Paul was deeply grieved and disturbed emotionally, to the point that it cut to his soul, because of the stupidity of his fellow Jews. They rejected God and replaced faith in Him with meaningless trivialities and pride. At the same time, Paul lets us know that God is not obligated to do anything! We are not owed, nor do we deserve His grace; yet, by God's grace, we receive blessings even though we may not see them. Remember, faith looks to Christ, not to what we experience or know. The Gospel is the powerful demonstration of God's saving grace, because it is through faith in Christ that a new, Eschatological Israel, composed of Jew and Gentile, is established in fulfillment of the promises made to the fathers! This is the magnification of God's grace and the exaltation of His sovereignty.Faith knows we are eternally secure!
· Christians, pastors and churches fail not just because of sin but because we place our desires over God's direction and plan. Do not let your pride and desires destroy the work of God or your church!
· We must abandon ourselves to Him, and never hold back with reasoning and logic, nor hide in our theology or our ignorance. Our drive must be to follow His character and not our own or our culture.
· My interests must be surrendered to His; His interests must be mine (vs. 1:1; Gal. 1:5) so that doing what we do not want to do is sheer pleasure because it is serving Him (John 15:13; 1 Cor. 9:22; 2 Cor. 12:15)! This is a clear and unequivocal instance of Christ being called God, the eternally blessed God (Rom. 9:5).
· We have no right to fight against God, or to complain or ask why. We cannot fit God in our extremely limited knowledge and reasoning ability and pass judgment on Him! God is righteous in all of His decisions, and we must trust Him in them, even when we do not like them or understand them. We must see our sin and weakness, and be humble before the Holiness of God. The result is, we have no right to ever be bitter; so, dig out the root of bitterness so it does not bear the rotten fruits of the self!
· Real faith will build in times of stress and confusion, whereas just having confidence without faith will diminish us (1 Pet. 1:7).
· Remember that Pride is one of the biggest barriers for us to hurdle (Phil. 3:1-11).
1. When have you been deeply grieved by something other than a tragedy or death? How did faith in Christ help you?
2. What happens when moral awareness comes from our ideas and not from the Word and Spirit?
3. How can Paul's passion and sorrow be an example for us to follow today? Does your heart become sorrowful for others? If not, what is blocking you from God's call?
4. Passion, conviction and emotion are all part of the Christian experience, so why do so many Christians seem to lack it today?
5. In what ways have you quenched the Spirit? Or, your passion?
6. How, and why do Christians fail when they place their desires over God's direction and plan?
7. How can you abandon yourself to Christ?
8. How can we follow His character with passion, and not our own will or our culture?
9. How can we place our interests as surrendered to His? How can His interests be ours?
10. Why would God's plan not be thwarted?
11. God did not fail to work out His purpose with the Jews, nor will He fail to work out our purpose! How can this fact give you greater assurance in your faith and trust?
12. How can you dig out the root of bitterness so that you do not bear the rotten fruits of the self?