In the face of persecution, some might feel "ashamed of the gospel of Christ", but not Paul. He knew the value of what Christ offers us and what we can do to receive His special gift.


Helps for study this week
These chapters in Romans were fun to study but I feel like it can be difficult doctrine to understand, partly because I haven't spent a lot of time studying the epistles of Paul. I found myself referring to my NLT Bible more often than I usually do, but I also used my New Testament Study Guide a lot, as there is a TON of commentary on these chapters. If you find yourself in a quandary this week as you study, consider using one of these other sources to help aid in your understanding.  

Another great source that I had forgotten about until this week is the Bible Hub app. You can see many different translations of any verse in the app, and sometimes seeing things worded slightly different can help it make sense.

And don't forget the Joseph Smith Translation! Some of the small changes made can make everything more clear!  There is a printable of the JST translation verses that you can download in the Resource Library Freebies this week. They fit right in the margins of a journaling Bible, so I hope those are helpful!

Below are some of my favorite videos and resources that I found this week. I hope you find them inspiring and helpful as you begin your study of the Epistles of Paul!

Saved and Enabled by the Grace of Jesus Christ
There was a talk given by Camille Fronk Olson that I read this week that I devoured! Not only does she do an excellent job explaining the grace of Jesus Christ and what He does for us, but also puts some context into Paul's writings in these chapters. Below are some of the highlights I particularly loved, and I will link to the full talk below:
Grace refers to God’s predisposition to empower us in our vulnerability and weakness, if we do not resist or reject it. Much like faith, hope, charity, mercy, and other gifts of the Spirit, grace is an endowment made possible only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It has been described as “an enabling power,” “divine means of help or strength,” and “assistance to do good works that [we] otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to [our] own means.”
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The root of our confusion over the grace of Jesus Christ stems not only from our definition of the doctrine but from our failure to appropriately incorporate it into personal practice. How do we confuse our receipt of this gift from God? At one extreme, we focus on our own unaided efforts as though Christ’s role is to wait at the finish line to welcome us when we finally succeed. At the opposite extreme, we justify a life of sin by claiming the more we experience both good and evil, the better we will appreciate Christ’s offering. In either case, we neither comprehend the grandeur of Christ’s Atonement nor receive the singular sweetness of His grace. We are therefore left without the enabling grounding or perspective to sincerely respond to God in the humble manner required. 
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Describing the different groups that Paul was addressing, Sister Olson said this:

As the first-century Church expanded, people from diverse cultures clashed in their attempts to embrace the gospel while retaining conflicting religious traditions. On one side were Christians with Jewish background, who emphasized their strict observance of the law of Moses to earn favor with God. Judging righteousness by outward performance irrespective of inward motives prevented them from seeing the Savior’s enabling power in their own lives and the lives of Gentile converts. For them, strict observance was the end, not the means. 
On the other side of the New Testament Church were converts from a Greco-Roman culture saturated with idol worship. Under their former practices, each worshipper derived an individual mode of adoration for the gods. No universal standard such as the law of Moses or the collective words of prophets defined specific requirements for their acts of obedience and sacrifice to the various deities. After accepting Christianity, these followers struggled to mesh the doctrine of Christ with views that no lifestyle is too licentious and no behavior is beyond their God’s ability to accept. Everything therefore depended on Christ; nothing was required of them. 
Awareness of these diverse religious perspectives among the early Christians gives insight into the tone and emphasis in Paul’s missives. He stressed either grace or works, depending on his audience’s blind spot.
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This talk is EXCELLENT and I highly recommend it if you want a truly inspiring message that goes with this week's lesson. You can read the whole speech here: Saved and Enabled by the Grace of Jesus Christ by Camille Fronk Olson

Grace and Sin
Once again, I watched a John Hilton III video that I loved with this lesson. I love how he can sum up a message in just a few short minutes

Are we saved by grace, works, or both?
I almost never miss a Follow Him podcast, I really enjoy the discussions they have that go with the lessons. I especially like this short clip this week that, I think, gives a brief yet thorough answer to this question

His Grace is Sufficient
If you haven't seen the full talk given by Brad Wilcox at BYU entitled "His Grace is Sufficient", you should. I have watched it many times and I feel like it's an important message we all need on a regular basis. Below is an excerpt from the talk that would be great to share in a lesson or with your family


I also have always loved the Parable of the Bicycle, and I'm glad there is a video to go with it!

Almost
Last but not least, this excerpt from a talk by Bruce C. Hafen is also a very inspiring message that feels like something Paul would have said to the early Christians. It reminds me that, while I am not saved by my "works" I am still required to give me all to the Lord, even though it will never be enough, or even almost enough!

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