August 31, 2008 – September 6, 2008
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” II Corinthians 5:17.
Study Help: John 3:1-21; I Peter 1:1-25; The Desire of Ages, 167-177.
“Through the power of Christ, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 476.
1 What basic truth did Christ tell Nicodemus? John 3:3, 5.
Note: “Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission.” The Desire of Ages, 171.
2 When does this new birth take place, and what should be our immediate response to it? John 1:12, 13.
Note: “Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.” Steps to Christ, 52.
“Jesus leads the way. Do not wait and continue in disobedience, hoping circumstances may change, making it easier for you to obey. Go forward, for you know the will of God.” The Signs of the Times, April 10, 1893.
3 What happens when the repentant sinner is justified or forgiven? I John 1:9; Psalm 51:10.
Note: “God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 114.
4 How will forgiven sinners deal with others? Matthew 6:12, 14, 15.
Note: “He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.
5 What is essential for us so that we may forgive others? I Corinthians 13:1–8; I John 4:16.
Note: “The one thing essential for us in order that we may receive and impart the forgiving love of God is to know and believe the love that He has to us. 1 John 4:16. Satan is working by every deception he can command, in order that we may not discern that love. He will lead us to think that our mistakes and transgressions have been so grievous that the Lord will not have respect unto our prayers and will not bless and save us. In ourselves we can see nothing but weakness, nothing to recommend us to God, and Satan tells us that it is of no use; we cannot remedy our defects of character. When we try to come to God, the enemy will whisper, It is of no use for you to pray; did not you do that evil thing? Have you not sinned against God and violated your own conscience? But we may tell the enemy that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ 1 John 1:7. When we feel that we have sinned and cannot pray, it is then the time to pray. Ashamed we may be and deeply humbled, but we must pray and believe.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 115.
6 Besides accepting Christ as our Saviour, what is essential for us to begin a new life? Colossians 2:6; I John 1:7.
Note: “Now that you have given yourself to Jesus, do not draw back, do not take yourself away from Him, but day by day say, ‘I am Christ’s; I have given myself to Him;’ and ask Him to give you His Spirit and keep you by His grace. As it is by giving yourself to God, and believing Him, that you become His child, so you are to live in Him. The apostle says, ‘As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.’ Colossians 2:6.” Steps to Christ, 52.
“As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright beams may aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should we turn to the Sun of Righteousness, that heaven’s light may shine upon us, that our character may be developed into the likeness of Christ.” Steps to Christ, 67, 68.
“You are just as dependent upon Christ, in order to live a holy life, as is the branch upon the parent stock for growth and fruitfulness. Apart from Him you have no life. You have no power to resist temptation or to grow in grace and holiness. Abiding in Him, you may flourish. Drawing your life from Him, you will not wither nor be fruitless. You will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. God’s Amazing Grace, 300.
“Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. But every such effort must fail. Jesus says, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing.’ [John 15:5]. Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness—all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with Him, daily, hourly—by abiding in Him—that we are to grow in grace.” God’s Amazing Grace, 293.
7 How did Enoch walk with God? Genesis 5:22–24; Hebrews 11:5.
Note: “Enoch’s walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in all the duties of his daily life. He did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world; for he had a work to do for God in the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men, as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the steadfast, unwavering servant of the Lord. …
“There are few Christians who would not be far more earnest and devoted if they knew that they had but a short time to live, or that the coming of Christ was about to take place. But Enoch’s faith waxed the stronger, his love became more ardent, with the lapse of centuries.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 85.
8 What message did God Himself convey to Abraham? Genesis 17:1–5; John 8:56.
Note: “There is hope for us only as we come under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of grace by faith in Christ Jesus. The gospel preached to Abraham, through which he had hope, was the same gospel that is preached to us today, through which we have hope. Abraham looked unto Jesus, who is also the Author and the Finisher of our faith.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 22, 1892.
9 What are the various ways by which today’s true children of Abraham will reflect the character of that patriarch of old? Hebrews 11:8–10; Galatians 3:6–9.
Note: “The ten holy precepts had not been written upon the tables of stone by the finger of God in Abraham’s day. But Abraham was acquainted with them. They had been handed down from generation to generation; parents had taught their children the will of the Creator. Having educated himself to obey the law of God, the spirit of the commandments given in Eden was woven into the character of Abraham, fashioning his life after the divine pattern; and as a result his family was enlightened. He feared the Lord with all his house; for God’s standard of holiness was made known by Abraham to both masters and servants.
“He who combines faith and works will command his household after him, and like Abraham, will fear the Lord with all his house.” The Gospel Herald, August 1, 1906.
“The faith of Abraham should be our example, yet how few will patiently endure a simple test of reproof for the sins which imperil their eternal welfare. How few receive reproof with humility, and profit by it. God’s claim upon our faith, our services, our affections, should meet with a cheerful response. We are infinite debtors to the Lord and should unhesitatingly comply with the least of His requirements.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 253.
“We must dwell as pilgrims and strangers here if we would gain ‘a better country, that is, an heavenly.’ Hebrews 11:16. Those who are children of Abraham will be seeking the city which he looked for, ‘whose builder and maker is God.’ [Hebrews 11:10].” Patriarchs and Prophets, 170.
10 What will be realized by all who will inhabit the New Earth? Matthew 5:5; Revelation 21:1–7; 22:14.
Note: “ ‘I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.’ Revelation 21:6. This promise is only to those that thirst. None but those who feel their need of the water of life, and seek it at the loss of all things else, will be supplied. ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.’ verse 7. Here, also, conditions are specified. In order to inherit all things, we must resist and overcome sin.” The Great Controversy, 540.
“An infinite price has been paid to bring us into connection with Christ. Self-indulgence must cease. We must come into right relations with God, and we must be cleansed from all iniquity, and walk worthy of the vocation whereunto we are called.” The Signs of the Times, July 29, 1889.
11 What will be the reward of the wicked, and how will God’s good name be vindicated? Revelation 21:8; 22:15; Psalm 37:9.
Note: “Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished ‘according to their deeds.’ [Jeremiah 25:14.] The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch—Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and Heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness of Jehovah.” The Great Controversy, 673.
“The work of redemption involves consequences of which it is difficult for man to have any conception. ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’ I Corinthians 2:9. As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. Holiness finds that it has nothing more to require. God Himself is ‘the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’ Romans 3:26. And ‘whom He justified, them He also glorified.’ Romans 8:30. Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, even greater will be the honor and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings striving for conformity to the divine image there is imparted an outlay of heaven’s treasure, an excellency of power, that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen.” Christ Object Lessons, 162, 163.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.