S – “So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.” Galatians 4:31
O – Paul is explaining to those who were telling believers they had to keep the Jewish law that Christ has set us free from the law. Just as Ishmael had to be sent away so that Isaac the son of promise could receive his inheritance so we must realize that we are now free from the law and have received our inheritance in Jesus. All who believe in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus are His children and are free from the burden of the law which is impossible for us to keep. Jesus kept it for us!
A – Are we living as children of the free woman? Am I? That doesn’t mean living wantonly. It means living free from guilt, fear, and doubt. I’m a daughter of the King and nothing can change that. Nothing can take it away. I’m free to be who He created me to be. Free to live in joy and praise. No matter how many times I stumble and fall, He will always pick me up. I’m not working to earn the right to stay with Him, I am His for eternity. That’s my permanent condition and the condition of any believer in Christ Jesus. We need to send the slave mentality away, get rid of it and live with the freedom of beloved children.
P – Praise you Jesus! Praise your holy name! Thank you for redeeming me and making me your child. Thank you that I’m yours forever. Thank you I’m no longer a slave but a beloved daughter.
SOAP Bible Study method
S – “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law…whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10
O – Paul repeats this several times to emphasize that love is the fulfillment of the law. How often have we as Christians been “law-keepers” with an attitude of judgment, resentment, or arrogance toward “sinners”. But that isn’t fulfilling the law at all. If we don’t love, we fail.
A – If I don’t love, I fail. What law could I keep that would matter if I don’t love others? I grew up thinking if I kept this list of ‘rules’ then I would be right with God. But most of those rules were all about me: don’t drink, smoke, dance, do drugs. Also, keep sex for marriage but that involves other people. Some of those rules might be wise choices for healthy living but that is not the debt I owe. The debt I owe is to love others as Christ has loved me. The focus should be loving others and doing what is best for them not focusing on myself and keeping rules that make me proud. It’s not about making myself better so I can be proud. It’s about losing myself to serve others in the name of Christ. “Love does no harm to a neighbor”. It’s about living to do what is best for others.
P – Father, forgive me. Please forgive me for so often getting it wrong in my life. Especially in the early years but I still lose the right focus. Please help me to love others as myself and to be determined never to do harm. Even the harm of neglect, of not giving what I could give, of not acknowledging others when the opportunity comes. You know my heart Jesus, even better than I do. Please forgive me for selfishness, pride, judgment, and being unloving. Help me. Holy Spirit please love through me. In my own strength, I’m nothing. Please let your love flow through me. Help me to walk yielded to you.
SOAP Bible Reading
S – “You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8
O – David wrote this when he had been captured by the Philistines and had to pretend to be insane to save his life. (1 Samuel 21:10-15) He was constantly on the run during this period. His life was always in danger. Saul was a madman and determined to kill David. David was called a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22) This verse shows his deep feeling and how close he was to his Father. He knew God was aware of all his wanderings and even knew about each tear he shed.
A – God knows every step I take, every thought I think, every tear in my heart. He knows every weakness, every sin, even when I am clueless, He knows all about me. And He loves me with an everlasting love! It’s easy for me to appear to others as better than I am. It’s easy for me to make excuses for myself. But God sees me exactly as I am and loves me. He loved me enough for Jesus to die for me and give me everlasting life. He knew when He created me how often I would fail, how weak I would be and He still died for me. He still loves me. He still knows every tear I shed.
P – Father, thank you for loving me with a perfect love. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me even though I did not deserve it. Thank you that you love me so much you are aware of every tear I cry. Help me to walk in awareness of your love. Help me to walk in step with your Spirit. Help me to live like I’m loved because I am loved completely.
SOAP Bible Study Method
PAID IN FULL
S – “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.” Romans 5:15-16
O – Four times in these two verses Paul says “Free gift”. Free means free. Free means “not costing anything or charging anything”. If a gift is free then we are not obligated to pay anything. We just accept the gift. We reach out and take it. I have to believe there is a gift. I have to receive it but the gift is mine to keep. If I had to do something to earn the gift, then it would not be free.
