1. “Nowhere does the Bible indicate that God forgives solely or even primarily because he is a “loving God.” Agree/Disagree? If you agree, what is the basis for your agreement? If you disagree, what is the basis for your disagreement? Which position honors all aspects of God’s character? Which position honors the atonement? What danger lies in developing a theology that neglects all aspects of God’s character?
2. Is love alone enough to remove the wall of separation between sinful man and a holy God? If not, why not?
3. In Chapter 2 of Ephesians Paul portrays our identity outside of Christ like we are wearing an identification badge that says, “sinner,” “thief,” or “deviant.” What happens such that this is no longer your identity? What does it take to change your identity badge?
4. In another part of Ephesians 2 Paul portrays the redeemed sinner like one who is very different from other sinners. What are the aspects of the redeemed sinner’s identity?
5. Sometimes we speak of a “Chinese wall” as a picture of separating someone from certain information or contact with certain people. If we speak of Christ breaking all walls that separate us from others, then does Christ’s example empower redeemed sinners to act as if the walls are truly broken?
6. In Ephesians 5:2 does Paul encourage us to follow Christ’s example? What empowers the redeemed sinner to “walk in love?”
7. The smoke of the animal sacrifice became a fragrant and pleasing odor to the Lord. While I was growing up, a neighboring farmer experienced a barn fire and several animals were lost in the fire. The smell of burning flesh was not pleasing. If the smoke from burning animals doesn’t really smell all that good, what is the point of God saying it is pleasing to Him? Is His sense of smell different from ours?
8. Christ’s sacrifice was pleasing to God, also. Does that mean that He was pleased with the brutality of the crucifixion? What is it about a sacrifice, a burning animal or a brutalized Messiah, that pleases God?
9. The bride wears a beautiful gown and is everyone’s focus throughout the wedding ceremony. Can you imagine a trashy, filthy whore walking down the aisle of your church to be married to the most honorable and righteous man in your church? We would all gape with mouths open in astonishment. Does Christ sacrifice Himself for the “beautiful, blushing bride” or the trashy, filthy whore?
10. What does it take for us to become Christ’s bride, one that is “without spot or wrinkle?”(Ephesians 5:27) What do we do to become Christ’s bride? What does Christ do to make us His bride?
11. The Bible depicts marriage as a picture of what it is like to be in a relationship with Him. What is so powerful, so compelling about the marriage relationship that God celebrates it throughout Scripture and even initiates eternity with us by it?