Introduction: Are you bored? I hope not! You may be concerned that
the last few lessons seem to repeat the same concepts. If you are
bored, I apologize. On the other hand, understanding grace is
critical – and hearing about it more than once is a blessing. The
good news for the bored is that our lesson this week takes a turn to
explore what grace means for everyday life. The good news for those
who feel they could still use a little repetition about grace, is
that we are still generally on that subject. Let’s dive into our
study of the Bible and learn more about the law and grace!

  1. Law and Love

    1. Read Matthew 22:34. How smart are Pharisees? (Apparently
      they think they are smarter than the Sadducees. They think
      it is their turn to play the game called “outsmart Jesus.”
      The Sadducees could not win, but the Pharisees think they

    2. Read Matthew 22:35-36. Is this a difficult question? If
      you think so, why? (I consulted some Bible commentaries
      and found that Jewish theologians could not agree on the
      answer. By asking Jesus to state His opinion, the
      Pharisees would create a conflict between Him and at least
      some of the leading scholars – or so they hoped.)

    3. Read Matthew 22:37-40. Let’s go back to a topic I have
      repeatedly mentioned: the moral law was established by God
      as a reflection of His love for humans. God knew about the
      operation of the natural law, and to protect us from
      unwittingly being damaged by natural law, God gave us the
      moral law. Does my theory fit with what Jesus says here?
      (Jesus says God’s laws are all about love. If the goal of
      the law is to produce love in us, it makes perfect sense
      that God’s motivation to give us the law was also love.)

      1. If reason for the law is God’s love for us, and the
        goal of the law is that we would love others, would
        God ever have a reason to end the law?

      2. What advantage is there in being free from the law?
        (Being free from the penalty of the law is one thing
        (grace), but being free from the protection of the
        law is foolishness.)

  2. New Law on Love

    1. Read John 13:33. If you were one of Jesus’ disciples,
      would this worry you? (You are a disciple! Why can’t you
      go everywhere Jesus goes? This is worrisome.)

    2. Read John 13:34-35. How can Jesus say this is a “new
      command” when we just read in Matthew 22:39-40 that loving
      our neighbor is a summary of both the law and the
      statements of the prophets of old? This is a very old
      command, right?

    3. Let’s re-read Matthew 22:39. Think carefully about this:
      What, exactly, is the standard for conduct when we are
      told to love our neighbor as our self?

      1. Let’s consider an example. If you’ve been reading my
        lessons for a long time, you know that I used to
        regularly mow my elderly neighbor’s lawn. Does that
        mean that when I get older I expect someone younger
        might mow my lawn? (Yes. This is the standard I’ve
        set for myself.)

      2. Assume that I would never expect that someone would
        mow my law. Would I be following Jesus’ command if I
        failed to mow the lawn of an elderly neighbor? (Jesus
        seems to make us the standard for how we treat our
        neighbor. If we would not expect it for ourselves,
        then we need not provide it for our neighbor, right?)

    4. Re-read John 13:34. Jesus is telling His disciples that He
      is going to His death and resurrection. Would you die for
      your enemy? See Romans 5:10. Would you give up your son’s
      life so that someone else might live? (No! Never!)

      1. How is Jesus’ command to His disciples “new?” (It is
        absolutely new. The old standard for loving our
        neighbor turned on our own standard. Jesus tells us
        that the new standard is His standard – He was
        willing to die for us when we were His enemies! That
        is the new standard for love!)

  3. Law of Christ

    1. Read Galatians 6:1. Is this sinner one who came to church
      and confessed? (This person is caught when they did not
      expect it.)

      1. What kind of attitude would you expect from the
        person who was caught?

      2. What kind of attitude should the spiritual people
        have? (They should be gentle. The goal is
        restoration, not condemnation.)

      3. I was just reading a condemnation of the way our
        church handles homosexuals. The claim is that we
        condemn, rather than trying to restore. Do you

    2. Re-read the last part of Galatians 6:1. What do you think
      complicates the issue of how the church relates to
      homosexuality? (This lesson reaches many cultures. I can
      only speak about the United States. The complicating issue
      here is that those condemning the church do not think that
      homosexuality is sin.)

        1. How do you “gently” “restore” those who do not
          admit their conduct is sinful?

        2. Is warning about being caught up in the sin
          teaching us to keep a clear vision about the
          nature of sin? (Yes. When we come close to the
          sinner, our sympathy for the sinner may
          transform itself into sympathy for the sin.)

    3. Read Galatians 6:2. Consider two questions. What does it
      mean to carry the burdens of others? What is the law of
      Christ? (We just learned that the “new law” of Jesus is to
      love others as Jesus loved us. Thus, carrying the burden
      of others is to help them with their sin problem.)

      1. Let’s go back to homosexual behavior. How would you
        carry the burden of a homosexual? (Kindness. Many
        homosexuals say that they are by nature attracted to
        others of the same gender. We know that our own sin
        problem is stubborn and arises from our sinful
        nature. Sympathy in restoration goes a long way. But,
        restoration is always the goal.)

    4. Read Galatians 6:3. How can we think we are something when
      we are nothing? ( James 2:8-11 tells us that if we break
      one point of the law, we have broken all. We cannot
      congratulate ourselves for being heterosexuals, for the
      sin of pride means we are like other sinners.)

      1. Would the attitude that we are also sinners help in
        our restoration efforts?

    5. Read Galatians 6:4-5. Why are we now told to “carry our
      own load” when we were just told we should “carry each
      other’s burdens?” (Carrying our own load is recognizing
      and taking responsibility for our own sins. If we merely
      recognize the sins of others, and not our own, we can
      hardly help others with their sins.)

      1. Why is it important not to compare ourselves with
        others? (This gets back to the new law of Christ –
        the standard for comparison is Jesus’ love for us.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-21. Does this help us to
      understand what it means to carry the burdens of others?

      1. Exactly what would you do if you were following
        Paul’s directions? Would you become a sinner to win
        sinners? (This cannot be the meaning because
        Galatians 6:1 teaches us to be alert to temptation
        when we are carrying the burdens of others. Instead,
        I think the practical application of this advice is
        to avoid stressing the differences in our points of

  4. Reaping from Love

    1. Let’s return to Galatians. Read Galatians 6:7-9. We have
      been talking about carrying loads – not only our own but
      that of others. I’m not normally excited about carrying
      things around. What is the good news here? (We are
      rewarded for it!)

      1. Is our reward eternal life? If so, carrying loads
        earns our salvation? (Read Galatians 2:15-16. Paul is
        not saying that our works earn salvation. Rather, he
        is telling us that choosing to live by the Spirit
        rather than by our sinful nature makes a huge
        difference in our life. Our works do not save us, but
        our decision to accept Jesus as our Savior is
        naturally followed by decisions to treat those around
        us with love.)

    2. Read Galatians 6:10. Who should be the special target of
      our help? (Fellow believers.)

    3. Friend, grace is about more than receiving unearned
      eternal life as a result of Jesus’ life, death and
      resurrection on our behalf. True grace produces in us a
      love like Jesus showed to us. A love in which we give up
      our life for others. A love which recognizes that we, too,
      are terrible sinners. A love which blesses us more than if
      we lived a selfish, narrow life. Will you commit today to
      ask the Holy Spirit to infuse your life with love?

  5. Next week: Christ, the Law and the Gospel.