April 23, 2017

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

God’s Reconciling Love
Romans 5:6-11; 8:31-39

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Persecution of Christians can be traced historically, based on biblical testimonies from the Christian era to the present day. From the Bible, we learn of the apostles’ lives and deaths, but we also have thousands of documented stories of global Christian martyrs, such as the Swiss Brethren preacher Hans Landis (1614) and Michael Sharp, whom we noted last week. Recently, “as many as 5,000 Congolese Mennonites have gone into hiding to escape violence.”[1] Our hearts are heavy, knowing that our brothers and sisters in Christ are in trouble and agony. At least 45 Christian worshipers have died and more than one hundred were injured due to church bombings on Palm Sunday in Egypt.[2] We struggle to understand why Christians who are living in Christ’s love are persecuted to the point of death.

Love, joy, and peace (the first three fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22) have significant importance. God’s love was manifested by sending Jesus to die for us on the cross. Now that we are God’s children, it is hard to imagine how God could love us more abundantly. The inner experience of this love through the Holy Spirit sustains us as we go through different kinds of tribulations. As believers in Christ, our major responsibilities are to love others and to pray for those who are persecuted as well as for the persecutors.

Believers are justified by the blood of Jesus. The resurrected Jesus rose from the tomb and returned to heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father. Jesus has made it possible for us to enjoy our inheritance as children of God. Thus, we are saved by the life of Jesus.

Reconciliation has its own significance in every Christian’s life. We have rebellious natures seen in our human characteristics, circumstances, situations, and marital and family relationships. We annoy people, as well as our dear God. God does not show vengeance, but sent Jesus as the Peacemaker (Matthew 5:9; James 3:18) so we might be reconciled with God and with our enemies.

Periodically we regret saying, “Everything is against me!” (Genesis 42:36). The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God always gives a good future and hope, not calamity (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus died for us. God has declared us righteous in Christ by Christ’s blood. As believers, we are weak and may change from day to day, but God never changes. God always shows God’s justice through Christ. Praise God for Jesus, our faithful Advocate who along with the Holy Spirit intercedes for us before our Almighty God.

Satan deceived Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and brought the death to humans. However, God sent Jesus into the world, and Jesus conquered death through resurrection. What trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword can separate us from the love of Christ? Persecution and pain come in various forms; but “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

  • How do you experience reconciliation with God through Christ?
  • How have you experienced real Christian freedom from the inside out?
  • How and when do you pray for your brothers and sisters with the love of Christ?

—Paulus Thalathoti, paulus.thalathoti@gmail.com

© 2017

1. Lynda Hollinger-Janzen, “5,000 Congolese Mennonites in Hiding to Escape Violence,” Mennonite World Review, April 7, 2017.
2. “Egypt: Horrific Palm Sunday Bombings,” Human Rights Watch, April 12, 2017.

Paulus Thalathoti is an ordained minister and the founding president of Peace Proclamation Ministries, an evangelistic and church planting ministry with those living in the interior rural areas of India. Dr. Thalathoti also serves as chairperson for Penn Bible Fellowship in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Sumatha, are mission associates with Mennonite Mission Network and members of Plains Mennonite Church, Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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