Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross opens the way for every human being—Jew and Gentile—to be saved.
A locked box containing treats or small gifts for each member, one correct key for the lock and several incorrect keys, whiteboard, markers
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. Have you ever had to fill in for someone else—at work, church, or school? Was it a last-minute situation? How did it go?
B. The Boy Scouts’ motto is “Be Prepared!” How do you prepare for the unexpected? What kinds of items do you carry with you to deal with the situations life sometimes throws at you? If possible, show these items to the group.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. Distribute the keys among the class members. One by one, try to unlock the box. The person who unlocks the box may distribute the contents to the group. If your key did not work, how did you feel when you could not open the box? If your key worked, describe how you felt when your key opened the box and when you shared the box’s contents with the group. Discuss how Christ must feel about those who reject the offer of salvation and those who accept it.
B. Thought Questions
Read Romans 5:1-5 and tell your group where you are in your progression toward hope.
- I am in the suffering stage.
- I am in the persevering stage.
- I am in the character-development stage.
- I have hope!
- I regularly experience God’s love through the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 5:10, we read that “when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of [God’s] Son.” What does this mean?
- Everyone is now reconciled with God—simple as that!
- Everyone is reconciled to God, but most don’t know or don’t care.
- We were reconciled to God while we were enemies, and that led us to repentance.
- This is justification (v. 9), but we need sanctification—to be saved through Jesus’ life (v. 10).
- God doesn’t want anyone to be lost, so even those who are enemies have no excuse.
Romans 5:15 says that “the gift is not like the trespass.” What does this phrase mean?
- Adam unintentionally doomed humanity through trespassing; eternal life is ours through Christ’s intentional gift.
- Adam is a pattern of Christ (see v. 14), but the pattern is like a photographic negative.
- Adam intended his sin to affect only himself, but it infected everyone.
- Jesus’ gift is for everyone, but Christ would have died for just one person.
- The trespass affects the universe for a few generations; the gift affects the universe for eternity.
Why would Paul say that “the law was added so that the trespass might increase” (Romans 5:20)?
- To see how many people God could trip up and keep out of heaven
- To show people who think they’re perfect that they are sinners
- To show how deadly sin really is
- To show how marvelous Christ’s grace is
- To illustrate the great divide between the sin and the gift
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: Using markers and a whiteboard, draw an illustration to symbolize Adam (the trespass) and Jesus (the gift). Use modern-day symbols and illustrations that signify the awfulness of sin and the magnificence of salvation. Be prepared to explain your symbols.
Option 2: Someone says to you, “I don’t think I’m such a bad person. I’m nice to people, and I’m a responsible citizen. Why would God condemn me?” How would you explain to that person the difference between the trespass and the gift?
Option 3: Have each group member briefly outline his or her personal testimony with these three elements: life before Christ, how Christ reached the person, and the person’s life with Christ. Be prepared to give a one-minute presentation to the rest of the group. Consider other places or settings in which to share your testimony.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. For the next three minutes, reflect on the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf. How does that sacrifice motivate you to live victoriously?
B. After three minutes, those who choose to may share their thoughts. Conclude with prayer.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Romans 6; 1 John 1:8–2:1