You can view an in-depth discussion of “The Human Condition” in the Hope Sabbath School class led by Pastor Derek Morris. (Adobe Flash Player version.) A Youtube version of this week’s lesson at Hope Sabbath School is below.
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In Romans chapter 1, Paul was dealing specifically with the sins of the Gentiles, the pagans, those who had lost sight of God a long time ago and, thus, had fallen into the most degrading of practices.
But he wasn’t going to let his own people, his own countrymen, off the hook either. Despite all the advantages that they had been given (Rom. 3:1-2), they, too, were sinners, condemned by God’s law, and in need of the saving grace of Christ. In that sense-in the sense of being sinners, of having violated God’s law, and of needing divine grace for salvation-Jews and Gentiles are the same.
Read Romans 2:1-3, Romans 2:17-24. What is Paul warning against here? What message should all of us, Jew or Gentile, take from this warning?
“After the Apostle has shown that all heathen are sinners, he now, in a special and most emphatic way, shows that also the Jews live in sin, above all because they obey the Law only outwardly, that is, according to the letter and not according to the spirit.” – Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, p. 61.
Often it’s so easy to see and point out the sins of others. How often, though, are we guilty of the same kinds of things, or even worse? The problem is that we tend to turn a blind eye on ourselves, or we make ourselves feel better by looking at just how bad others are in contrast to ourselves.
Paul will have none of that. He warns his countrymen not to be quick to judge the Gentiles, for they, the Jews-even as the chosen people-were sinners. In some cases they were even more guilty than the pagans they were so quick to condemn because as Jews they had been given more light than the Gentiles.
Paul’s point in all this is that none of us are righteous, none of us meet the divine standard, none of us are innately good or inherently holy. Jew or Gentile, male or female, rich or poor, God-fearing or God-rejecting, we all are condemned. And were it not for the grace of God as revealed in the gospel, there would be no hope for any of us.How often do you, even if only in your own mind, condemn others for things that you, yourself, are guilty of? By taking heed of what Paul has written here, how can you change? Amen!(7)
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At the turn of the twentieth century, people lived with the idea that humanity was improving, that morality would increase, and that science and technology would help usher in a utopia. Human beings, it was believed, were essentially on the path toward perfection. Through the right kind of education and moral training, it was thought that humans could greatly improve themselves and their society.
All this was supposed to start happening, en masse, as we entered into the brave new world of the twentieth century.
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite turn out that way, did they? The twentieth century was one of the most violent and barbaric in all history, thanks-ironically enough-in great part to the advances of science, which made it much more possible for people to kill others on a scale that the most depraved madmen of the past could only dream about.
What was the problem?
Read Romans 1:22-32. In what ways do we see the things that were written there in the first century being manifested today in the twenty-first century?
We might need faith to believe in a lot of things about Christianity: among them, the resurrection of the dead, the Second Coming, and a new heaven and a new earth. But who needs faith to believe in the fallen state of humanity? Today, each of us is living the consequences of that fallen state.
Focus specifically on Romans 1:22-23. How do we see this principle being manifested now? By rejecting God what have humans in our century come to worship and idolize instead? And in so doing, how have they become fools? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.Amen!(15)
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Read Romans 3:23. Why is this message so easy for us as Christians to believe today? At the same time, what could cause some people to question the truthfulness of this text?
Amazingly enough, some people actually challenge the idea of human sinfulness, arguing that people are basically good. The problem, however, stems from a lack of understanding of what true goodness is. People can compare themselves to someone else and feel good about themselves. After all, we can always find someone worse than ourselves to compare ourselves with. But that hardly makes us good. When we contrast ourselves to God, and to the holiness and righteousness of God, none of us would come away with anything other than an overwhelming sense of self-loathing and disgust.
Romans 3:23 also talks about “the glory of God.” The phrase has been variously interpreted. Perhaps the simplest interpretation is to give the phrase the meaning it has in 1 Corinthians 11:7 “He [man] is the image and glory of God” (RSV). In Greek the word for “glory” may be considered as loosely equivalent to the word for “image.” Sin has marred the image of God in humans. Sinful humans fall far short of reflecting the image or glory of God.
Read Romans 3:10-18. Has anything changed today? Which of those depictions best describes you, or what you would be like were it not for Christ in your life?
