Introduction: “Faith vs. Works” is an old debate. Whatever its age,
a correct understanding of the role of “works” in the life of a
Christian is very important. Many years ago a newly converted
Christian told me he had complete freedom from the Ten Commandments.
His life was not constrained by the law. A number of years later, I
saw him again. I reminded him of our conversation about the role of
the law in his life. He looked a little sheepish and admitted that
he had come to understand that those saved by faith alone have an
interest in keeping God’s law. Let’s jump into our study this week
and learn more about how a Christian’s life should be impacted by
God’s word!

  1. New Creation

    1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. When the Bible says “the old
      is gone,” is that a reference to keeping the Ten
      Commandments? (No. Being “in Christ” makes us a new
      creation and takes away “the old” us.)

      1. What does this text mean when it says “not counting
        men’s sins against them?” When we are a “new
        creation” can we sin without being condemned?

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. We are told that we are
      ambassadors – someone who represents God. As God’s
      representatives, should we be telling others that their
      actions do not matter? We are righteous because Jesus
      paid the penalty for sin? Are these two different
      questions? (This section of the letter to the Corinthians
      says that our sins are not counted against us because
      Jesus accepted the penalty for our sin. That allowed us
      to become righteous. In that sense, our past actions do
      not matter.)

      1. Is the logical result of this to preach that our
        life-style does not matter? (That does not seem to be
        the logical result.)

    3. Let’s continue to follow this line of argument. Read 2
      Corinthians 6:14-17. What are we being told to do (or not
      do) here? (This seems to go far beyond an instruction for
      us to obey the law. It tells us not to “be yoked” and to
      “be separate” from unbelievers.)

      1. How much separation is the Bible suggesting?

      2. What does it mean to be “yoked?”

      3. More importantly, what does it matter? What is the
        reason to be separate? (God cares about our life
        after we become His followers.)

    4. Let’s read on with this line of counsel. Read 2
      Corinthians 6:18-7:1. What does God expect of the believer
      when it comes to “works?” (Purity.)

      1. What motive are we given in this text? (Reverence for

      2. Does that make sense to you – that works still matter
        after being saved by faith? (Jesus died for your sins
        in a most painful way. Heaven gave its greatest gift
        to you! God is a Holy God. Out of respect for who He
        is and what He has done, we need to strive for
        purity. We need to be “perfecting holiness out of
        reverence for God.”)

  2. New Direction

    1. Read Psalms 19:7-8. What claim does God make for His law?
      (That it revives our soul, makes us wise (even if we are
      otherwise simple), gives us joy and gives us direction in

    2. Read Psalms 19:10-11. I recall a fellow telling me that he
      had been saved by grace, and that he now felt so wonderful
      because he had been released from the law. I knew exactly
      what he meant. How can this emotion be squared with our
      previous text which says God’s precepts give us “joy to
      the heart?”

      1. How can this emotion of freedom from the law be
        reconciled with our current text that the law is as
        sweet as honey and as valuable as gold? (The answer
        is in verse 11. The law warns us to stay away from
        things in life that will injure us. Obeying God’s
        word results in blessings in our life – great

    3. Read Psalms 19:12-13. How do you feel when you are
      addicted to some sin? (Terrible. Worthless. This text
      refers to our sins “ruling over” us.)

    4. How can you explain the contradiction of the feeling of
      joy when released from the law and a feeling of joy when
      following the law? (There is a balance here. On the one
      hand, it feels wonderful to be free from the condemnation
      of the law – the knowledge of what the law requires and
      our experience that we cannot perfectly keep the law. On
      the other hand, if our euphoria is over not having to pay
      attention to the law any longer, then our next emotion
      will be the practical suffering caused by a sinful life.)

    5. Read Psalms 19:14. After praising what the law does in our
      life, why does the Psalmist end up talking about words and
      meditations – things that do not seem central to the law?

      1. We are told not to lie and not take God’s name in
        vain. We are told not to covet. But, there is no
        general commandment covering our words or our
        thoughts. Why would they be mentioned in the
        “summation” to Psalms 19? (Sin begins in the “heart”
        (the mind) and is first expressed in our words. Jesus
        brought out the deeper meaning of the law when He
        said that desiring to commit adultery violates the
        command against adultery. Matthew 5:27-28.)

  3. The Word Through You

    1. Read John 5:36-40. Jesus is complaining to the Jewish
      leaders. What is His complaint? (They diligently study the
      Bible, but miss the fact that Jesus is the one spoken of
      by the Bible.)

      1. Those reading this lesson probably do not have the
        same problem as the Jewish leaders. Let’s look at
        this issue in general. Why did “diligent” Bible study
        not open the eyes of the Jewish leaders? How is that
        even possible?

      2. Jesus says that His works testified to His Father in
        Heaven. Do you know people who either do not study
        the Bible or do not seem to grasp the message of the

        1. What importance can the works part of your
          Christian walk do for these people? (Another
          reason our works are important is that they are
          a means of bringing others to faith. Some that
          would never read the Bible, or understand the
          Bible, can be influenced to turn to God by your
          life. Our lives can be a part of “the Word.”)

  4. Renewal

    1. So far we have discussed how the Bible should change our
      life. The assumption is that we study the Bible. Let’s
      read 2 Kings 22:8,10-11. Did these people have many copies
      of the Bible? (No. It seems they had lost their only copy
      and found it again in the temple when some repairs were
      being made.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 23:1-3. What was the result of reading the
      Bible publicly? (The people pledged to follow its
      instructions for their lives.)

    3. In the “old days” when we traveled in our a motorhome, we
      needed to carry cash with us. The problem was how to keep
      the cash from being stolen if someone broke into our
      motorhome? My solution was to keep the cash “in plain
      sight.” Instead of hiding it in some remote place, I would
      put it in something common that a burglar would
      immediately see – and discount as a place to hide money.
      Does the devil hide the Bible “in plain sight?”

      1. How often do you read and study your Bible?

      2. Are you an advocate for a Bible that is difficult to

      3. Do you read and study a Bible you can understand?

    4. Friend, God calls on us to obey His commandments. We obey,
      not because it earns us salvation, but because God died
      over the requirements of the law. That should open our
      eyes to the importance of His law. Will you determine
      today to read, understand and obey God’s word?

  5. Next week: Revelation of Hope.