October 4, 2015
Focal Scripture Passage:
Romans 3:24 – 4:25
To lead students to understand the difference between justification by grace
through faith in Jesus and man’s attempts to justify himself by his works,
and to give those who are seeking righteousness by works an opportunity to
trust Jesus Christ for salvation while encouraging those who are already
saved to thank the Lord for salvation by grace.
Read the notes on Romans 3:24 – 4:25 found in the Sunday School Teacher
Book. Get enough copies of the “My
Spiritual Accounts” handout for your anticipated attendance. Write
the following words on the marker board or chalkboard: “Pardon,” “Justification,”
“Grace,” “Redemption,” “Propitiation,” and “Remission.”
(Create Learning Readiness):
Direct the class’ attention to the word “Pardon” written on the
board. Ask them to define the word. Remind them that the President of the
United States often issues pardons in the last days before leaving office.
Ask: “What happens to a criminal who receives a presidential pardon?”
(he is set free from prison and never again has to face the penalties for
that crime). Stress the fact that the pardon does not eliminate the
person’s criminal record or remove his guilt. He is still a guilty
convicted criminal, but he has been set free from paying the penalty for his
Direct their attention to the word “Justification”
written on the board. Explain that this word means to be declared
completely innocent, just as if no crime had ever occurred. Stress the
difference between pardon and justification: pardon removes the penalty
for the crime, while justification completely removes the guilt).
Ask: “Would you rather be pardoned or justified?” (justified). Erase
the word “Pardon.”
HEART OF THE LESSON
Review and Context.
Ask: “What have we learned in the first three chapters of the book
of Romans?” (that everyone is guilty of sin and no one can save
themselves by doing good works or being faithful to religious activities).
Read or quote Romans 3:23.
Tell the class the previous lessons from Romans have shown us the
BAD NEWS that man has a problem with sin. In today’s lesson we will
move into the GOOD NEWS about God’s solution for our sin problem.
Justification by Grace.
Ask a volunteer to read Romans 3:34.
Direct the class’ attention to the words “Justification,” “Grace,”
Ask: “What did we say justification means?” (to be declared
completely innocent, as if no sin had ever been committed).
Explain the meanings of the following words:
“Grace” refers to a
free gift, which cannot be earned or purchased.
“Redemption” means to
pay the purchase price necessary to free one from slavery or bondage.
Ask another volunteer to read Romans 3:25.
Define the following words:
something that makes amends for a wrong and thus appeases the one who was
offended by that wrong.
“Remission” means to
pass over sins without administering punishment.
Ask: “According to verse 25, who is the propitiation?”
Ask: “What did He do to pay our sin debt?” (He shed His
blood on the cross).
Tell the class the very fact that the Lord saves any of us is
evidence of His merciful forbearance.
Read Romans 3:26-28.
Ask: “According to verse 26, who does the Lord justify?”
(those who believe in Jesus).
Ask: “According to verse 27, do those who are justified by God
have any right to boast about their salvation?” (no).
Read verse 28 aloud, letting the students fill in the blanks: “Therefore
we conclude that a man is justified by _________ without the _________ of
Direct the class’ attention back to the words written on the board.
Ask: “How many of those things are the result of our
actions?” (none of them; they are all the acts of God’s grace).
Justification by Grace is
available both to Jews and to Gentiles.
Ask a volunteer to read Romans 3:29-31.
Ask: “Who was Paul speaking of when he used the words ‘the
Ask: “Who was he speaking of when he used the word ‘uncircumcision’?”
(Gentiles: all of those who are not Jews).
Ask: “According to verse 30, how can Jews be justified?” (by
Ask: “According to verse 30, how can Gentiles be justified?”
Stress the fact that justification by grace is available both to Jews
and to Gentiles. In other words, anyone on earth can be saved by
grace (Rom. 10:13).
Tell the class verse 31 explains that this fact does not make the Law
void; rather, it proves and establishes the Law by showing that we all need
a Savior (Rom. 3:20).
