The way to faith is more like a railroad than a footpath: it includes both tracks of the law and the gospel.
Slips of paper listing several pairs of items that belong together (peanut butter and jelly, etc.), a paper bag, whiteboard, several different colored markers, small R/C car with one front tire missing
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- When you were a child, did you ever lose something (a toy, a sock, etc.)? What thoughts or emotions did you experience because of this loss or separation? How did you recover from this incident? Did you find the item again?
- What is the one thing you’ve lost in life that you miss the most? How has your life been affected by that loss? What do you do to compensate for that loss?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Allow each group member to take a slip of paper from the bag. Without showing the paper to the others, draw the two listed items on the whiteboard and have the group guess what they are. Briefly discuss why each pair belongs together. Apart from their mates, what are the individual items like by themselves?
- Thought Questions
Read Galatians 3:21-25. To you, law without faith is most like:
- Peanut butter without jelly—pretty bland.
- A railroad with only one track—you’re not going anywhere except into the ditch.
- A jail cell without a key—no hope for freedom.
- A rowboat with only one oar—you spend a lot of time going in circles.
- Some churches I know—theologically unbalanced.
Now add Leviticus 18:5. To you, faith without law is most like:
- A car without a steering wheel—you’re moving fast but with no direction.
- A body without a skeleton—some semblance of life but without structure.
- Ice cream for breakfast every day—it sounds good but will eventually rot your teeth.
- A boat without a rudder—it’s an exhilarating ride until you hit the rocks.
- Some churches I know—fun for a while but having no lasting substance.
If you behaved like Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:20, what danger could you face?
- People will think I’m being dishonest.
- I could easily slip into legalism myself.
- I could easily justify sin in my life.
- I could become proud of the way I can control my circumstances.
- It’s not dangerous if I humbly rely on God in everything I do.
How is it that the requirements of the law are righteous, as described in Romans 8:1-4?
- The law describes “rightdoing.”
- The law is a description of how Christ, our righteous Savior, lived.
- The law lets us know when we’ve fallen short of the glory of God and need a Savior.
- The ultimate requirement of the law is perfect righteousness.
- It illustrates the extreme love of God to provide a perfect Savior who freely offers grace and mercy.
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: Take the remote-controlled car provided and find a spot with enough room to operate it. Take turns trying to make it move in a straight line for at least six feet. Comment on how easy it is to maneuver through life if you lack either God’s law or God’s grace.
- Option 2: Unscramble the letters AEFLLOOVW into two similar but separate phrases of three words each. Share the two phrases with your group and describe why they are similar and opposite at the same time.
- Option 3: Imagine that there are two Christians in your workplace with two extreme mindsets: one is very legalistic and the other has thrown out God’s law entirely. The two people bicker constantly. How would you promote a sense of balance in their thinking?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- For the next three minutes, contemplate your own spiritual path. Are you like a set of railroad tracks or like a single-track path? Which do you need to learn to appreciate more: law or grace?
- After three minutes, those who choose to may share their thoughts. Conclude with prayer.