Understanding Your Bible

By Grace

Learn to USE your Bible - Week Three - Part One 💕

Salvation – by and through Christ

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

The word salvation is derived from the Greek word soteria, meaning “safety” or “soundness.

This term is comprehensive and includes elements such as justification, regeneration, sanctification, glorification, redemption, propitiation, grace and forgiveness. Scripture states that salvation is of God – by and through Christ – not of the works of men. Salvation has three aspects: past present and future; that is, as a believer in and follower of Christ you have already been redeemed from the guilt and penalty of sin; you are now being delivered from its presence and being perfectly conformed to the image of God’s beloved Son.

And remember, as believers we are to “Learn what we teach!” Practice what we preach; act as though we are set apart, every minute of every day. In Christ we have the freedom to “be who we were meant to be – not judging others and not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to.

No one’s life is without troubles. The most unlovely people are often the ones who brag the loudest about being a “minister.” The goal is to bring people into the kingdom, not drive them further away. It’s not about how you “should” act to get God to work in your life. It’s about how God works in you life regardless of how you act. You are his blood bought child.

At the new birth we do all the dying we’ll ever do! When our spirit leaves this “earth suit” we will step out of this realm into the realm of the spirit, with Christ. He said, “I go to prepare a place for YOU.”

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 1 John 5:4

Let’s review –

Last week you began indexing The New Covenant – We talked about The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles and The Revelation of John.
This week you can start indexing the Letters of the New Covenant.

Index Your Bible – week three

Romans

Paul probably wrote this letter to the ROMANS toward the end of his third missionary journey in about A.D. 56 or 57, while he was staying in Corinth or Philippi. Since he had never been in Rome the letter is more formal and less personal in tone than his other letters. Paul wrote to introduce himself to the church in Rome. In it he develops and defends the truth of the gospel, encouraging believers to rely sorely on God’s grace for salvation. Following a logical progression of thought, he begins by stating that all people are sinners but then asserts that believers are free from sin’s control, the demands of the law and fear of God’s punishment. He makes the point that armed with such freedom, believers can grow in their relationship with Christ and live in the power of the Holy Spirit. This letter presents a summary of the content of his teaching and preaching based on his experience after his conversion.

One commentary states, ” the eighth chapter is so eloquent it has been called “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit.” Time and again the Spirit of God has used this chapter to call God’s people back to the foundational truths of the Christian faith.” The chapter begins with one of my all time favorite Bible verses,

“There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

PUT A STICKIE TAB HERE SO YOU CAN FIND ROMANS QUICKLY.

A few more verses I’d like to have you highlight to further cultivate your personal relationship with Christ are:

1:16 I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God’s power to save all who believe, first the Jews and also the Gentiles.

2:1 Do you, my friend, pass judgment on others? You have no excuse at all, whoever you are. For when you judge others and then do the same things which they do, you condemn yourself.

6:3-4, 9 For surely you know that when we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus, we were baptized into union with his death. By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life.

10:17 So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ. The Old King James Version translates it this way:
10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

8:28, 31 “we KNOW that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose….If God is for us, who can be against us?”

First and Second Corinthians

The city of Corinth was an influential trading port, populated by 250,000 free persons and as many as 400,000 slaves. History shows us the city, like many port cities, was filled with vile practices and loose living. In fact, it was so vile the Greeks of the day coined a verb to describe any life-style devoted to complete immorality – to corinthianize. Paul established a church in Corinth during his second missionary journey, probably in the fall of A.D. 50.

PLACE A STICKIE TAB HERE TO QUICKLY LOCATE THE CORINTHIAN LETTERS

First Corinthians

By A.D. 55, when Paul wrote the letter we know as FIRST CORINTHIANS (page 1369) , the church was collapsing in on itself. There was idolatry, adultery, strife and division tearing it apart from within. Paul had received reports of sexual misconduct, misunderstandings of Christian beliefs, and the abuse of spiritual gifts among some of the Corinthian believers. Today First Corinthians helps us maintain a Christian life-style in a sinful society. In this letter we find the earliest reports of the Lord’s Supper (11:20-34) and the great hymn of love (ch 13), and the gospel of the resurrection (ch 15). He also lays out directions for public worship and the significance of spiritual gifts.

Second Corinthians

The letter we know as SECOND CORINTHIANS (page 1388) seems to have been written a few months after the first letter, probably before the onset of winter in A.D. 55 while Paul was in Ephesus. Apparently the problems he addressed in his previous letter continued to plague the church. False teachers had infiltrated the congregation in his absence, challenging both Paul’s personal integrity and his authority as an apostle. In this letter he shares matters concerning his personal ministry more openly than in any of his other letters. We also find some of his most significant statements on giving, on the ministry, and the Christian hope preserved in this letter. Second Corinthians teaches dependence on God in every situation. Learning to accept criticism, growing despite conflicts, living a godly life and finding a hope for the future in the midst of present trouble are all found in the heart of the letter: God’s strength is sufficient – in any time and in any situation.

A few verses to highlight are:

1 Corinthian 1:4-5 I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge

1 Corinthians 2:12 We have not received this world’s spirit; instead, we have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us.

