Both judgment and salvation reflect God’s amazing grace. As Christians, we are fortunate that the One who says “That’s wrong” is also the One who says “You’re right.”
A wooden or metal cross that can be held, black permanent marker, paper, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Sit in a circle and take turns telling a story of when you deserved harsh judgment but received grace. Perhaps grace came from a parent, teacher, boss, policeman, etc. Does that experience help you better understand God’s grace?
- The cross is a symbol of grace. Take turns holding the cross and describe to the group a time when you felt God’s grace given to you. How did you feel? How did it change your life?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Can a God who gives judgment also be a God of grace?
- Thought Questions
Read Genesis 3. How are the themes of judgment and grace revealed?
- God had a law set from the beginning—a means by which to judge humankind.
- The Lord came looking for Adam and Eve, calling out to them.
- Included in their judgment is the first prophecy of the coming Messiah.
- It was the Savior who personally made garments for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness.
- There doesn’t seem to be much grace here, just a lot of punishment for one sin.
Read Genesis 6:5, 14-22. Can we find God’s grace in the Flood account?
- It seems a bit harsh to wipe out the entire earth because of “great wickedness.”
- God provided safety through the ark—a way to escape death.
- Everyone was invited to come into the ark and be saved—no one was excluded.
- God told Noah exactly how to build the ark so it would safely weather the flood.
- God provided for life after the flood by telling Noah to bring in male and female animals.
Read John 3:17-21. How do these verses show how judgment and grace work together?
- Jesus wasn’t sent by God to condemn us but to save us.
- Condemnation—judgment—comes only to those who choose not to believe.
- Sin brought the need for judgment, so God provided grace through Jesus.
- Some would rather live in darkness than have their deeds exposed by the light.
- True followers of God will want to come to the light so they can be forgiven of their sins.
Read Matthew 10:26. Is this text meant to strike fear in our hearts?
- We should be afraid—the sins we thought were secret are going to be revealed.
- There is no way anyone can stand blameless before God.
- It’s sometimes hard to trust that Jesus will stand between the Father and us.
- God already knows the sins we’ve committed and, if asked, has already forgiven them.
- This is where grace comes in!
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Was it fair that Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden? Why couldn’t they have just been forgiven and allowed to stay? Discuss.
- Option 2: Is it fair that the church sometimes calls for a member to be disfellowshipped? If God offers grace and a fresh start, shouldn’t the church do the same? Discuss.
- Option 3: Do you know people who can’t forgive themselves for sins they committed? Role-play a visit to one of these people. What would you say? Which Scriptural references would you use?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Is God asking you, “Where are you?” Have you been hiding from God because you are ashamed? Come out of hiding today and begin talking with God. Believe that grace is being offered to you now.
- Make a list of sins that you can’t forget you’ve committed. This list is only for you to see. Now take the black permanent marker and cover the words on your list. Do this as a symbol of the grace God shows you. Keep the paper handy for times when you forget.