God's Saving Work
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:7-14, ESV)
There is Freedom in our Redemption!
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood...
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1, ESV)
"23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," (Romans 3:23-24, ESV)
There is Purpose in our Inheritance!
11 In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11-12, ESV)
12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ..." (Romans 8:16-17, ESV)
"as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26, ESV)
LIFEGROUP NOTES -Week 2 - God's Saving Work
This week’s message was on the topic of God’s saving work. Take a few moments and discuss which portions of this week’s message had the greatest impact on you.
The subject of God’s saving work is directly related to what we studied last week--Election. Continuing with the theme of practicality and application in this series, we will study today redemption, specifically, how we are not redeemed.
As a group, read Romans 9:6-13. We see that Paul is anticipating a question from his audience based on the topic from the previous verses. Paul makes the statement in v6, “But it is not as though the word of GOD has failed”. This shows that Paul is anticipating his audience to question the reliability of GOD’s promises and the truthfulness of GOD’s word based on what he has just shared with them.
1. As a group, discuss what it is in v1-5 that would lead Paul’s audience to ask this question?
This question comes from Paul talking about the brokenness that he has for his Jewish “brothers” who are lost. He anticipates his audience to say, “Well how/why are you broken for them, are they not the people of the promise? Are they not Jews and as such God’s elect? They can’t be lost because scripture says that they are the chosen people...to share in the adoption as GOD’s children. So, what you are telling us now then is that GOD’s promises are no longer trustworthy? People have a bad habit of treating election and brokenness for the lost as mutually exclusive--but they are not!
Paul’s anticipation of this question leads to his response in v6 where he points out three things: 1) Your heritage will not save your, 2) your works will not save you, and 3) Only GOD can save you! Today’s study will look at two additional verses that support these three truths
First, let’s address the topic of being saved by good works. As a group, turn to and read Eph. 2:1-10
2. Describe the “works” of the people in v1-3?
3. What does the end of v3 tells us about these people’s position as it relates to GOD?
4. v5-7 walk us through GOD’s remedy to this problem...saving us through CHRIST. As a group, discuss how v4 changes the direction of this passage?
If salvation were achieved through good works, the people described in v1-3 certainly would not qualify! But just in case his example in v1-7 weren’t plain and obvious enough, Paul clears up any confusion about works and salvation in v8-9.
5. As a group, read these verses (v8-9) and discuss why Paul is so intent on making this truth known. (hint: think about who get the glory when people like those described in v103 are saved)
Secondly, let’s look at the topic of salvation through family heritage (eg. I am a Christian because my grandparents and my parents are Christians). As a group, turn to and read 1 Peter 1:3-5 .
6. This passage sets up a dichotomy between the inheritance of those who are born again and of those who are not. Peter describes with specificity, the benefits to being in the heritage of CHRIST. He says that their eternal inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. By contrast, what is Peter saying about the inheritance of those who don’t know CHRIST as a personal Lord and Savior and whose heritage is only worldly?
The main point of Sunday’s message our redemption--our inheritance, but unto this end--the Praise of GOD’s glory. Today we looked at two views of salvation that, if true, would completely rob God of any glory that He would receive as a result. God Alone Saves--it is His saving work, this is the central truth of Election. So, what is Election? It is the truth that God initiates salvation and He alone is the source of salvation! Humans cannot choose to be saved on their own. Humans can only be saved when God, through the Holy Spirit, prompts them to their need for a savior. Ephesians 2:4 tells us that in Christ we are made alive by GOD despite our deadness...salvation has nothing to do with our merit or works. 1 Pet. 1:3 is even more explicit, telling us that GOD has caused us to be born again guaranteeing our eternal inheritance. This language is not coincidence, it is purposeful! These passages show that in the equation of salvation, God alone is ultimately determinate! GOD is the initiating, sustaining, and binding force in salvation. Our works don’t matter and our heritage doesn’t matter. Scripture, in every facet, is united in this theme and as such echoes the senti- ment of Paul in Romans 9:6, The Word of GOD will never fail! It is consistent, it is timeless, it is truth; and what it says, we can trust without reservation!