1. We started by talking about what was so confusing to Paul’s original audience about what Paul said in v. 3.
A: In v. 3, we hear Paul declare that heritage doesn’t justify a person before God. What are ways people today continue to believe that their heritage makes them right before God?
B: It was made explicitly clear on Sunday: justification is only by the grace of God through faith in the Son of God as revealed in the Word of God. What are other ways people try to pursue justification before God outside of faith in Jesus Christ?
2. We then talked about v. 6-12 and the initial Jewish response to the message that Paul delivered.
A: We see that the initial response to this news is to believe that the Word of God had failed. Paul counters in v. 6 that the Word of God always accomplishes what it seeks to accomplish. What are evidences of the Word of God being actively at work & accomplishing its purposes for the glory of God?
B: The second half of v. 6 introduces the idea that not all of Israel belongs to Israel, differentiating between the physical versus the spiritual Israel. Looking at Romans 2:28-29…why would this have been such a challenging idea to Paul’s audience?
C: Next we moved into Paul’s illustration in v. 7 using Isaac. Although Abraham had 8 sons, only 1 son got the promise…not every physical son gets the promise. How does God’s choosing of Isaac show God’s commitment to His plan of rescue and redemption?
D: In v. 8, we noted that there is a difference between being a child of God and being made in the image of God. Although they sound close to one another, why is it important to note a difference between these two phrases?
E: By v. 9-12, we see 2 examples of the power of God’s commitment to His promises: in the lives of Abraham and Sarah as well as Jacob & Esau…although the promises seemed crazy at the time, it shows that God’s word never fails & that every promise is sure to come true. What are other ways we have seen that God’s trustworthiness to His promises? Why is it so important to believe that God is trustworthy?
3. We then moved to v. 13 & the doctrine of election.
A: The question was posed before us on Sunday: why is one a recipient of God’s promise of eternal life? Romans 9:11, 13 as well as Ephesians 1:3-6 & 2 Timothy 1:9 help us to see that it is based on God’s call. Why is it important to understand that God’s setting of His love on a people is based on His calling rather than our abilities or merit?
B: We heard election defined as: God’s gracious, loving, & unconditional call of people before the foundation of the world to salvation for the glory of His Name. Based on the Romans 9 passage as well as others mentioned above, how does this Biblical concept of election motivate us & give us confidence to share the gospel?
4. We ended with 3 appropriate responses to the doctrine of election.
A: The first response is humility as the doctrine of election strikes at the peak of pride in humanity, that we can accomplish salvation. How does the doctrine of election make Christianity distinct from other world religions?
B: The second response is accepting the mystery of election. How does the doctrine of election press us to trust God & His plan all the more?
C: The third response is exhilaration in light of the doctrine of election. God did not need to save any, but in His divine grace chose to set his affections upon His people. Does this news thrill your soul?