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When reading Romans, it’s helpful to remember that Paul is using a literary style known as a diatribe. A diatribe is a writing style that features questions and answers to make a point.
Remember, Paul has never been to Rome and he doesn’t know the Romans personally, but he has preached enough (over 20 years) to know the kinds of questions that will come up about the gospel. So, as he lays out his message in Romans, he interjects questions from an imaginary person to answer the questions that he is sure his readers will have as they read his letter.
Thinking about the times I’ve returned and unwanted item to the store helps me understand the nature of a diatribe. As I’m driving back to the store, I enter into an imaginary conversation between the store clerk and myself. Usually the conversation goes like this, “if they say this, then I’m going to say…” I’m sure you’ve found yourself having conversations like this too!
So, think of a time when you’ve used a diatribe. Would you be willing to share it with the group?
Our objective is to understand that Christ alone saves us; He is faithful to do what He says He will do. As believers we stand firm in Christ alone, not tradition, rituals, or external spiritual acts. Confession plays a key role in helping us to stand firm in Christ. When we confess, we’re offering our heart, the very core of our being, to God. The result of confession is freedom!
“1 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: ‘So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.’ 5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing His wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, ‘If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases His glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?’ 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—‘Let us do evil that good may result?’ Their condemnation is just!”
What are the four objections that Paul deals with here?
If being an ethnic Jew has no value in protecting from God’s judgment, what value does it have?
In what way were the Jewish people given a great privilege and responsibility? In what ways have Christians been given that same privilege and responsibility?
What does Paul’s teaching about God’s faithfulness say to Christians today?
Is there anything you look to for security instead of God, things like, your job, health, relationships, provisions, or religious practices?
How can building your life upon Christ, a solid foundation, help keep you from turning toward things that only give a false sense of security? How can you make this a reality for you today?
Read Romans 8:1-2, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
How can this verse give you confidence to stand firm in Christ? Will you do it?
Confession is a key component, it restores and frees us from sin and death, would you take some times this week and rest in the freedom that comes from confession?