Romans 6; 1 John 1:8–2:1
Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection make possible a victorious life over sin. We die with Christ, and then we are raised to a new way of life.
Bibles, papers, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. Share with your group a “win” that you’ve experienced in your life. Perhaps it is related to being on a sports team or completing educational goals or getting a certain job. Share your feelings about your win.
B. As others in the group share, listen for common threads of thought, feeling, or experience. Look for differences. In most of the stories, what common factors were related to winning?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. As a Christian, do you feel like a winner or a loser? Explain.
B. Thought Questions
Read Romans 6:1-14. Paul explains the Christian’s freedom from sin by following Christ symbolically through death, burial, and resurrection. Choose the part of this passage that is most meaningful to you. Which passage is most confusing?
- “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (v. 3).
- “Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (v. 7).
- “Since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him” (v. 9).
- “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v. 11).
- “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (v. 14).
Read Romans 6:15-18. What does Paul mean by being a “slave to righteousness”?
- Slavery is bondage, and some people are in bondage to their religion.
- Righteousness (being like Jesus) is what we want, so we want to be slaves to righteousness.
- Paul is using the analogy of slavery to emphasize our transfer of loyalty from sin to a new life in Christ.
- This passage is about obedience to a master. Everyone has a master.
- The analogy of “slavery” breaks down. Being a servant of God is really a life of freedom.
Most of us are familiar with Romans 6:23. Read the verse carefully and look for a deeper meaning that you may have missed before.
- “The wages of sin…” seems to imply that this is something we have “earned.”
- It’s silly to think that people would work to receive “death” as their pay.
- Notice that what God offers is a gift, not something we earn and not something that comes from us.
- This gift from God brings eternal life, the opposite of death. And it comes only from Jesus Christ.
- There is nothing we can do to “earn” eternal life; it is completely a gift.
John also speaks of living a life of victory and approaches it in a very forceful way. Read 1 John 1:8–2:1. What impresses you most?
- Verse 8 says that we are “deceived” when we claim to be without sin.
- Verses 8 and 10 both speak of embracing truth as essential to a life without sin.
- Confessing our sin leads to a clean heart purified by God.
- Verse 10, when John states so strongly that if we claim to be without sin, “we make him out to be a liar…”
- First John 2:1: “I write this to you so that you will not sin.” What do the preceding verses say about not sinning?
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: A new Christian in your group says, “Sometimes I think that being a perfect Christian is impossible, and I wonder why I even go to church.” Has this person missed a crucial part of the gospel? How would you kindly share the part he or she missed?
Option 2: From what you have learned in this lesson, how would you summarize victory over sin in an easily identifiable way? Using the analogy of training for a marathon, share five key tips for running life’s race and having victory.
Option 3: Find a Bible story of a “victory,” perhaps from the Old Testament, that illustrates the basic concept of this lesson about victory over sin. Share the story briefly with the group.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. Reflect quietly on the idea of being a Christian “winner” or “loser.” Which term describes you? What have you learned in this lesson that makes your understanding clearer?
B. Pray together for those in your group who might feel discouraged about living a victorious Christian life. Pray for a clearer understanding of dying with Christ and living with Christ’s power in your life.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus