The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness
a collaborative work by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington

Chapter 7

Romans

 

1. Does a judge ever say to a defendant, “Aw shucks, it’s ok that you committed that crime, even though society says that it was wrong I love you and that’s enough to set you free?”  What does that say about the judge, the laws or the defendant?  

 

2.  The authors write of “pre-existing captivity.”  To what are they referring?  To whom or what is man captive?  Are you a captive?  If not, how were you set free?

 

3.  If you grasp that the Gospel must first tell us “bad news,” then does that understanding aid your understanding of propitiation?  If not, then what more do you need to know about propitiation?  Will you commit to open the Scriptures to discover more?

 

4.  The authors write of the unity of God’s character and how His Justice and Mercy, even though in our human terms seem opposite of each other, are not opposites with God.  Further, they emphatically state that these and other aspects of God’s character are most evident at the crucifixion.  Do you agree?  If not, where else in the Bible does God so fully exhibit His character as He does at the cross?  If you agree, then is the crucifixion really the central event in all of human history?

 

5.  Abraham is often cited as the human father of faith.  He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.  As one living in the post-crucifixion era, what do you believe so that God my credit righteousness to you?  Is what you believe all that different from what Abraham believed?  Why/why not?

 

6. Our position from birth is that of a sinner.  Our position from our re-birth is that of a redeemed sinner.  Christ does this for us.  What is our role in obtaining a new position, one that is in Christ?

 

7.  Accountants keep account by double entries.  One for what money comes in and the other for what money goes out.  If Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account, i.e., money coming in, what is going out of our account so that our account is just as full of righteousness as Christ’s?  What is going into Christ’s account?  What is going out of Christ’s account?  Is Christ’s account of righteousness ever exhausted?  Why not?

 

8.  “Our sin for His righteousness” is a sub-title for the book.  It is in essence, “the great exchange.”  How does the exchange of our sin, a “wrong-standing” with God, turn into a “right-standing” with God?  Without this exchange is it possible that one’s theology may just sort of sweep one’s sin under the rug? 

 

9.  Many people speak of God as a Father.  According to the Scriptures when does God become a Father to a sinner?

 

10.  If faith is the instrument by which the crediting of righteousness to a sinner occurs, then what is the object of the sinner’s faith?  Does the sinner trust in God’s perfect ability to be like an accountant to trade Christ’s righteousness with man’s sin?  Is it something more than that?  Or is it something rather simple?

 

11.  Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of The Christ,” contained very stirring images of the physical punishment that Christ experienced.  If you have seen the movie, you can better appreciate the physical agony that He experienced.  As difficult as those images were to view, do you agree with the authors that Christ experienced an even more horrific agony by simply being separated from His Father?  Can you even begin to get your brain around such a thought?

 

12.  The Resurrection serves as proof of Christ’s payment for our sins, His victory over sin and death, as well as His deity.  All but the Apostle John died as martyrs on account of their insistence that Jesus raised from the dead.  Did the Apostles die for a sincerely held belief or for a fact?  What is the difference between a sincerely held belief and a fact?  Did the Apostles die for what they believed their rewards in Heaven would be or was it on account of what they saw, touched and experienced?  With respect to martyrs that didn’t see the resurrected Jesus were their deaths on account of a sincerely held belief or did they also rely on a fact?

 

13.  If you have ever been estranged from a spouse, friend or family member and the relationship was restored, there was joy in the restored relationship, but it likely came about through difficulty for all concerned.  Christ endured unimaginable agony in order to restore the relationship with us.  What did we endure in order to join Him in the restored relationship?  Consider Psalm 51:17 and Luke 15:11-32 in your answer.

 

14.   In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and Jesus’ teaching about how only the sick need a physician (Matthew 9:10-12), what are the characteristics of those praised in these passages?  Are those characteristics evident in your life?  If those characteristics are not evident in your life, what will you do, right now, to exhibit them? 

 

15.  Did Jesus die on the cross so that He could show us the way to live an exemplary and unique life?  Was His life and example enough to redeem us?  What is so distinctive about His substitutionary death?  Is it truly the only means for us to have Christ live in us and we in Him?  If so, why is the imputation of His life to ours so critical in this great exchange?

 

16.  What took place in Genesis Chapter 3 such that Adam and his seed are identified as sinners?  What do you suppose would have happened if Adam and his seed were not identified as sinners?  In other words, what if God did nothing when Adam and Eve ate from the tree?  If Adam’s identification as a sinner came about as a result of a curse, then how do you, as Adam’s seed, become “unidentified” as a sinner?

 

17.  Besides identification as a sinner and an enemy of God, Adam’s curse becomes a cure for sinners.  How does that happen?

 

18.  Another way to read Romans 6:1is“does reveling in the curse bring more of a cure?” or “does getting sicker make the cure that much better?” or “does getting dirtier make the cleaning up all the better?” Paul is saying that the curse, although it brought the cure to us, is not the focal point, the cure is.  What is the cure and how is it administered?

 

19. In Romans Chapter 6 is Paul also saying that all human attempts at “washing away the dirt” are no different than getting dirty?  In other words, all that we do to attempt to become perfect is perverted by our sin nature.  Is Paul saying that the curse is so utterly complete and the stain on us so utterly permanent that nothing in this non-permanent world can erase it?

 

20.  Have you ever won a judgment in court?  Did your opponent readily pay the judgment or did he seek out various ways to avoid paying?  Alone, the judgment or decree, although legal and just, somehow isn’t enough for it to be enforced.  The prevailing party must act upon the decree. Often, a prevailing litigant may need an aid in execution in order to realize on the courtroom victory.  If Christ gained victory over sin and death, then what aid do you need for that to be real in your life?  If that same decree holds that you are dead to sin, then what aid do you need to realize this truth?

 

21.  If you prevailed in court and obtained a judgment, what would be the result if you never pressed your opponent to pay?  Is it possible to have a favorable decree and yet not act upon it?  What would that look like?

 

22.  Examine the definition for reconciliation.  What else can you draw from it?  Does your monthly bank statement have anything to do with what Christ did on the cross for you?  In other words, when you reconcile your checkbook to the bank’s statement, what is the means for reconciliation?  Is the purpose to see which is right and which is wrong?  Or is it to get them to agree?  Does Christ’s reconciliation work in either or both of these ways?  Or is it something entirely different than keeping accurate accounts?

 

23. Have you ever been in a class where one person misbehaved and the entire class suffered as a result?  Was the misbehaving person’s identity revealed after the punishment?  Have you ever felt like Adam was that misbehaving person and you were punished just for being in the room?  How is it that God is justified in condemning all mankind for Adam’s sin?

 

24.  What if you were the one that misbehaved in class and a fellow classmate took your blame?  What if all but one member of the class misbehaved and the one that didn’t misbehave took the blame for all?  Would your classmate have the same feelings as you had for being unjustly punished for another’s behavior?  Would you react differently to the punished classmate? 

 

25.  What if you were the one that misbehaved in class and the principal came into the class and took your blame?  Is your answer any different from the previous question?

 

26.  Explain in your own words what baptism means.  What is the importance of this symbol within, not only the Christian faith, but also your own life? 

 

27.  What connotations are associated with death?  Are all negative?  If death is a separation, what is being separated?  Is the separation more than just this life and the next?  Is it also being separated from sin and selfishness?

 

28.  Is death the point of Jesus’ teaching in John 12:24? (See Romans 7:4)  According to Jesus, what does it take in order to bear fruit?  Is He speaking of a literal death?  Just what is He getting at?

 

29.  With what kind of persons or organizations are you united?  How did you become united with that person or organization?  Are there similarities between your union with another person or organization and being united with Christ?  Are there any dissimilarities?

 

30.  If just one sin disqualifies Jesus Christ as a redeeming Savior for sinners, then how important is it that your theology mandates that such a savior must be as perfect as God?  Does your theology truly support a holy and perfect God sacrificing Himself for sinners and that sacrifice alone can redeem sinners?  Or is your theology “soft” on this issue? 

 

31.  Can mercy be mandated?  What is the basis of mercy?  Upon what basis does one person extend mercy to another?  Upon what basis does God extend mercy to sinners?

 

32.  If Christ fully drank God’s wrath and fury for your sins, then what is the basis for fearing God?

 

33.  Absent a unity with Christ and the atonement is there any hope for a sinner to spend eternity with God in Heaven?  If not, then for what purpose does one ascribe to nominal Christianity?

© Copyright 2007, Jerry Bridges and Robert Bevington, All Rights Reserved.

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