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Bible Study: December 29, 2013

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 Bible Studies for Life curriculum.

Bible Passage: Romans 6:8-18

Discussion Question: If we’ve been given a new identity in Christ, why are we so tempted to serve our old master?

Food for Thought:

When people come to Christ they experience that initial joy of grace and forgiveness, and the release of the burden of sin they have been carrying around for so long. Sometimes new believers are tempted to think it will be smooth sailing from now on. They mistakenly assume that the Lord will fix all of their problems, the temptations will go away and sin won’t be a problem for them anymore.

Those who have been following Christ for a long time know how wrong such a notion is. Just the opposite is often the case. The enemy’s attacks increase. Sometimes we can feel like Job may have felt, “What did I do wrong?” Sometimes we may be dealing with disobedience, but often it is simply Satan doing all he can to throw us off track — to get us to keep on feeding our old sin nature and defeat us.

In our Scripture passage, Paul is proclaiming to the Roman Christians that sin is no longer their master. Christ is. Paul uses the imagery of death and life, equating sin with death and Christ with life. We would encourage each other by saying, “That old way of sin is dead to me now. I’ve turned my back on it, and I’m looking to Christ.” Paul teaches us that because of Christ, who died and rose again, we who have placed our faith in Him have also died (to sin), and now live again (in Christ).

The great early church theologian Augustine explained that before the fall, human beings were “able to sin.” After the fall, human beings were “not able not to sin.” After salvation, human beings are “able not to sin.” Before we turn to Christ, we are trapped in sin’s chains; but when we turn to Christ, He breaks those chains and sets us free.

In verse 12, Paul pleads with believers to “not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.” Paul is telling us to not look back at that beast we used to serve. Don’t feed it and give it strength again. Keep looking at Christ. Keep trusting in His grace. Identify with the One who gave His life for you and lives for you now and forever. He is your Master now.

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life is a life-stage-focused family of resources that addresses key issues in the lives of adults and students. Seven curriculum lines developed for various life and generational stages, plus two others designed for deeper study, all focus on the same Bible passage for each week. Information about the seven curriculum lines and more information can be found at LifeWay.com/BibleStudiesforLife.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at www.LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

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