AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG BIBLE STUDY MATERIAL – LESSON 14, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU

 

Topic: The Christian’s Relationship to God’s Law

Text: Romans 7:1-6

Memory verse: Romans 7:6 

Introduction

On our previous studies on the theme of sanctification in Romans 6, we have already learnt that the believers role is to know who we are in Christ, reckon that what Christ has done for us true and then we are to yield our lives  to God. Paul explained in chapter 6 that believers are dead to sin because they are identified with Jesus in His death and resurrection. In 6:1, the question: “Shall we go on sinning?” is answered. Notice that Paul asks a second question in 6:15: “Shall we sin because we are not under law?” He answers this question in chapter 7 and explains that believers are dead to the Law just as they are dead to sin (7:4). Before we closely study Rom 7:1-6, it is essential to get the entire overview of Romans 7.

 General Overview of Romans 7

  1. The Believers’ new Problem with the Sinful Nature (7:1 – 25)

Chapter 7 presents a deeper problem than that of chapter 6. Almost every believer realizes the problem of chapter 6 that his sinful nature drags him down and tries to make him a slave to sin. But few believers have entered into the experiences of chapter 7 which is the humbling realization that we are not capable in ourselves of doing anything good. Many believers live under the Law: they have a set of rules and regulations that they obey very religiously in the energy of the sin nature, and they call this “dedicated living.” How deceived we can be. Only when the Holy Spirit directs our lives from within and we obey out of a heart of love for the Lord is our life really honoring God.

The old nature enjoys being “good,” trying to obey laws, rules and codes. The most deceitful thing about the sin nature is that it can appear so sanctified and so spiritual. However, in reality the sin nature is at war with God. Chapter 6 deals with the sin nature as it generates evil. Chapter 7 deals with the sin nature that through the law tries to generate and to do “good.”

Even Paul the “great Pharisee” (Philippians 3:4 – 6) had to admit in Romans 7 that even his old nature was not subject to God’s laws. Perhaps he did not commit gross outward acts of sin, but he certainly cherished inward attitudes that were contrary to God’s will. The law of God is holy and good, but even a holy law can never control the sin nature of man.

  1. What does it mean to say: “you are not under law, but under grace”?

What does Paul mean in Romans  6:14 when he writes that – “you are not under law, but under grace”? To be “under law” means that we must do something for God.  To be “under grace” means that God does something for us. Many believers are weighed down with religious rules and regulations and good resolutions. They do not realize that it is impossible to find holiness through their own efforts. How tragic it is to see believers living “under law” and striving in their own efforts to please God. They do not know that the new position they have in Christ and the new power in the Spirit (8:3-4) make it possible for them to enjoy victory and blessing by grace. Paul explains this in chapter 7 by giving us three examples.

 First illustration on our relationship to the Law: The example of two Husbands (7:1-6)

The marriage relationship illustrates our relation to the Law. The two husbands are the Law and the Lord Jesus.

When a woman is married to a man, she is bound to that man until he dies. Then she is free to marry again. Before we met Jesus, we were bound by the Law and condemned by it. The Law, however, did not “die” when we were saved. Instead, we died in Jesus. We are no longer “married” to a system of laws. We are “married” to Jesus. The Law has no control over us. Our old “husband” has no control over us.

We are now in a wonderful new relationship in and through the Messiah. When we were controlled by the sinful nature, the Law aroused “the sinful passions” that were at work in us (in our old, sinful nature). This produced death (verse 5). But now we are delivered from the Law and can serve Jesus “in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (verse 6).

Verse 6 does not suggest that we believers have no obligation to obey God. Actually, our obligations are now greater since we know Jesus and belong to the family of God. The demands now are far greater than under the Mosaic law. For example, the Sermon on the Mount goes beyond outward actions to deal with inward attitudes. The law of Moses found murderers guilty, but Jesus said that hatred is equivalent to murder.

Romans 7:6  teaches that our motivation for obeying is different. Now, we do not mechanically obey a set of rules. Instead, we lovingly, from the heart, obey the Spirit of God who fulfills the righteousness of the Law in us (8:4). Consider how a   pianist can play a number perfectly, yet not capture the inner spirit of the song the way another musician can. Our obedience to God is not that of a slave fearing a master, but that of a bride lovingly pleasing her bridegroom.

Questions

  1. Explain the statement that, “we are not under law but under grace.”
  2. What does it mean to be “married to Jesus”?
  3. From the example of “two husbands” in Romans 7:1-6, What should be our greatest motivation for obeying Christ?

