The Cruciform Life | Week Four

The Cruciform Life 
April 26, 2015 
The Way Home 
Romans 5v1-10

Connect

1. Where is “home” for you? Describe where and when you feel most “at home.”

2. What makes a place a “home”?

Engage

“Imagine a boy and a girl, walking along a river bank, in love. The boy says to the girl: ‘I love you and to show how much I love you, I’m going to jump into this river and drown.’ But [that’s] irrational… In order to prove love, the loved one must benefit from the dying in some genuine way… If, however, the girl were drowning in the river, and the boy said, ‘I love her, and I will dive in, risk drowning, and rescue her,’ that would make sense. Unless there is some [objective] benefit coming to the girl as a result of his dying, it is nonsense to talk about his death being an example of love.” - P. Lewis, R. Clements, G. Haslam, Rescue: God’s Promise to Save

1. Theologian Miroslav Volf was asked, “What did Jesus Christ do on the cross that we could not do for ourselves?” Volf says that he learned the answer from his father and from the Old Testament character, Job. Volf then asks, “How do you discover from ‘within the pit of your own existence’ that ‘you are a beloved child of God and that all will be forgiven and all will be well’”? What are the resources we need to answer this question? 

2. Volf then asks, “How do you hope for something new” and not be “caught in the cause and effect mechanism?” How can Christians escape the cycle of violence and poverty in the world? How does the cross and the resurrection help us to answer this question?

3. Atonement (“at-one-ment”) means removing barriers to rescue, save, and create a new relationship. What were some of those barriers? How does the cross remove them?

“The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” - John Stott

Study

1. Read Romans 5v1-2. For the soul to be well, it needs to be with God. How do these verses explain how that can happen.

2. What does it mean to boast in the glory of God? (v. 2b)

3. Read vv. 3-5. How can God even use our suffering to help bring us into his presence and shape us into the truly human people we were made to be?

4. The great problem with the Fall is not that we simply broke the rules but that we lost our vision of God (his true character has been distorted) and our relationship with God, and thus no longer knew his abiding presence. How does v. 5 solve this problem?

Apply

1. The homesickness of our soul is a pointer to God. When would you say you have felt most aware of this kind of need or eager desire for God ? (For example, in a season of spiritual hunger or seeking.) If you can, try to distinguish your desire for God from a desire for God’s gifts or provision.

God wants to make every moment of your life glorious with his presence. It is not just that he wants to be with us, but that he desires to make our lives “glorious.”

2. The “with God” life is not a life of more religious activities or devotions or trying to be good. It is a life of inner peace and contentment for your soul. Imagine for a moment that Jesus is physically present with you right now. In what ways would this moment be different ? In what ways would you be different?

3. To abide in Christ requires dependence on him — to attempt nothing independent of him. What would that look like for you this week?

Conclusion

How can we be brought home? The gospel answers these questions by telling us that Jesus leaves his own true home (Phil 2: 6 – 7); He is born away from his earthly parents’ home; He wanders without a place to lay his head and without a home (Matt 8: 20); And He is finally crucified outside the city gate, a sign of his exile and rejection (Heb 13: 11– 12). He takes our place and experiences the exile — the alienated state — that the human race deserves. He is cast out so we can be brought home!

Prayer

Prayerfully read together Psalm 51 pausing to insert your own confession as you feel comfortable.