I'm sorry I'm posting this a day late. I've had a sick baby and well, life just happens that way sometimes!
Anyway, let's go ahead and get started on Chapter Eight!
Read 1 Peter 2:18-19. How were the physical slaves in the early church instructed to respond to their earthly masters?
I thought it was interesting how slavery in the first century, even though it was definately possible to have a master that was cruel, didn't resemble the slavery we think of in the 18th and 19th centuries. They could be educated, trained and function in the same employements as free persons. And, it was almost indistinguishable, as far as physical appearance and dress, to determine who was slave and free. Also, it was possible to earn freedom and possibly someday even own slaves as well. Certainly slavery wasn't the ideal scenario, and God definately didn't promote slavery. But, when He spoke in the New Testament He knew that analogy would be understood. 1 Peter teaches that slaves should submit to their masters even if their master was not kind.
How would a harsh master have served as an illustration of the oppression that characterizes sin?
I could just imagine the suffering taking place. It would likely be physical, mental and emotional anguish and just an all around hopeless and depressed feeling. The same is absolutely true of sin.
How is slavery to God different from slavery to sin?
God, in this analogy, would be the best, most caring, most perfect master. He would be compassionate, loving, kind and all of those characteristics that God is. His slave would be completely cared for, the most prestigious and eventually adopted into His family. Sin, in this analogy, would be the cruelest, most wicked, and hateful task master ever. You would not be cared for at all and you would never be free, but always suffer anguish and hopelessness.
God calls the wages of sin death (Romans 3:23). Not much can get more serious than death. Sin also brought about the downfall of man (Genesis) and the ultimate separation of man from God.
How does Jesus define true freedom?
Jesus said that everyone is a slave to sin. Only through Him, can you become free from sin. Only Jesus can take away the "cruel task master" sin.
In light of Ephesians 2:1-10 do you agree that sinners are unable to change their fallen nature or rescue themselves from sin?
Here is where John MacArthur tends to lean toward a Calvanist view of the doctrine of Grace, that the sinner is completely unable to save himself, or also called "total depravity". There is another view that many take regarding this doctrine which would be that sinners are depraved, but there is enough free will that man can choose to accept the free gift of freedom from sin on their own. This is called the Armenian view. I'll write more abou these differences in the coming chapters. I personally, like MacArthur, lean more toward the Calvinist view on this point. Ephesians clearly states that sinners are dead in their sin, but only alive through Christ. I would think that if one is dead, he wouldn't have anything left to be able to do anything. He's dead- completely void of anything living. A dead person wouldn't be capable of coming back alive on his own.
What is God's response to prideful, self righteous people?
Well, pride, in that you are placing yourself above others, is sinful. Self righteousness is a sinful attitutude. The pharisee had commited just as much sin as the tax gatherer, but the tax gatherer admitted his sin and asked forgiveness.
None of us can stand blameless before God. We are ALL sinners. Every one of us- you, me, the Pope. Mother Theresa. ALL of us. Everyone who has every lived has sinned, and therefore, apart from Jesus taking away that sin, we cannot stand blameless before God.
It's wrong to say that you would continue to sin, just so that God could pour out more of His grace on you. If you had really accepted His gift of freedom from sin, then you would quit living in a pattern of unrepentant sin, and live in the freedom from sin that He has given you.
People who openly flaunt their slavery to sin.
I've heard people make this statement so many times "Well, I'm going to hell anyway, but at least all of my friends will be there!" So much is wrong with that mind set! First of all, you don't have to "go to hell anyway". There is obviously a way out- Jesus. We all have sinned, but Jesus has offered to be our Savior- to save us from hell. No sin is too great that Jesus didn't cover it at the cross. Not one single sin is too great. So, whatever you did, or are currently doing, you can repent and ask Jesus to save you and cover that sin and He will. Secondly, hell is NOT going to be a big party. You won't even see your friends, you will be in isolation. Hot and burning and isolation, completely separated from God, in burning, suffering, anguish. Forever. Definately NOT a party.
But, Satan sure makes sin and hell sound tempting, doesn't he? That's why he's a deciever. He's called 'angel of light' because he (and sin) looks good on the outside, but at the core is vile, putrid, and disgusting filth. It's like that nice piece of fruit on the market stand that looks so shiny and delicious, but when you pick it up and take it home to eat it, one bite reveals it's full of worms and rotten.
So, what are your thoughts?