Lesson 1 -- second quarter 2005
March 6, 2005
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Do you put yourself in a different category from certain others, thinking them to be worse than you?
Do you acknowledge your own enticements by, struggles with, and surrenders to sin?
Do you turn to Jesus daily for grace for victory and cleansing?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Nobody is naturally perfect.
Aside from the Holy One, nobody else born of a woman has lived life perfectly before God. We all have a bent toward sin. We all have a strong attraction for sin. That puts us all in the same category and on the same plane: guilty. "There is none righteous, no, not one . . . they are together become unprofitable" (Romans 3:10,12).
God is knowable.
No matter how we choose to compare, God is far above us. But He is not so far beyond us as to be unreachable and unknowable. Quite to the contrary, He chooses (and delights) to make Himself known. Those who choose to avoid knowing God also choose to expose themselves to the fulness of His wrath. "That which may be known of God . . . God hath shewed it unto them . . . so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:19,20).
The Gospel reveals God's power and righteousness.
In the Gospel we see God's personal righteousness. In the Gospel we also personally experience God's own power of redemption. How then shall we be ashamed of it?
Because of faith, the just live.
Faith in Jesus takes us from death to life in an instant. Then faith in Jesus leads us and empower us for abundant Godly living.
Questions and Responses
What about those who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus?
God knows. And in His love, grace, and justice, He has made sure that everyone can know Him (Romans 1:19,20). We can rest in that. However, we cannot afford to be inactive in our rest! We have been called, commissioned, and empowered to be participants in God's plan for mankind.
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).
What are some characteristics of the Christian's new nature?
The answer's varied dimensions and angles are presented throughout the Scriptures. In today's lesson we can take the opposites of the descriptions in Romans 3:10-18 as character traits of our new nature in Jesus. We are righteous and understanding. We seek after God and walk in His way. We are profitable to Him. We do good. From our mouth comes a fountain of life and truth, blessing with the sweetness of Jesus those who listen. Our feet are swift with the redemptive message of the shed blood of Jesus. The people in our wake are built up and blessed. We know the way of peace and walk in it in the fear of God.
Despite my new nature in Jesus, I continue to sin. Why?
You live in a body that has not yet been redeemed. Your flesh is yours, obviously, but it is traitorous to your new nature, which just as obviously, is also yours. Take heart -- Jesus is at work in you. He will perfect that which concerns you (Psalm 138:8; Philippians 1:6).
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