Lesson 10

Redemption for Jew and Gentile

(Romans 8:18-9:30)
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Introduction: Look around and you find hardships. Natural disasters. Loss of jobs. Human disasters. Some hardships are so terrible that I do not like to think about them. Consider the miners who have been trapped alive underground for more than two weeks. I just read that those on the surface were able to get air, water and food to the miners. But, rescuers project, it will be four months before those miners can be rescued! Other disasters are of a spiritual nature. What does God say about the hardships that we face? Do we have any control over our lives? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Groans


    1. Read Romans 8:18. How should we look at suffering?


      1. Is Paul writing about heaven? If so, why does he say "revealed in us?" (Heaven is the ultimate cure for suffering. But, suffering can raise us to a level that we better reflect God's glory.)


    2. Read Romans 8:19-21. Who else, besides humans, is suffering? ("The creation.")


      1. What is the creation? (The commentators cannot agree on what is being described by Paul. Let's just say that it means more than Christians.)


        1. Is the creation waiting for God to be revealed in you? How long will it have to wait?


    3. Read Romans 8:22-25. Are Christians free from groaning in life? (Paul says there is a lot of groaning in the world - and Christians are not exempt from it.)


      1. What is our hope? (Heaven: our ultimate solution to living through times of groaning.)


      2. Compare Romans 8:15 with Romans 8:23. I though we were already adopted as sons of God? (Our adoption becomes complete in heaven.)


    4. Read Romans 8:26-27. What does Paul mean "in that same way?" (Just as our hope is based on something we cannot see, so the Holy Spirit cannot be seen.)


      1. What is the first thing that you do when you run into a "groan" problem? (My first reaction is to think of a solution. My second reaction is to pray. I need to pray about reversing the order of those two reactions!)


        1. What if you face a problem with no apparent solution? What if you don't know what to ask God? (We are weak and we do not know how to pray. The Holy Spirit will help us with that. The Holy Spirit takes our miserable confused prayers and transforms them.)


        2. What does it mean that the Holy Spirit "intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express?" Is the Holy Spirit groaning to God on our behalf? (Yes! Our words may not adequately express our desperation - yet the Holy Spirit transmits that message to the rest of the Trinity.)


  2. Our Solution to Problems


    1. Read Romans 8:28. What should give us confidence in every problem? (God is working out the problems of those who love Him.)


    2. Read Romans 8:31-32. How can we know that we can trust God? (God gave up Jesus for us! How can we doubt God's love?)


      1. Why is confidence in God's love so important? (God is the powerhouse of the universe! If God is with us, who can overcome God? We need not worry about the outcome of our problems.)


    3. Let's skip down to Romans 8:37-39. How can we be more than conquerors? Isn't that the top rank? (Conquerors can later be conquered. The Bible tells us that no power on earth can separate us from God's love! Friend, what better news can we have than that?)


  3. A Defective Solution?


    1. God promises us that nothing can overcome us. He promises that nothing can separate us from His love. He promises that heaven is the ultimate answer to all of our hardships. Do these promises apply equally to everyone?


    2. Let's skip down several verses and read Romans 9:10-14. If Esau was hated by God, before he did anything good or bad, how would you answer the question "Is God unjust?"


      1. Just as we decided that nothing can separate us from God's love, we learn that God can separate us from His love. Is this unjust? ( Romans 9:14 says, "No. God is just.")


      2. Do we need to fear that God will walk away from us sometime because we are no longer part of the "elect?"


    3. Read Job 1:6-11. What is Satan's charge against God? (That He is unfair. Job serves God because God gives him special favors.)


      1. What if Satan came to God and said "Isaac serves you because you gave him special favors." Esau doesn't serve you because you hate him. What would you say to those charges? (The whole point of the book of Job is to show that Job served God voluntarily, not because he was bribed. If the charge is "people have no choice," it is even worse than Satan's charge.)


    4. Let's study what lead Paul to this point to see if we can work out this apparent conflict. Read Romans 9:1-5. Did the Jewish race have an unfair advantage? (I'm not going to say it was unfair, but they certainly had an advantage.)


    5. Read Romans 9:6-8. What does this suggest about the issue of whether humans can freely choose God? (Being in a relationship with God is not a matter of birth - something over which we have no choice. Israel is not natural children, but "children of the promise." We can choose to accept God's promise. The "God hated Esau" comment did not mean Esau was eternally lost. Simply that Isaac was especially blessed.)


    6. Read Romans 9:9. How much free-choice is involved in that promise? (God seems to be saying something else - that Abraham and Sarah did nothing to merit the promise.)


    7. Now, re-read Romans 9:10-14. Is Paul contradicting what he wrote in Romans 9:6-8?


    8. Read Romans 9:17-18. How much free-choice did Pharaoh have to become a child of the promise?


      1. How much free-choice do I have if God chooses to "harden" my heart?


    9. Read Romans 9:19. Are you among the "ones" who say this? If God hardens my heart, how can He blame me for my sin!


    10. Read Romans 9:20-21. Is Paul right? (Of course he is right! As humans created by God, we have no right to accuse God of acting improperly.)


      1. But, does that make the situation fair? (God may have the power. God may have the right. But, an outside observer might still conclude God was not being fair.)


        1. Doesn't this conclusion seem foreign to the God you know?


      2. Step back a moment. In the Egypt versus the Hebrews situation, who were the "good guys?" (There might not have been any good guys, but clearly the Egyptians were wrong in their religious beliefs and wrong in enslaving the Hebrews.)


        1. Had Pharaoh made a choice between good and evil before Moses approached him? (Yes.)


    11. Read Romans 9:22. Who are the objects of God's wrath? How is He showing patience? (Wait a minute! Paul is taking us back to basics. What do humans deserve? What did Pharaoh deserve? We all deserve to die because we all sinned. If God shows mercy to some, but not all, is that unfair?


    12. Read Romans 9:23-24. How does this text apply to Pharaoh? (Pharaoh rejected God. God's own people rejected Him. But, God used Pharaoh to demonstrate His power (and love) against the evil forces of the world.)


      1. Is that fair? (Yes.)


      2. Notice the flow of Paul's argument. He starts out ( Romans 9:20-21) by saying God can do what He wants and who are His created beings to complain? However, after establishing the point that we have no right to complain, Paul shows us why God is acting with justice towards all created beings!


    13. Why do you think Paul gets into this argument over God's justice? Is he on a detour from his main point about righteousness by faith? Has this something to do with suffering? (Read Romans 9:30-33. Paul's main point is that God is the powerhouse in our relationship with Him. Humans can reject God and be lost. But, righteousness by faith is all God. Mercy is all God. Salvation is all God. When bad things happen in life, the solution is all God.)


    14. Friend, we started out talking about hardship. God's answer to hardship is to trust Him for the future. Paul then moved to the issue of salvation for Gentiles (those not chosen by God). God's answer to salvation is to trust Him. Will you agree to do exactly that: trust God in hardships and with your eternal salvation?


  4. Next week: The Election of Grace.

Discussion

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