Want to learn more about Garments of Grace? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.
If all of your life you have acted wisely by generally
obeying your parents and God, you are at a distinct disadvantage in
one important area: righteousness by faith. There is nothing like
tumbling into a terrible sin to teach the important lesson that we
have nothing of ourselves that will save us. We may be better than
most of those we know, but we are absolutely lost unless we depend
completely on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection on our behalf.
With this lesson we begin a new series that focuses on the symbolism
in the Bible that teaches us of our need for a Savior. Let’s plunge
into our study of the Bible and consider what Jesus’ robe of
If righteousness is like a robe, what does evil wear?
This week we examine what the Bible has to say about the origin of
Satan and of evil. Our study is complicated by the fact that some of
the writing seems to be symbolic. What is real and what is symbolic?
How do we get to the bottom of the facts? Let’s plunge into this
adventure in our study of the Bible!
A once popular country and western song by Toby Keith
contains the line “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know
then.” Do you feel that way sometimes? Innocence is better than
knowing? The problem with erasing knowledge is that the clock of
time does not turn backwards. (Unless you have Alzheimer’s.) Once
you know, you know. This week we study the garment of innocence, and
two people who desperately wished that they “didn’t know now what
they didn’t know then.” Let’s dive in!
Do you struggle with feelings of inferiority? Does
jealousy sometimes cause you to do things that you would not
otherwise do? What portion of your life is wasted trying to prove to
others that you are worthy? Has jealousy altered the course of your
life and that of your family? This week we turn our attention to a
family filled with jealousy and feelings of inferiority. Terrible
things happened as a result. Let’s dig into our Bible story and see
what we can learn!
Do you ever ask yourself, “How do I know that
Christianity is the right faith?” Judaism is older. Islam is younger
than Judaism or Christianity, but is expanding rapidly. They are
all”related” religions in that they share a common text (the Old
Testament of the Bible). My Jewish friends tell me that
Christianity hijacked their religion. Muslims accept parts of the
Old Testament and New Testament. I think it is fair to say that
Mohammed believed that he was the latest (and greatest) in the line
of Old Testament prophets. A large part of the answer is in our
study this week about the sanctuary system. Let’s dive into our
study of the Bible and see what God has for us!
Do you remember the video game Donkey Kong? Although
it has been a very long time since I’ve played a video game, I still
recall trying to maneuver Mario up the series of inclines. We would
be making great progress, and then suddenly get run over by a series
of barrels or other hazards and find ourselves back at the bottom.
Is your spiritual life a lot like that? Great progress followed by
a great fall? Small progress followed by a small fall? Our study
this week is Elijah, a man who would grasp the principles of Donkey
Kong. Let’s leap into our study of the Bible!
When I was growing up, I learned in my Christian
school that sin was followed by calamity. That is often true. You
deserve the punishment, you get the punishment, and you should know
better than to ask God to shield you from what you deserve, right?
Maybe not. Our lesson this week looks at one of the Bible’s
greatest warriors for God, who engaged in great sin, and then
suffered punishment. But, for some reason, he still seemed to be
grateful for God’s protection. It seems a mystery. Let’s jump into
our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!
The controversy will probably never end over what is
appropriate for worship in church. I have a clear preference and I
know others who clearly disagree with me. Our lesson this week
touches on something much deeper – what lies underneath our worship?
Should we be alert to an evil which can lurk beneath our worship and
invalidate it? Since we exist to give praise and honor to our God,
let’s dive into our Bible study to uncover whether we are guilty of
an evil which makes even our worship unacceptable to God!
The news this week is that the head of the
International Monetary Fund, and the man leading in the polls for
the office of President of France, sexually attacked a woman
cleaning his hotel room. Assuming this is true, how does such a
thing happen? How can such a sophisticated, important, refined man
engage in such horrible behavior? Can we safely laugh and point?
Or, are you and I capable of such things? God’s answer is “yes,”
this should be a moment of truth for all of us. In Romans 3:10-18
Paul quotes the Old Testament statement that we are all “worthless.”
No one is righteous. We are all destined to burn (Malachi 4:1). Our
lesson this week is about being plucked from that fire. That sounds
like an important goal! Let’s dive into our Bible study and find
Jesus tells us in Luke 7:47 that those who are
forgiven much, love much. Those who are forgiven little, love
little. Have you been “good” your entire life? Were you obedient to
your parents, the school authorities and the state authorities? Were
you always in church and still are? If I’m describing you, then
identifying a specific time that you were converted is hard, right?
If none of this sounds familiar, were you always getting in trouble?
If you have been “bad,” but are in church now, you undoubtedly
clearly recall your conversion experience. Now that we all know who
we are, what if God told us a story whose point is that good people
are not entering the Kingdom of Heaven? Let’s dive into our Bible
study and learn more!
Matthew 21 contains stories which reveal that God has
enemies among humans. The problem with these enemies is that they do
not at first appear to be opponents, they appear to be supporters.
Last week we studied the parable of the prodigal son and learned
that the salvation of the older, “good,” brother was in dispute. All
of these stories are a bit unsettling for us “good” Christians, and
drive us to better understand the gospel. Let’s jump into our study
of the Bible to be sure that we are not in the camp of God’s
“Man bites dog.” “Revenge of the nerds.” “Ugly guy
marries beautiful girl.” These phrases give us unexpected news.
Normally dogs bite humans, the smart, good-looking, popular teens
seem to prevail, and the handsome guy marries the beautiful girl.
What if the Kingdom of God has everything in reverse? Is God
leading a kingdom of nerds? Or, is that just what the world thinks?
If God has things reversed, why? Is there a blessing in this for the
average person? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and find out!
In the last several lessons we winced when we learned
that “good” Christians may well be like the older brother in the
story of the prodigal (Luke 15), or the religious Jews in the story
of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10), or the friends of the king in the
Matthew 22 story of the wedding feast. The “less righteous” readers
of the lesson, on the other hand, were rejoicing. Salvation by grace
is good reason to rejoice and keep on rejoicing. But, Jesus gives
us all (“good” and “bad” Christians alike) sobering news when He
describes (Matthew 7:13-14)the path to salvation as being “narrow”
with “only a few find[ing] it.” How can it be “narrow” when it is
given to all who believe? Is putting on the wedding garment of
salvation a one-time event which we can later forget? Or, is it
more? Let’s dive into our Bible study and find out!