 

AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG BIBLE STUDY MATERIAL – LESSON 13, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU

Topic: Believer’s Responsibilities  in Sanctification

Text:   Romans 6:11-23

Memory verse: Romans 6:22

Introduction

From our previous study on the theme of Sanctification, we learnt that the Christian’s secret of victory over the old sinful nature is found in our obeying those three commands from God. These are knowing, reckoning and yielding. The Knowing responsibility has therefore been explained. It was discovered that the first key to walking in victory over sin is knowing who we are in Christ.  That is the believer is dead to sin (verse 2),  the old nature has been crucified (verse 6) and is also freed from sin (verse 7). Today’s lesson continues the theme of Sanctification with particular emphasis on the role of reckoning and yielding.

Reckon (6:11)

To reckon simply means to consider, count, calculate, take into account.  It is not enough merely to know our new position in Jesus. We must, by faith, reckon it to be true in our own lives. Reckoning is simply a step of faith that says, “What God says about me in the Bible is now true in my life. I am crucified with Jesus.” Reckoning is faith in action, resting upon the Word of God in spite of our circumstances or feelings. God does not tell us to crucify ourselves, but rather to believe that we have been crucified and that “the old man” has been put to death. We cannot crucify ourselves – we must be crucified by another. Reckoning is that step of faith that believes God’s Word and His promises and acts upon them.

Yield (6:12-23)

To yield means to present/offer one’s self.  If believers truly reckon themselves dead to sin, then they will prove their faith by yielding themselves to God. This is step three in the process of getting victory over the old nature. Notice the stern words “Do not let” in verse 12. This yielding is an act of our own will, a step of obedience to the Lord. It is not enough to know this wonderful doctrine, or even to reckon on it. We must take this final step of yielding the members of our bodies to Jesus the Lord.

In verses 16-23, Paul gives the example of master and slave. No man can serve two masters. Before we were saved, we regularly yielded [“presented” or “offered”] ourselves to sin, and were slaves to sin. Consequently we received the “wages” of sin—death (verse 23). But now that we have received Jesus as Savior, we have been made free from sin. Thus, our new position in Jesus gives us a new Master as well as a new nature.

We are now slaves to righteousness instead of slaves to sin. As we yield the members of the body to Jesus as His “tools” (“instruments”- verse 13), then He comes to control our lives, and we bear fruit to holiness (verse 22). The believer who deliberately yields himself to sin will commit sin and reap sorrow. Why should sin be our master when we have died to sin? Why must we be obedient to a master that has already been defeated by the Messiah, the Lord of all?

Believers who deliberately sin are people who have yielded themselves to the sin nature instead of to the Holy Spirit. They are living beneath their exalted position in Jesus. They are living like slaves when they could be reigning like kings.

 It is important that we keep these three steps in order. We cannot yield to God and get victory over the sin nature unless we first reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive in Jesus. But we cannot reckon ourselves dead unless we know our position in Jesus. Satan does not want us to live up to our high position in Jesus, so he tries to confuse us about our victory. He does not want us to know who we are in the Lord Jesus and what our position is in Him. It is not enough to know that the Messiah died for us. We must also know that we died in Him. It is not enough to know that we have a new nature within – we must also know that the old nature was crucified on the cross.

Conclusion

From Romans Chapter 6, we have learnt that the responsibilities of knowing, reckoning and yielding are three steps that lead to daily victory over the sin nature. We are slaves, not of sin, but of righteousness. We enjoy life and find our true freedom in the Lord. The answer to the problem of sin is not simply determination, discipline, reformation or any other human effort. Victory comes through crucifixion and resurrection and that is what Jesus has done for us. For that reason, the sin nature has been crucified.

Questions

  1. Explain the statement that, “It is not enough to know who we are in Christ. We must reckon.”
  2. What makes believers sometimes become slaves to sin?
  3. Believers who deliberately yield to sin are living like slaves when they could be reigning like kings. Do you agree?

 

AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG BIBLE STUDY MATERIAL – LESSON 12, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU  

Topic: Sanctification Explained

Text:   Romans 6:1-10

Memory verse: Romans 6:6

 Introduction

As we have studied the theme of justification, it is important to highlight that, the broken relationship between sinful humanity and a holy God is made right by man’s acceptance of what God has done “in Christ.” A person enters the Kingdom of God and is justified before God by accepting the Messiah through faith. This new birth, or beginning, is essential, but God does not want His children to remain spiritual babies. While justification which occurs at the moment of the new birth is the vital point of beginning, sanctification is the continuing stage and is so very important. It is the growth and development stage of the believer. Since this constitutes the theme of Romans 6-8, let us first define the word “sanctification.”