Justification Comes through
Faith, Not Works.
Tell the class that since the church at Rome was made up of both
Jewish and Gentile believers, chapter 4 uses Abraham (the father of the
Jews) as the example of one who was justified by faith, not by
Read Romans 4:1-8.
Tell the class verse 2 says if Abraham had been justified by his
works he would have had reason to boast.
Tell them that verse 3 is a quotation of Genesis 15:6.
Ask: “According to verse 3, what was the basis of Abraham’s
righteousness?” (his belief in God).
Explain that the word “counted” is a financial term that means
something has been credited to one’s account.
Stress that Abraham believed God and his faith was counted for
righteousness. Righteousness is another word that refers to justification
and salvation. Abraham was saved by faith, not works.
Verses 4-5 show that justification comes by faith, not by our works.
Verses 6-8 show that David understood the blessing of being forgiven by
Read Romans 4:9-12.
Tell the class the words “reckoned” and “imputed” mean
the same thing as “counted” (credited to one’s account).
Explain that Abraham believed God and was justified (declared
righteous) when he was 85 years old. God didn’t institute circumcision,
however, until Abraham was 99 years old. He was justified years before he
Because of this, Abraham is the father of all who believe in Jesus –
regardless of whether they are circumcised or not.
Justification Comes through
Christ’s Completed Work, not Ours.
Read Romans 4:13-16.
Ask everyone to look at verse 14. Ask: “If you could be saved by
keeping the Law, what does that do to faith?” (makes it useless).
Ask: “According to verse 15, what does the Law do?” (shows
that we are sinners deserving of God’s wrath).
Tell the class verse 16 makes it clear salvation comes by grace
through faith, making it available to both Jews and Gentiles.
Read Romans 4:17-25.
Tell the class these verses describe Abraham’s faith. Verse 17
describes God’s calling and giving life to those who were dead in sin (Eph.
2:1) – that was our condition before we were saved.
Ask: “According to verses 23-24, who was the story of Abraham’s
faith in God written for?” (those, like us, who would later trust Christ
and receive His imputed righteousness).
Read verse 25 again, and ask the class: “Why did Jesus die?”
(to pay for our sin).
Ask: “Why did He arise from the dead?” (to prove the
trustworthiness of His promises to justify those who come to Him by faith).
Give everyone a copy of the handout titled “My
Spiritual Accounts.” Tell them this handout illustrates the
difference between trying to work your way to heaven and trusting Jesus
Christ for salvation by grace. In this illustration, one must have a
positive net worth to be saved and go to heaven. Explain the terms of the
“Works Account,” and use the sample account activity on the handout to show
its ineffectiveness. Ask: “Is it ever possible to pay off this account
by your efforts?” (no). In other words, it is impossible to be
justified (saved) by our works.
Explain the terms of the “Grace Account,”
and use the sample account activity on the handout to show its
effectiveness. Point out the fact that while it is impossible to ever pay
off the works account, it is also impossible to ever exhaust the
grace account. Next, note the end result from the “My Net Worth” section.
Tell the class that every human being has
a works account. The balance grows larger every day and nothing
we do can ever pay off that debt. Those who remain in the works side
are not justified before God and will not go to heaven. On
the other hand, those who trust Jesus Christ for salvation receive a
fully funded grace account. This account forever cancels the negative
balance in the works account, and its resources are inexhaustible.
Tell them the really Good News is that
anyone who sincerely wants to trust Jesus Christ for salvation can be
justified, but they must meet the following criteria:
Must be a sinner
Must be either a Jew or
Must realize they can never do
enough good works to be forgiven and justified
Must want to be justified
freely by God’s grace
Ask everyone to bow their head and close
their eyes. Encourage any who are not saved to trust Jesus Christ right
now, and all who are already saved to thank the Lord for saving them by His
grace. Voice a closing prayer.
Ask everyone to memorize Romans 4:25. Ask them to place the “My
Spiritual Accounts” handout in their Bible and use it as a reminder to thank
the Lord for their salvation every day.