Entering New Life with Christ
2:12 Be amazed at this, O heavens! Be shocked and utterly dumbfounded,” says the Lord.
2:13 “Do so because my people have committed a double wrong: they have rejected me, the fountain of life-giving water, and they have dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.” – Jeremiah 2:12-13
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” – John 7:37-39
anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone,
the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5.17
In the previous lesson we discovered that our lives really do matter. They matter because God has created us, knows us intimately, and loves each of us with limitless perfection. God’s love for us is an unchanging, bedrock reality, but sadly, it is not the only reality in play in our lives.
In this lesson, we will continue to look at God’s love, but we will reflect on how we can enter into that love given our spiritual waywardness and rebellion against Him. Our rebellion against God is often a hard truth to accept about ourselves, but it is clearly taught in the Bible, has been witnessed throughout history, and each of us can testify personally to its veracity. In short, each of us expresses a tendency (not just a capacity) to deny Him, suppress His truth, and challenge His holy and rightful claim on our lives. We say “no” to God, seeking at the same time to rise up and occupy the central place in the universe – a place reserved for Him alone.
The key to understanding this is to get to know Christ because HE alone can introduce us to a relationship with God the father. Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. Also in John 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
So, let’s dig in and see how God has made a way for us to experience pardon, reconciliation with Him, and renewal through Christ His Son.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for showing me that my life matters to you. Thank you for demonstrating that to me through your Son who died for me, substituting his life for mine, receiving the penalty for sin due me. Please help me understand this more and give all of myself to all I know of you in Christ.”
- Read Mark 7:1-23. What does Jesus teach about religious observance and the reality of the condition of our hearts?
- If Jesus is correct, are we good enough to secure God’s blessing on our own? Reflect on Titus 3:5.
- Read Hebrews 9:27-28. What happens to each person after death (v. 27)? What is the solution in Hebrews 9:28?
- According to Ephesians 2:8-9, is it by our own striving, inherent goodness, or specific achievements that we become Christians? Compare John 1:12-13.
- How can we enter into a relationship with the God who made us, knows us better than we know ourselves, and has (1) explained our sin to us, and (2) has invited us to return to him?
Building on the Basics
“Each of Us”
Read Isaiah 53:6 and describe what the author says about sin.1
Are Isaiah’s comments true of everyone? See Romans 3:23.
What Does Sin Actually Look Like?
- Read Romans 1:18-23. What is at the “heart” of sin or what do we typically do when God makes Himself known to us? Compare Jeremiah 2:12-13.
- According to Paul in Galatians 5:19-21, what are some “specific acts” of sin? Are there certain sins in Paul’s list that you more easily identify with?2
What Does God Think about Our Sin?
- Read Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27; 10:26-31. Contemplate Hebrews 10:26-31 for a while. Try to put yourself in God’s shoes, so to speak. Record your thoughts here.
But Jesus Offers Reconciliation to God
Read 1 Peter 3:18. How does Peter refer to Christ and then to us? Why did Christ die on the cross?
Pray through Romans 5:8 for a moment. Record any thoughts you have.
Surrendering to Christ – Trusting Him for Real!
Read John 3:16. Why did God send His Son into the world?
What is true for those who genuinely believe (turn from their own way and trust) in Jesus?
What do they receive? (John 1:12; 5:24; 17:3; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 John 5:11-13; Compare Acts 17:31)
Real, genuine faith in Christ produces an internal desire to abandon our sin (idols) and to live for God, i.e., to know Him and to seek to please Him in all respects. Colossians 1:10; Hebrews 11:6
- Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Through what means do we enter salvation and by what means are we unable to enter salvation?
- Read Romans 4:4-5. What is Paul contrasting? How does this apply to you?
Ephesians 2:10. What is the fruit of saving
faith? When was it prepared and can you do it?
- What is the “Great Exchange”? Reflect on 2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10.
Abba Father: Sons and Daughters with Standing!
If you’ve read John 1:12 above, you probably noted that when we receive or welcome Christ as the Lord of our lives, we become children of God and dearly loved by Him. We become his adopted-in-Christ sons and daughters. Read Galatians 4:4-7. (For our new standing with God, read Romans 5:1-5 and Romans 8:12-17).3 If you have turned from your sin and trusted Christ for pardon and renewal, then you are now a son or daughter of God. From all that you’ve learned in this lesson, what does it mean to you to be a son or daughter of God? How does this relate to what you learned in lesson 1 about God’s care for you?
1 When Isaiah refers to “our own way”, he is referring to “our own way apart from God”. This is called sin; it involves intentionally abandoning God in our lives. Every time we sin, we abandon God and his ways, substituting instead our own wisdom and ways.
2 See also Romans 1:28-32; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Eph 4:25-32; Col 3:5-11.
3 Note: the term abba is a term indicating endearment or relational closeness.