May 4, 2008 – May 10, 2008
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth…. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:14, 16, 17.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 167–177.
“Those who labor for souls must attain to a deeper, fuller, clearer knowledge of God than can be gained by ordinary effort. They must throw all their energies into the work of the Master. They are engaged in a high and holy calling, and if they gain souls for their hire they must lay firm hold upon God, daily receiving grace and power from the Source of all blessing.” The Acts of the Apostles, 205.
1 What is grace? John 1:14–17.
Note: “Grace is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his own, without any claim to offer to God. He is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who stands in the courts of heaven as the sinner’s substitute and surety.” Amazing Grace, 182.
2 To whom is God’s grace offered? Titus 2:11.
Note: “In the council of heaven, provision was made that men, though transgressors, should not perish in their disobedience, but, through faith in Christ as their substitute and surety, might become the elect of God, predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. God wills that all men should be saved; for ample provision has been made, in giving His only-begotten Son to pay man’s ransom.” The Faith I Live By, 157.
3 What is the main purpose of God’s grace? Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11.
Note: “The Lord saw our fallen condition; He saw our need of grace, and because He loved our souls, He has given us grace and peace. Grace means favor to one who is undeserving, to one who is lost. The fact that we are sinners, instead of shutting us away from the mercy and love of God, makes the exercise of His love to us a positive necessity in order that we may be saved.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 347.
4 Who needs grace? 1 Timothy 1:15.
Note: “Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature and finally driven from the soul temple. It is through grace that we are brought into fellowship with Christ, to be associated with Him in the work of salvation. Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin. Faith can present Christ’s perfect obedience instead of the sinner’s transgression and defection. When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then according to His unfailing promises, God pardons his sin and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his Substitute and Surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness.” Faith and Works, 100.
5 What poignant thought from a diary entry of Sister White relates to us all?
Note: “This day has been a day of perplexity and trial. We feel deeply our need of the grace of God. These small trials are worse to bear than heavy afflictions. Shall I ever learn to. be perfectly patient under minor trials? I know that I shall be tempted and proved until self shall be hid in Jesus. My earnest prayer to God daily is for divine grace to do His will.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 209.
6 How can we overcome sin? Romans 6:14.
Note: “Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ, obedient to all the principles of the law. But of himself man is utterly unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God’s word declares he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth. Man’s obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ’s righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help. “The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous one. Day by day God labors for man’s sanctification, and man is to cooperate with Him, putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits. He is to add grace to grace; and as he thus works on the plan of addition, God works for him on the plan of multiplication. Our Saviour is always ready to hear and answer the prayer of the contrite heart, and grace and peace are multiplied to His faithful ones. Gladly He grants them the blessings they need in their struggle against the evils that beset them.” The Acts of the Apostles, 532.
7 What is promised to all who surrender to Christ? Romans 8:37.
Note: “The only safety for the youth in this age of pollution is to make God their trust. Without divine help they will be unable to control human passions and appetites. In Christ is the very help needed, but how few will come to Him for that help. Said Jesus when upon the earth, ‘Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.’ In Christ all can conquer. You can say with the apostle, ‘Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.’ Again, ‘But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.’ [John 5:40; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 9:27.]” Child Guidance, 467.
8 What is the fruit of a Christian, and how is it borne? Galatians 5:22, 23; 11 Corinthians 9:8.
Note: “The prayer of the living Christian will be ‘to be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding, that they may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering, with joyfulness;’ ‘In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ [Colossians 1:9–11; 2:3.] “Here is the true knowledge which should be desired and possessed by every Christian. This knowledge will not lead to ungodliness. It will not break down the constitution, nor bring a gloomy cloud over the mind; but will impart substantial joys and true happiness. This wisdom is divine, and flows ceaselessly from a pure fountain which gives peace, joy, and health.” An Appeal to Mothers, 32.
