of them were separated from God because they rejected the Messiah.
Many times in the book, Paul is addressing the Jews in hopes that they are walking by faith rather than leaning on their lineage through Abraham. By understanding the Jews, their importance, and their history, we can gain a better understanding of the gospel as a whole.
I want to make sure that readers understand that the inclusion of the Gentiles wasn’t plan B. This was God’s plan from the beginning and the promise made to Abraham was a promise of salvation to all through faith.
Were the Jews replaced? Not by any means. They were God’s chosen people in that they were the chosen lineage through which the Messiah would come. They were also blessed in numerous ways, which we’ll discuss in the next question.
Paul asks, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1)
Many Christian forget the importance the Jews had in Biblical history and the importance they still have to God. Chapter 11 will lead us deeper into this topic. But we haven’t gotten there yet.
Verse 4 and 5 sum up many of the blessings that were handed to the Israelites. Can you list them?
The adoption to sonship – “Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (Exodus 4:22)
The divine glory – “Shekinah Glory,” which was the cloud that signified the divine presence of God
The receiving of the law
The service of God (serving at the temple)
The lineage through which the Messiah came
Who is considered Abraham’s offspring?
Not children of physical descent, but rather children of the promise.
Here’s a little background. Abraham’s grandson was Jacob. Jacob was the one who had 12 sons (the 12 tribes of Israel or the Israelites. Before they became a great nation, the Bible tells us that Jacob wrestled with God. Reverend Frederick Buechner refers to this struggle as a “magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God.”
Compare this with Romans chapter 7 when Paul talks about his struggle in the flesh. This struggle takes place in the life of a believer as we’re dying to our sinful nature and putting on the nature of Christ.
Here’s an interesting layer to this story. After Jacob wrestled with the angel, God changed his name to Israel:
“And he said, ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’” – Genesis 32:28
Do you know what Israel means? Many commentators believe the name comes from the verb śarar (“to rule, be strong, have authority over”), thereby making the name mean “God rules” or “God judges.” (Wikipedia) Others say it means to struggle with God. In any case, Jacob was named Israel because he prevailed.
And so what we see here is a transformation in Jacob’s life through which he was brought under the power of God.
This is why “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Unless they are brought under the power of God, they are descendants by birth, not by faith. Keep in mind that we have not replaced Israel. There is still a distinction between physical Israel, to which the promises were made, and a “spiritual Israel.”
How does God choose His people? What are His choices dependent upon?
His mercy. It has nothing to do with human effort of merit, but mercy.
If Israel failed to believe in the Messiah, did God’s promise to Abraham fail?
No. God’s promise was to that of Abraham’s seed, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” – Genesis 22:17
Those who who put their trust in God and believe in Jesus Christ are the seed of Abraham.
What is Paul’s answer to those who question or disagree with God’s sovereign choice?
O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (v. 20-21)
Can you think of an example from scripture where God was patient with the object of His wrath? How did He use this situation to display His riches and glory?
Reading the story of Exodus, we see Moses going to Pharaoh asking that he let God’s people go. But Pharaoh was stubborn. Each time he refused to obey, God sent another plague. They go back and forth throughout the story as God patiently waits.
So why did God let this continue? Why didn’t He just free the people in the first place instead of having Moses ask Pharaoh for his permission again and again? If God could turn water to blood, certainly He could turn Pharaoh to dust. In fact, He could have prevented Pharaoh from being born in the first place.
The answer is found here:
“And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Exodus 9:16
Pharaoh was brought into this world for a reason, he was raised for a purpose, and he was given an opportunity to harden his heart, so that through his disobedience God would prove Himself to both His people and to the rest of the world.
God’s sovereignty and power was revealed through each and every one of the plagues. There wasn’t a stone left unturned. Every detail of the Exodus, including the many times that Pharaoh hardened his heart, was composed for a reason.
God knew Pharaoh before he was born. He knew what made him tick. He knew that Pharaoh was proud and that pride was the very thing that would cause him to harden his heart. He knew Pharaoh better than Pharaoh knew himself, and so He used Pharaoh’s weakness to make His power known to the world.
What is the stumbling stone that Paul is talking about at the end of the chapter?
In Isaiah 28:16, he talks about the cornerstone. This stone isn’t simply one stone of many, it’s the most important stone in the foundation. And in fact it’s the one that joins two walls together.
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not be in haste.”
This cornerstone was Christ, the foundation upon which we believe.
How did Israel miss the mark that leads to righteousness?
The Jews wanted to be righteous and holy, but their faith was in the works of the law. They missed the mark when it came to righteousness, because righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:3-4)
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