The Scripture After the Scripture: Romans 8:28
Have you talked about Jesus with anyone or invited anyone to church this week?
This week in our study series of the scripture after the scripture we looked at Romans 8:28. While this scripture is commonly interpreted as encouragement for times of trouble we learned by studying the scripture after the scripture; this promise is specific to certain people and not everyone would be included.
Luke also mentioned the two ways that people are conditioned to think, binary & without boundary. Remember that binary is cut and dry, black and white, while without boundary contains no good or bad, no real truth. The two different conditions of thinking influence the decisions we make in our daily lives.
Can you think of a time where you used either one or both of these types of thinking to make a decision?
1. When thinking about the various reactions to scripture, a great example of how scripture can be viewed by either of these types of thinking is James 2. As we read through this scripture think about how binary thinking would interpret the message. How would one who has “without boundary” thinking apply and interpret this reading?
Read James 2: 14-26
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
As you reflected on the two methods of thought, what common theme did you see in the two types?
Were there any discrepancies in terms of who defines right and wrong between the two?
On Sunday Luke reminded us that Christianity views God as the only one who has the perspective and the worthiness to define right from wrong. Luke said that the third way of thinking is thinking in belief, in faith to the words of God.
With the lens of God as Sovereign, when looking back over the scriptures we read in James, does looking through this third way of thinking provide any insights that we can hold on to?
How hard is it for you to think in terms of thinking in belief?
2. Luke then continued to discuss the scripture after the scripture taking on the challenge of addressing the controversies of Fore-Knowledge and Predestination. As you reflect on these two terms what preconceived notions of these two terms do you have already?
Luke taught on Sunday that fore-knowledge is knowledge of the choices that people will make before they make them.
In what ways can you see fore-knowledge at work in your own life?
Despite our best efforts to predict the future through the use of fore-knowledge, have there been times where we have been wrong? If comfortable, please share a memorable experience where either you were pleasantly surprised or sorely disappointed.
In the case of human behavior the defining action is always the option of choice.
Let’s read in Jeremiah how God allows for human choice. Read the following passage Jer 18:7-10
7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
As you read through the passage in Jeremiah, what is God promising his readers?
While fore-knowledge is affected more by the choices people make pre-destination refers more to the place chosen for them before their arrival.
On Sunday Luke gave us the example of high schools and their special events they host and how they exemplify pre-destination.
As you think through your own life, can you think of other examples where pre-destination is exemplified?
What is the key takeaway with respect to fore-knowledge and pre-destination when looking through the lens of belief thinking?
Bringing it Home
The challenge to the binary thinker is in accepting that God has established the boundaries while simultaneously the challenge to the without boundary thinker is there are boundary lines which have been set by God. In either way of thinking it is important we understand that God defines the boundary line as belief and obedience in Christ.
What challenges will you need help with this week as you seek to become more of a belief thinker?
Are you involved in any Bible studies this week? Please share so we can pray for God to open the eyes of the heart.