This is my 2nd year of attending Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). In Singapore, BSF men’s fellowship is available in 6 locations at host churches. What I like about it is that BSF is non-denominational, hence there are no factions here and everyone is part of the body of Christ. So we have Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Charismatics, Pentecostals etc all sharing the Word of God and our life experiences through class participation sharing our views towards questions about each chapter (each class about 15 pax – men’s fellowship are separately conducted from women’s fellowship).
Last year we studied the book of Genesis. We met every monday for the whole year except for the school vacation periods. My cohort this year seemed to grow even bigger and our hall where we gather for the Teaching Leader’s message is filled up with about 500 men. The notes that accompany each week’s bible study are fantastic and they point and cross reference us to other relevant parts of the bible. My BSF journey has opened my eyes to reveal God’s Word even more richly and it comes alive to me. I liken myself to a child hungering to learn more words to speak.
This evening, as I am relaxing at home, I was thankful that God gave me a deeper revelation to my questions regarding Repentance and Sin.
Romans 7:14-25 (NLT)
14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
After reading through verse 7, it reveals that the answer to our struggle lies in Christ.
Without Christ, no changes that we seek to make will be effective. With Christ, His Spirit will enable us to begin to live for Him and with Him. Will we choose to depend upon the Holy Spirit (living in all who believe Him) in all areas of our life? As the Holy Spirit did for the Lord Jesus Christ during His life on earth, He will also enable us to live a new life of love and obedience.
Life in the Spirit
8 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 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. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.