AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG BIBLE STUDY MATERIAL – LESSON 17, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU

Topic: New Life in the Spirit
Text: Romans 8:1-17
Memory verse: Romans 8:1

Introduction
In Romans 7, we learnt about the believer’s relationship to the law. There we discovered that through the death of Jesus we have died to the law through faith and that Jesus is our new husband and so we obey Him out of faith. The law is then only needed because it points out our sin and that the law of Spirit of life enables us to obey the law and thus please the Lord. Romans 8 climaxes tour studies on the theme of Sanctification. Specifically, we will learn from today’s study that in Jesus we are not condemned neither are we obligated to our sinful nature.
Brief overview of Chapter 8 – (8:1 – 39)
Chapter 8 shows the believer’s “Declaration of Freedom.” In this chapter Paul declares the four spiritual freedoms we enjoy because of our union with Jesus. In this chapter, the apostle writes how the believer is now free from judgment, defeat, discouragement and fear. The study shows that that the emphasis is on the Holy Spirit, who is mentioned 19 times, confirming the words, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

As a climax of the studies on “Sanctification,” Romans 8 supplies the answers to the questions raised about the Law and the sin nature of man. The Holy Spirit dominates the entire chapter, for it is through the indwelling Spirit of Jesus that we overcome the old nature and live a fruitful life as a believer.

We are no more condemned because we are in Christ (8:1-4)
Romans 8:1-4 actually forms the conclusion to the argument in chapter 7. Here, Paul is not dealing with salvation in chapter 7 but with the problem of how the believer can ever do anything good when he has such a sinful nature. How can a holy God ever accept anything we do when we have “nothing good” dwelling in us? It would seem that He would have to condemn every thought and deed. But there is “no condemnation” since the indwelling Holy Spirit fulfills the righteousness of the Law in us.

The Law cannot condemn us because we are dead to the Law. God does not condemn us, for His indwelling Holy Spirit enables the believer to “walk in the Spirit” and thereby meet His holy demands.

It is a joyful moment in the life of the believer when he realizes that God’s children are not under the Law. God does not expect them to do “good works” in the power of the old nature. When the believer understands that “there is now no condemnation,” then he realizes that the indwelling Spirit pleases God and helps the believer to please Him. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” – warns Paul in Galatians 5:1.

We have no obligation to the Sin Nature (8:5-17)
The believer can have two “minds”: he can lean toward the things of the old nature and be a carnal believer. To be “carnal” means to live “according to the old nature” who is at war with God. Or, he can lean toward the things of the Spirit – being a spiritual believer, and enjoying life and peace. The carnal mind cannot please God. Only the Spirit of the Lord Jesus working in and through us can please God.

Paul states clearly that the believer has no obligation to the sin nature:
“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it” (verse 12).

Our obligation is to the Holy Spirit
It was the Spirit who convicted us and showed us our need of the Savior. It was the Spirit who imparted saving faith and who put His new nature within us. He daily witnesses within that we are God’s children. What a great debt we owe to the Spirit. Jesus loved us so much that He died for us. The Spirit loves us so much that He lives in us. Daily He endures our carnality and our selfishness. Daily He is grieved by our sin. Yet He loves us and remains in us as the seal of God and the “deposit” (also, “down payment” or “earnest” – 2 Corinthians 1:22) of the blessings waiting for us in eternity.

If a person does not have the Spirit dwelling within, that person is not a child of God (verse 9). In verse 15, the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of adoption” [or, “the Spirit of Sonship”]. To live according to the old, sinful nature or under law leads to slavery. However, the Spirit leads us into a glorious life of freedom in Christ. Freedom for the believer never means freedom to do as he or she pleases, for that is actually the worst kind of slavery. Rather, freedom in the Spirit is freedom from the law and the sin nature so that we can please God and become what He wants us to become.

A believers we are Heirs of God through Adoption
“Adoption” in the New Testament does not mean what it typically means today, the taking of a child into a family to be a legal member of the family. The literal meaning of the Greek word is “placing a son.” That means, the taking of a child (whether in the family or outside) and making him the rightful heir. Every believer is a child of God by birth and an heir of God through adoption. We are “co-heirs with the Messiah” (verse 17), so that He cannot receive His inheritance in glory until we are there to share it with Him.

Conclusion
Today’s lesson has reminded us of our position in the Lord. Paul notes well that because we are in Christ, we are not condemned. And so our obligation is not to the sin nature but to the Spirit of God who has made us his adopted heirs. It is worth noting that as believers, we have no obligation to the old nature. We are therefore not required to feed it, pamper it or to obey it. Instead, “by the Spirit we put to death the misdeeds of the body” and allow the Spirit to direct your daily life.

Questions
1. Why are believers no more condemned?
2. State three things that the Holy Spirit does for Christians
3. What does it mean to be a carnal Christian?
4. What does it mean to be an adopted child of God?

AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG, BIBLE STUDY MATERIAL – LESSON 16, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU

 

 

Topic: Two Principles or Laws operating in the life of the Believer

Text: Romans 7: 15-25

Memory verse: Romans 7:25

 Introduction

From the past two lessons on Romans 7 we have been looking at the believer’s relationship to the law. Using the illustration on “two husbands,” we learnt that by our faith in Christ’s death on the cross, we died to the Law and that our new Lord or husband is Christ. And so the law has no control over us. Afterwards we studied about the purpose of the law in the lives of the believer and learnt that the Law, above all things, helps us to recognize sin. Today’s lesson further looks at Paul’s explanation that there are two principles or laws operating in the life of the believer. These are the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit of life through Jesus the Messiah (see Romans 8:2).

Explaining the two Principles (7:15-25)

Having explained his defeating experience with the Law, Paul concluded in Rom 7:15-25 that there are two principles (or “laws”) that operate in the life of the believer: The Law of sin and death and the Law of the Spirit of life, through Jesus the Messiah

 

Here, Paul is dealing with the presence of two natures in the child of God. Salvation does not mean that God changes the old, sinful nature. He does not clean it up or reform it. The believer’s old nature is just as wicked and opposed to the Spirit today as the day he was saved.  Salvation means that God gives the believer a new nature and crucifies the old one. The believer still has the ability to sin, but he now has an appetite for holiness. The possibility for sin is still there, but not the desire.

The Law of sin and Death

The law of sin and death is simply the operation of the old nature. Thus, when the believer wants to do good, evil is present. Even the “good things” we do are tainted with evil (verse 21). It is here that you see the difference between the victory of chapter 6 and that of chapter 7. In chapter 6, the believer gains victory over the evil things of the sinful nature. He ceases to do evil deliberately. However, in chapter 7, he triumphs over the “good things” the flesh would do in obedience to law.

God will not accept the sinful nature, for in our sinful nature there is nothing good (verse 18). Jesus said – “The flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63). Many believers set up laws for their lives and seek to discipline the old nature into obedience. But God plainly says, “The sinful mind [the old nature] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (8:7).

The Law of the Spirit of Life

The law of sin and death is defeated by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It is not by submitting to outward laws that we grow in holiness and serve God acceptably. Instead, we grow in Him by surrendering to His indwelling Spirit. This law is elaborated in chapter 8, especially in the first 17 verses. We cannot fulfill the righteousness of the Law by our own strength, but the Spirit of Jesus fulfills it in us by His power (8:3-4).

Practical Application and Conclusion

What is the practical application of all this? It is quite simple. In our new position before God – as dead to the Law – we are not expected to obey God in our own strength. God has not put us under a “Believer’s Law” that we must obey in order to be holy. Rather, He has given us His Holy Spirit who enables us to fulfill the demands of His holiness. Believers may have the victory of chapter 6 and no longer be enslaved to the sin nature, but there is more to the believing life. Shouldn’t we produce fruit for God? Certainly. But the minute we start doing works in our own strength, we discover that we are failures. So what is the answer?

We must accept the truths of Romans 7 — that we are indeed failures in ourselves and that the Law is good but we are unspiritual. Then we allow the Spirit to work out God’s will in our life. May God enable us to reckon ourselves dead to sin (chapter 6), and dead to the Law (chapter 7).  May we then, through the Spirit, enjoy the blessed freedom of God’s children and glorify God with a holy life.

Questions

  1. Explain the Law of Sin and Death
  2. What does the Law of the Spirit of Life mean to you?
  3. Who enables us to fulfill the demands of God’s Holiness and how?
  4. We become failures if we start by our own strength and works to produce fruit of holiness for God. Do you agree?

AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG, BIBLE STUDY MATERIAL – LESSON 15, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOS

Topic: Discovering the Purpose of the Law

Text: Romans 7:7-14
Memory verse: Romans 7:12

Introduction
We have already learnt that Romans 7 talks about the believers’ relationship to the law. Using the story of “two husbands,” Paul illustrated that the law has no authority over the believer. Today’s studies then seek to discuss the purpose of the law.

Overview of Paul’s two discoveries (7:7-14)

In Romans 7:7-14, Paul discusses the question: why did God give the law if it does not produce holiness? In other words, what purposes did God have in mind for giving the law? To answer this question, Paul made two discoveries: First, the Law itself is spiritual; second, (but) the believer is unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin (verse 14).

To Paul, who was a believer with a Pharisaic background, it seems to be a humiliating discovery that his very nature was unspiritual and unable to obey the law of God.

Some Highlights on what the law does:

1. The Law reveals sin (verse 7), for when we read the Law, the very things it condemns appear in our lives.
2. The Law “energizes” sin (verse 8), and produces in us every kind of covetous desire.
3. The Law kills the sinner and sin deceives him (verses 9-11), making him realize that he is too weak to meet God’s standard.
4. The Law reveals the utter sinfulness of sin (verse 13), because it reveals not just our outward actions, but especially our sinful attitudes.

Conclusion
To sum up, the reason the believer cannot make himself holy by means of the law is not because God’s law is not holy and good. Rather, it is because our old nature is so sinful that it cannot be changed or controlled by the law. It is therefore worth discovering that in the life of the believer, “the old nature knows no law and the new nature needs no law.”

Questions
1. State two main discoveries that Paul made about the purpose of the law in Romans 7:7-14.
2. Give two examples of how the law can reveal sin in the believer’s life?
3. Why is it possible that the law can destroy the sinner and deceives him or her?