August 14 – 20, 2022
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Study Help: The Sanctified Life, 80–88
“Perfection alone can meet the standard of heaven. As God Himself is perfect in His exalted sphere, so should His children be perfect in the humble sphere they occupy.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, 225
1 GOD MADE MAN PERFECT
1.a. What did God declare when His work of creation by forming man in His own image was ended? Genesis 1:31; Ecclesiastes 7:29
Note: “In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well-balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. … To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created, is the great object of life—the object that underlies every other.” Christian Education, 63, 64
“God made man upright; He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil. He endowed him with high intellectual powers, and presented before him the strongest possible inducements to be true to his allegiance. Obedience, perfect and perpetual, was the condition of eternal happiness. On this condition he was to have access to the tree of life.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 49
1.b. How do we know that Adam was perfect in every aspect of life? Genesis 2:19, 20; Psalm 8:4–6
Note: “To man, the crowning work of creation, God has given power to understand His requirements, to comprehend the justice and beneficence of His law, and its sacred claims upon him; and of man unswerving obedience is required.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 52
2 PERFECTION LOST
2.a. How far had people gone in their degeneracy when the world was still in its infancy? Genesis 6:5, 11, 12
Note: “[A]fter the Fall, men chose to follow their own sinful desires; and as the result, crime and wretchedness rapidly increased. Neither the marriage relation nor the rights of property were respected. Whoever coveted the wives or the possessions of his neighbor, took them by force, and men exulted in their deeds of violence. They delighted in destroying the life of animals; and the use of flesh for food rendered them still more cruel and bloodthirsty, until they came to regard human life with astonishing indifference.
“The world was in its infancy; yet iniquity had become so deep and widespread that God could no longer bear with it … .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 92
“The inhabitants of the antediluvian world were intemperate in eating and drinking. They would have flesh meats, although God had at that time given man no permission to eat animal food. They ate and drank till the indulgence of their depraved appetite knew no bounds, and they became so corrupt that God could bear with them no longer. Their cup of iniquity was full, and He cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood.” Counsels on Health, 109
2.b. How is the degradation of humanity described by the apostle Paul? Romans 1:21–32
Note: “It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed. Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower. The worshipers of false gods clothed their deities with human attributes and passions, and thus their standard of character was degraded to the likeness of sinful humanity. They were defiled in consequence. … God had given men His commandments as a rule of life, but His law was transgressed, and every conceivable sin was the result. The wickedness of men was open and daring, justice was trampled in the dust, and the cries of the oppressed reached unto heaven.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 91
3 THE RESTORATION OF HUMANITY
3.a. What plan was devised in the heavenly courts for the restoration of the human family? Job 33:24, 26–28; Mark 10:45
Note: “The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin.” Counsels on Health, 222
“Adam’s sin plunged the race into hopeless misery; but by the sacrifice of the Son of God, a second probation was granted to man.
“In the plan of redemption a way of escape is provided for all who will avail themselves of it. God knew that it was impossible for man to overcome in his own strength, and He has provided help for him. How thankful we should be that a way is open for us, by which we can have access to the Father; that the gates are left ajar, so that beams of light from the glory within may shine upon those who will receive them!” The Signs of the Times, August 10, 1915
3.b. Despite Satan’s plan to keep the human race entrapped in its fallen state, how did Jesus intervene for our recovery? John 10:27–29; 6:39, 40; Philippians 1:6
Note: “Ever since Adam’s sin, the human race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had come ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ (Romans 8:3), the Father Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan had hoped that God’s abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal separation between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that the connection between God and man had been restored.” The Desire of Ages, 116 [Emphasis author’s.]
“That the transgressor might have another trial, that men might be brought into favor with God the Father, the eternal Son of God interposed Himself to bear the punishment of transgression. One clothed with humanity, who was yet one with the Deity, was our ransom. The very earth shook and reeled at the spectacle of God’s dear Son suffering the wrath of God for man’s transgression. The heavens were clothed in sackcloth to hide the sight of the Divine Sufferer.” Lift Him Up, 153
4 THE ULTIMATE AIM
4.a. Once we receive Christ and His truth, what further steps must be taken in order for us to reach perfection? Hebrews 5:12–14; 6:1, 2; 2 Peter 3:18
Note: “Our work is to strive to attain in our sphere of action the perfection that Christ in His life on the earth attained in every phase of character. He is our example. In all things we are to strive to honor God in character. In falling day by day so far short of the divine requirements, we are endangering our soul’s salvation. We need to understand and appreciate the privilege with which Christ invests us, and to show our determination to reach the highest standard. We are to be wholly dependent on the power that He has promised to give us.” Medical Ministry, 253
“As God is perfect in His high sphere of action, so man may be perfect in his human sphere. The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. There is opened before us a path of continual advancement. We have an object to reach, a standard to gain which includes everything good and pure and noble and elevated. There should be continual striving and constant progress onward and upward toward perfection of character.” In Heavenly Places, 141
4.b. When Jesus comes, will He make us perfect, or find us already perfect? 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:27; 2 Peter 3:14
Note: “When Christ shall come, He will not change the character of any individual. Precious, probationary time is given to be improved in washing our robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Christian Education, 237
“We cannot afford to lose eternal life because we are not willing to separate from the world. Self must be hidden in Christ. Our sight must be filled with a view of His perfection. We must stand wholly on the Lord’s side, remembering the word, ‘We are laborers together with God.’ God desires us to learn in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly in heart. Self is to be crucified, with the affections and lusts. There is no second probation for fallen man. Heaven is not the place for overcoming defects in the character.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 25, 1900
5 PERFECTION COMPLETED
5.a. What wonderful promise is given to those who will have fully purified their heart in the blood of the Lamb? Matthew 5:8; Revelation 7:14, 15; 1 John 3:2, 3
Note: “Jesus declared that the pure in heart should see God. They would recognize Him in the person of His Son, who was sent to the world for the salvation of the human race. Their minds, being cleansed and occupied with pure thoughts, would more clearly discover the Creator in the works of His mighty hand, in the things of beauty and magnificence which comprise the universe.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, 208, 209
“The pure in heart live as in the visible presence of God during the time He apportions them in this world. And they will also see Him face to face in the future, immortal state, as did Adam when he walked and talked with God in Eden.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 27
5.b. What is the highest goal to be reached by everyone who strives for perfection? 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Isaiah 25:9
Note: “If we would have eternal life, we must cooperate with God, and thus reach the Bible standard, conforming our characters to the character of our Lord Jesus Christ. … Let every soul strive most zealously during these precious hours of probation, to form the very character that He would wish to have completed and perfected when our Lord comes in power and great glory.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 7, 1893
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Among all the creatures on earth, in what sense is the human race unique?
2 Why were the Flood and the destruction of Sodom necessary?
3 What is the only hope for our degenerate race?
4 Describe the depth of moral perfection we must attain before Christ returns, and why it is necessary.
5 What does it mean to be pure in heart, in the practical sense?
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