[Thought questions for Christ's Death and the Law May 7, 2014]
Intro. Are you like me in that you dread reading or hearing about how cruel people were to the kindest Being in the universe? If Jesus had gone around beating people up and knocking them around, that would be one thing, but did He ever do anything that wasn’t an expression of love? Love for all? Love all the time? Was there ever a more gentle Person than Jesus? Why, oh why did Jesus have to die at the hands of wicked people? Have you ever wondered about that?
1. Paul and the law. Are you and I condemned by the law? When you read the first six verses of Romans 7, do you feel like you’ve been tapped on the shoulder and invited to stop thinking that the law applies to you? Or that the law dies when you do? Does the holy law apply to all living people? Even born-again Christians? What is the value of being “married” to Christ if we still have to keep the law? And still stumble as we try? What does condemnation have to do with the greatest blessing of keeping God’s law?
2. The law of sin and death. In Romans 8:2 Paul declares that the “Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” made him “free from the law of sin and death.” Are there two laws at work here? Explain. In what way is the law an instrument of death and sinfulness? Is that good or bad? Is the surgeon’s knife a tool of cutting away what is bad or is the knife itself bad? At any time in your life do you recall putting aside the Word of God and focusing only on what you wanted to do? What is the result of a self-led life like that?
3. The power of the law. What would it be like to live in a world in which sin had never been defined and everybody made up his or her mind about what was right or wrong? Do you think God had to study and work to create the law? If not, why do you and I have such a hard time understanding it, much less obeying it? What makes the law a tool of righteousness? What does the law do to sin? How can we sing with David, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
4. The impotent law. From powerful to impotent, how can the law be painted with these two brush strokes? Can you and I sin and be lost through eternity by being crushed by the weight of the law? Or can keeping God’s law guarantee our eternal salvation and crush not us but sin? Do you ever wonder what life will be like when there is no more sin? Will sin become holy? Or will sin be totally destroyed? Does keeping the law of God guarantee our salvation? How? or Why not? How can we experience the law as impotent (without power)?
5. The curse of the law. Do you and I live under the curse of the law? Who bears responsibility for this curse? What did Paul think about people who don’t obey what is written in the law? (Galatians 3:10) In what way is the law like a mirror? What did Paul mean when he said that those rely on the law are cursed by it? Is there a margin of error when it comes to obedience of God’s law? Can we obey 90% of the law and “make it” with God? Share what you think about the path to holiness that Jesus provides.
6. The law abolished. Why do some find it so compelling to believe that the law was abolished at the cross? Wasn’t the cross the final blow to sin as revealed by the law? Didn’t Jesus’ death spell the end of the law? Will we need the law in heaven? Will there be two tables of stone to remind us what we should do? What about the law is permanent?