A – The free gift brings justification. It’s a gift that the human brain has trouble comprehending. That our perfect, holy Creator would offer us the free gift of salvation and that it would come because His Son, Jesus Christ was willing to life a perfect life for us and then die in our place to pay for our sins. To pay for my sin. He conquered death and rose again. He paid the price for our sin. Now He offers salvation as a free gift to all who believe in Him. It sounds too good to be true but it is true! That is who God is. That’s how much He loves us.
P – Thank you Father for the free gift of salvation. Thank you Jesus for being willing to die for us.
S – “On that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” Romans 2:16
O – There is coming a day when all the secrets of our hearts will be judged by God. On that day there will be no pretending, no masking, no hiding…the sins of our hearts will be revealed and we will be exposed. On that day, I will be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. On that day, He will judge and only those who have trusted in His death for us will escape judgement.
From John Piper:
“Note this very carefully in verse 16: it is the gospel that speaks of judgment here. This means that you can’t feel the glorious seriousness of the gospel of Jesus Christ unless you know that it is a gospel about future judgment. The gospel is glorious not to the extent that it solves our problems with depression and cancer, but to the extent that it removes the wrath of Almighty God against us at the last judgment, and brings us to everlasting joy. “
“Being justified by God, being given a positive sentence at the last judgment is greater than all our mental well-being and all our physical health in this whole life on earth. “ John Piper
A – Praise God! My sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Praise His holy name! On that day when I face judgement, He will say “Paid in full.”
P – Dear Jesus, thank you, I love you. Please glorify your name in and through my life. Thank you that I am yours forever.
SOAP Bible Study Method
Why do I continually teeter on the edge of following God whole-heartedly and being aware I’m totally self-seeking? I’m 64. Have I progressed at all? Am I just a weak, flabby believer? Have I deceived myself and fallen for the easy life, comfort, warmth, never pushing myself too hard? Am I real with others? Am I just looking for the way of lest resistance? I say I want to follow Jesus, that I am His follower but am I dying to self? Jesus said the one who comes after Him must deny themselves take up their cross and follow Him. The line between following Him in self-denial and living to enjoy all He has given becomes blurred.
His word says He gives us all things richly for us to enjoy. Everything is a gift from Him. But my flesh so easily starts looking to the gifts more than the Giver. The Giver is the one who is the source of my joy, peace, and life. The gifts are to point me to Him. The pull to self-exaltation is always out there, luring me away from worship of God alone. Why else would I continually battle jealousy, pride, and comparison? My flesh looks for recognition and honor. My spirit longs to honor my Lord. I know I belong to Jesus. He is my Lord and my Savior. But will I enter heaven as if by fire, with all my works burning up? Will I have any gold or silver to offer to Him? Have I had it too easy? Is that why my flesh so easily falls back into floating along? Do I truly love people? Loving others is everything. That is the whole law summed up. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do I even know how to love?
Sometimes I feel trapped in my own mind. Trapped in seeking ease and comfort. My brothers and sisters around the world suffer just for believing. They have no choice. It’s so easy to make excuses for myself. It’s so easy to give myself a pass. But the only true evaluation is what my Lord thinks. Am I living in obedience to Him? Am I listening to His voice and following my Shepherd? What others do or don’t do has no bearing on me. My call is to listen to and obey His call on my life. Am I listening and following or am I deciding what I think should be His will for me? Am I choosing the way I want to go or following Him in faith? He will call me beyond myself. He will call me to do what I can’t do apart from Him. He will call me to die to self-exaltation, self-protection, and pride. He will call me to lay down my life for others.
Jesus, I want to be willing. I want to hear you. I believe in you with all my heart. I want to live for you with all my being. I want to be willing to die to self-protection, comfort, and the easy way. Help me Jesus. Please, help me abide in you. Help me remain in you because that is the only way to bear fruit. I don’t want to waste the time you’ve given me or whatever time I have left. I don’t want to leave this earth in regret. Please, Lord, take my strengths which are few, my weaknesses which are many, my gifts, talents, experiences, hopes, dreams, my life, my all. Take me and use my life for your glory. Glorify your name in me Father. Let your strength be made perfect in my weakness.
Luke 9:23; I Timothy 6:17; James 1:17; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 3:15; Mark 12:29-31; John 15:13; John 10:27; John 15:4; 2 Corinthians 12:9