The Apostle Paul originally wrote his letter to the Romans to a particular people at a particular time; and even though it wasn’t written to us, many followers of Jesus return again and again to this letter because of all the truth it contains for us. The first few chapters of Romans articulated one central theme over and over again: Humans are sinful. In Romans 5-8 the good news of the Gospel, and the effect that it should have in the life of believers, bursts off the pages. Contained within these chapters are some of the most beloved and frequently quoted passages in all of Scripture:
“… we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Rom. 5:3)
“…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
“…Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1)
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32)
Over the next few months we will have the opportunity as a church to explore these, and other, truths within Romans 5-8.
While this letter wasn’t originally written to us, there is no doubt that the content of these chapters of Scripture makes the world of difference forus.
How have you experienced suffering in your life? Past or present?
Read Genesis 1:26-30. This passage describes God’s original call on humanity to rule over all aspects of creation. Being made in the image of God means being rulers over all areas of life (arts, agriculture, academics, etc). What areas of life are you looking forward to experiencing in the fullness of resurrected life, and why?
How does knowing what lies ahead change how you approach suffering?
If people disagree about the meaning of a passage of Scripture, how do you determine who is right? Does it matter? Is there a “right” answer?
How do you reason through a passage of Scripture that is hotly debated among scholars and teachers? How do you know to whom you should listen? What kinds of reasons do you find especially compelling in these kinds of debates?
Read Genesis 3:8-12. Who does Adam blame for his sin? Why?
Why do you think Paul raises the question in Romans 7:7? Why would someone conclude from what Paul has just written that God’s Law was a bad thing?
Read Romans 7:7-8. Can you recall any experiences you have had where you were given a rule to follow (or gave a rule for others to follow) and the presence of the rule made you want to break that very rule? Why does this happen to us?