Introduction: God Teaches Us His Gospel’s Effect

This is the first installment of a new series of posts prepared to help us better understand the effect of God’s good news as taught in Romans chapters 9 through 16.

There are 20 lesson units plus a final review unit… our plan is to post a new unit every Tuesday and Thursday. Occasionally helpful illustrations will also be posted to further aid us in our understanding of the effect of God’s gospel or “good news”.

You should first study how God teaches His Gospel in Romans 1 through 8. Digital Sojourner previously posted a series of lessons covering Romans 1-8. You can read those lessons online beginning here or download all of the lessons in PDF ebook format here.

Visit Digital Sojourner every Tuesday and Thursday for each new installment. You may also subscribe to Digital Sojourner’s RSS feed here.

At the conclusion of the series all of the lesson material, plus review questions for each lesson and additional bonus material, will be made available as a single PDF file for you to download.

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Continued in His Gospel’s Effect: Lesson 1

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Download: God’s Good News PDF Book

Every Tuesday and Thursday over the last ten weeks Digital Sojourner posted a series of lessons concerning God’s Good News.  The lessons explored God’s Gospel  taking us step by step through the first eight chapters of the book of Romans.

All of the lessons, plus review questions and additional illustrations, have been printed in booklet form.  The author, Bruce Hulshizer, has kindly offered to mail a free copy of the book to the readers of Digital Sojourner.  If you would like a printed and bound copy please email your request, along with your name and mailing address to: ds@digitalsojourner.com

You can also download the book in PDF format right now — for free!  Just click the download button below.

Download Now

 

 

On Tuesday Digital Sojourner will begin a new series of posts written by Bruce exploring Romans 9 – Romans 16.  In the first eight chapters of Romans God teaches us His Gospel.  In the last eight chapters of Romans God teaches us His Gospel’s effect.

Remember to join us every Tuesday and Thursday!

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God’s Good News: Review Lesson


READ:

Romans 1:16-18, Romans 3:19-26, Romans 5:1, Romans 6:1-7, Romans 7:5-6, Romans 7:18, Romans 8:1-4, Romans 8:12-18, Romans 8:31-32

What a great message God has taught us! What a great work God has done in Christ!

God’s gospel is so rich that He has to tell us all the problems He has overcome! It is so deep that He has to explain why we need it! It is so vast that our minds are filled up and overflowing when we finish learning about what God has done! Praise the Lord!


1st Problem – Solved!

God made a way we can be saved from the penalty that we deserve for our sins. (1:18-5:11) As a just judge He would have to send us to hell. But Christ died for our sins! He was our substitute. If we admit we are unrighteous and that we can not fix our problem by works, then we can see how precious the blood of Christ is!

All sinners who believe that Christ died for them are justified – God declares that they are righteous. All their debt has been paid. They are no longer in danger of wrath! Those who believe rejoice that this legal (judicial) problem is settled forever! We have a righteous position in God’s sight, and that can not change! So we have peace with God. Praise the Lord!


2nd Problem – Solved!

God made a way we can be saved from the power of sin which rules in the flesh. (5:12-8:14) Because our flesh is from Adam, sin rules it. But we died and rose with Christ! He was our representative. If we admit our flesh is no good and that we can not fix our problem by trying, then we can see how great it is to have new life in the risen Christ! What deliverance!

All who give up on the flesh and allow Christ to live in them by the Spirit can walk righteously. They are no longer frustrated by sin’s control. Those who walk according to the Spirit rejoice that their internal (moral) problem is settled forever! We can have a righteous practice by living like Paul: “I am crucified… but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) So we have peace in living. Praise the Lord!


3rd Problem – Solved!

God made a way we can be saved from the presence and effect of sin on our mortal body. (8:15-39) Because our body came from Adam, it is failing physically. But our real life is in Christ now! Because we are in Christ, one day even our bodies will be changed!

We will be done with this final left-over from Adam (our body). God made a way for our physical problem to be settled forever. We will be given bodies with a new glory that is like our new life in Christ! We have confidence as we look forward to that day! Soon everything about us will show that we really are the sons of God! So we have peace in trials. Praise the Lord!

So God has provided for all our needs by grace!
1. Our legal problem = the penalty for our sins
Solution –> By faith I am right before God in position

2. Our internal problem = the power of sin
Solution –> By the Spirit I can walk right in practice

3. Our physical problem = the present effect of sin
Solution –> Soon I will have a new body

All of this is in Christ! We owe everything to Christ! May the name of the Lord Jesus be praised forever!

