By a weird stroke of luck or God’s planning, I’m enrolled in three different Bible studies right now. For 15 years I’ve been attending and serving in a women’s class, and in that class we are studying the Book of Romans this year.
In addition, I’m helping out in the high school Bible study that the Apple of my Eye teaches. So I’m doing those lessons too.
Now, you’d think ~ and so would I ~ that that would be a pretty full schedule, what with also being a mom and a wife and a teacher… But then I got an invitation from a friend. She and another friend were getting a group together to do a small group Bible study on the Book of Revelation. She’s a great one to study the Bible with, and Revelation is such an important book to study, that I didn’t want to say no. So I prayed and talked to my hubby and we decided that I should give it a try, and I could always drop it if it was too much for my schedule. And I’ve missed a few weeks, but I’ve managed to be there most of the time.
So I’m studying Romans and Matthew and Revelation. And though it’s tough to get all the homework done every week, I’m enjoying the learning.
And my favorite part about the combined studying is that almost every week, I realize that I’m studying something in one of the books that coincides with something I’m studying in one of the other books. For instance, one week we studied Matthew 8 and the account of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man. The demons recognized Jesus, and begged Him not to send them into the abyss. That same week, we were studying Revelation 9, and reading about that abyss. Nice “coincidence,” eh?
I knew that would happen… that my learning would collide with my other learning, but I still love it when it happens, because often I’m feeling that one book is enlightened by another.
This week was an especially good one. Chapter 11 of Matthew, verses 28-30: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” It’s a classic, isn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of rest, and as easy burden? And I’ve always read that verse in a sort of overview way. That life with Jesus is not as hard as life without Him. Which is true, and a beautiful, reassuring truth.
But my study in Romans has shed amazing new light on that verse. We are several chapter into Romans, and the most important point of Paul’s letter is that salvation comes through God’s grace, not by our obedience to the law. Which ~ think about it ~ is awesome news because we simply cannot succeed in obeying the law. But through our faith in Jesus as Savior, we are credited with righteousness. That’s grace: salvation in exchange for faith.