1 Corinthians 4:20 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud;5 love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6 love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7 Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

2 Corinthians 5:17; 21 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 21 Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.

Galatians

Galatia is an area in the highlands of what is today modern Turkey. Paul wrote his letter to the GALATIANS in about A.D. 50. There are a couple of theories regarding the precise dates and some question as to the cities where the letter was read, but the content is a hard-hitting reminder to believers that Christ alone is the way to salvation. He writes to warn against the teaching of some Jewish Christians in the church who were insisting that believers needed to follow the old Jewish laws and rituals in order to be members of the body.

The letter offers Paul’s defense of the true gospel by clearly stating legalism and religious ritual do not mix with God’s gospel of grace. He details the practical significance of living by grace and under the control of the Holy Spirit. This letter points out, to anyone who cares to study it, the basic principle that man is saved through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Paul uses strong language to make his point,

1:9 “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be damned eternally.”

Let’s briefly look at

5:17 For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do.

This verse is much misunderstood in modern religion. It is taught as referring to a constant warfare between the flesh (the old nature or the human nature) and the Spirit; making one a victim of the flesh and helpless to live right. This is NOT the thought at all. It does describe the Galatians, or anyone else who has fallen from grace and is seeking perfection through self-effort and good works. Those actions do not reflect the normal life of a Christian in grace, living and walking in the Spirit. Paul makes this clear in verses 16-24, Romans 6:14-23, Romans 8:1-13, 2 Corinthians 10:5-7, Ephesians 6:10-18 and 1 John 3:8-10 & 5:1-4.

These Galatians Christians had fallen from grace in the sense that they had accepted the word of false teachers and deprived themselves of the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby he ministers daily grace for daily living.

In 5:18 Paul simply told them, “If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law.” He pointed out that if they would receive again the gospel of the grace of God and permit again the work of the Spirit in their lives as they used to, the flesh would be crucified again and they could live the true life-style Christ purchased for them once more.

If, for whatever reason, your life has fallen victim to similar thinking because of erroneous teaching…it’s time to re-think your walk, and “live by the Spirit.”

PUT A STICKIE TAB HERE SO YOU CAN FIND GALATIANS EASILY.

Some other verses to highlight are:

2:16 Yet we know that a person is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the Law requires. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be put right with God through our faith in Christ, and not by doing what the Law requires. For no one is put right with God by doing what the Law requires.

3:13-14 But by becoming a curse for us Christ has redeemed us from the curse that the Law brings; for the scripture says, Anyone who is hanged on a tree is under God’s curse. Christ did this in order that the blessing which God promised to Abraham might be given to the Gentiles by means of Christ Jesus, so that through faith we might receive the Spirit promised by God.

3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised.

5:22-24 But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires.

Ephesians

The letter to the EPHESIANS was written by Paul, probably during his two-year imprisonment in Rome about A.D. 60. It may have been a circular letter intended for various churches located in the area around Ephesus, where Paul had worked for three years on his third missionary journey. In some of the oldest manuscripts the words “at Ephesus” are missing. If this is the case, the word church means the “church universal” and this seems likely since the letter dwells profoundly on the person of Christ and the church as the household of God; the body of Christ.

In the letter Paul prays eloquently for these believers whom he considers his children and encourages them to live and walk “in the Spirit.” He helps them discover what this new life “in Christ” is about. He tells them how to live “in Christ” and how to face the struggles of life through Christ’s power. Here,Paul paints a clear picture of God’s love for every member of the body of Christ. No matter what our skills or abilities may be, we are necessary. God’s family would not be complete without any one of us. Recognizing such a purpose and calling is meant to fill us with joy and encourage us to live each day as true children of God in Christ.

Much like a sports team that has overcome raw individual skills and learned to appreciate and complement each other’s talents, the body of Christ is supposed to play as one team, too. In unity. Whether a local congregation or the worldwide body of believers the church is made up of people of all temperaments and backgrounds who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and are committed to serving and obeying him. If they appreciate the gifts God has bestowed on various individuals, recognize their unique role in God’s Kingdom and work together as one body, mighty things can happen. This was Paul’s message for the church in Ephesus, and it remains God’s message for the church today.

Similar to our modern world, Ephesus was a center for pagan worship. Temples designed for worship to a variety of gods stood as a testimony to rugged individualism. In everything from commerce to worship people were in it for themselves, wanting only to achieve their own interests. How appropriate that they should receive Paul’s letter about the unity of believers in worshiping and working together to serve the one true God.

As believers we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places by virtue of our union with him. As such we have a share in his royal status and authority; and through our intercessory prayers and evangelistic witness Christ’s kingdom is advanced. PLUS… with him and other believers we constitute a heavenly commonwealth (Philippians 3:20); so while we are living in the world, WE are NOT OF the world. Spiritually also, our life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3). As HE is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)

PUT A STICKIE TAB HERE TO HELP YOU LOCATE EPHESIANS

Some verses to highlight are:

1:7-8 LB So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace – for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times.

2:6 In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world.

4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.

6:10 Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks.

to be continued next week…