growth group week ten:
Understanding grace (part 2) 

Week 10
Day 1: Luke 23-24
Day 2: Acts 1-2
Day 3: Acts 3-4
Day 4: Acts 5-6
Day 5: Acts 7-8

Memory verse:
Romans 3:24–25a. 
 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith…

Focal passage: Romans 3:23-25 (Read Together)

In Romans 1:15-17, Paul declares that he is ready to preach the gospel to the believers in Rome. When we think of someone preaching the gospel, we often think about the gospel being presented to the unsaved. But Paul tells us that he's ready to preach the gospel to the the believers in Rome. As a believer, I need to understand the fullness of the gospel, and that's what Paul lays out here in Romans 1-8. In Romans 1:17, Paul gives us the theme verse to the book of Romans. Here he declares that, “the just shall live by faith”. What Paul is saying is that those that are just in the sight of God will obtain that justification through faith and faith alone. That's why he says in the first part of verse17 that it is “from faith to faith.” In 1:18-3:20 Paul shows how all men are equally under the judgment of God because of their sin. In 3:21-8:39 he goes on the show how man is justified and made righteous before God through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. We must first understand our sinful condition before we can appreciate God's grace and forgiveness in our lives. That's why here in Romans 3:23 Paul declares “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Notice the comma as the sentence continues in verse 24 where he says we are…
  • justified freely 
  • by His grace 
  • through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
  • whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith

Let's take a minute to understand what these phrases mean. If you understand them, you will understand God's grace and love towards you which will change your walk with Him in a very practical way.
The word justified simply means that you have been acquitted. You no longer are guilty of your sins but you've been declared righteous in God's sight. An easy way to remember the word justification is to put it this way… “Just as if I've never sinned”. Though this was a free gift to you, as he says “justified freely”, know that it cost God the death of His only Son.
The next phrase is "by His Grace.” This is how we receive the forgiveness of God by God's unmerited favor towards us. We've already looked at the word Grace so we won't go into it more here, but obviously it's a free gift and cannot be earned and is not deserved.
The next phrase is “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” The word redemption in the New Testament times was used for buying a slave out of the slave market and setting them free. This is exactly what God did for you and me. He bought you from the slavery of your sin to set you free in His redemptive grace. But remember He paid a great price to set you free (1 Peter 1:18-19). 
The last and most impressive word is “propitiation by His blood”. I absolutely love this word! It means, "appeasement or the satisfaction of God's wrath or anger.” Which simply means that God's anger is completely satisfied against our sin and is completely removed. God's anger does not exist for those that have received propitiation through the cross of Christ. Practically, this means that God cannot be angry with his children, as Jesus took all of the anger and wrath of God upon Himself at the cross. These truths are absolutely life-changing when we apply them to our lives through faith. The fact that we are loved by God and are accepted in His sight is not a feeling, but it is a reality based upon what Jesus did on the cross. Romans 5:8 declares "God demonstrates His own love towards us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us”. This is the evidence that God loves us. It is certainly not a feeling but it is a fact that Jesus died for us and through His death God declares He loves us. This is not based on our circumstances but it's based upon the immovable, unshakable, foundation of the gospel of grace. Let's live our lives based upon this truth and not our feelings.

  1. Reflecting on how you live you life, is there evidence that you liver your life based upon feelings, or the truths that are found in the gospel? Give some examples.
  2. Have you ever felt like God is angry with you? Why do you think that is? After studying the gospel of grace, do you think you’ll struggle with that thought again?
  3. How will your understanding of these truths change the way you approach God when you are struggling?
  4. Are you willing to put your faith in the grace of God and not in your own goodness or achievements? If yes, how do you think that will change your relationship with God?

Action steps:
Memorize the definitions of these words…
  • justified
  • grace
  • redemption
  • propitiation
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.