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Everyday Theology - Romans 5 - Study Guide

Posted by Kim Stiver on

LEADER INTRO
Everyday Theology Sermon Series

Throughout the Everyday Theology sermon series, we will explore foundational principles of the Christian faith in chapters 5-8 of the book of Romans. Rather than giving us only knowledge about God and His plan for restoring our relationship with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we will learn from Paul what it means to have more of God Himself and the life Jesus died to give us — right now and for eternity. 

Each week, the study guide will start with a warm-up question designed to help your group focus on the primary Scripture passage and its theological implications. Then your group will watch a brief video teaching from one of the Cornerstone pastors, which will complement the corresponding sermon for the week. Next, we’ll jump into the meaning and impact of Paul’s major points. We’ll wrap up the discussion with questions that explore how the passage applies to us today as followers of Jesus in a modern and chaotic world. For more info and ideas on leading your group, visit our sermon series resource page.

Please also encourage your group members to check out Daily Steps, Cornerstone's companion devotional guide for individual reflection, prayer, and meditation on related Scripture selections throughout the week!


WARM-UP

Paul, the author of Romans, was clearly on a quest to help us grasp more of God Himself, not just more head knowledge. In today’s culture, this kind of actionable understanding is often referred to as a “working knowledge” in the business world. If you’re a candidate for a job, your employer wants to know that you not only have an intellectual grasp on what’s needed to do your job, but that you also have real-world experience applying that knowledge to making things happen, meeting goals, and generally performing well. 

  • Think back to a time when you were able to demonstrate strong "working knowledge" in your job, while volunteering, or working on a hobby. How many months or years did it take you to become proficient in applying all that you knew to that task? What would have happened if you only had head knowledge?

VIDEO

Watch this week’s video teaching from Clint Rutledge, Cornerstone’s Brentwood Campus Pastor.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

In the video you just watched, Pastor Clint said that chapters 5-8 of Romans are some of the most important ever written. In this week’s sermon, Pastor Steve Ingold used this quote from Biblical scholar N.T. Wright to describe just how important they are. “Romans is neither a systematic theology nor a summary of Paul's lifework, but it is by common consent his masterpiece. It dwarfs most of his other writings, an Alpine peak towering over hills and villages… We are here dealing with a work of massive substance, presenting a formidable intellectual challenge while offering a breathtaking theological and spiritual vision.”

Read Romans 5:1-2 in at least four different versions of the Bible — two literal translations like the NIV, ESV or the NASB, and two paraphrase versions like The Message, the New Living Translation, or The Passion Translation. (Leader Tip: You can compare multiple versions side by side when you click the link for this passage. Reading from more than one translation helps us to understand the context of the verses, consider the possible meanings, and apply Biblical truth to our daily lives.)

  • As you reflect together on these two verses, discuss which translation of the passage resonated with you the most and why?
  • What different nuances, perspectives, and insights are revealed from this one passage? 
  • Many Biblical scholars and pastors think that the concepts Paul writes about in Romans are like an “Alpine peak” that offers us a breathtaking spiritual vision. Just by contemplating these two verses, discuss why you think so. 

Paul uses the word justified or justification almost 30 times in the Biblical letters he wrote. The word justification describes a foundational concept of what it means to be a believer in Jesus. Pastor Clint explained that justification is a legal term that means a person has stood before a judge and declared to be not guilty. 

  • In the past, what are some ways you have tried to justify yourself or something you did in order to remove feelings of guilt? Did those attempts fall short? Did they make you feel better or whole?
  • What does having “peace with God” in verse 1 (see the ESV or NIV) mean to you personally? What words would you use to describe what the opposite of peace with God would be like? 
  • What do you think Paul means when he uses the word “access” in verse 2 (see the ESV or NIV)?

Pastor Clint said Paul connects justification to another important word — righteousness. Clint defined righteousness as "a validating performance record.” Being a Christ-follower is not only about being exonerated of all wrongdoing — as if that weren’t amazing enough — but also being made righteous. In other words, we are not only innocent in the eyes of God, He sees us being gloriously worthy and fully approved. 

  • What makes it possible for God to “legally” declare us as Not Guilty? (See also Romans 3:23 and 5:8)
  • What are some ways that people today try to find their value, worth, and acceptance apart from Jesus?  
  • When you think about your own sense of worth, validation, and reputation, how did those things previously interfere with your complete reliance on Jesus to receive God’s approval versus your own talents, hard work, and achievements? 
  • How would you describe the grace God has given you as you’ve grown closer to Him?

Pastor Clint said that the pandemic has limited or changed our ability to find our justification and righteousness in many things we have previously relied on or found value in prior to 2020. 

  • In what ways has the pandemic pushed you either closer to or further away from, relying on God for your justification (i.e. blamelessness) and righteousness (i.e. valuable and recognized)? 
  • The last part of Romans 5:2 says, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” When God looks at you with your sins, weaknesses, and track record, He sees you THROUGH the lens of Jesus. By simply believing what Jesus did for you, you take on His likeness before your Heavenly Father. How does knowing this truth help you rejoice, especially now during a pandemic year? 
  • Pastor Steve Ingold explained in his sermon that when we enter into a relationship with Jesus, He not only justifies us before God and gives us His righteousness, He empowers us to be instruments of justification and righteousness in the world around us. We become a part of the solution for hurting the people we encounter. What are some ways the presence and infilling of Jesus in your life has helped you extend God’s love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy to your neighbors and others during this pandemic? In what ways does it help you to see others as worthy and accepted?

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Everyone has a next step with Jesus...What's yours?

Spend Time Alone with God

Daily Steps is a weekly devotional message designed as a companion to this sermon study guide. You will be guided as you spend time with God through personal reflection, Scripture readings, and prayer prompts. 

DAILY STEPS - EVERYDAY THEOLOGY - ROMANS 5

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