We cannot earn our salvation, but God justifies us because of our faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
Bible, sheets of paper, pencils, hymnals
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. You approach the ticket counter at the airport to buy a ticket to Paris. After arranging for your baggage and receiving your seating assignment, you ask the price. “No charge,” smiles the agent. “Another man paid for your fare.” How would you feel?
B. An unknown woman speaks to the judge just as he is about to sentence you to life in prison without parole. The judge turns to you and says, “You’re free to go. That woman has volunteered to serve your time so you can be a parent to your children.” What would you say?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. You and your friends arrive at the beach and discover a “No Swimming” sign. While your friends relax on the beach, you decide to swim anyway. When you flounder and cry for help, your friends point to the “No Swimming” sign. What then?
B. Thought Questions
Read Romans 3:19, 20. What does Paul say about the law?
- The law was written for those who are under the law.
- You can save yourself by keeping the law.
- The law reveals that the whole world is guilty before God.
- We cannot be justified by the deeds of the law.
- The law describes sin.
Read Romans 3:21-23. What do these verses say about the righteousness of God?
- It is made known by the law and the prophets.
- We receive it by faith in Jesus.
- We cannot attain it until we reach heaven.
- It is given to all who believe.
- Everyone needs it, for all have sinned.
Read Romans 3:24-26. What statements expand on the words “just,” “justifier,” and “justified”?
- We are justified by grace.
- When a person is justified, Christ has remitted the sins of the past.
- When a person believes in Jesus, God will declare him/her righteous.
- All things are just when God says they are.
- Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God can be the justifier of those who believe in Jesus.
Read Romans 3:27, 28. What does Paul say about the law of faith?
- It excludes any reason to boast.
- It is parallel to the law of works.
- Through the law of faith, we can be justified.
- It is contrary to the deeds of the law.
- We are saved by faith without the works that the law demands.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
Option 1: How would you explain to a non-believer what it means to be justified by faith? Remember, most non-believers don’t believe in God or have a “trusted source.” Share your ideas with your group.
Option 2: Have you ever had to “lay down the law” with a family member, co-worker, fellow church member, or friend? What was the result? Would you do it differently next time or would your response be the same? Share your experience with the group.
Option 3: Find a hymn about justification by faith; the song may not necessarily contain those words, but the theme should reflect the subject. Prepare to sing or read a stanza to the group.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. Take a few minutes to meditate on your own experience of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ.
B. Share with one other person what you thought or how you felt about Part A. Close by praying that God will give you grace to maintain the closeness with Jesus which faith has given you.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Genesis 15:6; 2 Samuel 11; 12; Romans 3:20-23, 31; 4:1-17; Galatians 3:19; 1 John 3:4