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As you finish these lessons, ask yourself a couple questions. Have you ever admitted to God that you have sins that make you guilty and helpless? Have you asked Him to save you from hell by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ? If so, you are justified forever! If not, think seriously about God being a righteous judge Whom you will face!

Second, have you ever realized that your flesh is controlled by sin and that you can not walk right by your own ability? Have you seen that the only way to live is by Christ living in you? If so, present your body to God each day for Him to use. This is God’s way to deliver you from sin’s power in your daily living!

Continued here.

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God’s Good News: Lesson 10 Part 2

As we wait, we can talk to God in prayer and trust that He loves us (Romans 8:26-39)

The Spirit in us makes us long for the day when we will have perfect bodies! But right now, we still have troubles! So the Spirit helps us talk to God about these troubles. How good to always talk with God!

We may not know what to ask for. But we do know that God loves us. He loved us before we loved Him. At one time we did not love Him at all, but He set His love on us.

God plans that we will be like His Son. The Father wants the Lord Jesus to be at the Center with thousands of us around Him! So, that is why God called us. First He loved us and planned for us to be with Christ. Then He called. We can be sure He will also bring us to be with His Son in glory!

How awesome! God is for us! He desires us. How much? No limit. He would not even hold back His own Son from death! God gave up His Own Son to die, so that we could be His! What great love!

So, if God is for us, who could be against us? Could anyone stop us from being forever with the Lord? No! Someone would have to stop God, because He wanted us with Himself. Could anyone say God did not work everything out? Christ is the One that died and rose for us. Could anyone say that Christ is not good enough?

Who could stop God’s love to us? No one! We may have many problems, but nothing can stand between God and us. God has made up His mind that He wants us with Him forever. Can anyone stop His plans? No one! So our hearts can be at peace knowing that God loves us. This trust and peace does not come from what we see. It is from what we know. We know God loves us, so we can have peace in any bad problem! May the Lord help all of us rejoice saying “I am the Lord’s!”

Continued here.

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God’s Good News: Lesson 10 Part 1

Read Romans 8:15-39

We are sons of God, so we can look forward to having perfect bodies (Romans 8:15-25)

If you try to live by the law, you are going back to bondage. It is like slavery where you are afraid of failing.

But God has given you a spirit of sonship, not bondage. You can know God and know what He thinks. This is how a Christian should live. He should talk with God as his Father. He should pray. He should give his body to God to use. This is not a life of slavery, but a life of freedom and closeness to God!

That closeness is just what God the Father wants! He has made us to be heirs. He wants us to share how great He is! We are now “in Christ”, so we belong where Christ is… in heaven! We will inherit (receive) all the great things God has given to Christ. What a blessing to be “in Christ”!

But what about these bodies? Many times our bodies have pain, and we can not do many normal things because of sickness or weakness. These bodies are from Adam. But we now are part of Christ’s race. So, we soon will receive bodies like Christ’s body.

What kind of body does Christ have? Does He get sick? Does He have pain in His body? No! He has a body of “glory” – a body that is perfect.

When we receive our body of glory, then everyone will see that we really are the sons of God. Right now, we sure do not look like sons of God! But then, our bodies will match the real us, the person we are in Christ! Then, we will be free from the pain and sorrow we have in our corrupt bodies! What a wonderful hope!

Continued in Lesson 10 Part 2

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God’s Good News: Lesson 9 Part 2

I should walk according to the Spirit: Christ living in me! (Romans 8:5-14)

We are learning how a Christian can please God in his “walk.” His “walk” is what he does. We have seen that God has given the believer new life in Christ. So the way to walk is to allow Christ to live in me. I am in Christ, and Christ is to live in me.

If you set your mind on the flesh to do good, you will fail and be upset (frustrated). But if you look to the Spirit, He will make it possible for you to do right with your body. So you will have peace.

You should not really “try” but instead you should “trust.” In fact, if you “try” by your own ability, you will fail. The flesh is not able to do what God wants. It does what sin wants, because sin rules it.

What you need to do is think of yourself as dead. Reckon yourself dead. Then, yield your body to Christ for Him to live in. Your body is “dead” in one sense, but it is “alive” in another sense. It is “dead” when you give up on the flesh. But then your body is “alive” by the Spirit of Christ! Are you living as dead to yourself?