What is Sanctification?

To sanctify means simply “to set apart.” It says nothing essential about the nature of a thing, only its position with reference to God. For example, the tabernacle and its furnishings were sanctified, set apart for God’s exclusive use. The wood, cloth, metal and other materials were not of themselves “holy,” but they were set apart to God. In John 17:19, Jesus says that He sanctified Himself. Certainly the Son of God had no need to be made “more holy” than He was. What He means is simply that He set Himself apart to serve God and, through His act of salvation, was able to set believers apart to the glory of God.

Stages of Sanctification

Sanctification in the Scriptures is seen in three ways or stages:

  • Positional – the believer is taken out of the world and seated with Jesus (John 17:16)
  • Practical – the believer has day-by-day victory over sin. He grows in holiness and in likeness to the Messiah.
  • Perfect –  “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). One day we are in heaven with God, “perfect” in every respect.

Overview of Christian’s Responsibilities in the process of Sanctification

The believer has certain responsibilities. Living as a believer is not a passive thing, in which we merely “die” and let God do everything for us. The three key words of chapter 6 are as follows: Know, reckon and yield. We must know our spiritual position and privileges in Jesus. This means spending time with the Word of God.

We must reckon (calculate, take into account) that what God says about us in the Bible is true in our lives. This means having faith that is born of the Spirit. Finally, we must yield (literally, “present” or “offer” one’s self) to the Spirit. This is not just an occasional yielding, but all day long. This is “walking in the Spirit.”

The old nature is strong to do evil, and yet “the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41) when it comes to doing anything spiritual. We must feed the new nature on the milk and the meat of the Word of God. We reckon ourselves to be dead to sin. Why feed a corpse? Yet many believers feed the old nature on the food of the world while the new nature starves for the “manna from God” and for fellowship with God in prayer. God has already done His part. Now, our responsibilities are clear: we are to know, to reckon and to yield.

 Believer’s Responsibility of knowing in the process of Sanctification  (6:1-10)

Paul often uses the word “know” in this chapter (verses 3, 6, 9 and 16). Satan wants to blind us when it comes to spiritual truth. This is why many believers are not living according to their true position in Christ. Some first century believers were saying that perhaps they should “go on sinning so that grace may increase” (verse 1).  Paul shows, however, that this is first of all an absurd statement. And second, it is impossible because the true believer is dead to sin. This is the gospel – the wonderful truth of our identification with Jesus. Not only did the Messiah die for us, we died with Him. When the Spirit baptized us into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), then we were buried with Him and raised to newness of life.

Verses 3-4 do not refer to actual water baptism but the operation of the Spirit in putting us “into Christ” as members of His body (This operation is illustrated by water baptism). When Jesus died, we died with Him. When He was raised, we were raised to newness of life with Him. This is our new position in Jesus. The Lord Jesus not only died for sin, but He also died to sin (6:10). That is, He broke the power of sin and crucified the old nature (6:6). The old nature is still there, but it has been robbed of its power by the cross of Jesus. We died with Jesus to all that belongs to the old life and the old, sinful nature.

 Sin and the sin nature are hard taskmasters. The unsaved person is a slave of sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Many believers still serve sin even though their slavery to sin has been broken by Jesus. Often people discover that the Messiah died for their sins and they receive Him into their hearts. But then they fail to take up the precious promises of Romans 6. They do not discover the glorious freedom they have in Jesus. These promises in Romans 6 are specifically that:

– The believer is dead to sin (verse 2)

– The old nature has been crucified (verse 6)

– The believer is freed from sin (verse 7)

The old nature can no longer reign as king over the believer who knows the truth, reckons on it, and yields to the Lord.

Conclusion

Romans 3:21 to 5:21 emphasized how God brings a person into right standing with Himself, which is by faith. Now, in chapters 6-8, Paul tells how a person can be sanctified. That is how righteousness can truly “reign” in the life of a believer (5:17, 21). Romans 6:1-10 has pointed out how the believer is being dead to sin and so sin no longer rules or reigns over us (6:12). Thus, we get victory over the old, sinful nature by realizing that we have been crucified with the Lord Jesus.

