Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 1

The Finished Work of Christ - Chapter 1 - Introduction and Theme

Fellow Journeyers,

We are embarking on a new and exciting study of Romans Chapters 1-8. Our primary study guide will be The Finished Work of Christ by Francis Schaeffer. I will supplement this with occasional thoughts from William Barclay and his commentary on Romans.

Let's jump right in...

I. Introduction

A. Introduction to The Finished Work of Christ
B. Chapter 1 - Introduction and Theme

II. Introduction to The Finished Work of Christ

A. Book, while published in 1998, is actually the result of some of the earliest systematic studies by Dr. Schaeffer.
B. Book derived from tapes recording a bible study led by Dr. Schaeffer in the 1960s in Lausanne, Switzerland.
C. Book covers first eight chapters of Romans. This is a sermon by Paul covering his most basic and fundamental beliefs. Barclay classifies the first eight chapters as 'dealing with the problem of righteousness'.
D. Dr. Schaeffer's book will walk us through these first eight chapters verse by verse.
E. A little introduction to the book of Romans
1. Believed to have been written by Paul around 58 AD as he was wrapping up his stay in Corinth and preparing for his trip to Jerusalem.
2. Letter was written to a congregation he had never met. Thus, no personal callout greetings, no references to specific problems that congregation was experiencing.
3. Letter served as an introduction of who Paul was and what he believed.
a. He wanted to eventually visit the church at Rome
b. Wanted them to be well grounded on the principles of their faith in Jesus

III. Chapter 1 - Introduction and Theme

A. Covers first 17 verses of chapter 1 in Romans

B. Romans 1:1 - Paul identifies himself as "servant" or "slave" of Christ
1. Schaeffer points out Paul is not a slave to Christ because he has to be but because he wants to be. He wants to be because of what Christ has done for him.
2. Schaeffer says we too must adopt this attitude if we are fruitful in the things of God.
3. As Christ's servant Paul is "separated unto the Gospel"
1. Schaeffer says this is separation from and separation to, "Many things can keep us away from God, and it is not possilbe to be separated to God unless we are separated from such things.
2. Hmmm...reminds me of the saying "being in the world but not of the world"

C. Romans 1:2 - "promised afore by his prophets"
1. Schaeffer says despite this verse being parenthetical it is a very important verse.
2. It emphasizes the continuity of the Old Testament and the New Testament
a. Schaeffer points out that God had a plan for our salvation immediately after the Fall in the Garden of Eden. He promised the Messiah.
b. Read Genesis 3:15

D. Romans 1:3-4 - "made of the seed of David..."
1. Paul declares both human and divine side of Christ
a. Human - made of the seed of David (both Mary and Joseph)
b. Divine - having been resurrected from the dead shows Christ's divinity
2. "according to the spirit of holiness"
a. Paul is referring to Christ's relationship with the Holy Spirit

E. Romans 1:5-6 - "By whom we have received grace and apostleship..."
1. "among all nations" - all who believe, Jews and Gentiles alike, can receive God's grace
2. Including the people of Rome

F. Romans 1:7 - "called Saints"
1. Schaeffer says, "As soon as we accept Christ as our Savior we are saints in God's sight.
a. Based on Christ's passive obedience - taking the punishment (death) for our sins
b. Also based on His active obedience - of keeping the law for us while he was among on earth.
2. When we accept Christ as our saviour, because Christ was without sin, we put on the righteousness of Christ. In God's eyes' we are without sin.
3. Christ has taken your guilt and you are clothed in His perfection.

G. Romans 1:7b-8 - "thank God for you"
1. He has heard of the faithfulness of the Christians in Rome and gives thanks to God for them.

H. Romans 1:9-10 - "make mention of you always in my prayers"
1. thanks God for them
2. prays on their behalf
3. prays that he might be able to visit them

I. Romans 1:11-12 - "may impart unto you some spiritual gift"

J. Romans 1:13a - Wants to bless them more "but was let hitherto..."
1. "let" means hindered.
2. Wants to come visit them but thus far has been hindered from doing so.

K. Romans 1:14 - "debtor both to Greeks and Barbarians, both to the wise and unwise"
1. Rather than feeling he is doing something special for them by telling them of the Gospel, he feels indebted to preach the Gospel to everyone.

L. Romans 1:15 - "ready to preach the Gospel to you..."
1. Ready and excited to come to Rome to teach them, regardless of the cost (his life)

M. Romans 1:16-17 - "the Gospel of the power of God unto salvation..."
1. Schaeffer states key to understanding first 8 chapters of Romans can be found in v. 16-17
2. Barclay echos this sentiment by saying, "There are only two verses here, but they contain so much of the very essence of Paul's gospel..."
3. When we accept Christ as our Saviour we are justified, our guilt is gone
4. Schaeffer says, "...God declares that are guilt is gone on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ"
5. Goes on to say our salvation is much wider than just justification. Three tenses:
a. Past - past act of salvation for the Christian, which is justification
b. Present - santification
c. Future - glorification
6. Salvation to everyone (Jew and Gentile alike) who believes
7. Just shall live by faith - we are to live by faith now.

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

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