And in fact, that very Spirit of Christ is one day going to change our bodies! Even our bodies will be taken from being linked to Adam. Adam’s sin causes our bodies to corrupt and die. But in Christ, even our bodies will be given new life, raised from the dead!

So, we do not owe the flesh anything! It has not helped us at all! So we should not live according to flesh! If you try, you will fail. But if you yield your body to Christ, you will find life and rest. The Spirit of God will do what God wants with your body’s members! Give up on the flesh, and give your body over to Christ! This is God’s deliverance from sin’s power!

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The graphic illustration in Lesson 9 Part 1 and song (below) help summarize Romans 5:12-8:14. First, God told us that we are in Christ not Adam. Second, God taught us why we needed a new power to walk right. He showed this need to us by four questions about the law. He helps us see that the flesh is unable because sin is in it. Then finally, we see the value of being in Christ so we can have a righteous walk by the Spirit in us.

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Romans 5 to 8 Song
I am Crucified with Christ

(can be sung to the tune of “Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See”)

I am crucified with Christ, so I am dead;
Jesus Christ now lives His life in me instead;
And the life that I now live,
I just look to Him to give,
All the power I need, for (praise Him!) I am dead.

For the Lord has said it, so I know its true –
That the old me is no good, so I am through
With my fight to follow law
For my flesh will only fall!
So I give myself to Christ – all is for You!

Yes, my hands and feet now all belong to Him
I will no more yield my members unto sin
I have died to sin with Christ
And have risen to new life
So my body is for Christ to live within.

Freedom, peace, and righteousness at last abound,
As the Spirit of new life in Christ I’ve found,
For from sin I now am free
By the life of Christ in me;
And my body soon with glory will be crowned!

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Continued in Lesson 10 Part 1

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God’s Good News: Lesson 9 Part 1

Read Romans 8:1-14

The Spirit of Christ in me is a new source of power to live right (Romans 8:1-4)
We are not in Adam any more, so we are not in a condemned race. We were hopeless in Adam, but God has taken us out of Adam and put us in Christ (like we learned in chapter 5 and 6)!

We have learned (in chapter 7) that the flesh is not able to do what is right because sin rules it. When I try to live in Adam, I try to do good and I find I do evil. This shows I am under the law of sin. So, I am not able to get the members of my body to do what I want. This shows I am under the law of death. But, another law has set me free! The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees from both of these laws. How?

God made a way to set me free. God gave me new life in Christ rather than in Adam. God took me out of Adam and put me in Christ. When Christ died, I died (like we learned in chapter 6). He died as my representative, so the life of the risen Christ can live in me. So I need to fix my eyes on the risen Christ!

God decided that the flesh is no good. God gave up on the flesh. He decided to start a new race with a new kind of life. Christ died as a man and then rose again to start a new race of men. Christ died and rose to take us out of living in Adam and give us newness of life in Christ. In Christ, the flesh is not the power to do right. The Spirit is the power of our new life in Christ!

The law said to do right things; but it tried to tell the flesh to do right. The flesh could not do it. Now I can walk a whole new way. Instead of trying to do right through my flesh, I can let the Spirit of Christ in me do right. I need to walk “according to the Spirit” rather than “according to the flesh.” This way I am delivered from sin’s power.

Continued in Lesson 9 Part 2

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Entry Level Theological Truth [6]

‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ Genesis 1:26

Being created in God’s image invests mankind with tremendous value. In the divine plan, human life is not to be easily discarded. The Creator puts great value on people, and expects humans to treat one another with the appropriate respect due to being fashioned in His likeness. Of course, contemporary society balks at this notion; life is cheap in the brave new world of technological advancement and humanistic hedonism. Fallen man runs this world upon self-centered – that is to say, man-centered – principles. Therefore, human beings are abused and destroyed contrary to the intention of their Maker.

Fashioned for Significance

The modern tendency to devalue human life stems from the philosophies of the past few centuries. Evolutionary theory inspires many of these worldviews which, although different in their exact details, share a belief that man is here by accident with no overarching purpose. Nihilism denies that there is any meaning or purpose to human life. Its more optimistic cousin, existentialism, declares that humans themselves determine what meaning or significance life has. Atheism and agnosticism have no room for a personal Creator and therefore see no problem with abortion (or in extreme cases, euthanasia.)

