We’ve arrived at the Pinnacle of Romans: Romans 8.
Paige calls Romans 8 a picture of “the normal Christian life.” Christ is either in us or He is not, there is no in-between. Paige said the in-between is an invention of those who want to sit comfortably in their sin. Instead, we are to live with a continual awareness of Christ in us and us in Christ.
She quoted St. Patrick’s prayer:
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down…
This reminded me of one of Terence Malick’s films. Malick is a devout Catholic and the secular world cannot fathom his movies. At the Oscars one year, Billy Crystal sang, to the tune of Alfie, “What’s it all about, Terence?” As Paige said, the secular person lives without an awareness of God and the unseen world.
The following link will take you to a clip of the perspective of a priest ministering to the sick, the lonely, and to those caught in the painful bondage of sin, such as a husband (played by Ben Afflick) whose conscience is troubled as he is torn between his wife and another woman. Sin produces pain! And we are called, as a royal priesthood, to a hurting, sinful, and broken world.
Even if you watch just a little you’ll get a glimpse, not just of a devout priest’s life, but of “the normal Christian life.” Every person within a few feet of us should be seen with the eyes of Christ — everything we do should be unto Christ — all our thoughts should be honoring to Christ…and we must battle fiercely with our own sin so we can have peace with God. Here is the link to the clip from “To The Wonder”
Here is Paige’s lecture for next week’s lecture which will begin at 10 central on Sept 29 if you want to get started early!
Questions in Purple are for those simulataneously reviewing Revelation 1-11.
Questions preceded by a * are Paige’s.
Sunday: Getting Started
- What stood out to you from the above and why?
- Share one thing that stood out to you from Paige’s lecture.
- Romans 8 shows you are either in Christ or not — there is no in-between. How does Jesus say the same in Revelation 3:15-16?
Monday: Review and Overview
4. Justification is described in Romans 8:1-3. What has been paid for and how?
“Jesus filled up our bank account. Now we are to SPEND THE BANK ACCOUNT.” (We are not to live like the Beverly Hillbillies.)
5. Romans 8:4 begins with “in order that” and then leads to a description in verses 4 through 13 of sanctification. Read it.
A. What is sanctification?
B. How do you see it described in Romans 8:4-13?
C. What thoughts do you have on this being a description of the normal Christian life? Why can’t there be an in-between 3rd option?
*6. What is the great danger in confusing justification and sanctification? What is the great danger in reversing their order? What is the great danger in separating them? What role does faith play in each?
Tuesday: Fix Your Minds
7. Review Romans 8:5-8. What are we told to do and why?
*8. John Owen (17th century) said that “voluntary thoughts are the best measure and indication of the frame of our minds.” So what is the default setting of my mind—what comes to it most naturally when it is allowed to wander? Do I default to worldly thoughts or spiritual thoughts?
9. The view our study in Revelation has been taking is that the pictures and numbers are symbolic rather than literal most of the time. For example, “the Mark of the Beast” or “666” that is put on men’s foreheads and hands represents not a literal number on a literal forehead and hand. Do you remember what they symbolize and how that relates to this passage in Romans?
10. Paige said we must fill up our minds and asked: “What are your reading? What are you watching? And who is an influencer in your life?
11. Paige said that secular people can be nice, but there is a big difference, an antithetical way they walk in contrast to believers. What is it?
12. Paige quoted John Piper’s though on “Christian hedonism” which is that glorifying God is the path that leads to joy. Dying to self, though initially painful, can actually lead to better relationships, more joy — share how you have experienced this.
Wednesday: Occupation of the Heart and Mortification of Our Flesh
13. Read Romans 8:9-11 and share what you learn about the Spirit.
*14. What does it mean for us that the Spirit “dwells” within us? That He does not drop by, or stop in, or come and go? That we are His temple? That we are not our own? Is that comforting? Convicting? Disconcerting? Is this a source of security or insecurity for us?
15. Ben Franklin and Tolstoy listed virtues to aspire to, whereas Saint Patrick prayed for Christ to be all around him through the day. Which is more effective and why?
16. Read Romans 8:11-17.
A. According to verse 11, what was the Spirit able to do and what should this mean for us?
B. List some of the promises give to those who live by the Spirit in verses 12-17.
17. Describe how to parent unidolatrously, to eat unidolatrously, to play sports unidolatrously, to use the gifts God has given you unidolatrously. (Choose what is most relevant to you.)
Thursday: The Expulsive Power of a New Affection
18. Read Colossians 3:1-5. What are we told to do and why?
*19. Read Colossians 3:1-5. What is the order of the commands in this passage? Where is the THEREFORE? Why must that always be the order in sanctification? Does our security in God’s love lead to the mortification of sin, or follow the mortification of sin?
20. In Revelation 10, John is told to “eat the scroll” and it will make his stomach bitter, but in his mouth will be sweet as honey.” How could this riddle relate to the normal Christian life?
21. What is your take-away this week and why?