9 What enables us to continuously bear fruit? John 15:5.
Note: “As the graft receives life when united to the vine, so the sinner partakes of the divine nature when connected with Christ. Finite man is united with the infinite God. When thus united, the words of Christ abide in us, and we are not actuated by a spasmodic feeling, but by a living, abiding principle. The words of Christ must be meditated upon and cherished and enshrined in the heart. They should not be repeated, parrot-like, finding no place in the memory and having no influence over the heart and life.
“As the branch must abide in the vine to obtain the vital sap which causes it to flourish, so those who love God and keep all His sayings must abide in His love. Without Christ we cannot subdue a single sin or overcome the smallest temptation. Many need the Spirit of Christ and His power to enlighten their understanding, as much as blind Bartimaeus needed his natural sight. ‘As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.’ [John 15:4.] All who are really in Christ will experience the benefit of this union. The Father accepts them in the Beloved, and they become objects of His solicitude and tender, loving care. This connection with Christ will result in the purification of the heart and in a circumspect life and faultless character.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 355.
10 How can believers grow in grace? 11 Peter 1:2, 3; 3:18.
Note: “It is the Lord’s desire that His followers shall grow in grace, that their love shall abound more and more, that they shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God….
“One of the divine plans for growth is impartation. TheChristian is to gain strength by strengthening others. ‘He that watereth shall be watered also himself.’ [Proverbs 11:25.] This is not merely a promise; it is a divine law, a law by which God designs that the streams of benevolence, like the waters of the great deep, shall be kept in constant circulation, continually flowing back to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the secret of spiritual growth.” The Signs of the Times, June 12, 1901.
11 What do we need to do in order to grow in God’s grace? Psalm 119:105; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Proverbs 4:23.
Note: “Diligent heart-keeping is essential to a healthy growth in grace.” Our High Calling, 161.
“How is it possible that we may grow in grace? It is possible to us only as we empty our hearts of self, and present them to Heaven, to be molded after the divine Pattern. We may have a connection with the living channel of light; we may be refreshed with the heavenly dew, and have the showers of Heaven descend upon us. As we appropriate the blessing of God, we shall be able to receive greater measures of His grace. As we learn to endure as seeing Him who is invisible, we shall become changed into the image of Christ. The grace of Christ will not make us proud, cause us to be lifted up in self, but we shall become meek and lowly in heart.” The Signs of the Times, January 16, 1893.
“The Son of God came down to this earth that in Him men and women might have a representation of the perfect characters which alone God could accept. Through the grace of Christ every provision has been made for the salvation of the human family. It is possible for every transaction entered into by those who claim to be Christians to be as pure as the deeds of Christ. And the soul who accepts the virtues of Christ’s character and appropriates the merits of His life is as precious in the sight of God as is His own beloved Son.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 60.
“Often the question arises, Why, then, are there so many, claiming to believe God’s word, in whom there is not seen a reformation in words, in spirit, and in character? Why are there so many who cannot bear opposition to their purposes and plans, who manifest an unholy temper, and whose words are harsh, overbearing, and passionate? There is seen in their lives the same love of self, the same selfish indulgence, the same temper and hasty speech, that is seen in the life of the worldling. There is the same sensitive pride, the same yielding to natural inclination, the same perversity of character, as if the truth were wholly unknown to them. The reason is that they are not converted. They have not hidden the leaven of truth in the heart. It has not had opportunity to do its work. Their natural and cultivated tendencies to evil have not been submitted to its transforming power. Their lives reveal the absence of the grace of Christ, an unbelief in His power to transform the character.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 99, 100.
“Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected.” Ibid., 331.
“By the life we live through the grace of Christ, the character is formed. The original loveliness begins to be restored to the soul. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth. The faces of men and women who walk and work with God express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven. For these souls the kingdom of God has begun. They have Christ’s joy, the joy of being a blessing to humanity. They have the honor of being accepted for the Master’s use; they are trusted to do His work in His name.” The Adventist Home, 535.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.