Contrary to these inventions of the human mind, Genesis declares that there is a personal Creator who designed and built human beings, investing them with value and significance by making them in His image and likeness. Though these aspects of man’s nature have been marred by the fall, God still sees the vestigial beauty of with which He originally invested man.

That humans have meaning and value is underscored by the fact that rather than consign them to eternal destruction, God delivered up His Son as a sacrifice to redeem them (Romans 8:32.) God the Son Himself became a man, thereby eternally associating Himself with mankind (Hebrews 2:10-18.) He did not leave His human body in a tomb indefinitely, but physically raised it to a new order of deathless life (Hebrews 7:16.) Forty days later He ascended to heaven, taking resurrected and glorified humanity into the presence of God the Father.

On Pentecost, in keeping with His own promise, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell regenerated human beings.* In this way He has given redeemed mankind even more dignity than they possessed in the world before the fall. They are now indwelt by God Himself through His Spirit and are destined to be conformed to the Son’s own image at the redemption of the body (see Romans 8.)

No Planned Obsolescence Here

Given the first creation which made man in God’s image and likeness, followed by the new creation which destines him to be conformed to the image of the risen Christ, man must value the lives of others as well as his own life. Children in the womb must be protected – especially since God interacted with numerous people during their gestation (e.g. Samson, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and Paul.) The modern world devalues the elderly and disabled, but God would have us show them love and respect. Finally, it behooves individuals to not waste their lives as if they had no meaning or purpose. Rather, they must realize they are created to know and serve God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of His Holy Spirit. Anything less than conversion and service towards their Creator is a desecration of the significance and value of human life.

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*One is regenerated by receiving Christ as Lord and Savior through faith – see John 3 & Titus 3.

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Read the next installment of Entry Level Theological Truth here.

Jump back to the first article in this series

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God’s Good News: Lesson 8 Part 2

Did the law (which is good) cause death to me? (Romans 7:13-25)

Should I blame the law for making me unable to control the members of my body? No way! SIN is to blame! Sin used the law as a way to show itself. Sin was inside me all the time. But when sin heard the law command me not to want things for myself, sin jumped into action and made me want things!

So the real problem is that sin rules my flesh. My flesh is my nature I have from Adam. It is my natural life from when I was born. But I have found that it is no good! Sin rules it!

With my mind I would like to do what God wants; but when my mind tries to tell the members of my body to do good, I end up doing evil. Why? Because there is something else ruling my members. It is sin within me. My mind tells my flesh to do good, but my flesh does not listen. Why? Because it is ruled by sin. So I have realized that my flesh is sinful!

This makes me feel like I am trapped like a captive in a dead body! My body does not do what my mind wants. My members do not respond to me… as if they are dead. This law of death is a terrible thing!

And I can not do anything about it! Help!! Someone save me! Someone get me out of this body that I can not control! Who will deliver me?

God! Thanks be to God! He has made a way to set me free. He did so through Jesus Christ when I died and rose with Him (like we learned in chapter 6). Now that I have learned more about the law and the flesh, I am convicted that I have sin in me. I realize how bad a problem I have! If I am convicted of sin in my flesh, then I will want God’s deliverance in Christ.

We’ll learn some more about this next, but first let me review how things go when I try to do good through my natural life in Adam. In my mind, I want to obey God’s law (what God wants). But my mind is not able to do good in my body. Why? Because the flesh is under the control of sin’s law. So my flesh does not do the good that I want, but instead does what sin wants.

Continued in Lesson 9 Part 1.

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God’s Good News: Lesson 8 Part 1

Read in your Bible: Romans 7:7-25

If we need to be free from the Law… is it because the Law is sin? (Romans 7:7-12)

If I can not bear good fruit by the law, does that mean the law is sin? No way! The truth is that the law shows me that I have sin in me. It is like a light that reveals sin so I can see it.

For example, I did not realize how I had sin in me until the law told me not to lust (want things for myself). But the command not to lust made me lust! Where did that come from? It came from sin inside of me. Sin uses the commands of the law to make me want to do wrong things.

So the law is holy, and it shows me I have a problem inside.

Before the commands of the law came to me, I thought I was fine. But then the commands came, and I felt like I lost control of myself, because sin took over! It was like I died. The members of my body did not respond to me. Instead they did what sin wanted. But that raises another question…

Continued in Lesson 8 Part 2

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