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Romans 8:1-17

  • Think about the world we live in:

    • Brainstorm some of the good things about our world? What makes you joyful and thankful?

    • Brainstorm some of the bad things: the broken or destructive things? What makes you frustrated or grieved?

In our passage, these two categories of things are contrasted around the language of 'Life' and 'Death'.

But first, let's see where these contrasting categories originate. As you read, think about the ways in which this story explores and explains the connection between 'good' & 'evil' and 'life' & 'death'.

Read Genesis 3

  • What did you notice as you read/listened to this chapter? In what ways are these ideas linked?

Read Romans 8:1-4

If you have a bible you're happy to use highlighters in (if not, you could print out the passage), highlight the words related to 'life' & 'freedom' in one colour, and 'death' & 'condemnation' in the other. You might like to utilise the observations you made in Genesis 3 to help you to know what to highlight...

  • What contrasts do you see here in this passage?

  • What do we see God doing in this passage?[1]

  • What do you think Paul means by 'living according to the flesh' vs. 'living according to the Spirit'?[2]

Read Romans 8:5-13

Continue to highlight the 'life' and 'death' words in this next passage.

  • What did you observe in this section?

  • What is the role of the Holy Spirit in giving us lives that are true life?

  • How do these verses help us to expand on our definition of 'living according to the flesh'?[3]

Read Romans 8:14-17

Now Paul expands his description of the work of the Spirit, from 'Spirit of life' to 'Spirit of sonship'.

  • What does it mean to you that your Spirit-life makes you God's child?

  • What does it feel like/look like in practice to know by the Spirit's testimony that we are God's children?

  • How do we live by the Spirit as God's children in this world?

    • How do we interact with the good/life things?

    • How do we interact with the bad/death things?

Spend some time praying for one another that God would help us to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

[1] You might like to also notice the trinity here: God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are all working together in this paragraph.

[2] Christian holiness is not a matter of painstaking conformity to the specific precepts of an external law-code; it is rather a question of the Holy Spirit’s producing his fruit in one’s life, reproducing those graces which were seen in perfection in the life of Christ. The law prescribed a life of holiness, but it was powerless to produce such a life, because of the inadequacy of the human material on which it had to work. But what the law was powerless to do has been done by God. Now that God’s own Son, sent to earth ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’, has given up his life for the sin of the world, the death-sentence has been pronounced on sin. Sin found no foothold in the life of Jesus; it was effectively overcome in his death, and the fruits of that victory are now made good to all who are ‘in him’. All that the law required by way of conformity to the will of God is now realized in the lives of those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit and are released from their servitude to the old order. God’s commands have now become God’s enablings.

- F. F. Bruce, Romans, Tyndale Commentary

[3] You might take note of the connection between the Holy Spirit and the resurrection (both the resurrection of Jesus and our hope of resurrection). See also 2 Corinthians 5:5 making a similar connection, where the Spirit in the guarantee of our resurrection hope.


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