This Wednesday @ 2 PM in the Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building room 210 (at the NW corner of College and University) we continue our bible study exploring Christianity as explained in the biblical book of Romans. There’s lots of room for newcomers as schedules shift this spring semester. This week we will be beginning Romans Chapter 3. I look forward to seeing you all there!
Not sure why this didn’t publish the first time. But here it is again. We finished out our study in Romans 1 and 2 back in early December for the Fall Semester. Please join us next year on February 6, 2013 for our first session of the Spring semester. Next semester our times will be 2 PM in the Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building room 210. See you there!
We’ll be back at the Pharmacy Building this week PB 210 @ 1:30 PM. See you there!
Our EBC Bible study is meeting this week (October 31st) but in a different location as our regular location in the Pharmacy building was already booked. The location is just off campus near Spadina and Bloor. If you didn’t get the email and you’d like directions, please email email@example.com Hope to see you there!
This week we looked at just one verse in Romans 1, verse 17 “For in it [The Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
This is the verse that knocked the 16th century Augustinian monk Martin Luther out. This bible verse is what God used to help him to understand the Gospel for the first time – this is what began the “back to the Bible” revolution which is known as the Protestant Reformation. Now you may look at that verse today and say – “I don’t get it. What does it mean? What is this righteousness? How do I get it?
Well, last week we looked at the power of the Gospel. Romans 1:16 teaches us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is more than just words written in an ancient text. The reason Paul isn’t ashamed of the Gospel is that it is real. Real power to change. The power of Gospel joins words with God’s supernatural power so that those who are given the gift of faith are saved from their sins by the work of the Holy Spirit as they read and believe the word of God as in the Bible.
This is exactly what happened to Martin Luther as he really paid attention to verse 17 for the first time. In God’s grace, Luther realized that righteousness (right standing before God) actually came from God and that it was received by faith from faith – in other words from beginning to end the Gospel is applied and received by faith alone (in Latin: Sola Fide). At that moment he realized that all of his efforts to make himself righteous by kissing the steps of various holy shrines, all of his penance and all of the religious acts that he did to try and make himself good before God were really worthless. Why? Because salvation is a gift. Righteousness can’t (unlike the T-Shirt depicted above) be purchased by any human effort. It comes only through the revelation (the Word) of God applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit as we encounter it in the Bible. When Luther understood this finally it was a huge relief to him because he knew that he could never pay God back enough for his sins, his failures, his idolizing of created things over the Creator of all things. Salvation was a gift from God and this began him on the journey of true biblical Christianity.
The way to “get righteous” is to realize your true sin and need and to cry out to God for the gift of salvation. God works in us through His word – the Bible. Not the teaching of men, but the Word of God. God then grants us the gifts that enable us to repent and believe in the true Gospel of salvation. The good news spoken and taught by Jesus and His disciples and revealed in His word, the Bible.
If you’d like to know more or if you’re curious about joining us on the journey of biblical Christianity we’d love to see you come out some Wednesday from 1:30 – 3:30 PM in room 210 in the Pharmacy Building.
We live in a culture that is offended by the true message of Jesus Christ. Offended you say? Can’t be – isn’t Christianity telling us to “love our neighbour” and “do good?” Well, yes, but it also tells us that we’re terrible at it.
This is what’s really insulting and offensive about the Gospel. It tells us that we are all losers when it comes to being a “good person.” It tells us that the only way to be saved and to find favour with God is to receive His free gift of salvation.
But that’s not all – it also tells us that we are so sinful and wicked that the only way we can be saved was through the death of the son of God.
And that would be very insulting to us. If it weren’t true. But it is…
And this is why Paul when he writes to the Romans says that he’s not ashamed of the Gospel because it’s the power of God for salvation. In other words the Gospel is upsetting because it reveals the truth about true and it saves sinners like me. What about you?
Come and learn more what the Bible really teaches on Wednesdays @ 1:30-3:30 PM at PB 210 in the Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building.
HOMEWORK for this week: Read Romans 1:1-17
- What does the word “righteousness” mean here?
