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Lesson 3: God as Redeemer *

Introduction: Imagine that you are a mugger. You get excitement from hitting people over the head, and you profit from stealing their money. Imagine further two alternatives. First, that the police, if they catch you, simply ask you to apologize, and then they let you go. Or, second, that you have a very rich uncle who, when you are caught, makes everything right at his own expense. How would you view your mugging habit? You would not take the problem very seriously, right? We do not need to imagine that we are muggers, for in fact we all are in some sense. Our sins damage others and cost them money. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and consider our problem and our need for a Redeemer!

  1. The First Mugging

    1. In Genesis chapter 3 we read the story of how Adam and Eve sinned. Let's pick up the account and read Genesis 3:9-13. What kind of an attitude do Adam and Eve have about their sin? (They blame others.)

    2. Read Genesis 3:14-15. What does God mean when He tells the serpent that his head will be crushed? (God is not just talking to a snake, He is talking to Satan. He tells Satan that he will be defeated.)

      1. What does victory for God and defeat for Satan involve? (Satan had just won the allegiance of humans. He had just introduced sin into the world. Sin would have to be defeated and the allegiance of humans won back.)

  2. The Atonement for Mugging

    1. Read Leviticus 5:5-6. What was God's approach to dealing with the sin problem? (That sin must be confessed, and an animal killed "to make atonement for [the] sin.")

    2. Read Leviticus 17:11. Explain the logic of the sacrificial system? (Sin leads to death. The result, the penalty for sin is death. God set up a system in which another life could pay the penalty for our sins.)

    3. Read John 1:29. What did John the Baptist say about Jesus? (That He was the "Lamb of God" who would "take away the sin of the world!")

      1. If you were sitting there, listening to John, what would you conclude about the sacrificial system and Jesus? (That the sacrificial system pointed to Jesus. It was a type of prophecy. That just as a lamb shed its blood to atone for sin, so Jesus would shed His blood to atone for our sin.)

  3. The Result of the Mugging
    1. Read Luke 1:26-32. Compare what it was like for Jesus in Heaven with what it was like for Him when He came to live on earth as the son of Mary?

      1. Tell me all that Jesus gave up?

    2. Read Matthew 27:27-31, Acts 2:23-24, and Matthew 27:39-42. What did Jesus give up?

    3. Read Romans 5:6-8. What was Jesus doing when He died on the cross(a shameful thing for a God)? (He died for our sins.)

      1. Would you have done what Jesus did if you were Him?

      2. What was Jesus' motive? (It was not that we could do anything for Him. We were "powerless." It was not that we had any merit. We were "sinners." It was purely because of love.)

    4. Read Romans 5:9. How could God be angry with us and love us at the same time? (God's wrath is against our sins.)

      1. In our last series, I suggested that we should measure our actions by saying, "Would this please God? Would this please my spouse?" How does God's wrath fit into this?

      2. Does it make sense for God to be angry with sin? (Of course. Sin corrupted heaven. Sin corrupted God's Creation on earth. Sin caused Jesus a great deal of sacrifice and suffering. God should hate sin.)

    5. Read Romans 5:1-2. What kind of peace is this? (God hates sin. When we are justified by faith (that is when Jesus' righteousness becomes our righteousness) this takes care of the serious problem that God hates.)

    6. What kind of an attitude does this suggest that we should have towards sin? What kind of an attitude towards God? (Since sin would have gotten us killed if it were not for Jesus, we need to take is seriously. The fact that we avoided paying the penalty for sin does not make sin any less important. The fact that Jesus gave up all, and died a terrible death for us should make us eternally grateful to Him!)

  4. The Mugger's Attitude

    1. Read Romans 1:16. When Paul writes that he is not ashamed of the gospel, what does that tell you? (That there is a reason to be ashamed. If you had a very beautiful wife or very handsome husband, would you never say, "I am not ashamed of how my spouse looks?" There would be no reason for a denial.)

      1. What reason is there to be ashamed of the gospel? (Notice that Paul says next, "it is the power of God." That is our clue. Our God died. He was crucified by the government. This seems to show a lack of power on God's part, and this is a matter of shame.)

      2. How does the crucifixion show God's power? What kind of power is this? (The power of God is love. The power of God is self-sacrifice. God was injured so that we might be saved. What seems to be a demonstration of a lack of power, is in fact proof of the power of God's love.)

    2. Read Romans 1:17. What is the righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel - a gospel that on the surface is shameful? (What is revealed is that God overcomes sin with love. This "righteousness" overcomes sin. It takes us from being a sinner to a righteous person.)

      1. How do we obtain this righteousness? (It seems so contrary to the methods of the world. We must accept it by faith.)

    3. Read John 3:16-18. Is the essence of love self-sacrifice? (Yes.)

      1. Why did God have to be injured? (Recall that sin causes death. We should die for our sins. The Bible tells us that God voluntarily agreed to be "defeated," He voluntarily agreed to die for us because He loved us. This shows that God is unselfish. That He preferred us over His reputation or His comfort.)

  5. God's Wrath

    1. Read Romans 1:18-19. Is God unhappy? (He has wrath!)

      1. Does God have a reason to be unhappy? (Consider the Bible texts that we just reviewed. God went to incredible lengths to save us. He sacrificed everything to save those who had rejected Him.)

        1. How do you feel when those you have loved and cared for reject you?

      2. Against whom is God's wrath displayed? (Against those who are godless and wicked.)

      3. What is the reason for God's wrath? (These people suppress the truth.)

    2. Read Romans 1:20. Do these truth suppressors have an excuse? (No. God's power and nature are obvious from the creation. We can see that a God exists and we can see that a sin problem exists.)

    3. Read Romans 1:21-22. In what ways can you suppress God's truth? (Many ways, but Paul mentions two. By denying or distorting what Jesus has done for us. By denying or misrepresenting God's love. By not glorifying God or not thanking Him.)

      1. Let's get back to the "shameful" issue. If we are embarrassed about our God and our message, are we wicked? (We suppress the truth by not giving glory to God and not being thankful for what He did for us at the cross.)

    4. Friend, we started out admitting we were muggers. Because we never had to pay the price, we might not take our evil ways seriously. The gospel story helps us to take our evil ways seriously. It reveals to us God's great unselfish love and our selfish ways. Will you determine today to do what pleases God? To show your understanding of His sacrifice and His love by turning away from those things that caused Jesus a painful death? By giving glory to God for what He has done for you?

  6. Next week: The God of Grace and Judgment.
* Copr. 2012, 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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