As bad as we are our situation is not hopeless. The first step is that we acknowledge our utter sinfulness and also our helplessness in and of ourselves to do anything about it. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about such conviction. If the sinner does not resist Him, the Spirit will lead the sinner to tear away the mask of self-defense, pretense, and self-justification and to cast himself or herself upon Christ, pleading His mercy: “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”(Luke 18:13, NASB).When was the last time you took a good, hard, cold look at yourself, your motives, your deeds, and your feelings? This can be a very distressing experience, can’t it? What’s your only hope? Amen!(35) 11 comment(s) for this post: Helena Howard:
16 Oct 2017 When I take a look at my deeds, thoughts and actions, I'm nothing but a poor sinner. Only Jesus Christ and Him alone can save me from my sins. I'm a sinner and have fallen short of God's glory. Elias Derevecki:
16 Oct 2017 Em Cristo você é mais do que vencedora. In Christ you are more than winner. daniel holmstock:
16 Oct 2017 Yes, I see who I am, a sinner, deserving no grace, but i serve a God that is bigger in heart who loves me. He has the power to save and I am not a lost case in his hands! Marlin Richards:
16 Oct 2017 Romans 7:24-25New Living Translation (NLT) 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. William Earnhardt:
16 Oct 2017 Marlin, while chapter 7 ends there, thank God Paul's thought does not end there. Paul goes on to say, So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 NLT Esther Moran:
16 Oct 2017 Christ and Christ alone can deliver me from this body of sin. Thank God for his amazing gift of salvation! Esther Moran FRED ROBERTS:
16 Oct 2017 Too frequently we dwell on our sins and shortcomings. We have all sinned and we continue to miss the mark. However, by God's grace there is growth, progress and a diminishing of those things that easily beset us. As we meditate for longer periods on the ministry, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; as we study His teachings; as we examine His methods, we will develop a joy of unspeakable magnitude for Him. Let us focus on where we going, not on where we have come from. If Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, then He is the also the sustainer until we get to the finish line. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is 1 Cor 6:9-11 - "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. " But here is the real encouraging part: 1 Cor 6:11 - "And such WERE some of you. But you WERE WASHED, but you were SANCTIFIED, but you were JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. Paul is talking about something that HAS happened in the life of the believer, not a future hope. If we have accepted God's invitation, we can be recipients of that washing, sanctifying and justifying. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace and receive what God has planned for us. Linen Calope:
16 Oct 2017 Question? If a person belongs to Christ Jesus and that the power of the life-giving spirit freed a person from the power of sin, would that means that this person cannot sin no more? People claimed that they are Christians but actually not.How do we ascertain that we already belong to Christ Jesus? Is there a certain level or qualifications for a person to be considered a true Christian? Like in the school that if we completed all the required curriculum then we graduated? Julie [Full Name Please]:
17 Oct 2017 Amen!!! Repent and surrender= victory in Jesus CJ Farley:
17 Oct 2017 You must daily (hourly) surrender and resurrender to Jesus. Exams are every night in your knees when you ask God for forgiveness for today and victory for tomorrow. The term is Sanctification and it is the process of a lifetime. Inge Anderson:
17 Oct 2017 Dear Linen, Christ never removes our power of choice. So the answer is "No" to If a person belongs to Christ Jesus and that the power of the life-giving spirit freed a person from the power of sin, would that means that this person cannot sin no more? You may know that you belong to Christ when you have surrendered your life to Him and asked Him to live in you by His Spirit. But this is not a once-in-a-lifetime deal. We must surrender to Him every morning and seek His guidance throughout the day. It takes time to develop a relationship with Jesus, just like it takes time to develop and earthly friendship: * Time to talk with Him in prayer. * Time to listen to Him through His Word and the voice of the Holy Spirit in your mind. * Time to do things together. That means in your daily life seeking to do the things that Jesus would do. A relationship with Christ, since He is God, also includes time spent in personal worship and community worship (church). When you faithfully seek to do this, you can be assured that you are safe in Him, and no one can take you out of His care, even if you slip and fall. Just reach up to Him, and He will pick you up again. It is not the individual sins or good deeds that determine our salvation but the direction of our lives. He is interested in your heart. If we are moving closer to Jesus every day, we may know that we are in a saving relationship with Him. No, there's no required curriculum and graduation. ;) You belong to Jesus the instant you ask Him to come into your heart. And you stay belonging to Him as long as you remain surrendered to Him. He doesn't disown you when you stumble into sinful behavior any more than a parent would disown a child that falls down. :) But if you choose to continue in sinful behavior, you are choosing to turn your back on Him, and He will not force you to be saved.
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“I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live’” (Rom. 1:16-17, RSV).
What do Romans 1:16-17 say to you? How have you experienced the promises and hope found in them?
