We're so glad you decided to join us today!
When we meet together in person, we take time to share our joys and concerns together. Take some time to think about your past week, and the prayer requests you might have. If you would like, you can share them with us as a comment on this post. When you are ready, get started with this prayer (from Xavier University).
Holy One, you are our comfort and strength
in times of sudden disaster, crisis, or chaos.
Surround us now with your grace and peace
through storm or earthquake, fire or flood.
By your Spirit, lift up those who have fallen,
sustain those who work to rescue or rebuild,
and fill us with the hope of your new creation;
through You, our rock and redeemer.
Today's lesson is on Romans 6:1-14.
The book of Romans, written by Paul, is considered by many to be the greatest letter ever written. It contains some of the richest doctrine on the nature of salvation in the Bible. The edict issued by Emperor Claudius, “banished from Rome all the Jews, who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of Christ” (likely reason). Gentiles became the majority in the Roman Church.
Paul’s letter is specifically to gentile believers who do not know him. This letter contains the most thorough and organized defense of Paul’s preaching. He argued that faith in Jesus is the only way to be justified before God. This justification comes by grace, through faith in Jesus, and not by obedience to the Old testament Law. Both Jew and Gentile are alike in sin, and both can be saved only through the redemption of Jesus. To confirm his point that God has always been concerned about faith, Paul used the example of Abraham. Abraham was declared righteous before God on the basis of his faith, not his obedience to the law. Paul also looked closely at there work of Jesus. Jesus, God himself in the flesh, was sinless despite temptation. And his death and resurrection brought grace and life to the world. Paul then explained the practical effect of Jesus’ work in our lives.
The new era of resurrection and at the old era of sin and brokenness exist side by side until Christ’s return. The tension this creates can be called “Already/Not Yet” For the believer, new life is both present and in the future. Through our baptism, we are united in both death and resurrection with Christ. We are given new life in his resurrection. However, we must make the choice of how we will live in this new freedom. We can continue to live as slaves to sin or choose to live in righteousness enjoying the new life in Christ. Righteousness is the best life now - and forever.
Father, thank you for your grace made clear to us through your Son. May we be encouraged and strengthened to live for you each day. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, by whose blood we have been set free and made new, Amen
Thought to Remember
Let us live free from sin in the grace of Jesus.
Our benediction this week is from the English Standard Version.
Next week's lesson will be on Romans 8:18-30.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.