The Gospel as our Induction into the Domain of the Spirit (Rom. 5:1‑8:39) "The Gospel is the continual functioning of divine power, because it is the means by which all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are transferred from the realm of sin and death into the realm of the Spirit and life! The great fundamental aspect of life is that we have been saved, redeemed, and we received it when we realized we needed it!
We who are justified by faith now have peace with God. Thus we are to rejoice in our hope (of what Christ did for us and Heaven to come), and rejoice and glory in the midst of troubles. The abundant love of God is shown to us when He reconciled us to Himself by the death of his Son, while we were still unworthy sinners and His 'enemies'. And to top it off God assures us of our salvation, and motivates us to rejoice and glory in Him, no matter what happens or what we go through, because He has gone through more. Then this passage answers the common objection that sin is not fair. That sin entered into the world by one man that affected all people by Adam; but the grace of God, which justified us, comes in the world by One man/God. Adam along with all of us deserved it, Christ did not; thus, yes it is unfair- to God, but not to us! The law proved the circumstance that we deserve sin unto death; but the superior abounding love of grace, as "reigning through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ."
· Justification means that not only has God forgiven and accepted you, He has covered you with the righteousness of Christ. Therefore you are pleasing to God. The implications of justification are our true riches, our access to God through the Holy Spirit by what Christ has done.
· The barrier has been removed that had separated us from God. Our riches, how wonderful it is to be a Christian, are in love, hope, joy, and grace. We have access to God anytime, if it was based on our works, it would be limited to null, depending on what we did.
· Peace means we have been reconciled and are no longer His enemies as we were with sin. We have assurance and hope, our sin and guilt have been covered and removed from His sight; however it must be accepted and received by faith. This understanding helps give us our contentment!
· Repentance does not save us; repentance is only the realization of our salvation.
· We must place our focus on the cause (Christ) not the effect (What He has done), because the effect will flow from a natural desire and create growth and maturity. Our duty is to take care of the chicken and not the eggs, for the eggs will come anyway when we care for the chicken.
· We are right with God because of Christ, not of our faith and obedience, but faith and obedience is the fruit and proof. Thus, salvation is not logic or knowledge (2 Cor. 5:17-19). This is not optimism or wishful thinking, but the fact of the love of God.
· Justification is not just insurance from Hell, but is lasting and a source of blessings.
· Our confidence is in Christ and His character, not self-esteem, but "Christ-esteem"!
· True service is doing what we do not like to do for others (2 Cor. 12:15).
· Christ no longer will hold our sins against us.
· Tribulations refer to the hardships we face. God does not always cause them to go away; rather carries us though and uses them to teach us maturity and character. Trials build faith and character, allowing us to be better used to glorify God. Trials are not a personal attack against us, but rather they allow God to work in us in a deep way to be of better use to Him, for others.
· Our identity is who we are in Christ, and nothing else. Once we fully realize that the love of Christ has been poured out in us, then we can identify ourselves in Him. We will be able to identify Christ's interests in others over against our own interests (John 15:3; Rom. 9:3; 1 Cor. 9:22).
· We need not be frustrated or filled with worry when we have Christ (1 John 4:17-19).
We are to love Him, even though we cannot see Him or touch Him. This may go against common sense, but the reality of His grace and impact can sometimes be hidden by our desires, circumstances, and feelings. This is the test of faith and trust, if we see no hope, we then must look to our Lord; then the hope is given and can be seen. The reward of our faith far outweighs any endurance or struggle we face. The joy we have is real and significant (John 20:29).
Without hope we cannot persevere in life effectively as we would give up and become captivated by correction or oppressed into drudgery. This hope gives us the road to drive our maturity and spiritual growth on. As we go though life we learn and when we learn we grow and when we grow we develop character and hone and improve our worship of Christ. This builds our personality and lets us be used better in the lives of others.
1. Do you know people who are very optimistic? How do they make you feel when you are down and feeling upset?
2. Have you considered that the implications of our justification are our true riches, not what we make or earn or do?
3. How can 'our riches', be translated into being a wonderful Christian filled and overflowing with love, hope, joy, and grace.
4. What is/ was the barrier that has been removed that had separated us from God?
5. We have assurance and hope, our sin and guilt have been removed; however it must be accepted and received by what?
6. What is the role of repentance?
7. How do you keep repentance in your cue, that is on top of your mind?
8. What must you do to allow the desire to create growth and maturity in your life?
9. "Our duty is to take care of the chicken and not the eggs, for the eggs will come anyway", so what are the chicken and eggs?
10. Do you know Christians who think they are right with God because of their faith and obedience?
11. How can you show them that faith and obedience is a fruit and proof, not the instigator of the Christian life?
12. What frustrates you in life?
13. What do you need to do to remove those frustrations?
14. Our confidence is in Christ and His character, not in self-esteem. So how do you apply this "Christ-esteem"?
15. 'True service is doing what we do not like to do for others', so what do you not like to do?
16. Because Christ will no longer hold our sins against us (when we repent) does this help you cut down sin or step it up thinking, "Oh He will just forgive me anyway"?
17. How do you identify yourself?
18. What can you do to reaffirm that your identity is who you are in Christ, and nothing else?
19. How do you suppose God feels when Christians believe and even teach that justification is just 'insurance from Hell', and being a Christian is to be a source of blessings only?
20. How can you learn to be better and have more character by acknowledging and learning when God brings you people and situations you do not like?
©1998, 2001, 2004, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org