God So Loved The World Bible Study|
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)
1. How did the Jews respond when they heard the book of the covenant?
Note: The book of the covenant that was read to the people, the Jews of the Exodus, was the book of the law, the Torah, that God had given them at Mt. Sinai through Moses. When they agreed to keep these laws, they entered into what is known as the First or Old Covenant.
2. Why was it necessary for God to introduce the New Covenant?
Note: Since the Fall, the only way man could be saved was though the plan of salvation promised by God in Christ. The reason God entered into the Old Covenant of salvation by works of the law was to convince man of his need of a Saviour.
3. What two things did God promise to do under the New Covenant?
|Jeremiah 31:32-34||(i) __________________________________________|
Note: Putting His laws in our minds simply means He will create in us new desires that are in harmony with His laws (see Romans 7:22). Such desires are created in our minds as a result of a heartfelt appreciation for the forgiveness of sins and the hope of salvation, given to us in Christ. These desires are impressed on our minds through the indwelling Holy Spirit whom we have received through the new birth experience.
4. What phrase does Paul use for those who are under the Old Covenant?
Note: To be under the law means to be ruled or dominated by its demands, which are, obey and you will live, disobey and you will die. According to Paul, all of humanity has failed to obey Gods law and, therefore, stand guilty before God.
5. What do we become conscious of through the law?
Note: The law of God has no power to save sinful men. All it can do is make us conscious of the fact that we are sinners (see verse 23). This is an important step as a means to accepting Gods promise of salvation in Christ, which is the New Covenant, salvation by grace alone (see verse 24).
6. Why is our only hope of salvation through justification by faith?
7. According to Paul, what do Abrahams two sons and their mothers represent?
Note: The two sons of Abraham and their mothers are excellent examples of the two covenants. Ishmael, Abrahams son through the slave woman Hagar, represents the Old Covenant because he was born as a result of human effort. While Isaac, Abrahams son through his wife Sarah, was born as a result of Gods promise and His direct intervention, seeing that Sarah had passed the age of child bearing (see Romans 4:18-21). Ishmael, therefore, represents salvation by works, the Old Covenant; while Isaac represents the New Covenant, salvation by grace, which is experienced through faith alone.
8. Which of Abrahams two sons are Christians linked with, according to Paul?
Note: A true Christian is one who has realized that it is impossible to be saved by works of the law and has therefore accepted Christ as his or her Saviour. Such a person depends entirely on Gods grace offered in Jesus Christ for salvation. This is what it means to be under the New Covenant: righteousness is attained by faith in Christ rather than by the works of the law.
9. What must we give up if we are to experience salvation by grace alone?
Note: Salvation by works and salvation by grace are two opposite ways of salvation that cannot be reconciled. It has to be one or the other. When we by faith accept Gods gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, we cannot hold onto any of our own self-righteousness that we previously depended on for salvation. The gospel is not I plus Christ but not I but Christ (see Philippians 3:3-9; Galatians 2:20).
10. What happens when one tries to add law-keeping to salvation by grace?
Note: You cannot have it both ways. Realizing on the one hand that you are 100% sinful, you know that you cannot make any contribution towards your salvation. If, on the other hand, you turn around and try to add your own good works or law-keeping as a means or partial means of your salvation, you deny the gospel of salvation by grace alone. Our only hope of salvation is through righteousness by faith in Christ and nothing else (read verses 5 and 6).
11. Compared to the Old Covenant, why is the New Covenant superior?
Note: The Old Covenant is based on our human promises, which are like ropes of sand because we are unable to keep them; the New Covenant is based on Gods promises which never fail. That is why the New Covenant is a better covenant.
12. What reason does Paul give for the need of the New Covenant?
13. Why was the first or Old Covenant faulty?
Note: The fault with the Old Covenant was not in the law that God gave the Jews but in the fact that they could not keep them, because of their sinful condition. This is the very purpose of the Old Covenant: to convince us that we are slaves to sin and in need of a Saviour, which the New Covenant supplies.
14. Does the New Covenant do away with the law?
Note: Many Christians believe that the New Covenant did away with the law. But nowhere in Scripture is this taught (see Matthew 5:17-19). While the law cannot save sinners, it is still the standard for Christian living. Through the power of the indwelling Spirit, Gods agape love replaces our sinful desires. This is what it means when God says, I will put my laws in their minds. As a result this love manifested in our lives becomes the fulfillment of the law (see Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13,14).
15. How does Paul contrast the law with himself as a sinner?
Note: Before his conversion, Paul had not realized how sinful he was. He considered sin only as an act. But when the law opened his eyes to the fact that even sinful desire is sin, he realized that there was no way he could save himself by the works of the law. This is what turned this great apostle from the Old Covenant to the New. The same must be true of us. Only when the law has convinced us of how exceedingly sinful we are will we appreciate the good news of the gospel (see Romans 7:7-13).
16. When we know and believe in Jesus, what will the truth do for us?
Note: Jesus is the truth who sets us free from sin. He did not only save us sinners from the guilt and punishment of sin but also from its power and slavery. As John the Baptist introduced Him, Christ is the lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. Through the New Covenant promise we have a complete Saviour from sin.
17. When Jesus said the truth will make you free, how did the Jews respond?
18. How did Jesus reply to them?
19. Who is the truth that sets us free?
20. Why did the Jewish nation of Pauls day fail to obtain righteousness?
Note: The Israelites tried to attain righteousness by the Old Covenant and failed. The Gentiles tried it by the New Covenant and they succeeded. The history of the Jews has been recorded for our benefit, that we might not repeat the same mistake.
21. What did Jesus link His blood with when He introduced the Lords Supper?
Note: Unlike the Old Covenant, which is a contract or agreement between two parties, the New Covenant is a will or promise made by God on behalf of all humanity. Like any will it does not come into effect until death takes place. When Jesus died on the cross, Gods promise became reality.
22. As a result of the cross of Christ, what does the New Covenant take away?
23. What is another name for the New Covenant?
Note: Just as the Old Covenant brings everlasting or eternal death to those who have failed to keep it, in the same way the New Covenant brings everlasting or eternal life to those who accept the gift of salvation in Christ. That is why Scripture sometimes refers to the New Covenant as the Everlasting or Eternal Covenant. This Everlasting Covenant is your only hope of salvation. Please do not refuse it.
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