January 14, 2007 – January 20, 2007
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 71–79; “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 931.
“The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through His mediatorial work He may redeem man and vindicate the authority and holiness of the law of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 366.
1 What promise has God often repeated? Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 28:14; Galatians 3:8, 16.
note: “Not alone at the Saviour’s advent, but through all the ages after the Fall and the promise of redemption, ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 11 Corinthians 5:19. Christ was the foundation and center of the sacrificial system in both the patriarchal and the Jewish age. Since the sin of our first parents there has been no direct communication between God and man. . . . All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ. It was the Son of God that gave to our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation through man’s Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our world in human flesh.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 366.
2 What does the Bible call God’s promise to send His Son into the world, and how was the promise fulfilled? Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18, 21.
note: “The gospel preached to Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses was to them good news; for their faith embraced a coming Saviour.” The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1879.
3 How was Abel blessed, accepted, and justified through the gospel? Hebrews 11:4.
note: “Abel grasped the great principles of redemption. He saw himself a sinner, and he saw sin and its penalty, death, standing between his soul and communion with God. He brought the slain victim, the sacrificed life, thus acknowledging the claims of the law that had been transgressed. Through the shed blood he looked to the future sacrifice, Christ dying on the cross of Calvary; and trusting in the atonement that was there to be made, he had the witness that he was righteous, and his offering accepted.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 72.
4 How did Cain forfeit the blessings and acceptance of the gospel, and why? Genesis 4:3, 5.
note: “Cain came before God with murmuring and infidelity in his heart in regard to the promised sacrifice and the necessity of the sacrificial offerings. His gift expressed no penitence for sin. He felt, as many now feel, that it would be an acknowledgment of weakness to follow the exact plan marked out by God, of trusting his salvation wholly to the atonement of the promised Saviour. He chose the course of self-dependence. He would come in his own merits. He would not bring the lamb, and mingle its blood with his offering, but would present his fruits, the products of his labor. He presented his offering as a favor done to God, through which he expected to secure the divine approval. Cain obeyed in building an altar, obeyed in bringing a sacrifice; but he rendered only a partial obedience. The essential part, the recognition of the need of a Redeemer, was left out.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 72. [Author’s italics.]
5 What two classes of worshippers do Cain and Abel represent? How do the two phases in the life of Paul illustrate the difference between these two classes? Philippians 3:4–9.
note: “Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine mediation, and thus it is not able to bring man into favor with God. It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can be pardoned. Those who feel no need of the blood of Christ, who feel that without divine grace they can by their own works secure the approval of God, are making the same mistake as did Cain. If they do not accept the cleansing blood, they are under condemnation. There is no other provision made whereby they can be released from the thralldom of sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 72, 73.
6 What lesson should we learn from the fig-leaf garments of our first parents and from the offering of Cain? Genesis 3:7; Jude 11, first part. What principle underlies the belief and practice of those who fail to abide by the true gospel?
note: “Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.
“This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311.
“The class of worshipers who follow the example of Cain includes by far the greater portion of the world; for nearly every false religion has been based on the same principle—that man can depend upon his own efforts for salvation. It is claimed by some that the human race is in need, not of redemption, but of development—that it can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. As Cain thought to secure the divine favor by an offering that lacked the blood of a sacrifice, so do these expect to exalt humanity to the divine standard, independent of the atonement. The history of Cain shows what must be the results. It shows what man will become apart from Christ. Humanity has no power to regenerate itself. It does not tend upward, toward the divine, but downward, toward the satanic. Christ is our only hope.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 73.
7 How are we in danger of failing as the Israelites failed—to truly understand the gospel? Exodus 24:7; Joshua 24:19–21; Hebrews 3:15–17; 4:2.
note: “The people did not realize the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God’s law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, ‘All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.’ Exodus 24:7. They had witnessed the proclamation of the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the mount; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant which they had broken.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 371, 372.
8 What covenant did the Lord offer to establish with Israel and each one of us? Jeremiah 31:31–34; Hebrews 8:8–11.
note: “The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth ‘the fruits of the Spirit.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 372.
9 Since the days of Eden, men have been saved by only one gospel. How does this apply to us? John 14:6; Acts 4:12.
note: “Christ is the connecting link between God and man. He has promised His personal intercession by employing His name.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1078.
“Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 372.
10 How are we to benefit from the gospel? 1 Timothy 1:15; Ephesians 1:4–11.
note: “Jesus . . . took humanity upon Himself that He might touch and elevate humanity. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He reached to the very depth of human misery and woe, to take man as He found him, a being tainted with corruption, degraded with vice, depraved by sin, and united with Satan in apostasy, and elevate him to a seat upon His throne.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.
The Terms of Our Election
“[Hebrews 7:25 quoted]. By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race. And now not as a mere petitioner does the Captain of our salvation intercede for us, but as a conqueror claiming His victory. His offering is complete, and as our intercessor He executes His self-appointed work, holding before God the censer containing His own spotless merits and the prayers, confessions, and thanksgiving of His people. Perfumed with the fragrance of His righteousness, the incense ascends to God as a sweet savor. The offering is wholly acceptable, and pardon covers all transgression. To the true believer Christ is indeed the minister of the sanctuary, officiating for him in the sanctuary, and speaking through God’s appointed agencies.
“Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ’s righteousness covers no sin unrepented of. God has declared that those who receive Christ as their Redeemer, accepting Him as the One who takes away all sin, will receive pardon for their transgressions. These are the terms of our election. Man’s salvation depends upon his receiving Christ by faith. Those who will not receive Him lose eternal life because they refused to avail themselves of the only means provided by the Father and the Son for the salvation of a perishing world (MS 142, 1899).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 930, 931.
New Covenant Grounded on Mercy
“The blessings of the new covenant are grounded purely on mercy in forgiving unrighteousness and sins. The Lord specifies, I will do thus and thus unto all who turn to Me, forsaking the evil and choosing the good. ‘I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’ [Hebrews 8:12.] All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance. Has God, in showing mercy to the sinner, ceased to be just? Has He dishonored His holy law, and will He henceforth pass over the violation of it? God is true. He changes not. The conditions of salvation are ever the same. Life, eternal life, is for all who will obey God’s law. . . .
“Under the new covenant, the conditions by which eternal life may be gained are the same as under the old—perfect obedience. Under the old covenant, there were many offenses of a daring, presumptuous character, for which there was no atonement specified by law. In the new and better covenant, Christ has fulfilled the law for the transgressors of law, if they receive Him by faith as a personal Saviour. ‘As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.’ [John 1:12.] Mercy and forgiveness are the reward of all who come to Christ trusting in His merits to take away their sins. In the better covenant we are cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ (Letter 276, 1904).” Ibid., 931.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.