The Point: Jesus made it possible for us to be righteous before God.
Get Into the Study
Currently, I am sitting in a coffee shop where the drink of the month is an extra grande king cake latte topped with whip and cinnamon. In New Orleans, Mobile, and other places, the Mardi Gras season is wrapping up which means king cakes will be gone soon, too. Mardi Gras is the season just before Lent when cities host “carnival” with parades, celebrations, and lots of festivities. It is a time to celebrate with people you know and those you meet on a parade route and a time to throw caution to the wind. It’s a time “to let the good times roll!” One of the central themes of Mardi Gras is sharing time together over food such as red beans and rice and king cake. A king cake is a lot like a cinnamon roll, topped with icing, and sprinkles that are purple, green, and gold. It is a necessity for parties, parades, and places people gather during the season. But, if you aren’t from the area or don’t know about the culture, it’s a strange drink to see at the coffee shop.
For non-coffee drinkers, going in a coffee shop can be a bit intimidating, figuring out the sizes, the flavors, the types of specialty drinks, and all the extras can be overwhelming. Some people need a translator when they get to the counter (I know I used to!).
As you begin your group time, ask “Who is and who isn’t a coffee drinker?” This should start some conversation about types of coffee, brands of coffee, coffee vs. tea, etc. Then, ask “What has been your experience when it comes to ordering at a coffee shop? Did you have questions? Did you need a translator?” Let this conversation move your group to today’s discussion on salvation and the need for a mediator.
Dr. Beth Masters is currently working as a hospital chaplain where she engages with families, patients, and hospital staff during critical life moments. She has a Ph.D. in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where she teaches Collegiate Ministry. Beth loves young adults, baking, and coffee.
Get Into the Study (Adult Option)
After introducing Pack Item #3, play a video clip (last two minutes) of a simple gospel presentation and invitation from your church or another trusted source. Encourage group members to ask questions throughout the session and to respond to the gospel message if they are not saved.
This optional activity is from the Adult Leader Guide.
Study the Bible (Young Adult & Senior Adult Option)
After reading Romans 3:20-22, display this image of a 55 MPH speed limit sign. Then ask the question and follow the directives on either page 45 of the Young Adult Leader Guide or page 35 of the Senior Adult Leader Guide.
Study the Bible (Advanced Teacher Guide Option)
Download one or two sample legal documents (click here for samples) and make enough copies for each group member. Lead a discussion based on the information on page 18 of the Advanced Bible Study Teacher Guide..
Live It Out
Use the following as you conclude this session.
On Tuesday, February 18th, President Trump granted clemency to eleven people. Since then, the power of presidential pardon has been at the forefront of many news stories. Presidential pardons have taken place since the first president, George Washington, and have often been a source of contention. A recent New York Times article highlighted several infamous pardons: James Madison granted clemency to pirates; Andrew Johnson pardoned the doctor who harbored John Wilkes Boothe after Lincoln’s assassination; and Gerald R. Ford pardoned former president Richard M. Nixon.
Ask: “Why are presidential pardons often controversial?” Emphasize that pardons can upset people’s sense of justice. Keep the focus on the concept of a pardon, not specific cases granted by President Trump or other recent presidents.
Ask: “What is the difference between a pardon and God’s act of justification?” Discuss the positive effects of justification. Emphasize that Christ’s saving act on the cross displayed God’s righteousness and justice. In Christ, justice was satisfied. The penalty was paid in full. Use the commentary in the leader’s guide under verses 24 and 25-26 for further clarification.
Direct the group members to the “Live It Out” statements. Encourage group members to choose one of the applications.
Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. After graduation, she enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor. Having returned to Tennessee with her husband, she is now thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher.
- When have you been happy to hire a professional instead of trying to DIY?
- When has someone stepped in and rescued you from an awkward situation?
- When have you really wished you had a translator?
- How does society encourage the idea that we need to work hard to go to heaven?
- When have you received credit for something you didn’t do?
- What’s the difference in merely knowing about our sin and repenting from sin?
- When is a time you have experienced grace from another person?
- How can these verses influence your response to people when they fall short?
- Where have you seen the truth of verse 23 in your life?
- What’s the connection between faith and humility in salvation?
- What are some ways we demonstrate faith in our everyday lives?
- How can an understanding of justification by faith lead to freedom?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Podcast – NEW FEATURE
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- HomeLife – The Joy of Repentance