5: Old Testament Faith – Discussion Starters

  1. Old Testament faith. Was faith in the Old Testament different from faith in the New? Are you, a commandment-keeping follower of Christ, a works-oriented Christian? Or do you think of yourself as a Christian whose beliefs come first and are separate from your actions? Paul seems just a bit upset with Christians in Galatia who felt they were under “the curse of the law.” What should be our attitude as 21st century Christians towards faith and the law? 
  2. The foolish Galatians. Imagine you are working in the office for your local church when an email from world headquarters arrives, opening with the words, “You foolish church members” at (address of your church). How would you feel? Why does Paul use such strong language in writing to Christians in Galatia? What is the apostasy of the Galatians that Paul finds so offensive? Besides being foolish, what other spiritual faults does Paul see in the Galatians?
  3. Grounded in Scripture. Have you ever tried to carry on a Bible-based discussion with a person who does not accept all of the Bible as valid for us today? How is Paul able to draw so much New Testament theology from the Old Testament? What does he declare is the identifying characteristic of “all Scripture”? (2 Timothy 3:16) What is dangerous about a belief that gives more credit to the New Testament than to the Old for being inspired by God?
  4. Reckoned as righteous. Explain how Paul takes the character of Abraham and flips it to honor the patriarch for his faith rather than for his obedience to the law. Was that really fair, given all the times that Abraham demonstrated his obedience, to look instead to his faith as the proof of his righteousness? Wasn’t Abraham justified by his obedience to God’s law? If not, what did justify him in that respect?
  5. The gospel in the Old Testament. Who preached the first gospel sermon in the Old Testament? Who listened to that sermon? What is the difference between God’s saying, “I will,” and you or I saying “I will do this if You will do that…”? How do you explain salvation to a person who believes that the commandments were the means of salvation in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament salvation became  possible by faith? Is there only one path to salvation?   
  6. Redeemed from a Curse. How did the Galatians feel about their reward for their obedience to God’s laws? What did Paul say to them about the curse of being entangled in the web of legalism? In what way (or ways) is the law of God a curse? How can it be that Jesus the Messiah was cursed by God? Who is cursed most by the law of God–God or us? What is the good news in that? 
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons