03/04/12 Romans 5:1-11
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
SALVATION AND SUFFERING: TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
This is another one of the best sections of the best letter in the New Testament. Romans answers the most relevant question, “How does a person with issues (which is everyone) get a clean bill of health from a God who never compromises?” These paragraphs invite us to experience the peace that faith in Jesus brings. Right away we meet one of the most critical words in the Bible – justify. It means “to acquit,” “to give a verdict of not guilty,” or “to pronounce righteous.”
Which is it? Is it God’s verdict or our faith that gives us peace of mind (5:1-2)? Why?
Condemn is the opposite of justify. Condemnation means that God declares us sinners, which is a declaration of war. Justification means that God declares us righteous, which is a declaration of peace.
Why does it say, “We have been justified” and not “We are being justified” (5:1)?
God used a huge curtain to keep Jewish people away from His special room in the Temple building. God used a fence around the perimeter of the Temple facility to keep non-Jewish people at arms length. There was a warning sign on it that the authorities would kill any non-Jew who went past the boundary. This was for people’s benefit. People with contaminating sins can never be in God’s presence. “Peace with God” takes care of the past. He doesn’t hold our sins against us. “Access to God” takes care of the present. We can come to Him at any time for help. “Hope of the glory of God” takes care of the future.
How does the “glory of God” make us hopeful (5:2; John 17:22)?
Jesus guaranteed, “In this world you’ll have trouble” (John 16:33). Our justification is not an insurance policy against problems in life. “We must suffer a lot to enter God’s kingdom” (Acts 14:22). Suffering in itself is not beneficial. People who fixate on their pain never realize its benefits or see life from a different perspective. There’s always the temptation to quit when life gets hard. Korean Christians, under pressure from Communists, said, “We’re like nails. The harder you hit us, the deeper into Jesus you drive us.”
What’s the connection between suffering and hope (5:3-4)?
One of the exciting things the Bible tells us is that not only does God give us a clean record, He helps us remember this when we’re going through the toughest phases life has to offer.
5. Isn’t it the suffering that Jesus experienced that saves us? Why do we have to suffer (5:3-4)?
The “right time” for God’s help is when we cannot help ourselves. God has not waited for us to take the first step back to Him. He intervened in an act of pure grace to provide a way to bring us back. Four times in this section (5:6-8) the preposition hyper occurs. It has such a broad meaning no single English word can explain it. It really involves the ideas of “for the benefit of,” “on behalf of,” and “instead of.”
6. What if it said, “Christ died for good people” instead of “Christ died for the ungodly” (5:6-8)? Doesn’t “Christ died for good people” make more sense?
We were powerless. We were sinners. We were God’s enemies. Relying on Jesus’ sacrifice in our place, we’re none of those things anymore as far as God’s concerned. We have God’s strength. We have a flawless record of doing good and being good. We are God’s friends. Can I be sure my justification now will do any good when we face God’s final scrutiny on judgment day? This is Paul’s next topic.
7. How did Jesus’ blood rescue people (5:9)? How did/does His life rescue people (5:10)?
The Holy Spirit helps us understand the new status Jesus earned us with God. Not just this, but He helps us look at God differently than we did before we appreciated what Jesus did for us.
8. When do we normally use the word “reconciliation” (5:10-11)? Who was the abuser in this relationship? Who was the victim?
We could study the first 11 verses of Romans 5 every day into eternity and still not completely grasp the enormous meaning behind the truths there. One thing the Holy Spirit helps us understand easily: Life is hard, but our God is infinitely good.
1. How does this section connect to Mark 8:31-38? What’s the connection to Genesis 28:10-17?
Why is it so hard to appreciate the benefits of suffering?
Which kinds of sufferings are the hardest for Christians to swallow?