• Sin’s Reality and the Ideal

    Philemon 8

    As today’s study shows, understanding the cultural background of a passage in Scripture is important to figuring out why an author says what he says. In turn, as we hope to show in future studies, knowing this historical context ...Read More

  • Speaking the Truth

    Ephesians 4:25

    Martin Luther purportedly said, “Peace if possible, but truth at any rate.” We cannot lie to others about the depth of our sin or the sin of others even if we know lies will maintain “peace” between different parties. We ...Read More

  • Suffering in the Spirit

    Romans 8:18–30

    How long has it been since you experienced any of the groaning Paul refers to in Romans 7 and 8? Is it possible that you have allowed your conscience to become hardened to your own waywardness? Ask the Lord to ...Read More

  • That Good May Come

    Romans 3:8

    Telling people that they have not done and cannot do enough to merit the kingdom of God provokes all sorts of hostile reactions. Some question the Lord’s justice. Others accuse the preacher of telling people they should sin with ...Read More

  • The Army of the Lord

    Joel 2:1–11

    John Calvin comments on Joel 2:1–11, reminding us that its final end is not to preach judgment for judgment’s sake but to warn people to turn from sin: “The object of the narrative, then, is to make ...Read More

  • The Awakened Conscience

    Hebrews 9

    Write a brief account of how God awakened your conscience. If you were converted as a child, you might not remember. If this is the case, write a brief account of a time in your life when God used your ...Read More

  • The Battle Within

    Romans 7:7–25

    Only the person who has been given a new heart by the Holy Spirit can long for His precepts (Ps. 119:40); therefore, only the regenerate person has a real struggle within when he fails to obey. If you trust ...Read More

  • The Consequences of Sin

    2 Kings 17:1-23

    If we are in Christ, we need not fear that we will be exiled from the blessed presence of God forever. However, God may still discipline us for our sin, and we may feel the effects of His disciplinary rod ...Read More

  • The Deception of Empty Words

    Ephesians 5:6

    There are men and women struggling with sexual sin in all of our congregations. They want to please God and are seeking to mortify the flesh, and we should do all that we can to help them. This means creating ...Read More

  • The Drama of Redemption

    Psalm 85:10

    Today’s passage contains the beautiful imagery of justice and peace (or mercy, as other translations put it) kissing each other. Our Father graciously restores peace between Himself and us in Christ Jesus. This peace is permanent, for it is ...Read More

  • The Echo of Conscience

    Romans 2

    If God has given all people a conscience, why is there so much moral decay in our society (Rom. 1)? What role does the church play in restraining sin (Matt. 1)? What role does the individual Christian play? During the ...Read More

  • The Fear of Men

    Jeremiah 38

    The fear of men is perhaps the strongest obstacle to doing the will of God faithfully. Whether we fear what men will say about us or what they will do to us, we are prone to act on that fear ...Read More

  • The Flesh

    Romans 8:1–8

    Learning to love the things God loves is essential to the mortification of our flesh. Aside from studying Scripture by ourselves, small-group Bible studies and accountability relationships between members of the same sex are powerful weapons in our spiritual warfare ...Read More

  • The Foolishness of Idolatry

    Isaiah 44:6–20

    Every form of idolatry manifests our doubts that God really has the ability to save. Counselors have long understood, for instance, that one of the main reasons people become drug, alcohol, and sex addicts is because they are looking for ...Read More

  • The Justice of God’s Choice

    Romans 5:15–17

    We must take our standards for justice from what God says and not from our own arbitrary opinions. If God says something is just, it is just. Of course, the Lord is not arbitrary about this. Justice is grounded in ...Read More