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Sabbath School Lessons on The Forgiven
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 13: Living the Life of Faith *
Introduction: We are at the end of our studies on forgiveness. Assume
your personal life has made that same journey this quarter. You have
repented, God has forgiven you, and you stand completely justified
before God. Feels wonderful, doesn't it? Now tell me, how do live the
next minute, the next day, the next week? What do you do next? Let's
dive into the Bible and find the clues to living the life of faith!
- Faith Life
- Read Romans 1:17. How does righteousness come to us?
("From first to last" it is by faith.)
- Now the practical question: what does it mean to
"live by faith?"
- Let's explore some texts that repeat this same phrase and
therefor should help us better understand what is means to
live by faith. Read Habakkuk 2:4. This text seems to
define living by faith by what it is not. What is not
living by faith? (Being "puffed up" and having desires
that are not upright.)
- I've heard of "Puff Daddy" (no guarantees on the
spelling). What is living by "puffed up," instead of
faith? (Your life depends on your own (inflated) view
of yourself instead of depending on your trust in
- Would you say that anytime you live by trusting
yourself you are living on "puffed up?"
- Habakkuk 2:4 also speaks of desires that are not
upright. How about your life: are your desires be
opposed to your faith? Let's break this test down by
gender, even though I realize that generalities are
just that - only true for some.
- Guys, how many of you have a beautiful woman in
your workplace (or at church, or in the
neighborhood, etc.) and you spend your idle time
thinking about how you can convert her to
becoming a Christian? Or, are your thoughts
about her of a different nature? (Just a little
test about your desires versus your faith life.)
- Ladies, let's take that same beautiful woman and
add that she is intelligent, rich and maybe a
little arrogant. Are your thoughts about her how
you can convert her to becoming a Christian? Or,
are your thoughts more in the nature of
competing with her? Finding flaws in her?
Sharing her faults with others?
- Are "puffed up" and evil desires related concepts? If
so, how are they related? ("Puffed up" is pride.
Pride is the root of sin. If you live to advance your
pride, as opposed to advancing your relationship with
Jesus, then your desires are improper.)
- Read Hebrews 10:38. Here is another illustration of what
it means to live by faith. What does living by faith mean
here? (Trust in God.)
- God says He will not be pleased if we "shrink back."
Have you ever had a "shrink back" experience in your
life? (About six months ago I was having a huge
struggle with the issue of "shrinking back." I had a
trial coming up before a judge with a terrible
reputation. I kept asking God to give me courage, but
the task kept weighing on my mind. God expects us to
simply trust Him when we face difficult times.)
- Part of the context for Hebrews 10:38 is Hebrews
10:32. What is the opposite of "shrinking back?"
(Standing your ground in the face of suffering.)
- This suggests that as we progress in our
Christian life, we may get weaker in our faith
life. Have you seen this in yourself or in
- Read Galatians 3:11&14. What does living by faith mean in
these texts? (Living in the faith that Jesus saves us from
our sins. Living in faith means that we live in the power
of the Holy Spirit.)
- Why is the law mentioned as a counterpoint in v. 11?
(This gets us back to the "puffed up" issue. Pride in
keeping the law is still pride. We do not save
ourselves by obeying the law. However, living a life
in the Spirit is living in accord with the law
through the power of the Holy Spirit.)
- What bigger picture do these texts teach us about living
by faith? (They paint a picture of the following life: we
understand and accept the sacrifice of Jesus on our
behalf. Because of the great debt we owe to God, our aim
in life is to promote His kingdom through obedience and
service. Our aim becomes reality through the power of the
Holy Spirit. Although we may be tempted to take pride in
our obedience, we recognize that pride is not appropriate
because we would be nothing without Jesus and the Holy
Spirit. Promoting the Kingdom of God puts us in the line
of fire for the Devil and his supporters. A faithful life
means that we trust God, and do not shrink back, even
through fearsome times.)
- God's Requirements
- Read Micah 6:6-7. This reminds me of school; a multiple
choice question. What present should you bring to God?
- A calf for a burnt offering;
- Ten thousand rams and lots of oil;
- Your firstborn child; or,
- None of the above.
- You do not have to be in doubt about the answer because it
is found in Micah 6:8. Read it. What does this suggest is
the correct answer to the multiple choice question? ("None
of the above.")
- What do the multiple choice answers have in common
that gives you a clue they are all false? (All of the
multiple choice answers involve trying to make up for
our sins. We sin and then bring God something to
"make up" for the sin. Just as we cannot save
ourselves by obedience, so we cannot earn forgiveness
by post-sin efforts.)
- Does this mean that God does not want us to repent?
(No. It means that God's goal is not apologies,
excuses or penance.)
- What does God want instead of apologies and excuses?
(He wants obedience.)
- If you are a parent, do you understand God's
desire here? What do you want from your children
- profuse apologies and excuses or obedience?
- Let's examine in more detail the Micah 6:8 answer to
living a life of faith. Are justice and mercy the same
- Assume you are speeding and the police catch you. Do
you want justice or mercy?
- Assume I am speeding in your neighborhood. Do you
want justice or mercy?
- Are we in the role of the speeder or the speeding
victim in verse 8? (Both. I think God is telling us
that when it comes to our actions, we need to be
just. In our illustration, that means do not violate
the rights of others. It also requires us to show
mercy to others when they "speed" in our
neighborhood. Our lesson has, of course, the perfect
illustration: Jesus' life and His death on the cross
for our sins.)
- The final ingredient to living the life of faith is to
"walk humbly with your God." How does this compare with
walking "puffed up?"
- I get the picture on humility. But what does adding
the word "walk" and "with your God" add to your
understanding? (Our "walk" is the direction of our
life. Pride is a terrible problem in my life. My bet
is it is a problem in your life too, since it is the
root of sin. As we live in faith, we continue to
progress towards the goal of becoming more like God's
ideal for us.)
- A few months ago I read an editorial in a church
paper that stated (without providing a shred of
evidence) that many church members were racists. I
was outraged at the blatant name-calling and
righteously concluded that the writer of the article
was an obvious racist himself. How does this fit
into the "walking humble" requirement? (Can you see
how this is part of the "puffed up" problem? The
writer of the editorial was puffed up by his self-righteous slander of fellow church members. But I was
puffed up too, by my self-righteous reaction. The
truth is that the writer of the editorial is a
racist, I am a racist and so are you. We are all
sinners, and hurling insults and accusations at each
other says something about the state of our
"humility" in our walk.)
- What could be done in your church to promote a humble
attitude among the members?
- What can you do to promote humility in your
- Is humility an important part of discussion
about the Bible? (Humility is important. But,
humility is not the same as the incorrect notion
that all ideas are equally valid.)
- Friend, living the life of faith is not just talk. Satan
has faith in God ( James 2:19). Because of Jesus'
sacrifice, we stand forgiven, we stand justified and we
stand at the beginning of our walk in living the life of
faith. Will you commit to forward progress? Will you be
conscious of whether your life reflects your talk?
- Next week we start a new quarter on the book of Hebrews.
* Copr. 2003, 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.