The Source of Righteousness
I. The GOSPEL according to ROMANS. (Romans 1-3)
A. GOOD NEWS for all PEOPLE. (Rom. 1:16-17)
B. Equally NEEDY of the KINDNESS of God. (3:1-20)
C. RIGHTEOUSNESS or LAW…which came first? (3:21-4:25)
Although we are spending 10 weeks in Romans, we can’t forget that it is one letter, written to the house churches in Rome. They would have heard it read all in one sitting, and then spent time talking about what Paul had written to them. We have to keep to full scope of the letter in mind as we look at the individual pieces.
1. Kid’s Question: When have you done something you wished you hadn’t done? Do you wish there was a way to stop making those mistakes?
2. How would you summarize (in your own words) the gospel that Paul has presented in Romans up to this point?
II. A righteousness (OBEDIENCE) that comes from FAITH. (3:21-31; 1:5)
A. Seen in SCRIPTURE, embodied in JESUS. (3:21-25)
B. Showing the JUSTIFIER to be JUST. (3:25-26)
C. This ELIMINATES all BOASTING. (3:27-28)
D. And FULFILLS the law ANOTHER way. (3:31)
Here’s the key to Paul’s understanding of the gospel. The law required a certain standard of “right living” (a.k.a. righteousness). But no one seemed able to do it. The gospel tells us that in Jesus we are given a gift of righteousness, one that comes by faith and trust in the truth of the gospel.
3. What ways have you tried to motivate yourself to live a more righteous life? How have they worked for you?
4. How do you see the justice AND the grace of God in what Jesus did on the cross?
III. The EXAMPLE of ABRAHAM. (4:1-25)
A. Righteousness is GIVEN, not EARNED. (4:1-8)
B. OBEDIENCE flows from the GIFT. (4:9-17)
C. The key is to REST in the PROMISE. (4:18-25)
To make his point Paul goes way back to the very beginning of Jewish history and uses Abraham as an example. Even at that early point, so long before the coming of Jesus, God was giving the gift of grace which leads to power to live the right way.
5. What do you think about Paul’s argument that righteousness came by faith and was a gift of God long before Jesus? Does that impact your own life in any way?
6. What does it look like for you (this week) to rest in the promise of the grace of God?
IV. The TRUTH from Rome, APPLIED in Hope. (Ps. 119:18)
A. The gospel is COUNTER-INTUITIVE. (4:18-22; Mark 8:33)
B. GRACE is the transformative GIFT. (4:7-8; I Jn 4:19; I Jn 5:3-5)
C. Everyone is INVITED to RECEIVE. (3:22-24; Lk 12:32)
If we can grasp what Paul is saying here we gain insight into the depth of the gospel and begin to see what it really is good news for all people. It flies in the face fo the way the world normally operates, and requires a mindset that can only come as we receive the love of God despite our own sin and failures, but everyone is welcome to come.
7. In what ways have you found the gospel to undermine your own assumptions about life in a counter-intuitive way? How does it challenge your normal actions and reactions to situations?
8. Where might you need to offer grace to others as a way of inviting them to the transformative love of Jesus? How can you do that this week?