Introduction: When a Jewish friend of mine discussed religion with
me, he claimed that Christians “highjacked” his religion. In
response, I would say we “completed” his religion. To make the
logical point, I would ask him what the sanctuary service and the
offering of the lamb was all about? If it was merely about killing
animals to take away sin, why not carry on with the tradition? A
temple is not necessary to have sacrifices! Consider this: Judaism,
Islam and Christianity all accept the Old Testament as the word of
God, but it is only Christianity that completes the logical
connection to grace. Jesus, the Lamb of God, takes away our sins.
That is what the Old Testament sanctuary service was all about! Let’s
jump right into our study of grace!

  1. Grace Predicted

    1. Recently, I had a couple of people suggest to me that the
      link between Jesus and the prophecies of the Old Testament
      is weak. Let’s explore this by reading Isaiah 53. Read
      Isaiah 53:1. What problem do we find in this verse? (That
      Isaiah (God’s prophet) has a message that has not been
      universally accepted.)

      1. What has God’s arm got to do with the message?
        Normally, people speak through their mouth! (“God’s
        arm” is a symbol for God’s power. This is a message
        about the power of God.)

    2. Read Isaiah 53:2. Have you ever wondered why Jesus did not
      come to earth as a majestic being or at least as a prince
      or king? That would have given Him instant credibility.
      (Jesus came in a odd way – according to human logic. But,
      this was foretold by Isaiah.)

    3. Read Isaiah 53:3-5. How strong do you think the link is
      between the life of Jesus and this prophecy? (It says
      specifically that Jesus was “pierced for our
      transgressions.” Compare John 19:18 & 34 to show that
      Jesus was not simply pierced with a spear, but He was
      crucified – nailed to the cross.)

    4. Read Isaiah 53:6-7. How does this text compare to the Old
      Testament sanctuary service? (It specifically compares
      Jesus not simply to a lamb, but one used in temple
      sacrifices because it says “the Lord has laid on Him the
      iniquity of us all.”)

    5. Read Isaiah 53:12. What did Isaiah prophecy that the
      Messiah would do for you and me? (That He gave His life to
      bear my sin and make intercession for me.)

      1. Friend, can you doubt that Jesus is the lamb spoken
        about in Isaiah – a book which the three main
        religions of the world believe to be God’s word?

  2. Grace Understood

    1. Read Romans 5:18-20. What did you do to cause the
      condemnation of Adam and Eve to fall upon you? (Be born?
      The text says condemnation fell on “all men.”)

      1. What did you do to cause the obedience and
        righteousness of Jesus to fall on you? (Be born? The
        text says “justification that brings life for all

        1. Does this mean our salvation is automatic?

    2. Read Romans 6:1-5. Does this text suggest that any action
      is necessary on our part to participate in the grace given
      by Jesus? (It does. It suggests that we opt into grace by
      being “buried” with Jesus through baptism so that we can
      live a new life.)

      1. The Romans 6:1 question is really quite odd. Why
        would Paul even consider asking such a question, much
        less starting this section of his logic with it?
        (This is one of the strongest arguments that grace
        comes without being earned by good behavior. The
        conclusion (from Romans 5) is so strong that our
        actions have nothing to with earning our salvation
        that Paul feels forced to say “Wait! This does not
        mean that you should keep sinning to keep grace

      2. Does this make sense to you based on the Old
        Testament sanctuary model? Did the person who brought
        the lamb to be slain in the temple “merit” the
        forgiveness of sins? Did that person “merit”
        righteousness? (No. They simply came with a sacrifice
        and claimed its benefit.)

    3. Read Romans 6:15-17. What reason does a benefactor of
      grace have to obey God? (Because we have chosen Him and
      given our allegiance to His system.)

      1. Consider this a moment: if you had this attitude
        which Romans describes, would you consider any of
        God’s rules to be a limit on your freedom?

      2. Is there something that you would like to do if you
        could “suspend the rules” for a period of time? Some
        person with whom you would like to have an affair?
        Some item you would like to steal? Some selfish act
        that would make others admire you? Some revenge that
        you would like to take?

        1. If your answer to any of these is “Yes, I’d like
          to suspend the rules for a year,” ask yourself
          why God has His rules? (Satan tries to mask the
          fact that God’s rules are for our benefit.)

        2. Or, is it just a natural impulse of our sinful
          heart to want to sin?

        3. If sin is something that we would like to do, if
          the rules were suspended, why did Jesus suffer
          so terribly for sin? Why did a lamb, much less
          God, have to die – and die painfully? (This is
          the counterpoint to God’s love. We think that
          sin will bring us joy, but what Satan really has
          in mind for us is what he did to Jesus. If we
          could just see clearly the goals of God and the
          goals of Satan, we would run from sin.)

    4. Read Romans 7:1-4. Does the law bind us? (No. It binds us
      no more than we are bound by our marriage vows when our
      spouse dies.)

      1. What does verse 4 mean when it speaks of “belong[ing]
        to another” or “bear[ing] fruit to God?” (We have a
        new obligation of some sort.)

      2. At this point are we living a sin-free life? (Read
        Romans 7:21-25. You should read all of Romans 7 to
        get the correct sense of this. Paul appears to say
        that even when we are under grace, we struggle with

        1. Why is there a struggle if the law has died in
          our life?

    5. Read Romans 8:1-14. This is a very long reading, but I
      think it is necessary to understand grace. Now that we are
      not bound by the law, does our conduct matter? Does our
      attitude matter? (Yes! “If you live according to your
      sinful nature you will die.” Once the Holy Spirit convicts
      us that God loved us so much that He died for us; once the
      Holy Spirit convicts us that Jesus suffered the natural
      penalty for our sin – and that we died to sin in Jesus;
      once the Holy Spirit convicts us that God’s law is only
      for our good and that Satan has only harm for us in mind,
      then we have a desire to live in accordance with God. We
      have our mind set on what the Holy Spirit desires.)

      1. How important is Sabbath-keeping to this new life?
        (Some would say this is the essence of trying to live
        by the law. But, the Sabbath re-energizes us to the
        Spirit-led life. It reminds us that Jesus created the
        world (thus showing His authority over us), it
        reminds us that He lived, died and rose from the
        grave for us (thus showing His love and our rescue),
        it sets apart time for us to set our minds on what
        the Spirit desires.)

    6. Friend, will you today give your attitude to God? Will you
      ask the Holy Spirit to help you set your mind on what God
      desires? Will you turn away from your sinful nature?

  3. Next week: Rest.