- What does it mean to you to “live” by the righteousness of faith? (v.17)
- Read the 5 M’s handout and begin memorizing Romans 1:16-17.
This week we had our second session and we discussed the term “the obedience that comes from faith” in v.5 in the context of Paul calling himself a servant of Christ Jesus. The interesting thing about servanthood and slavery in the Bible is that it’s not the same as the slavery we think about today (which is typically the kind of slavery we saw in the Americas in two centuries ago). No, biblical slavery was often taken on voluntarily (well, sort of) when a person was so indebted to someone that they only way they could pay them was to serve them, literally.
The picture in Romans 1 is that Paul was so indebted to Jesus for being rescued from the pit of his sins that he wanted to serve Him with his whole heart. But even for some voluntary servants, it’s hard to serve and obey the kindest and most gentle master. That’s why Paul speaks about the “obedience that comes from faith” which is a gift from God.
In other words, when a Christian obeys God and keeps his commandments, our motivation is not primarily out of guilt, or what other people will think, or because we think it earns us some sort of credit to get us into heaven. No, the reason we obey is out of gratefulness as we realize the depths of our utterly sinful hearts that selfishly pursue our own heart idols like money, success and sex. Paul, for example, had worshiped his own self righteousness and he had even (unbelievably) murdered people in his attempts to gain favour with God. When Paul was pardoned by Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9) and saved by Him, Paul was also likewise given the delightful gift of “obedience that comes by faith.” So Paul served as a debtor to God’s mercy and grace and his obedience was motivated by faith in God’s promises. So Christians are differently motivated to serve – they realize the depths of their sinfulness and their forgiveness and so they want to serve Christ and are even helped by Him to do so. Guilt is not the motivation to serve God – forgiveness in His grace is.
If you’d like to learn more or ask questions, why not come join us for the study next Wednesday from 1:30 – 3:30 PM. Here’s the homework questions for next week after reading Romans 1:
- What reasons does Paul give for wanting to go to Rome? (11-15)
- What is the Gospel referred to in v.16?
- How do we get the Gospel into our lives?
- In what ways is it powerful?
- Have you ever experienced it’s power?
3. What does it mean to you to “live” by the righteousness of faith? (v.17)
See you next week!
We had our first session yesterday of the Fall 2012 Exploring Biblical Christianity Bible study and it was encouraging to see some old and new (to the study) faces. This semester we’re studying together the book of Romans and we talked about the introduction to the book – specifically looking at verse 1-7.
We’re always open to new participants who want to dig deeper and find out what the Bible really teaches about Christ and Christianity. Why not join us next week from 1:30-3 PM in PB 210?
Here are the homework questions for next week from Romans 1:
- What’s your attitude when you hear the word “servant”?
- What was Jesus’ attitude? – see Mark 10:43-45; Luke 22:24-27;
- How do Paul’s attitude (v.1) and Jesus’ differ from those of most people?
- Why do think that is?
2. What does Jesus resurrection reveal about Him? (v.4) – see also Acts 2:22-36
I’m excited to announce that we are starting up again this Fall with our Exploring Biblical Christianity bible study. The first study will start on September 19th from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. in PB 210 in the Leslie Dan Pharmacy building at College and University. After September 19th, the study will meet Wednesdays from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. We will meet there every Wednesday of the Fall Semester except: October 31, November 7 and November 21.
The Bible study is a great place to ask questions, to learn more about Christianity and to study the Bible in real depth.
If you don’t know the area, last semester, Jonathan did a little visual tour of how to get to the meeting room and put it up on Youtube here: Pharmacy Building Walkthrough to Room 210
We will be looking together at one of the most significant books of the New Testament – the book of Romans. Here’s a wordle of all the words in the book of Romans arranged by size according to frequency which gives you a visual peek at this book:
In the words of Martin Luther from the Preface of his commentary on Romans:
This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament.
It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to
memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as
though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to
meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with
it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.
As usual, the study will be led by U of T alum Pastor Chris Powell of Covenant Baptist Church which is located just north of the campus near Eglinton and Yonge. If you want to sign up for the study use the form on the right or just show up on the 19th or any Wednesday afterwards. Hope to see you there!