SURVIVAL GUIDE: WEEK 3
Day One: God Offers the Free Gift of Forgiveness
Ephesians 2:1-10 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Additional Readings: 2 Corinthians 9:15; Romans 3:23-24; John 4:10
- Eph 2:1-3 says we may be physically alive, but spiritually dead. What is the difference? What does that look like?
- How is your life different now that Christ has given you spiritual life by his grace and forgiveness?
- Pray for those who are physically alive but spiritually dead.
Day Two: Forgiveness and Cleansing follow Confession and Repentance
1 John 1:8-9 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Additional Readings: Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 32:5; Psalm 32:3; Psalm 69:5
- Even as small children, we try to hide our wrongdoing. Why do you think it is difficult for us to confess that we have done something wrong?
- You’ve heard the expression, “confession is good for the soul.” Why is that?
- Pray and confess your sins to God, especially the ones that overcome you often. He WILL forgive you.
Day Three: God Declares us NOT GUILTY!
Colossians 2:13-14 "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[a] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross."
Additional Readings: Romans 8:1; Psalm 32:1-2; Hebrews 10:15-18
- What is your response to being declared not guilty and knowing you do not face condemnation?
- How will this declaration of freedom and forgiveness change how you face each day?
- If you were on trial in court and facing the death sentence, but were found not guilty, who would you tell? Have you told them that God has found you not guilty?
Day Four: God’s Forgiveness Restores Us
Luke 15:11-24 "Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his propertybetween them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate."
Additional Readings: Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 61:7; Psalm 23:3; Acts 3:19
- As Jesus told the story of the prodigal son, what do you think he wanted us to learn about the Father?
- How has your life mirrored that of the younger son?
- Read Acts 3:19 and Luke 15:18. How does this apply to your own life?
Day Five: Jesus Sets us Free from Carrying our Guilt
Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses."
Additional Readings: Galatians 5:1; John 8:36; Matthew 5:23-24; James 5:16
- We are to confess our sins to God, but also to each other (James 5:16), especially those whom we have wronged. Who do you need to ask forgiveness from? Take that step this week.
- Pray and thank God for his forgiveness, and ask him to free you from the guilt you may feel your past.
Day Six: God Commands us to Forgive Others
Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Additional Readings: Ephesians 4:32; Matthew 6:14-15; Galatians 6:1
- We are to forgive as God has forgiven us. Would you dare pray, “Lord, deal with me as I deal with others?” In light of this, what will you do differently?
- According to Galatians 6:1, what should be our goal if someone does something against us?
- Is it ever okay to withhold forgiveness? Why or why not?
Day Seven: Forgiveness is an Act of Love
Luke 17:3-4 "So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
Additional Readings: Mark 12:31; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 4:9-10
- To be like Christ is to let go of hurts and offenses you’ve suffered. What do you need to let go of today? Pray and ask God to help you forgive those who have hurt you.
- Our human tendency is to be self-centered and unforgiving. Why do you think that is? What will you do to overcome that tendency?