Sunday, June 04, 2006

New Life in Jesus Christ

Another Release Time offering; I know it's a l-o-n-g passage from Romans, but I figured it was worth it so the kids could begin to become familiar with the text.
Romans 8:1-11

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 Since the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

  • Did you ever do something a teacher, parent or someone else in authority told you not to do? What was it? Why did you do it? Did that person find out about it? What happened? How did you feel?
  • Did you ever do something against one of God's commandments? Why? What happened? How did you feel?
Because God loves us and wants the best for us, he gave us Commandments or guidelines for living. The Bible reading from Paul's letter to the church at Rome calls the commandments the law. Sin, or separation from God and others, happens whenever we disobey God's law. Whenever we sin, for us to be made righteous, or right again in God's sight, we need to be forgiven. In addition, God's holiness demands punishment for any sin or wrongdoing.

Because God loves us, God did what we couldn't do for ourselves; God came into this world in the person of Jesus Christ, lived a perfect life, and took the punishment for our sin. Jesus died on the cross on the day we now call Good Friday to bear the punishment for everything that separates us from God and to forgive us, so we could live reunited with God, one another and all creation. On the first Easter Sunday, God raised Jesus from the dead to a brand new life. Jesus died on the cross so our sin and the cost of sin would be wiped out; he rose from the dead so that we could be right again in God's sight. Because God raised Jesus from death to new life, each one of us can have that new Easter life; no longer are separated from God and from one another, but we have been reunited or reconciled with God, our neighbors and all creation.
  • What does it mean to be forgiven? (Hint: think of the word "give.")
When we believe that God loves us and wants to give us new life in his son, Jesus Christ, we become members of God's own family, the church. In Romans, Paul says we begin living "in Christ." We begin living as God wants us to live.
  • How does God want us to live? Why?
When we believe God has forgiven us and given us new life in Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection, God's Holy Spirit comes to live in us. The Holy Spirit helps us obey God's commandments. The Holy Spirit also helps us receive God's free gift of forgiveness and new life we need whenever we disobey and sin.
  • What does it mean to you to be forgiven?
  • Do you believe God loves you and forgives you?

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