Several key words occur in this passage:Gospel. This word is the translation of a Greek word that means literally “good message” or “good news.” Standing alone the word may refer to any good message; but modified as it is in this passage by the phrase “of Christ,” it means “the good news about the Messiah” (Christ is the transliteration of the Greek word that means “Messiah”). The good news is that the Messiah has come, and people can be saved by believing in Him. It is in Jesus and in His perfect righteousness-and not in ourselves, or even in God’s law-that one can find salvation. Righteousness. This word refers to the quality of being “right” with God. A specialized meaning of this word is developed in the book of Romans, which we shall bring out as our study of the book proceeds. It should be pointed out that in Romans 1:17 the word is qualified by the phrase “of God.” It is righteousness that comes from God, a righteousness that God Himself has provided. As we’ll see, this is the only righteousness good enough to bring us the promise of eternal life. Faith. In Greek the words that are translated as “believe” and “faith” (KJV) in this passage are the verb and noun forms of the same word: pisteuo (believe), pistis (belief or faith). The meaning of faith as related to salvation will unfold as we progress in the study of Romans. Do you ever struggle with assurance? Do you have times when you truly question whether or not you are saved, or even if you can be saved? What brings these fears? On what are they based? Might they be grounded in reality? That is, could you be living a lifestyle that denies your profession of faith? If so, what choices must you make in order to have the promises and assurances that are for you in Jesus? Amen!(37) 15 comment(s) for this post: Fred Roberts:
14 Oct 2017 The lesson's author asks an interesting question. Why do we struggle with assurance or question whether we are saved? If our answer includes our "behavior" or our "works" then we are not recalling the assurances in Scripture. Eternal life results from our accepting Jesus totally as our Savior and our walk with Him helps us maintain that assurance. We do not lose eternal life just because we sin one day. Accepting Jesus brings us into a relationship with Him. That relationship is not severed because we may sin. The prodigal son's relationship with his father was not severed when he left. As a result of our relationship with Jesus Christ, our salvation is assured, because our salvation is not dependent on us, but on Him. Let me quickly add, that is not the same as once saved always saved. Jennifer Clarke:
15 Oct 2017 But didn't Ellen White teach that we should never be taught to say or feel that they are saved? Carl Aldridge:
15 Oct 2017 Once saved always saved (OSAS) says that no matter what the Christian does he/she cannot be unsaved. If in the end the believer is lost then he was not saved in the first place. It is a kind of circular reasoning. Paul didn't teach OSAS "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts." (1 Cor 7:19) Belief is not enough because the devils also believe and tremble. (James 2:19) Salvation is ultimately about our personal relationship with Christ. Kenny Springer:
15 Oct 2017 Fred, if I’m not mistaken, I sense a gingerly approach to the subject, especially in the last sentence caveat. If God’s salvation and eternal life is dependent on “our accepting” Him, then retaining Him or maintaining a relationship is dependent on our attitude also. We could just as easily throw Him out if things are not going the way we expect or desire, like the rocky ground hearers. But we know that Christ gives eternal life to whom He wishes (Jn 5:21), to all whom the Father gives Him (Jn 17:2), to His sheep (Jn 10:3,10,11,14-16,26-29; to “all who have heard and learned from the Father” (Jn 6:45). None comes to Christ except as drawn by the Father (Jn 6:37,44). They are all KNOWN by Christ (Jn10:14). They are KEPT by the power of God through Faith (1 Pt 1:5; Jn 17:11,12). They have eternal life (Jn 5:24; 1 Jn 5:11,13), and all will be raised up on the last day (Jn 6:39,40,44,54). “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” Jn 10:29,30. They are `sure because they are convinced by the Spirit that God DIED for them. That is an eternal guarantee of eternal life, It is impossible for anyone for whom Christ died to perish. Cloye:
15 Oct 2017 In my studies of her, I have found that she never wanted to be quoted. She would rather we quote the Bible. 2 Peter 1:10 says to make our calling and election sure. 1 John 5:13 says... that you "know" you have eternal life. I believe being sure we have salvation comes from the faith described. We must have FAITH in knowing we are saved. I can believe God can do something, but that's just belief. When I believe that God WILL do something, I consider that to be faith. Be blessed. Pete Villarreal:
15 Oct 2017 I fully agree with you on all this Fred Roberts, yet even the words of John and the Apostle Paul inspired by God's Holy Spirit says in 1John 1:9 and 2:1,2 and Hebrews 4:16 that if and when we sin we need to CONFESS THOSE SINS TO GOD and we need to come BY FAITH to OUR ADVOCATE JESUS who is at THE THRONE OF GRACE FOR US to cleanse us of those sins. Pete Villarreal:
15 Oct 2017 And yet SALVATION is not about being PERFECTLY AND FLAWLESSLY SINLESS. Even King David said in Psalms 40:11, 12; for GOD to let HIS "Loving Kindness and Truth to CONTINUALLY PRESERVE HIM," because his INIQUITIES were more than THE HAIRS OF HIS HEAD. And King David was clear about what TRUTH AND LOVING KINDNESS had the power to CONTINUALLY PRESERVE HIM. It was and is the very TRUTH he wrote about in the same Psalm 40:6-10---THE TRUTH OF, JESUS CHRIST, THE COMING MESSIAH AND SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD AND OF ALL SIN. Kenny Spriinger:
