April 13-19, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Hebrews 8:10.
SUGGESTED READING: Sons and Daughters of God, 50.
INTRODUCTION: “It is of the greatest importance that you continually search the Scriptures, storing the mind with the truths of God. You may be separated from the companionship of Christians and placed where you will not have the privilege of meeting with the children of God. You need the treasures of God’s Word hidden in your heart. . . .
“Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed. Thus ‘when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.’ [Isaiah 59:19.]
“The heart that is stored with the precious truths of God’s Word is fortified against the temptation of Satan, against impure thoughts and unholy actions.
“Keep close to the Scriptures. The more you search and explain the Word, the more your mind and heart will be fortified with the blessed words of encouragement and promise.
“Let us commit its precious promises to memory, so that, when we are deprived of our Bibles, we may still be in possession of the Word of God.” My Life Today, 28.
1 How does the second covenant compare with the first? Hebrews 8:6.
NOTE: “The blessings of the new covenant are grounded purely on mercy in forgiving unrighteousness and sins. . .All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance. Has God, in showing mercy to the sinner, ceased to be just? Has He dishonored His holy law, and will He henceforth pass over the violation of it? God is true. He changes not. The conditions of salvation are ever the same. Life, eternal life, is for all who will obey God’s law. . . .
“Under the new covenant, the conditions by which eternal life may be gained are the same as under the old—perfect obedience. . . . In the new and better covenant, Christ has fulfilled the law for the transgressors of law, if they receive Him by faith as a personal Saviour. . . . In the better covenant we are cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ.” God’s Amazing Grace, 136.
2 What was the necessity for the second covenant? Hebrews 8:7.
NOTE: “Under the new covenant, there were many offenses of a daring, presumptuous character, for which there was no atonement specified by law. In the new and better covenant, . . . Mercy and forgiveness are the reward of all who come to Christ trusting in His merits to take away their sins.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 931.
3 What did the people promise to do in their first covenant with God? Exodus 19:5, 8; 20:1–17.
NOTE: “If Israel would be true to the oath they had taken, a bright future was before them; for the Lord has always magnified his law before his people, pouring rich blessings upon them so long as they have been obedient. The history of God’s ancient people is full of instruction for the church of today. While the Bible faithfully presents the results of their apostasy as a warning to all future generations, it portrays, as a worthy example, the deep humiliation and repentance, the earnest devotion and generous sacrifice, that marked their seasons of returning to the Lord. There is encouragement, too, in the record of God’s willingness to receive his backsliding but repentant people. It would be a scene well-pleasing to God and angels, would his professed followers in this generation unite, as did Israel of old, in a solemn covenant to ‘observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes.’ [Nehemiah 10:29.]” The Southern Watchman, June 7, 1904.
4 What is said of the nature of God’s Law? Psalm 19:7; 119:172.
NOTE: “God’s law is his great standard of righteousness. This law is perfect in all its requirements; and God calls upon us to obey it; for by it our cases will be decided in that day when the books of heaven are opened, and the deeds of all come up in review before the Judge of the universe.” The Signs of the Times, February 11, 1897.
5 What is said of those who obey God’s Law? Psalm 119:1–3.
NOTE: “We have the Word of God as our assurance, to inspire us with hope and comfort. God declares that He will not be unmindful of our labors of love in carrying out His will in behalf of our fellow-men. God has made those who believe in Him His stewards. They are to live His law, showing the world by their good works that this law is perfect, converting the soul, uprooting from the heart all selfishness and covetousness, and planting there the precepts of righteousness.” The Signs of the Times, August 8, 1900.
6 The children of Israel could have promised nothing better than to keep God’s Law. Wherein, then, was the fault? Hebrews 8:8. Compare Romans 9:30–10:3.
NOTE: “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, ‘All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.’ Exodus 24:7. 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 . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 371, 372.
“He [God] could not carry out the good that he had meant to do them [Eli and his sons], because they failed to do their part.” The Signs of the Times, April 6, 1888.
“The weakness of the first covenant was not in the covenant itself; nor did the fault lie in God. It was the people who were faulty.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 445.