Questions

  1. Explain the meaning of sanctification.
  2. State the three stages of sanctification.
  3. A true believer cannot continue to enjoy sin, just because of Grace. Discuss.
  4. If sanctification is the work of God, what are believers required to do?

 

 

 

AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG BIBLE STUDY MATERIAL – LESSON 11, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU

Topic: The Basis of Justification: A Contrast between Adam and Christ
Text: Romans 5:12-21
Memory verse: Rom 5:18

Introduction
In our previous lessons, we learnt about the theme of justification by looking at its meaning and blessings. Today’s lesson highlights on the basis of justification. In Rom 5:12-21, Paul is explaining how it is, that all humanity are sinners and how it is, that Christ’s death could give an ungodly sinner a right standing before God.

The key words in this passage are one and reign. One which appears eleven times is seen in vv. 12, 15-19 and the word reign is seen in vv. 14, 17, and 21. The key thought here is that when God looks upon the human race, He sees but two men – Adam and Christ. Every human being is either in Adam and lost, or in Christ and saved. Here, there is no middle ground. Verse 14 states that Adam is a type (figure) of Christ; he is the “First Adam”, and Christ is the “Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45).

Contrasting the “two Adams”
We may contrast the two Adams as follows:
i. The first Adam was made from the earth, but the last Adam (Christ) came from heaven (1 Cor 15:47).
ii. The first Adam was the king of the old creation (Gen. 1:26-27), while the Last Adam is King-Priest over the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
iii. The first Adam was tested in a perfect garden and disobeyed God, while the Last Adam was tested in a terrible wilderness and obeyed God; and in the Garden of Gethsemane, He surrendered His will to God.
iv. The disobedience of the first Adam brought sin, condemnation, and death upon the human race, but the obedience of the Last Adam brought righteousness, salvation and life to all who will believe.
v. Through the first Adam, death and sin reign in this world (vv. 14, 17, 21); but through the Last Adam, grace reigns (v. 21) and believers can reign in life (v. 17).
vi. The paradise that Adam lost is restored in through the cross of Christ.

Some helpful comments
What Paul is teaching here is the unity of the human race in Adam (see Acts 17:26). When he says in v. 12 that all have sinned he means that all of us sinned in Adam when he sinned. We are identified with him as the “head” of the human race, and his sin is our sin, his death is our death.

Paul’s argument in vv. 12-14 goes like this:
We all know that a man dies if he disobeys God’s law. But there was no law from Adam to Moses, yet men died! We know that Adam died because he disobeyed a divine law; but the generations from Adam to Moses did not have such a law to disobey. Then death must be from another cause, and that cause is Adam’s sin.

Because we are born in Adam, we inherit his sin and condemnation. But in His grace, God has given a Last Adam, a new “Head” who has by His life and death undone all that Adam did in his sin.

Some symbolic contrasts explaining salvation and sin
– The offence versus the free gift (vv. 15-16)
Adam’s offence brought condemnation and death, while the free gift of God’s grace brings justification and life.

– Death versus Life (v. 17)
Death reigns as king because of Adam but now believers reign in life (right now, not only in the future) through Christ and have abundant life.

– Condemnation versus Justification (v.18)
Adamic sin plunged the human race into condemnation, Christ death brings right standing with God. Adam hid from God; in Christ we have free access to God.

– Disobedience versus Obedience (v. 19)
Adam disobeyed God and made us all sinners; Christ obeyed God and through faith in Him we are made righteous.

Law versus Grace (v. 20)

God did not give the Law to save mankind. But rather to reveal sin. But God’s super abounding grace met the demands of the law when Christ died and then supplied what the law could not supply – salvation from sin.

Concluding Observation
The whole transaction is summarized in verse 20. In the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17, being in Christ) sin no longer reigns, grace does! Death does not reign, life does! And we reign in life! For Christ has made us kings and priests to God (Rev. 1:5-6).

However, while all people who are heirs of Adam were condemned, not all of humanity will automatically be saved in Christ, but rather those who are in Christ because they have accepted his free gift of eternal life and therefore are rightly related to him.

Questions
1. Identify any three contrast between the two “Adams”
2. When Adam sinned, all humanity sinned. Explain
3. With reference to Adam and Christ, comment on Life versus Death (v. 17) and Obedience versus Disobedience (v. 19)
4. As self-examination, ask yourself, Am I in Adam or in Christ?