1: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus did for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. This is, he made us right with God through his death and resurrection for those that trust in Him.
3-4: God has done what the law…could not do. God through Christ has given us true and eternal life. Because no one is able to fully uphold the law, the law could not save anyone (nor can trying to live a “good” life since we all fall terribly short).
6-7: To set our minds on things of this world will lead us to death. This leads us to pursue the things of this world that will never satisfy (money, power, sex, etc.).
8: No one can please God apart from Christ. The prophet Isaiah calls all of our good or righteous deeds are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This does not mean unbelievers cannot do good things, but nothing done apart from Christ will ever satisfy God to any degree.
Question: Apart from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we cannot please God. Why do you think even our good deeds are not looked favorably upon by God when done in our own effort?
The good news is that the Spirit, which is given to all believers, dwells in all Christians. So even though we did nothing to earn it, God gives us life.
Question: Paul paints a dark picture of what it looks like to live apart from the Spirit and contrasts that with what it looks like to live with the Spirit. Why are we so helpless apart from the Spirit? With verses 1-8 also in mind, can we even do anything truly good apart from God?
12-14: If we live according to our sinful desires and the desires of this world we will die. But if we live by the Spirit will experience true life (both now and in the life to come). All who are led by the Spirit are Sons (and daughters) of God.
15-17: God has adopted those who believe in Christ as his children. Again, this is not something we “earn” by being good Christians. We all become God’s adopted children at the moment of conversion, even though we are to grow in our faith. We also become fellow heirs with Christ. Suffering with/for Christ shows we truly desire to follow Him.
Like in a human child-parent relationship, sons and daughters cannot cease to be the son or daughter of their parents based on anything they do. God shows his great love for us by adopting us into his family. So when we fail or fall-short, we can still call him Father. The idea that the God of the universe adopts us as his children is an extraordinary concept. It also shows us that we don’t need to feel as if we need to earn his love.
Question: How does knowing God freely loves and forgives those who are in Christ free you to have a loving relationship with God? Knowing that God loves you today (not some future and “better” version of you), how does that cause you to want to grow closer to him knowing it is not a “requirement” in order to keep your salvation?
18: No matter what kind of difficult situations we may be dealing with in life, none of that will compare to the greatness we will experience in heaven and in the new heaven and new earth God will create.
19-22: God’s original creation was perfect before sin entered the world through Adam. Since that time, creation itself desires for the time when God will restore all things again to perfection.
23-25: Believers as well long for the redemption of all things. While we have experienced God’s saving work in our lives, we still understand that things are not as they should be. But we hope for what we do not see, and wait for it with patience. We must patiently wait until the appointed time for Christ’s return.
Question: We can be encouraged to know that no matter how difficult a circumstance we are in, it will not even come close to comparing to how great God’s renewed creation will be in the future. Knowing that there are some pretty devastating situations that many people have gone through, how does knowing how great a place God is going to make for us encourage us to stick close to him through trials?
26: Even when we do not God’s will in what to pray for, the Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
28: Paul is not saying God works everything for good for those who love him in an earthly since. Clearly there are many who are faithful and suffer what we would deem as deeply unfair circumstances. Instead, good in the sense that it can grow us closer to God (which is why we were created, that is to be in relationship with God).
29-30: These verses show why we can be confident that all things will work out for good. In the end, believers will be justified and glorified (in our future resurrected bodies), all because God chose to save us from the beginning. We receive salvation all because of what Christ has done.
Question: This section shows us that not only are you saved by trusting in Christ and not in our works, but that God also worked in your life in such way that you would eventually come to him. What/who were some of the influencers in your life that brought you to follow Jesus. Do you see how God work in those situations to soften your heart towards him?
31-34: If the God of the universe is for you, no matter what may happen to us, in the end we are in good hands. Jesus did not come to earth to die for nothing, he came so that we may have a relationship with God.
35-39: Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. As God’s adopted children (Romans 8:16-17), nothing we go through will change that. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Question: It can often be hard for us to believe that no matter what we do or go through, God is still with us. No matter what sin or difficult circumstance he is there. In the past, what have been some of the ways you saw God be faithful in your life? What is your reaction to the fact that nothing we can do can separate us from God’s love?