Friday, July 22, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 24, 2016

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FAITH BRINGS JOY
(CHRIST gives us the hope of salvation)
(Romans 5)

   The sin of Adam brought physical death. The Resurrection of CHRIST brought spiritual life. Because one man disobeyed GOD, many people became sinners (Romans 5:12). However, because one other MAN obeyed GOD, many people will be made right in GOD’s sight (Romans 5:17).
    In the original Greek, the word Paul uses for “access”, in Romans 5:2, is “prosagoge” (pros-a-gogue-ay), and it means “to introduce, or usher someone else into the presence of royalty”. It can also be defined as “a safe haven, or harbor”. We have “access” to GOD through our faith in JESUS CHRIST, WHO came into the World, and overcame the World, by way of HIS enduring SPIRIT. We can now rejoice in our trials because we know that those trials are not meant to make us fail, but rather, they are tests, that are meant to strengthen us, and make us better warriors in the army of CHRIST. Trials help us learn to endure, and endurance develops strength and character. Our character then strengthens our hope and confidence in the gift of salvation (Romans 5:2-4).
    In John 15:13 JESUS says that, “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV). This gives us confidence in salvation, because, here JESUS is saying in effect, that, from that glorious moment when HE died on the cross at Golgotha, we were no longer just HIS servants, but rather, at that moment, we became HIS friends. By the sin of Adam, all men became sinners and were alienated from GOD. In total contrast, by the righteousness of CHRIST, all men can become righteous, and can be restored into a right relationship with GOD (Romans 5:18).
    Paul says it more clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 where he states, “For since by man came death, by MAN came also, the resurrection of the dead. For in Adam all die, even so in CHRIST shall all be made alive” (KJV). There are two basic Jewish ideas that come into play when reading this passage. One is “solidarity”. The Jews never really thought of themselves as individuals, but rather, they were a part of a chosen clan, a family, or a nation, and whatever happened to one, happened to all. The other thing that comes into play is that, at least in those days, death was considered to be the direct consequence, or result, of sin. The Jews believed that sin was intimately connected with death, and in essence, they are right.
    GOD’s love, however, is not limited to just a select few, and HE proved that when HE extended HIS love to the entire ungodly human race by sending HIS SON JESUS to die on the cross for our iniquities. And since HIS death brought reconciliation to us all, while we were still HIS enemies, we are now reconciled, and should have confidence that HIS sacrifice will complete the work of salvation in us (Romans 5:6-11).
    GOD’s law was given to us so that all people could see how sinful they are. The more people sin, the more abundantly GOD’s wonderful grace and kindness will manifest itself. And just as sin had previously ruled over all people, bringing them to death, so now GOD’s grace and kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with HIMSELF, and resulting in eternal life through CHRIST JESUS, our LORD (Romans 5:20-21).
    Through faith in CHRIST, we can see an ultimate happy ending to the unpleasant circumstances that we now find ourselves in. Faith gives us hope to see beyond our suffering, tribulation, and understanding. Faith enables us to realize how GOD can work a greater good in our lives through difficult times. And we can also rejoice and come to rest in the hope of a glorious future that was prepared for us long ago, by a kind and loving GOD.
   In the coming days, let us each think of someone we know, who may be seeing themselves as being in a hopeless situation because of a recent setback in life. Then, try and come up with some GODLY ways in which you might be able to encourage them in the SPIRIT of hope, which CHRIST JESUS lends to us as Christians. For instance, perhaps we can arm them with a list of scriptures, perhaps from this particular chapter of Romans that may seem most appropriate to their struggle. When a person has hope, they also have peace, and that is true with everyone. Through the power of CHRIST we can be conquerors of all things, even those things that bring us harm and disappointment in this world.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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