7 What can the Law of God not do? Romans 3:20.
NOTE: “As you look into the Lord’s great moral looking glass, His holy law, His standard of character, do not for a moment suppose that it can cleanse you. There are no saving properties in the law. It cannot pardon the transgressor. The penalty must be exacted. The Lord does not save sinners by abolishing His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and in earth. The punishment has been endured by the sinner’s substitute.” Man-script Releases, vol. 21, 194, 195.
8 What renders the law powerless? Romans 8:3.
NOTE: “Not without hindrance was the Commander of heaven to win the souls of men to His kingdom. From the time when He was a babe in Bethlehem, He was continually assailed by the evil one. The image of God was manifest in Christ, and in the councils of Satan it was determined that He should be overcome. No human being had come into the world and escaped the power of the deceiver. The forces of the confederacy of evil were set upon His track to engage in warfare against Him, and if possible to prevail over Him.” The Desire of Ages, 116.
9 To what is all human righteousness likened? Isaiah 64:6.
NOTE: “Naked and ashamed, they [Adam and Eve] tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.
“This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God.
“But this they can never do. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence. No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311.
“In their professed service to God, the Jews were really working for self. Their righteousness was the fruit of their own efforts to keep the law according to their own ideas and for their own selfish benefit. Hence it could be no better than they were. In their endeavor to make themselves holy, they were trying to bring a clean thing out of an unclean. The law of God is as holy as He is holy, as perfect as He is perfect. It presents to men the righteousness of God. It is impossible for man, of himself, to keep this law; for the nature of man is depraved, deformed, and wholly unlike the character of God.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 54.
10 What is the only true righteousness? Philippians 3:9. Compare Romans 3:21, 22.
NOTE: “Christ is a risen Saviour; for, though He was dead, He has risen again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us. We are to believe with the heart unto righteousness, and with the mouth make confession unto salvation. [Romans 10:10.] Those who are justified by faith will make confession of Christ. . . . The great work that is wrought for the sinner who is spotted and stained by evil is the work of justification. By Him who speaketh truth he is declared righteous. The Lord imputes unto the believer the righteousness of Christ and pronounces him righteous before the universe. He transfers his sins to Jesus, the sinner’s representative, substitute, and surety. Upon Christ He lays the iniquity of every soul that believeth. ‘He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (2 Corinthians 5:21).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 392.
11 To receive this righteousness, where must God’s Law be written? Hebrews 8:10.
NOTE: “My dear brethren and sisters, let the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ be in your minds continually and let them crowd out worldly thoughts and cares. When you lie down and when you rise up, let them be your meditation. Live and act wholly in reference to the coming of the Son of man. The sealing time is very short, and will soon be over. Now is the time, while the four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and election sure.” Early Writings, 58.
“I saw that it is our duty in every case to obey the laws of our land, unless they conflict with the higher law which God spoke with an audible voice from Sinai, and afterward engraved on stone with His own finger. . . . He who has God’s law written in the heart will obey God rather than men, and will sooner disobey all men than deviate in the least from the commandment of God. God’s people, taught by the inspiration of truth, and led by a good conscience to live by every word of God, will take His law, written in their hearts, as the only authority which they can acknowledge or consent to obey. The wisdom and authority of the divine law are supreme.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 361.
12 What is said of those in whose hearts the Law of God is written? Psalm 119:11; 37:31.
NOTE: “The Saviour overcame to show man how he may overcome. All the temptations of Satan, Christ met with the word of God. By trusting in God’s promises, He received power to obey God’s commandments, and the tempter could gain no advantage. To every temptation His answer was, ‘It is written.’ So God has given us His word wherewith to resist evil. Exceeding great and precious promises are ours, that by these we ‘might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.’ 2 Peter 1:4.” The Ministry of Healing, 181.
“The prayer of Christ for His disciples was, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.’ [John 17:17.] If we are to be sanctified through a knowledge of the truth found in the word of God, we must have an intelligent knowledge of His will therein revealed. We must search the Scriptures, not merely rush through a chapter and repeat it, taking no pains to understand it, but we must dig for the jewel of truth which will enrich the mind, and fortify the soul against the wiles and temptations of the archdeceiver.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 19.