By Gordon Anderson
MEMORY VERSE: “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14.
STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 2, 522–538.
INTRODUCTION: “In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames that they may be able with the psalmist to exclaim: ‘I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 486, 487.
“A LIVING SOUL”
How is the creation of man described? Genesis 2:7.
NOTE: “In the creation of man was manifest the agency of a personal God. When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, breathing, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were put in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the perceptions of the mind, all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Jesus Christ a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 264.
Who is the source of man’s life? Acts 17:24–25, John 1:1–4.
NOTE: “From Jesus is our life derived. In Him is life that is original, unborrowed, underived life. In Him is the fountain of life. In us there is a streamlet from the fountain of life. Our life is something that we receive, something that the Giver takes back again to Himself. If our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall, when Christ shall appear, also appear with Him in glory. And while in this world, we shall give to God, in sanctified service, all the capabilities He has given us.” Review and Herald, August 6, 1914.
“AS THE CLAY IS IN THE POTTER’S HAND”
How does Job describe the creation of man? Job 10:9.
NOTE: “Our heavenly Father requires no more nor less than He has given us ability to do. He lays upon His servants no burdens that they are not able to bear. ‘He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:14. All that He claims from us we through divine grace can render.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 362.
What important lesson does Isaiah draw from the fact that the Lord made us of clay? Isaiah 64:8.
NOTE: “The great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 186.
“As we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands, and say, ‘I have nothing to do; I am saved; Jesus has done it all’? No, we are to put forth every energy that we may become partakers of the divine nature. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, we cannot pay a ransom for our souls, We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God; neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that He is drawing you to Himself, and that you are responding to His drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter; and if you submit yourself to Christ, He will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself that he may obtain the grace that will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, ‘The Lord is my helper.’ ” Bible Echo, May 15, 1892.
“Death by sin”
What were the results of man’s sin? Genesis 3:17–19.
NOTE: “God declared that as a penalty for his sin, man should return to the ground whence he was taken: ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ The words of Satan, ‘Your eyes shall be opened’ proved to be true in this sense only: After Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, their eyes were opened to discern their folly; they did know evil, and they tasted the bitter fruit of transgression. In the midst of Eden grew the tree of life, whose fruit had the power of perpetuating life. Had Adam remained obedient to God, he would have continued to enjoy free access to this tree and would have lived forever. But when he sinned he was cut off from partaking of the tree of life, and he became subject to death. The divine sentence, ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,’ points to the utter extinction of life. Immortality, promised to man on condition of obedience, had been forfeited by transgression. Adam could not transmit to his posterity that which he did not possess; and there could have been no hope for the fallen race had not God, by the sacrifice of His Son, brought immortality within their reach. While ‘death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,’ Christ ‘hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.’ Romans 5:12; 2 Timothy 1:10. And only through Christ can immortality be obtained. Said Jesus: ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.’ John 3:36. Every man may come into possession of this priceless blessing if he will comply with the conditions. All ‘who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality,’ will receive ‘eternal life.’ Romans 2:7.” Great Controversy, 532–533.
How has sin also affected man’s health? Deuteronomy 28:58–62.
NOTE: “Satan came into our world, and led men into temptation. With sin came sickness and suffering, for we reap that which we sow. Satan afterward caused man to charge upon God the suffering which is but the sure result of the transgression of physical law. God is thus falsely accused, and His character misrepresented. He is charged with doing that which Satan himself has done. God would have His people expose this falsehood of the enemy. To them He has given the light of the gospel of health, and as His representatives they are to give the light to others. As they work to relieve suffering humanity, they are to point out the origin of all suffering, and direct the mind to Jesus, the great Healer of both soul and body. His heart of sympathy goes out to all earth’s sufferers, and with every one who works for their relief, He co-operates. As with His blessing health returns, the character of God will be vindicated, and the lie thrown back upon Satan, its originator.” Christian Educator, October 1, 1898.
“I WILL RESTORE HEALTH UNTO THEE”
How does the Bible reveal the link between the physical and the spiritual in the care of the body? 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; 1 Corinthians 3:16–17.
NOTE: “The body is the medium through which mind and soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being. The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives.” Signs of the Times, December 1, 1914.
What should be the attitude of the Christian to the laws of health? 1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 14:17, 18, 21.
NOTE: “Talk of God and His wonderful works. Study into the manifestations of His love and wisdom in all the works of nature. Study that marvelous organism, the human system, and the laws by which it is governed. Those who perceive the evidences of God’s love, who understand something of the wisdom and beneficence of His laws, and the blessings that result from obedience, will come to regard their duties and obligations from an altogether different point of view. Instead of looking upon an observance of the laws of health as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, they will regard it, as it really is, as an inestimable blessing. A great amount of good can be done by enlightening all to whom we have access, as to the best means, not only of curing the sick, but of preventing disease and suffering. The physician who endeavors to enlighten his patients as to the nature and causes of their maladies, and to teach them how to avoid disease, may have uphill work; but if he is a conscientious reformer, he will talk plainly of the ruinous effects of self-indulgence in eating, drinking, and dressing, of the overtaxation of the vital forces that has brought his patients where they are. He will not increase the evil by administering drugs till exhausted nature gives up the struggle, but will teach the patients how to form correct habits, and to aid nature in her work of restoration by a wise use of her own simple remedies.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 121.
“THE LORD WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THEE ALL SICKNESS”
What precious promises does the Lord make to His faithful people? Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 5:33, 7:15.
NOTE: “Christ gave to Israel definite instruction in regard to their habits of life, and He assured them, ‘The Lord will take away from thee all sickness.’ Deuteronomy 7:15. When they fulfilled the conditions, the promise was verified to them. ‘There was not one feeble person among their tribes.’ Psalm 105:37. These lessons are for us. There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul. And we should teach others how to preserve and to recover health. For the sick we should use the remedies which God has provided in nature, and we should point them to Him who alone can restore. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to Christ in the arms of our faith. . . . We should lay hold on His promise, and pray for the manifestation of His power. The very essence of the gospel is restoration, and the Saviour would have us bid the sick, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold upon His strength.” Desire of Ages, 824.
What should restrain or temper any unwise approach to others? Colossians 4:6.
NOTE: “Many try to correct the lives of others by attacking what they regard as wrong habits. They go to those whom they think in error, and point out defects, but do not put forth earnest, tactful effort in directing the mind to true principles. Such a course often fails of securing the desired results. In trying to correct others, we too often arouse their combativeness, and thus do more harm than good. Do not watch others in order to point out their faults or errors. Teach by example. Let your self-denial and your victory over appetite be an illustration of obedience to right principles. Let your life bear witness to the sanctifying, ennobling influence of truth.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 336.
What promise of help is given in the restoration of body and spirit? Psalm 103:2–3.
NOTE: “Every faculty that we possess has been provided for us in Christ; for when God gave His Son to our world, He included all heaven in His gift. And God would have men value their powers as a sacred gift from Him. A spark of God’s own life has been breathed into the human body, making man a living soul, the possessor of moral endowments, and a will to direct his own course of action. He has the privilege of becoming a partaker of the divine nature. This will give him power to conquer evil, and love and choose that which is good. He has a conscience, which, under the control of God, will approve the right and condemn the wrong. And he may, if he will, have fellowship with God. He may walk and talk with God as did Enoch. This holy companionship is denied to none who will believe on Christ as their personal Saviour.” Signs of the Times, August 26, 1897.
What precious assurance do we have that God understands our situation? Psalm 103:13–14.
NOTE: “It is not always safe to ask for unconditional healing. Let your prayer include this thought: ‘Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons; for Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. He loves them better than we possibly can. If, therefore it is for Thy glory, and the good of these afflicted ones to raise them up to health, we ask in the name of Jesus, that health may be given them at this time.’ In a petition of this kind no lack of faith is manifested. There are cases that are clear, and the Lord works with His divine power decidedly, in their restoration. The will of God is evidenced too plainly to be misunderstood. The Lord ‘doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.’ ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him; for He knoweth our frame: He remembereth that we are dust.’ He knows our heart, for He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether or not those for whom petitions are offered would be able to endure the trial and test that would come upon them if they lived. He knows the end from the beginning. Many will be laid away to sleep in Jesus before the fiery ordeal of the time of trouble shall come upon our world. This is another reason why we should say after our earnest petition: ‘Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, O Lord, be done.’ Such a petition will never be registered in heaven as a faithless prayer.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 26, 1897.