15 Oct 2017 There is only one God and Savior (Lk 1:47; 1 Tim 1:1; Acts 4:16). When God saves He saves completely Phil 1:6; Jude 24. Pascal Polepole:
15 Oct 2017 Carl, i think your reasoning is correct, if a believer is lost then he/she was not saved in the first place. The only problem that i have found about the aspect of once saved always saved is that it may tend to breed complacency in the Christendom. I feel It is like going into an exam room with an already answered exam paper, or somebody telling you to say" study hard but you do not have to weary yourself, i will make sure you pass anyway" Pascal Polepole:
15 Oct 2017 Kenny, a question that may arise from your last sentence which says and i quote "It is impossible for anyone for whom Christ died to perish" Didn't Christ die for all humanity?, is there a select class of people whom he died for?, if the answer to my first question is yes (which i believe is obvious), then definitely, there must be a separator for i am convinced that, somebody somehow will perish...... Jane mutahi:
15 Oct 2017 When we get saved, we acquire a new character n become sons of our father. This means that we develop a desire to do what pleases God. This answers the writers question...in which ways do u need need to rectify your short coming?? Yes we need to..the people around us don't need to b told we r saved..lather our actions, behaviours, altitude..etc should speak more louder and reflect we are Christians. Jim Sibert:
16 Oct 2017 Yes! Practicing what we preach right? today's question! in red captures it Jim Williams:
16 Oct 2017 Jennifer, that is the whole point of Paul in Romams 8 and the great discovery Martin Luther made in the 1500s. It is OK to believe and know that one is saved despite what you know is still inside. Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as if it were our own and we stand blameless before God's throne. That truly is, "Good News". Kenny Springer:
16 Oct 2017 Pascal, I too was a bit perturbed coming to grips with the statement “Christ ‘died for all’”in 2 Cor 5:15. We know that it was Adam’s sin, in his encounter with Satan, that brought sin and death into this world, abetted by Satan of course. As Head of the human race this sin passed to all his seed, progeny. All have sinned (Rom 5:12; Heb 7:9,10). Adam ceded authority over this world to Satan who became “Ruler, Prince, god of this world”(Jn 12:31;14:30; 2 Cor 4:4). Jesus Christ came as Head of new creatures, a new human race, a people born of the Spirit, like Isaac, literal sons of God (1 Cor 15:45-49). Christ called them his brothers and sisters before He came into the world (Heb 2:10-16). Adam was a servant son who was put to work in the garden. He was not the heir, although given dominion, as a steward, over the world. Christ the Heir, came in our flesh to “save His people from their sins” (Matt 12:21). In His encounter with Satan, as Head of the new human race, Son of God, He vanquished Satan, the root of all evil and god of this world (Heb 2:14,15). With this victory Christ reclaimed all things in heaven and earth (Jn 3:35; 13:3; Matt 28:18; 13:44-47). That is what victors in war do, so that even Satan’s angels have been reclaimed by Christ, but they are bound for hell. But just like in Adam all his seed sinned and die (1 Cor 15:22; Rom 5:12-14), so in Christ all His seed, those IN CHRIST, have gained the victory (1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 1:21,22; Rom 8:1,9; 1 Jn 1:12-14; 5:4). Before the foundation of the world, through the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Christ’s seed (Isa 53:10,11; Jn 12:23-26) were seated in heavenly places while still dead in sins (Eph 2:4-10). There is the surety of God’s salvation to His people whom He calls His own (Jn 17:6,9). They are not of this world(Jn 15:19; 17:14). God could not fail to fulfill His commitment. God, in His infinite wisdom, reserved for Himself a people from among Adam’s seed (Rom 11:3-6; 9:27-29). If God had not done that there would not be any one to redeem. For through Adam, we all rebelled against God and turned our loyalty to Satan and sin. God taught us that only the “next of kin” can redeem one who has “sold himself into slavery to a stranger” (Lev 25:47-51). If the slave-master kidnapped or violently captured his slave, Abraham’s method of deliverance of Lot can be employed (Gen 14:14-16). Christ said that he was not ashamed to call the “seed of Abraham” His brothers and sisters (Heb 2:9-17). We know which seed that is. God called them His sons and daughters who were created for His Glory (Isa 43:1,3-7; Heb 2:9,10). He redeems only His own. The others have made their choice. All of them were buried with Christ and raised with Him since they were IN HIM. All are redeemed, justified, reconciled, and sanctified for the same reason (Rom 5; 6; 8:28-38; Eph 2). FRED ROBERTS:
16 Oct 2017 A haunting reason why many doubt their salvation, is the fearful concern that they have to face their sins in the Investigative Judgment, or that they names will come up in the examining "roll call" of all those who have ever borne the name of Christ. The Bible has much to say about that. Here is a sample of the truth from God's word. 1 John 1:9 has encouraging words - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Where do those sins go? Micah 7:19 - He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Heb 10:17 - Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. John 5:24 - I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
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