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Hebrews 12:1-3; Romans 5:1-11

Read Hebrews 12:1-3

(Focus particularly on verse 2)

  • How does "fixing our eyes on Jesus" help us to "run the race" of the Christian life?

  • What do you think it means that Jesus is "the pioneer and perfecter of faith"?

Paul lays out a more detailed description of the ways in which Jesus death on the cross gives us a full life in Romans 5:1-11. We will spend some time unpacking his theological explanation and return to these questions again at the end.

Read Romans 5:1-5

  • We have been justified (that is, made right with God) because of what Jesus has done, dying on the cross. According to this passage, what are the ongoing fruits of His justification in our lives? How many can you spot just in these five verses? (Have someone in your group write them down) [1]

  • Examine your list. Go through them one at a time and answer the following questions:

    • What does it look like (or feel like, or sound like) to experience this in your life?

    • Do you have a story about experiencing this in your own life?

    • Can you put into words exactly how this thing was achieved by Jesus?

    • Can we access this thing in any other way (besides receiving it by faith in Jesus)? Why/why not?

Read Romans 5:6-11

N.T. Wright points out that verse 8 makes no sense if you don't believe that Jesus is God in human flesh. "After all, it doesn’t make sense if I say to you, ‘I see you’re in a real mess! Now, I love you so much that I’m going to … to send someone else to help you out of it.’ If the death of the Messiah demonstrates how much God loves us, that can only be because the Messiah is the fully human being (how much more human can you get than being crucified?) in whom the living God is fully present."

  • What does it mean to you that God, the creator and sustainer and ruler of all things, in the person of Jesus, would love you so much that he would die for you?

    • Spend a minute in silent reflection and prayer to just consider that afresh.

  • Why does Paul draw our attention to our previous state, using words like "powerless" or "weak" and calling us "ungodly" and "sinners" here? How do you feel about these descriptions?

  • In verses 9&10, Paul uses a "how much more" argument. Can you figure out what the logic is here? How does the justification of us by Jesus death on the cross work like a guarantee of our future salvation on God's judgement day? And what is the role of Jesus' resurrection here?

  • The word 'reconciliation' appears three times in verses 10&11. What does it mean to you that we are 'reconciled' to God (that is, no longer his enemy, and brought into a loving relationship with him)?

Reread Hebrews 12:1-3

  • Do you have anything you would like to add to what you discussed at the beginning of this bible study?

    • How does "fixing our eyes on Jesus" help us to "run the race" of the Christian life?

    • What do you think it means that Jesus is "the pioneer and perfecter of faith"?

  • Spend some time praying prayers of praise, celebrating the love of God in Jesus, and the incredible fruits of justification.

  • Then, spend some time asking God to help us to fix our eyes on this Jesus, so that we can persevere and "not grow weary and lose heart".

[1] The Greek word kauchaomai (pronounced couch-a-oh-my) appears in both verse 2 and verse 3 (and also in verse 11). It is a verb translated as 'boast', 'rejoice', 'glory', or 'celebrate' by different translators (some translations, like NIV, even use two different words in verses 2 and 3!) All of these are technically correct - even if they might seem like different concepts to us as English speakers. Depending on context, the word can mean any of these things, or even a combination of them. You might like to reread verses 2-3 with each of these words in mind, and consider the various ways of understanding depending on which word you choose.


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