Monday, February 8, 2010 Romans 3
What were the advantages of belonging to your family? Did you feel “better than” or “worse than” when you compared your family to others? Read verses 1-20. Paul gets right to the point, building his case that all men stand guilty before God. In verses 2, 4, 6 and 8, Paul responds to questions posed in the previous verses. How do those questions continue to misapply God’s teachings? Verses 20-21 tell us that the law of God does not provide a way to righteousness, but instead a mirror to reveal our sin. Praise God that Paul’s letter doesn’t end there! After all of this bad news, read verses 21-31. What is Paul’s good news? When did the message of God’s grace become real to you? Does it impact your life right now?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 Romans 4
Read Romans 4. Why do you think Paul went back to Abraham to again explain that the law, including the law of circumcision, was not how Abraham was justified? How do verses 3-8 describe the basis for a right relationship with God? What do you learn about faith from verses 18-21? What are the key points to Abraham’s faith? How do these truths relate to what Paul calls us to believe in verses 23-25? Does your faith right now seem like a prize that you are earning, or a gift that you have received? Where are you being stretched right now in trusting God? Spend some time in prayer.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 Romans 5
Verses 1-11 tell us that the death of Christ has made it possible for each of us to have peace, grace, joy, and hope, even amid suffering and the promise of salvation. In verses 6, 8, and 10, what are the words that describe what we once were in God’s eyes? What do those verses, and 15-21, tell us about salvation? Read 12-21. Note the contrasts made between Adam and Jesus. Pray through these verses and ask God to give you new understanding of his grace. Do you feel excitement and gratitude? Why or why not? This is a great time to express your thanks to Jesus for what he has done for you.
Thursday, February 11, 2010 Romans 6
This chapter is all about Christian ethics. Grace saves us, indeed, but it is not a license to sin. Death is mentioned 15 times in this section. How does Christ’s death and resurrection tie into our relationship with sin? What practices do verses 11-13 tell us to follow? What is our motivation? Through Christ, we are transformed to devote ourselves to the righteous way of life (15-22). It is impossible to be neutral. Each of us has a master: God or sin. Each master pays with his own kind of currency. The currency of sin is death. The currency of Christ is eternal life. Take some time to pray about who your master is. How will you practice Christ being your master this week?
Friday, February 12, 2010 Romans 7
This chapter continues to parallel the difference between sinful nature and our new nature in Christ. Clearly we are made aware of the struggle with sin. Our sinful nature battles against giving up its freedom. The choice reveals itself again: sin or Christ? In verses 14-20, find out how the law which was supposed to lead to life actually leads to death. Is the law good at outlining the proper limits to life? The outlook is filled with despair until we turn our lives over to Jesus (24-25). How have you felt the sense of Jesus’ resurrection from sin in your life? From situations that were too big for you to handle? How does knowing Christ make a difference?
Saturday, February 13, 2010 Romans 8
When you were young, who let you off the hook when you should have been punished? How did you feel toward them? Romans 8 offers us a new life through the Spirit and future glory. Make a list comparing ways you live according to your sinful nature and ways you live according to the Spirit (5-11). How are we told to deal with our sinful nature (14-15)? Can you describe a time when you depended on the Spirit to put to death “an area of sin?” How does it make you feel that you are God’s child and not God’s slave? What hope do verses 22-25 bring you? How has your hope in Christ kept you this week? In verses 38-39, which one of the enemies listed is the most real to you? What brings you great encouragement here? Spend some time praying your way through this chapter.
Sunday, February 14, 2010 Psalm 51
Read Psalm 51, and also 2 Samuel 11:1-27. The psalm was written after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. He had sinned in arrogance, in adultery, in deception and in murder. How does he come to God? What does he feel? In light of all of his sins, what does he ask God to do (7-12)? In verses 13-17, how do you think David was hoping to escape God’s wrath? And what does God require of David, and of us (16-17)? Do you think there are victimless crimes? Do your sins affect others? Yourself? God? Are you more sensitive to sin and its brokenness in your life now than ever before? Why? Spend time asking God for forgiveness in the broken, sinful parts of your life, and thank God for forgiveness and wonderful grace.