Growth group week eleven:
Understanding grace (part 3)

Week 11
Day 1: Acts 9-10
Day 2: Acts 11-12
Day 3: Acts 13-14
Day 4: Acts 15-16
Day 5: Acts 17-18

Memory verse:
Romans 5:1–2 a.

 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand…


Focal passage: Romans 5:1-11
Last week we looked at 4 words in Romans 3:24–25a. Justification, Grace, Redemption and Propitiation. This week as we continue our study in the gospel of grace here in Romans 5:1-2a. Paul declares that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through His justifying work for us on the cross.  When the Bible speaks about peace, it refers to two different kinds of peace. There is the peace of God, and then there’s the peace with God. The peace of God is something that comes upon our lives in times of anxiety. It is a supernatural peace that comes over us to comfort us and strengthen us. Paul refers to this kind of peace in Philippians 4:6-7. This is a wonderful peace but it is not the peace that Paul is speaking about here. What Paul is referring to here is peace with God. You and I will never experience the peace of God until we first have experienced peace with God. Paul has already laid out in the earlier parts of Romans that man is completely separated from God because of his sin. In fact, in Romans 5:10-11, we learned that we are enemies of God. This is why Jesus came to the earth to reconcile us to God. When Jesus died on the cross, He took our place in judgment. This is what scholars call the substitutionary death of Christ. He was our substitute on the cross, He took our place. God poured out His wrath upon Himself on the cross that you and I might be reconciled to God. What is important to understand about the doctrine of reconciliation, is that we were God’s enemy and therefore He had to make the first move to bring about reconciliation. In fact, He's the only one that could've reconciled us to Himself (see 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Col. 1:19–22; Eph. 2:13–18). The only way that He could reconcile us was by removing His wrath that was against us because of our sin. We saw this last week as we studied the doctrine of propitiation in Romans 3:25. Because of this reconciliation, we now have free access to God through His grace. This is what Romans 5:2a. goes on to say, “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand’… we now can freely approach God because we have been forgiven (justified) because there is no wrath remaining against us (propitiation). Practically this means that we have free access into God's presence by His grace because of what He's accomplished for us. There is no condemnation remaining upon our lives but only a call to an intimate loving relationship with God Himself. He has done all of the work!!! We now can enter into this amazing relationship that we have with Him through His grace. This is what Grace looks like. The only way that we are able to grow is through grace.


Questions:
  1. After reading Romans 5:1–11, what is your response to God's grace? Remember what Paul said in Romans 8:31 “what then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  2. Do you understand why God was angry with you before you were reconciled to him? Explain.
  3. How will your understanding of these truths change the way you approach God?


Action steps:
  • Seek to live your life based upon these truths and not upon your feelings.
  • Pray for one another that God would open your eyes to His grace.
  • We encourage you to listen to the message “A Different Side of the Christmas Story” http://equippingthesaints.com/sermons/a-different-side-of-the-christmas-story-john316-21/ . In this message Pastor Trent takes an in-depth look at these doctrines that we have been looking at for the last two weeks. We know that you will be blessed and this will help get this into your heart in a deeper way.