This Sunday we were on chapter nine of Romans. We’re using The Complete New Testament Resource, Volume 1 from Youth Specialties as a launching pad for the series; Chris Z taught the middle school while I taught the senior high. You can also follow along by listening to our podcast feed (we record the senior high teaching).
Chapter nine is one of the more challenging passages in the New Testament, bringing up issues of election, predestination, free will, Calvinism, Arminianism, faith, God’s choosing some and hardening others. Ultimately, I wanted kids to come away with three thoughts:
- Whether we believe in free will, or predestination, our responsibility stays the same – to love God, and share Him with others.
- We are never going to fully understand God, and that’s a good thing. This is where faith comes into play – we believe and trust in God, even though we don’t fully know or understand everything about Him.
- On issues like this, even if we disagree with one another, we need to do so with love and grace – not let it be divisive.
A great follow up activity would be to read the chapter together and use the following questions as a launch pad to discussion:
- Did the Jew’s ancestry guarantee favor with God?
- Did God’s choice of the nation Israel make him unjust? On what basis did God make His choice?
- Can we question God’s choices?
- Verses 20-21 give perspective on our ability to fully understand God. What is your reaction to them?
One thought on “Romans 9 (Sunday update, 1/23/11)”
Mcnutt! I found your blog. I wanted to listen to the podcast, but it still isn't up yet, so I'll comment on this instead.
Here's what I think:
We are definitely called according to His purpose, not on our on doing but by the grace of God. Although that doesn't mean that we don't need to evangelize. The Bible tells us to spread the word. We are called by Him to spread His word. That is our calling. If you believe in the free-will of man, then you can't believe in the sovereignty of God. Free-will takes God out of control. I believe I have free-will to sin, thats it. I would like to take credit for my salvation, but I just can't. I was dead in my transgressions when Christ saved me, I had nothing to do with it.
As far as faith and works go, Martin Luther once said, "We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone." I think he put it beautifully when he said that. Works are not a requirement, but they still go hand in hand with your faith. Faith is what saves you, and the works prove it. James 2:14-26 talks about faith without works being dead. However, Ephesians 2:8-9 is very clear that we are saved by faith and not by works so that no man can boast. So its definitely up for discussion. I completely agree with the statement that even if we disagree with one another, we need to do so with love and grace. I know I struggle with that sometimes, and it can be tough, but we have to do it. Very well said. Anyway, I really wish I had been there for this!!!! I love talking about this stuff! Oh well, you'll have to preach on it again sometime.