April 27-May 3, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12.
SUGGESTED READING: Patriarchs and Prophets, 371, 372.
INTRODUCTION: “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 (Manuscript 142, 1899).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 931.
1 What promise of pardon or help through Christ was in the old covenant? Exodus 19:3–8.
NOTE: “These scriptures contain the complete record of the making of the old covenant, but they contain no hint of pardon, or of any help through Christ.” International Sabbath School Quarterly, Vol. 2, Oakland, California, July 8, 1889.
“God . . . gave them [Israel] His law, with the promise of great blessings on condition of obedience: [Exodus 19:5, 6 quoted]. 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, [Exodus 24:7 quoted]. 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; and now, seeing their sinfulness and their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic covenant, and shadowed forth in the sacrificial offerings. . . .” The Faith I Live By, 78.
2 How did people under the old covenant find salvation? Hebrews 9:13–15.
NOTE: “Only once a year could the high priest enter into the most holy place, after the most careful and solemn preparation. No mortal eye but that of the high priest could look upon the sacred grandeur of that apartment, because it was the especial dwelling place of God’s visible glory. The high priest always entered it with trembling, while the people waited his return with solemn silence. Their earnest desires were to God for His blessing. Before the mercy seat God conversed with the high priest. If he remained an unusual time in the most holy, the people were often terrified, fearing that because of their sins or some sin of the priest, the glory of the Lord had slain him. But when the sound of the tinkling of the bells upon his garments was heard, they were greatly relieved. He then came forth and blessed the people.” The Story of Redemption, 155, 156.
3 Was there actual forgiveness for the people of the old covenant at the time they sinned, or was forgiveness deferred until the death of Christ? Psalms 32:5; 78:38.
NOTE: “This passage in David’s history [Psalm 32:5–7] is full of significance to the repenting sinner. . . . Thousands of the children of God, who have been betrayed into sin, when ready to give up to despair have remembered how David’s sincere repentance and confession were accepted by God, notwithstanding he suffered for his transgression; and they also have taken courage to repent and try again to walk in the way of God’s commandments.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 726.
4 Since there was present and complete salvation for men who lived under the old covenant, and forgiveness of the transgressions that were under the first covenant came only through the second, what must we conclude? Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 31:33.
NOTE: “Christ’s death and resurrection completed His covenant. Before this time, it was revealed through types and shadows, which pointed to the great offering to be made by the world’s Redeemer, offered in promise for the sins of the world. Anciently believers were saved by the same Saviour as now, but it was a God veiled. [The second covenant really existed at the same time as, and even before, the first covenant.] They saw God’s mercy in figures. The promise given to Adam and Eve in Eden was the gospel to a fallen race. The promise was made that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, and it should bruise His heel. [Genesis 3:15.] Christ’s sacrifice is the glorious fulfillment of the whole Jewish economy. The Sun of Righteousness has risen. Christ our Righteousness is shining in brightness upon us.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 111.
5 What will those, whose transgressions are forgiven through the new covenant, receive? Hebrews 9:15, last part.
NOTE: “O, what gracious, full, complete assurances are given us, if we will only do what God requires us to do! . . . Let us venture something upon God’s word. In their zeal to be rich, many run great risks; eternal considerations are overlooked, and noble principles are sacrificed; yet they may lose all in the game. But in complying with the heavenly invitations we have no such risk to run. We must take God at his word, and in simplicity of faith walk out upon the promise, and give the Lord his own. It is perilous for you to rob God; for he says that all who do this are cursed with a curse. God designs that humanity shall cooperate with divinity in saving souls for Jesus Christ. What a privilege! Jesus denied himself for our sakes. The salvation of man cost a great price, even the life of the Lord of glory, which he freely gave to lift man from degradation, and to exalt him to be joint heir with himself to the eternal inheritance.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.
6 Whose children are all they who are heirs of the eternal inheritance? Galatians 3:29.
NOTE: “Throughout his ministry Isaiah bore a plain testimony concerning God’s purpose for the heathen. Other prophets had made mention of the divine plan, but their language was not always understood. To Isaiah it was given to make very plain to Judah the truth that among the Israel of God were to be numbered many who were not descendants of Abraham after the flesh. This teaching was not in harmony with the theology of his age, yet he fearlessly proclaimed the messages given him of God and brought hope to many a longing heart reaching out after the spiritual blessings promised to the seed of Abraham.” Prophets and Kings, 367.
7 Of how many is Abraham the father? Romans 4:11, 12.
NOTE: “The gifts of His [God’s] grace through Christ are free to all. There is no election but one’s own by which any may perish. God has set forth in His word the conditions upon which every soul will be elected to eternal life—obedience to His commandments, through faith in Christ. God has elected a character in harmony with His law, and anyone who shall reach the standard of His requirement will have an entrance into the kingdom of glory. Christ Himself said, ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.’ John 3:36. ‘Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.’ Matthew 7:21. And in the Revelation He declares, ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’ Revelation 22:14. As regards man’s final salvation, this is the only election brought to view in the word of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 207, 208.
8 Why was Abraham thus recognized and blessed? Genesis 18:19; 26:5.
NOTE: “Of Abraham it is written that ‘he was called the friend of God,’ ‘the father of all them that believe.’ James 2:23; Romans 4:11. The testimony of God concerning this faithful patriarch is, [Genesis 26:5 quoted]. And again, [Genesis 18:19 quoted.] It was a high honor to which Abraham was called, that of being the father of the people who for centuries were the guardians and preservers of the truth of God for the world—of that people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah. But He who called the patriarch judged him worthy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 140, 141.
9 How did Abraham obtain righteousness? Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6, 7.
NOTE: “So Abraham . . . trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 370.
10 Through whom did Abraham receive this righteousness? Galatians 3:14, first part.
NOTE: “Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of his Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as he loves his Son. This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light. He can say with rejoicing, ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’ [Titus 3:5–7.]” Review and Herald, November 4, 1890.
11 What promise is given in Hebrews 8:12?
NOTE: “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. [Hebrews 8:12 quoted.] All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance.” That I May Know Him, 299.
12 What did the new covenant do to the first covenant? Hebrews 8:13.
NOTE: “Those who would not receive the light and grace of Christ, who rejected the truth he came to bring them, were compared to old bottles, to worthless and worn-out garments. [See Matthew 9:16, 17.] Rejecting the truth themselves, they were ever seeking to sow the seed of doubt and questioning in the mind of the disciples, in order that the truth unfolded to them by Christ should not make its impression on heart and spirit. They exalted ceremonies, human exactions, and the commandments of men, as more essential than the teachings of Christ. The difference between the fresh, pure doctrines of heaven and the lifeless teaching of the Pharisees made manifest the fact that the vital truth of God could find no place for expansion in the old religious rites that were ready to vanish away.” The Signs of the Times, September 19, 1892.