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Lesson 7: The Word in Our Lives *

Introduction: "Faith vs. Works" is an old debate. Whatever its age, a correct understanding of the role of "works" in the life of a Christian is very important. Many years ago a newly converted Christian told me he had complete freedom from the Ten Commandments. His life was not constrained by the law. A number of years later, I saw him again. I reminded him of our conversation about the role of the law in his life. He looked a little sheepish and admitted that he had come to understand that those saved by faith alone have an interest in keeping God's law. Let's jump into our study this week and learn more about how a Christian's life should be impacted by God's word!

  1. New Creation

    1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. When the Bible says "the old is gone," is that a reference to keeping the Ten Commandments? (No. Being "in Christ" makes us a new creation and takes away "the old" us.)

      1. What does this text mean when it says "not counting men's sins against them?" When we are a "new creation" can we sin without being condemned?

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. We are told that we are ambassadors - someone who represents God. As God's representatives, should we be telling others that their actions do not matter? We are righteous because Jesus paid the penalty for sin? Are these two different questions? (This section of the letter to the Corinthians says that our sins are not counted against us because Jesus accepted the penalty for our sin. That allowed us to become righteous. In that sense, our past actions do not matter.)

      1. Is the logical result of this to preach that our life-style does not matter? (That does not seem to be the logical result.)

    3. Let's continue to follow this line of argument. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. What are we being told to do (or not do) here? (This seems to go far beyond an instruction for us to obey the law. It tells us not to "be yoked" and to "be separate" from unbelievers.)

      1. How much separation is the Bible suggesting?

      2. What does it mean to be "yoked?"

      3. More importantly, what does it matter? What is the reason to be separate? (God cares about our life after we become His followers.)

    4. Let's read on with this line of counsel. Read 2 Corinthians 6:18-7:1. What does God expect of the believer when it comes to "works?" (Purity.)

      1. What motive are we given in this text? (Reverence for God!)

      2. Does that make sense to you - that works still matter after being saved by faith? (Jesus died for your sins in a most painful way. Heaven gave its greatest gift to you! God is a Holy God. Out of respect for who He is and what He has done, we need to strive for purity. We need to be "perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.")

  2. New Direction

    1. Read Psalms 19:7-8. What claim does God make for His law? (That it revives our soul, makes us wise (even if we are otherwise simple), gives us joy and gives us direction in life.)

    2. Read Psalms 19:10-11. I recall a fellow telling me that he had been saved by grace, and that he now felt so wonderful because he had been released from the law. I knew exactly what he meant. How can this emotion be squared with our previous text which says God's precepts give us "joy to the heart?"

      1. How can this emotion of freedom from the law be reconciled with our current text that the law is as sweet as honey and as valuable as gold? (The answer is in verse 11. The law warns us to stay away from things in life that will injure us. Obeying God's word results in blessings in our life - great rewards.)

    3. Read Psalms 19:12-13. How do you feel when you are addicted to some sin? (Terrible. Worthless. This text refers to our sins "ruling over" us.)

    4. How can you explain the contradiction of the feeling of joy when released from the law and a feeling of joy when following the law? (There is a balance here. On the one hand, it feels wonderful to be free from the condemnation of the law - the knowledge of what the law requires and our experience that we cannot perfectly keep the law. On the other hand, if our euphoria is over not having to pay attention to the law any longer, then our next emotion will be the practical suffering caused by a sinful life.)

    5. Read Psalms 19:14. After praising what the law does in our life, why does the Psalmist end up talking about words and meditations - things that do not seem central to the law?

      1. We are told not to lie and not take God's name in vain. We are told not to covet. But, there is no general commandment covering our words or our thoughts. Why would they be mentioned in the "summation" to Psalms 19? (Sin begins in the "heart" (the mind) and is first expressed in our words. Jesus brought out the deeper meaning of the law when He said that desiring to commit adultery violates the command against adultery. Matthew 5:27-28.)

  3. The Word Through You

    1. Read John 5:36-40. Jesus is complaining to the Jewish leaders. What is His complaint? (They diligently study the Bible, but miss the fact that Jesus is the one spoken of by the Bible.)

      1. Those reading this lesson probably do not have the same problem as the Jewish leaders. Let's look at this issue in general. Why did "diligent" Bible study not open the eyes of the Jewish leaders? How is that even possible?

      2. Jesus says that His works testified to His Father in Heaven. Do you know people who either do not study the Bible or do not seem to grasp the message of the Bible?

        1. What importance can the works part of your Christian walk do for these people? (Another reason our works are important is that they are a means of bringing others to faith. Some that would never read the Bible, or understand the Bible, can be influenced to turn to God by your life. Our lives can be a part of "the Word.")

  4. Renewal

    1. So far we have discussed how the Bible should change our life. The assumption is that we study the Bible. Let's read 2 Kings 22:8,10-11. Did these people have many copies of the Bible? (No. It seems they had lost their only copy and found it again in the temple when some repairs were being made.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 23:1-3. What was the result of reading the Bible publicly? (The people pledged to follow its instructions for their lives.)

    3. In the "old days" when we traveled in our a motorhome, we needed to carry cash with us. The problem was how to keep the cash from being stolen if someone broke into our motorhome? My solution was to keep the cash "in plain sight." Instead of hiding it in some remote place, I would put it in something common that a burglar would immediately see - and discount as a place to hide money. Does the devil hide the Bible "in plain sight?"

      1. How often do you read and study your Bible?

      2. Are you an advocate for a Bible that is difficult to understand?

      3. Do you read and study a Bible you can understand?

    4. Friend, God calls on us to obey His commandments. We obey, not because it earns us salvation, but because God died over the requirements of the law. That should open our eyes to the importance of His law. Will you determine today to read, understand and obey God's word?

  5. Next week: Revelation of Hope.

* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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