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Bible Study: Living by God’s grace

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 5:6

Discussion Questions:

  • When you run into a challenge, are you more likely to look for a way to get around it or roll up your sleeves in an effort to overcome it?
  • When you experience challenges in your Christian life, how do you respond to them?
  • Would you agree or disagree that there are some things a Christian can’t do or can’t accomplish? Explain your answer.

Food for thought:

“Can’t never could!” How many times I heard my father make that exclamation during my childhood. Whether attempting to complete a math problem, working to memorize some details for a history or science class, or struggling with some manual labor chore around the house, if I or my siblings complained, “I can’t,” there was a strong probability we would hear our father say, “Can’t never could!” He worked to instill in us the realization we would never succeed at anything we gave up on or convinced ourselves we couldn’t do. His advice has served us well in many areas of life.

But in the spiritual realm, much depends on realizing what we can’t do on our own. Legendary pastor, preacher and author Charles Haddon Spurgeon stressed some of those in his book “All of Grace.” Under the title of “Alas! I Can Do Nothing!” he expounded five things we are incapable of doing ourselves.

Upon conversion, the believer can’t understand the new life or one’s inability to live it. The believer wishes to live out the new life, fails in efforts to do so and cannot understand why. Was the conversion not sincere or inadequate? One might likewise lament, “I can’t repent,” meaning the effort to repent does not seem emotional enough or seems to be of little effect when the next sin comes along.

In similar fashion, believers might bemoan they can’t avoid evil thoughts and sin, can’t believe as they feel they should, and even that they can’t remain firm in their Sunday convictions once they arrive at their Monday responsibilities. To each of these, Spurgeon offered explanation. Of course we can’t do these things, for the salvation that begins with the grace of God must be advanced by that same grace.

We have no ability in ourselves, try as we might with as much diligence and perseverance as we can muster, to accomplish spiritual matters. When we attempt to do in and for ourselves what only God can do, we experience frustration and determine we can’t succeed in our efforts. Spiritual matters are “All of Grace.”


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.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources