Lent Reading Challenge: Romans 5

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  We started with Mark, and now are reading Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.
 
The book of Romans is somewhat of a different genre of biblical writing.  Mark is one of four Gospels, books that specifically tell the narrative of the life of Jesus Christ.  Romans, however, is a letter and is more theological in nature.  This means that, rather than introducing you to Jesus the person, it is seeking to explain the mission of Jesus and the impact of His life; what it means to believe in Him.
 
Romans one of the longest letters that Paul wrote and is, essentially, a summary of the plan of salvation.  It’s structure, which is commonly referred to as “sin, salvation, sanctification” or  “guilt, grace, gratitude,” has become the precedent for many contemporary writings and the general presentation of the Gospel as well.  The book covers the need for a Savior (chapters 1-3), the impact of The Savior (chapters 4-11), and the call of the Savior to a renewed life (chapters 12-16).

 Read Romans 5

Questions for Reflection:
1. Jesus didn’t die for us because of anything that made us worthy; we were God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21-22) before we placed our faith in Christ.  For many of us, growing up in the church, we have never thought of ourselves as God’s enemies prior to accepting Christ.  Does this fact change anything for you?  How does this amplify God’s grace and the reality of the work of Jesus?
2. Paul doubles down on his emphasis that sin impacts everyone; there is no point in a Savior if there isn’t something we need to be saved from.  God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ is available for everyone and is effective for all who believe.  Reflect on this.  Do you tend to want to ignore the reality of sin?  How does this minimize your need for Jesus?  How could you, in a healthy way, keep sin and, therefore, your need for Jesus in perspective?
3. The concept of suffering and its purpose in the lives of Christ followers is introduced here.  How do you tend to think about suffering in your life?  How does what Paul says here confirm or challenge your understanding of suffering?

Prayer

Take time to thank God for His great love and sacrifice for you!
Pray for yourself, that you would understand the reality of sin and grace in your life and that your eyes would be opened to God’s work in you, especially during the difficult times.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we can be a church where both the realities of sin and grace can be proclaimed in a way that reveals God’s love and not human judgmentalism.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that doors would be opened to the message of the Gospel and that hearts would be softened to the work of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming Christ’s love.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

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