1. "Jesus is God" - this is evident throughout the Gospel of John where Jesus declares "I am." Also, the disciples proclaim Him as God incarnate. If Jesus is God, then how is it that so many seemingly do not esteem Him so? Do you esteem Him so?
2. What does it take for one to answer in the same manner as Thomas, "My LORD and my God?" John 20:28
3. Do you understand Paul's illustration about the "two
4. The authors portray Christ as the "perfect sacrifice." Did they adequately make their case? (Are you convinced?) If not what would you add to strengthen it?
5. Why do we need a "perfect sacrifice" to cover our sins? If the sacrifice of animals worked for thousands of years, why would God need a person, let alone a perfect One, to completely, perfectly and eternally pay for our sins?
Legal Aspects of Christ's Atonement
1. Can you think of any other times in the Bible where so many of God's attributes were demonstrated as they were at Christ's crucifixion?
2. The authors depict a courtroom scene where God's justice is meted out. Ever been in court where you received your 'just penalty?' What would you have given not to receive that penalty? How would you react if another person burst into the court and declared that he is guilty of your crime AND he will pay your penalty in full, not only this time, but for every time you ever committed a crime, in the past and into the future? How would you react to that? How would you react to that person when he then offered to be your closest companion and to strengthen you in all you do?
3. When you consider that Christ paid the price for your wrongs/crimes/sins, what does that act say about how much God values you and the resulting opportunity to relate to you?
4. The authors state that viewing God "exclusively as absolute and unconditional love" ... "demeans ... His holiness and justice." Agree/Disagree? Write out your answer.
1. Genesis 3 depicts the curse being placed upon mankind, but was there also a blessing imbedded in that curse? (See Genesis chapter 3)
2. Christ bore our sins on the cross. As He takes on our curse, He provides a blessing to all who believe, but is there also a curse mixed in with this blessing? (See I Peter 2:4-8; I Corinthians 1:23; Romans 9:31-33)
3. If the cross or "tree" is the perfect place for curse bearing, then why were the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament performed at the temple on an altar? (See Leviticus 16:6-22 - Day of Atonement)
4. If Christ became sin or a curse for you, how does that translate into a blessing for you?
The Great Exchange
1. What does imputation mean?
2. Does it have a personal meaning for you?
3. Does the imputation of your sin onto Christ require anything on your part?
4. Does imputation only work in one direction?
5. The authors depict Christ as trading places with us, in effect a "Great Exchange." Typically, though, when we complete a transaction there is some payment to be made to complete the exchange or to "seal the deal." With what do you pay to complete this exchange or how do you "seal the deal" so that this Great Exchange is part of your life? In other words, what can or do you offer to Christ in the "Great Exchange?"
Centrality of the Cross
1. Is the cross truly central to the Gospel message? In other words, without the cross is there a Gospel? Didn't Jesus speak and do wonderful things? What about them? What place does the Sermon on the Mount or the Lord's Prayer have in the Gospel message?
2. Is the cross "unspeakably dear to [your] soul?"
3. "All our blessings were blood-bought." Agree/Disagree? Explain your answer.
4. Could you receive a blessing from God without blood being shed? Are you sure?
5. At any point in all of human history, is it possible that there is atonement for sins without the Cross?
6. The authors state, "the Church should beware whenever the moral code taught by Jesus, or the example of Jesus, is declared the essential Christian message." Agree/Disagree? If you disagree, then what is "the essential Christian message?" If you agree, of what should the Church be wary?
Paul: Adamant about Christ's Atonement
1. Paul exalts Christ's atonement for our sins, especially in light of the "Judaizers" of his day. Are we like the Judaizers of Paul's day? If so, how?
2. If we are not like the Judaizers, then are we guilty of the opposite? What is the opposite of legalism?
3. Are we like Paul, in that we emphasize the atoning work of the cross above all else in our doctrine, speech and conduct? If not, what are we emphasizing when we share our faith with others?
4. Is it really so simple that our obedience flows from our response of gratitude for Christ's atoning sacrifice? Don't we have to "work at it" and suffer? (See 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Ephesians 2:4-10; Philippians 2:12-13)
The Cross: A Stumbling Block
1. The authors emphasize that the Gospel is not about Jesus "demonstrating that He was willing to die for His beliefs." Why is this so important? Didn't Jesus die as a martyr, too? What is the authors' point? Just exactly what is "the Gospel?"
2. If someone depicts Jesus as merely a "philosopher-martyr," then what does that say about their view of the Gospel and those who proclaim it?
3. The cross is a stumbling stone for Jews. Why is that? (See Luke 15:11-31 the "tale of two sons")
4. The cross is foolishness for Gentiles. Why?
5. If the cross is foolishness, then why does Paul glory or boast in it? (See Galatians 6:14)