We are all guilty of sin. Our only hope is in Christ’s offer of perfect righteousness which, like a pure robe of heavenly origin, covers our sin and empowers us to live like Jesus.
Bibles, paper, pencils, scissors, paste, several scraps of cloth (some dirty, some clean and pressed)
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Describe a time when you were embarrassed by your clothing. Perhaps you forgot to dress appropriately for a certain occasion. Maybe the baby spilled something on your Sabbath suit or dress on the way to church. How did you feel? Did anyone notice or say anything to you?
- On a sheet of paper, draw the outlines of two people. Using the materials provided, cut out and paste dirty clothes on the figure onthe left and clean, pressed clothes on the figure on the right. Across the bottom of the page, write simple words to describe how a person becomes saved in Jesus and covered with Christ’s purity and righteousness.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Does your attire affect your thoughts, feelings, or behavior? If so, how?
- Thought Questions
- Yes. “All of us have become like one who is unclean…”
- I am all too aware of my condition; I feel like I am a hopeless case.
- When life gets busy, we sometimes forget to reflect on our condition and our relationship with God.
- I can identify with the phrase “continued to sin”; my life doesn’t have the victory I long for.
- This sounds so negative and depressing. Does God really want us to think about how “bad” we are?
- Righteousness is a perfect life without sin.
- Whatever it is, God has it and we don’t.
- Righteousness means to live in a right way, not in a wrong way.
- It has to do with obedience to God’s law through a power outside of ourselves.
- It’s not something we can boast about; Paul explains it in verses 12-13.
- Accepting Christ’s righteousness is not a passive process by which we simply receive something that doesn’t impact our lives (vs. 1, 2).
- Two deaths are required for our salvation: the death of Jesus and death to our own selfish egos (see v. 3).
- Just as Christ was raised from the dead, we also receive resurrection power to live a new life (see v. 4).
- Our “old self” is crucified with Christ, but it seems that the old self likes to crawl down off the cross (see vs. 5-7).
- How can we be “dead to sin” (v. 11) if sin is still alive and temptations still trip us up?
- It starts when we have no confidence in the flesh (that is, in ourselves or our own acts of righteousness).
- Some of us are tempted to feel pretty good about ourselves; like Paul, we grew up living good lives.
- We must be very clear about our own efforts to live a righteous life without Christ: these efforts are worthless.
- Faith is central to receiving Christ’s perfect life in our hearts.
- Boasting about “having arrived” runs counter to the message of this passage. In verses 12-13, Paul advises against boasting.
Read Isaiah 64:5-7 and consider the prophet’s description of Israel during Babylonian captivity. Does this depict all of us?
Think for a moment about becoming right with God. Read Romans 3:21-31. In this passage, Paul speaks about “righteousness that comes by faith.” According to the Bible, what does this mean?
Receiving Christ’s righteousness requires death. Read Romans 6:1-13. What does this passage teach us about the need to die and receive new life?
Read Philippians 3:3-16. How does this passage help us receive and hold on to salvation?
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 the larger group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Using the principles in this lesson, write a short skit where someone in filthy rags goes shopping at a clothing store. This person approaches a rack with several pieces of clothing. A store clerk shows the person several beautiful, expensive items. Then the clerk holds up a pure white garment and says, “This is the best piece we have—and it’s free!”
- Option 2: Sin is a stain we cannot remove. Only Jesus can cleanse us from sin and give us a new garment. Using everyday language, write a 30-second ad introducing a product that will remove any stain. What would your ad sound like?
- Option 3: A friend says to you, “I am not happy with my life. I wish things were different. I keep falling into the same old traps. It seems that there is no way out. Please help me!” Based on what you learned from today’s lesson, what would you share with your friend?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Reflect for a few moments on this question: Am I willing to fill my life daily with God’s love? Or do I want to continue filling it with the substitutes from my old life that I thought would be fulfilling?
- Gather in a circle to pray together as a group. Begin your prayer time by expressing thanks for Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins. Then spend time asking Christ into your life anew.