Weekend Bible Study
Theme of the Week: The Life-Changing Power of Hope
Saturday, August 9, 2014
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By pointing to Abraham as the "father of all who believe" (4:16), this week's study passage argues convincingly that salvation comes through faith and not by works. Then tucked within this passage about Abraham's faith is a powerful verse that reveals the depth of his trust: "Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping" (4:18). Abraham's deep faith in God kept him hoping even when his circumstances looked hopeless. It is this kind of faith that should fuel our own "confident hope of salvation" (5:4)—a hope that will never disappoint (5:5).
What causes you to doubt your faith? When is it most difficult to have hope?
According to 5:3-4, why should we "rejoice" when we "run into problems and trials"?
According to 5:4, what strengthens our "confident hope of salvation"?
What hope-filled promises do you find in 5:9-10? (See also John 5:24; Col. 1:19-22; Eph. 2:13; 1 Thess. 1:10.)
What difficult circumstances are you enduring right now? How might God want to use these circumstances to strengthen your faith, character, and hope?
Key Study Passage:
Spend Time in Prayer: Thank God for saving you from condemnation (5:9), for his friendship through Christ (v. 10), and for lasting hope that never disappoints.
The Faith of Abraham
4 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God's way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, "Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith."[a]
4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. 6 David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:
7 "Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin."[b]
9 Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles?[c] Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. 10 But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!
Faith Brings Joy
Prayer for the Week
Heavenly Father, I pray for people in my life who are drowning in discouragement. Show me how I might reach out to them and offer them hope for a better tomorrow and a better eternity.
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