April 6, 2008 – April 12, 2008
“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 741–764.
“For the purpose of redeeming a lost world, the divine Son of God had endured the cross, despising the shame, and had ascended to heaven triumphant over death and the grave.” The Acts of the Apostles, 436.
1 When did Christ offer Himself to die for our salvation? Revelation 13:8.
Note: “The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.’ Romans 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son.” The Desire of Ages, 22.
2 When man sinned, what typical sacrifice was offered? Genesis 3:21.
Note: “To Adam, the offering of the first sacrifice was a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which only God could give. It was the first time he had ever witnessed death, and he knew that had he been obedient to God, there would have been no death of man or beast.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 68.
3 How did God reveal the plan of salvation to Abraham? Genesis 22:12, 13.
Note: “It was to impress Abraham’s mind with the reality of the gospel, as well as to test his faith, that God commanded him to slay his son. The agony which he endured during the dark days of that fearful trial was permitted that he might understand from his own experience something of the greatness of the sacrifice made by the infinite God for man’s redemption. No other test could have caused Abraham such torture of soul as did the offering of his son. God gave His Son to a death of agony and shame. The angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac. There was no voice to cry, ‘It is enough.’ [Mark 14:41.]
“To save the fallen race, the King of glory yielded up His life. What stronger proof can be given of the infinite compassion and love of God? ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ Romans 8:32.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 154.
4 What prophetic description did Isaiah make about Christ? Isaiah 53:6, 7.
Note: “The Holy Spirit through Isaiah, taking up the illustration, prophesied of the Saviour, ‘He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,’ ‘and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:7, 6); but the people of Israel had not understood the lesson. Many of them regarded the sacrificial offerings much as the heathen looked upon their sacrifices,—as gifts by which they themselves might propitiate the Deity. God desired to teach them that from His own love comes the gift which reconciles them to Himself.” The Desire of Ages, 112, 113.
“The Majesty of heaven was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and amid scoffing and jeers, ridicule and false accusation, He was nailed to the cross. The crowd, in whose hearts humanity seemed to be dead, sought to aggravate the cruel sufferings of the Son of God by their revilings. But as a sheep before His shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. He was giving His life for the life of the world, that all who believed in Him should not perish.” The Upward Look, 90.
5 How did John the Baptist introduce Christ to the people? John 1:29, 36.
Note: “John had been deeply moved as he saw Jesus bowed as a suppliant, pleading with tears for the approval of the Father. As the glory of God encircled Him, and the voice from heaven was heard, John recognized the token which God had promised. He knew that it was the world’s Redeemer whom he had baptized. The Holy Spirit rested upon him, and with outstretched hand pointing to Jesus, he cried, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ [John 1:29.]” The Desire of Ages, 112.
6 How did Peter describe the price of our redemption? 1 Peter 1:18, 19.
Note: “In Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead. But the only way in which He could reach men was to veil His glory by a garb of humanity. The angels beheld the hiding of His glory, that divinity might touch humanity. Christ ever retained the utmost hatred for sin, but He loved the purchase of His blood. He suffered in the place of sinful men, taking them into union with Himself.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 904.
“Men need to understand that Deity suffered and sank under the agonies of Calvary. Yet Jesus Christ whom God gave for the ransom of the world purchased the church with His own blood. The Majesty of heaven was made to suffer at the hands of religious zealots, who claimed to be the most enlightened people upon the face of the earth. …
“We are not to praise the gospel, but praise Christ. We are not to worship the gospel, but the Lord of gospel. Christ is a perfect representation of God on the one hand, and a perfect specimen of sinless humanity on the other hand. Thus He has combined divinity and humanity.
“In Christ dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily. This is why, although He was tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world, from His first entrance into it, untainted by corruption, though surrounded by it. Are we not also to become partakers of that fullness, and is it not thus, and thus only, that we can overcome as He overcame?” Ibid., 907.
7 What did the cross mean to the apostle Paul? I Corinthians 1:18.
8 What was the main subject of Paul’s preaching? I Corinthians 1:22–24.
Note: “To the minds of multitudes living at the present time, the cross of Calvary is surrounded by sacred memories. Hallowed associations are connected with the scenes of the crucifixion. But in Paul’s day the cross was regarded with feelings of repulsion and horror. To uphold as the Saviour of mankind one who had met death on the cross, would naturally call forth ridicule and opposition.
“Paul well knew how his message would be regarded by both the Jews and the Greeks of Corinth. ‘We preach Christ crucified,’ he admitted, ‘unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.’ I Corinthians 1:23. Among his Jewish hearers there were many who would be angered by the message he was about to proclaim. In the estimation of the Greeks his words would be absurd folly. He would be looked upon as weak-minded for attempting to show how the cross could have any connection with the elevation of the race or the salvation of mankind.
“But to Paul the cross was the one object of supreme interest. Ever since he had been arrested in his career of persecution against the followers of the crucified Nazarene he had never ceased to glory in the cross. At that time there had been given him a revelation of the infinite love of God, as revealed in the death of Christ; and a marvelous transformation had been wrought in his life, bringing all his plans and purposes into harmony with heaven. From that hour he had been a new man in Christ. He knew by personal experience that when a sinner once beholds the love of the Father, as seen in the sacrifice of His Son, and yields to the divine influence, a change of heart takes place, and henceforth Christ is all and in all.” The Acts of the Apostles, 245.
“Under the inspiration of the Spirit, the apostle Paul represents Christians as those who have purified their souls in obeying the truth. Just in accordance with the faith and love we bring into our work will be the power brought into it. No man can create faith. The Spirit operating upon and enlightening the human mind, creates faith in God. In the Scriptures faith is stated to be the gift of God, powerful unto salvation, enlightening the hearts of those who search for truth as for hidden treasure.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1899.
9 How can we glory in the cross? Galatians 6:14; Romans 7:18.
Note: “The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. There will be a continual reaching out of the soul after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the heart before Him. At every advance step in our Christian experience our repentance will deepen. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone.” The Acts of the Apostles, 561.
“The anguish and humiliation of God’s people is unmistakable evidence that they are regaining the strength and nobility of character lost in consequence of sin. It is because they are drawing nearer to Christ, because their eyes are fixed on His perfect purity, that they discern so clearly the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Meekness and lowliness are the conditions of success and victory. A crown of glory awaits those who bow at the foot of the cross.” Prophets and Kings, 590.
10 What should be the center of our message? John 3:14–17.
Note: “The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary, and in connection with the wondrous, central truth of the Saviour’s atonement. Those who study the Redeemer’s wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1137.
“Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ ascended into the heavens, Christ coming again, should so soften, gladden, and fill the mind of the minister that he will present these truths to the people in love and deep earnestness. The minister will then be lost sight of, and Jesus will be made manifest.” Evangelism, 185.
“The gospel is the power and wisdom of God, if it is correctly represented by those who claim to be Christians. Christ crucified for our sins should humble every soul before God in his own estimation. Christ risen from the dead, ascended on high, our living Intercessor in the presence of God, is the science of salvation which we need to learn and teach to children and youth.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 262.
“On the cross the sinner sees the only-begotten of the Father, dying in his stead, and giving the transgressor life. All the intelligences in earth and heaven are called upon to behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Every sinner may look and live. Do not survey that scene of Calvary with careless, thoughtless mind. Can it be that angels shall look down upon us, the recipients of God’s love, and see us cold, indifferent, unimpressible, when heaven in amazement beholds the stupendous work of redemption to save a fallen world, and desires to look into the mystery of Calvary’s love and woe? Angels in wonder and amazement look upon those for whom so great salvation has been provided, and marvel that the love of God does not awaken them, and lead them to pour forth melodious strains of gratitude and adoration. But the result which all heaven looks to behold is not seen among those who profess to be followers of Christ. How readily do we speak in endearing words of our friends and relatives, and yet how slow we are to speak of Him whose love has no parallel, set forth in Christ crucified among you.” Ibid., 197, 198.
“Christ, the highly exalted of God, God dwelling in humanity, is to be loved and obeyed. His life is a pattern for the whole world to copy. Every one of us may know God in Christ, one with every believer. . . . In the cross of Christ is the sure evidence that there is pardon for sin. Christ crucified is the source of all wisdom and virtue for man.” The Signs of the Times, January 2, 1896.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.