NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Romans 7:24-25
- What situations are most likely to cause you to feel helpless? How do you react in those situations?
- When might a child of God rightly be miserable?
- Once a person experiences new life in Christ, does the concept of “absolute surrender” to Christ remain a relevant one for the believer? Explain your answer.
Food for thought:
Which best describes you? Littered across Facebook one can find this question in one form or fashion. It might ask which celebrity you most resemble, what animal you might embody if you were not human, or what TV or movie character you most act like. Answer a survey, and based on responses to the survey inquiries, you arrive at an answer purporting to reflect the best description of you within that category.
In not quite so direct a manner, legendary South African pastor Andrew Murray asks the readers of his book “Absolute Surrender” to assess which character from Romans 7 best describes them. Murray first points out the regenerate individual, the one who earnestly says, “I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me” (Romans 7:20) and “For in my inner self I delight in God’s law” (v. 22). Such gives evidence of the new life of salvation.
The believer who truly delights in God’s law soon discovers he or she falls into Murray’s second character, the impotent person. This person realizes “the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it” (v. 18). The will is present. The heart strives for it, but the person soon discovers he or she is a “prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body” (v. 23), unable to live in godliness on one’s own.
The one who recognizes one’s sin enslavement, Murray describes as a “wretched man” who cries out, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (v. 24). Such a one has experienced new life, delights in the ways of God, but feels utter wretchedness at repeated failures to realize that delight.
Such a person teeters at the point of Murray’s fourth description, the almost-delivered person. Whether one remains almost delivered or undergoes deliverance hinges on one’s continued self-effort versus the willingness to cry, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25). Without “Absolute Surrender” one persists in being almost delivered.
Which best describes you?
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork.