October 26, 2008 – November 1, 2008
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39.
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 546–556.
“Neither life nor death, height nor depth, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus; not because we hold Him so firmly, but because He holds us so fast. If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises.” The Acts of the Apostles, 553.
1 What else is written about God’s character? Psalm 100:5; Lamentations 3:25; Nahum 1:7.
Note: “Ministers and all the church, let this be our language, from hearts that respond to the great goodness and love of God to us as a people and to us individually, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever.’ [Psalm 131:3.]” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 15.
2 How should we respond to His wonderful love? I John 4:19.
Note: “Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another—this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power. … It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, and ennobles the affections.” The Acts of the Apostles, 551.
3 When the young ruler came to Jesus calling Him “Good Master,” how did Christ answer him? Matthew 19:16, 17.
Note: “The ruler had addressed Christ merely as an honored rabbi, not discerning in Him the Son of God. The Saviour said, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.’ [Luke 18:19.] On what ground do you call Me good? God is the one good. If you recognize Me as such, you must receive Me as His Son and representative.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 390, 391.
4 What is written about humanity when separated from God? Romans 3:10–18.
Note: “In the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God’s seeking after us. … We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 189.
“Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God.
“We may measure ourselves by ourselves, we may compare ourselves among ourselves, we may say we do as well as this one or that one, but the question to which the judgment will call for an answer is, Do we meet the claims of high heaven? Do we reach the divine standard? Are our hearts in harmony with the God of heaven?
“The human family have all transgressed the law of God, and as transgressors of the law, man is hopelessly ruined; for he is the enemy of God, without strength to do any good thing. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Romans 8:7). Looking into the moral mirror—God’s holy law—man sees himself a sinner, and is convicted of his state of evil, his hopeless doom under the just penalty of the law. But he has not been left in a state of hopeless distress in which sin has plunged him; for it was to save the transgressor from ruin that He who was equal with God offered up His life on Calvary.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 320, 321.
5 According to the Bible, how many people are included in God’s love? John 3:16; Psalm 145:9.
Note: “Christ by His human relationship to men drew them close to God. He clothed His divine nature with the garb of humanity, and demonstrated before the heavenly universe, before the unfallen worlds, how much God loves the children of men.
“The gift of God to man is beyond all computation. Nothing was withheld. God would not permit it to be said that He could have done more or revealed to humanity a greater measure of love. In the gift of Christ He gave all heaven.” Sons and Daughters of God, 11.
6 What did Christ declare about God’s love, and what should this cause us to pause and consider? Matthew 5:44, 45.
Note: “There is a narrowness in human comprehension that is dishonoring to God. Let not him who claims Christ as his Saviour entertain the thought that God’s mercies are confined to him and to the few in whom he is interested. The love and mercy of God are for everyone. Let us gather up the divine tokens of His favor, and return praise and thanksgiving to Him for His goodness, which is bestowed upon us, not to be hoarded, but to be passed along to others. … God expects everyone who enjoys His grace to diffuse this grace as freely as Christ bestows His mercies. As the sun shines upon the just and the unjust, so the Sun of Righteousness reflects light to the whole world.
“God’s blessings, sunshine and showers, heat and cold, and every natural blessing, are given to the world. Exclusiveness is not to be maintained by any people. ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12), Christ said. Light is a blessing, a universal blessing, which pours forth its treasures on a world unthankful, unholy, demoralized. The Lord Jesus came to demolish every wall of exclusion, to throw open every wall in the temple where God presides, that every ear may hear, that every eye may see, that every thirsty soul may drink of the water of life freely.” Our High Calling, 245.
7 With what words does God express His love for His people? Deuteronomy 32:9, 10; Zechariah 2:8.
Note: “The Lord has a people, a chosen people, His church, to be His own, His own fortress, which He holds in a sin-stricken, revolted world.
“The church is the property of God, and God constantly remembers her as she stands in the world, subject to the temptations of Satan. … He forgets not His representative people who are striving to uphold His downtrodden law. …
…“The church, soon to enter upon her most severe conflict, will be the object most dear to God upon earth.” In Heavenly Places, 284.
8 On what condition will God acknowledge a people as His true church? Exodus 19:5, 6; Revelation 14:12; Titus 2:11–14.
Note: “The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach.” The Upward Look, 131.
9 How can we, sinners, be sure that we love the Lord and His truth? Matthew 11:28–30; II Corinthians 6:1, 2.
Note: “The carnal mind finds no pleasure in contemplating the word of God, but he who is renewed in the spirit of his mind, sees new charms in the living oracles; for divine beauty and celestial light seem to shine in every passage. That which was to the carnal mind a desolate wilderness, to the spiritual mind becomes a land of living streams. That which to the unrenewed heart appeared a barren waste, to the converted soul becomes the garden of God, covered with fragrant buds and blooming flowers.” Christian Education, 79, 80.
10 How can we become God’s children? John 1:12, 13; 3:3, 5; Galatians 3:26–29; I John 3:10.
Note: “God loves His obedient children. He has a kingdom prepared, not for disloyal subjects, but for His children whom He has tested and tried in a world marred and corrupted by sin. As obedient children, we have the privilege of relationship with God. ‘If children,’ He says, ‘then heirs’ [Romans 8:17] to an immortal inheritance. … Christ and His people are one.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1077.
11 What is the evidence that we love God and are His children? John 14:14–17.
Note: “There is a great work to be done by every son and daughter of God. Jesus says, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever’ (John 14:15, 16). In His prayer for His disciples, He says that He not only prayed for those in His immediate presence, but ‘for them also which shall believe on me through their word’ (John 17:20). Again He said, ‘Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28). Thus we see that Christ has prayed for His people, and made them abundant promises to ensure success to them as His colaborers. He said, ‘Greater works than these [those He did] shall he do; because I go unto my Father’ (John 14:12).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 263, 264.
“How did Christ manifest His love for poor mortals? By the sacrifice of His own glory, His own riches, and even His most precious life. Christ consented to a life of humiliation and great suffering. He submitted to the cruel mockings of an infuriated, murderous multitude, and to the most agonizing death upon the cross. Said Christ: ‘This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ [John 15:12, 13.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 690, 691.
“The offering of Isaac was designed by God to prefigure the sacrifice of His Son. Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God desired to impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation of men. … He was made to understand in his own experience how great was the self-denial of the infinite God in giving His Son to rescue man from ruin.
…“To Abraham no mental torture could be equal to that which he endured in obeying the command to sacrifice his son … With a breaking heart and unnerved hand, he takes the fire, while Isaac inquires, ‘Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ (Genesis 22:7). But oh, Abraham cannot tell him now! Father and son build the altar, and the terrible moment comes for Abraham to make known to Isaac that which has agonized his soul during all that long journey—that Isaac himself is the victim. … The son submits to the sacrifice because he believes in the integrity of his father. But when everything is ready, when the faith of the father and the submission of the son are fully tested, the angel of God stays the uplifted hand of Abraham, and tells him that it is enough. ‘Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me’ (verse 12).
“Our heavenly Father surrendered His beloved Son to the agonies of the crucifixion. Legions of angels witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God, but were not permitted to interpose as in the case of Isaac. No voice was heard to stay the sacrifice. God’s dear Son, the world’s Redeemer, was insulted, mocked at, derided, and tortured, until He bowed His head in death. What greater proof can the Infinite One give us of His divine love and pity? ‘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).” That I May Know Him, 20.
“O the height and depth of the love of Christ! ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’ ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.’ ” I John 4:10; 3:1. The Acts of the Apostles, 334.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.