February 2, 2014 – February 8, 2014
“By Whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:5–7.
Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 89–93.
“The people of God have a high and holy calling. They are Christ’s representatives. Paul addresses the church in Corinth as those who are ‘sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints’ (I Corinthians 1:2).” The Review and Herald, May 6, 1884.
1 THE SOURCE OF GRACE
- From Whom have we received grace and apostleship and for what reason? Romans 1:4, 5; Ephesians 4:7.
- In what two things are we to grow? II Peter 3:18.
Note: “Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness, all depend on our union with Christ and the degree of faith we exercise in Him. …
“The word and Spirit of truth, dwelling in our hearts, will separate us from the world. The immutable principles of truth and love will bind heart to heart, and the strength of the union will be according to the measure of grace and truth enjoyed.” God’s Amazing Grace, 211.
- To those who look for the day of the Lord, what warning is given? II Peter 3:17.
Note: “We are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. Before the work is closed up and the sealing of God’s people is finished, we shall receive the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Angels from heaven will be in our midst. The present is a fitting-up time for heaven when we must walk in full obedience to all the commands of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 111.
“By the grace of God let us be steadfast to the principles of truth, holding firm to the end the beginning of our confidence. We are to be ‘not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord’ (Romans 12:11). One is our Master, even Christ. To Him we are to look. From Him we are to receive our wisdom. By His grace we are to preserve our integrity, standing before God in meekness and contrition, and representing Him to the world.” Ibid., 127.
2 THE IMPORTANCE OF GRACE
- Why is it important to receive God’s grace? II Corinthians 12:9.
Note: “We owe everything to God’s free grace. Grace in the covenant ordained our adoption. Grace in the Saviour effected our redemption, our regeneration, and our exaltation to heirship with Christ. Not because we first loved Him did God love us; but ‘while we were yet sinners,’ Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). … Although by our disobedience we have merited God’s displeasure and condemnation, yet He has not forsaken us, leaving us to grapple with the power of the enemy. Heavenly angels fight our battles for us, and cooperating with them, we may be victorious over the powers of evil.
“We should never have learned the meaning of this word ‘grace’ had we not fallen. God loves the sinless angels, who do His service and are obedient to all His commands, but He does not give them grace. These heavenly beings know nought of grace; they have never needed it, for they have never sinned. Grace is an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings. We ourselves did not seek after it, but it was sent out in search of us. God rejoices to bestow this grace upon all who hunger for it, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we shall receive this gift.” In Heavenly Places, 34.
- Jesus called us and ordained us to bring forth much fruit. What does He promise to provide for that task? John 15:16.
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.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1117.
“The people of God have a high and holy calling. They are Christ’s representatives. Paul addresses the church in Corinth as those who are ‘sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints’ (I Corinthians 1:2).” That I May Know Him, 151.
3 PAUL’S HEREDITARY PIETY
- Paul diligently pursued a course of action believing it was God’s will, later to find out he was wrong. How did he describe his actions before his conversion? Acts 26:9, 10; I Timothy 1:13.
Note: “As many are today, so (before his conversion) Paul was very confident in an hereditary piety; but his confidence was founded on falsehood. It was faith out of Christ, for he trusted in forms and ceremonies. His zeal for the law was disconnected from Christ and was valueless. His boast was that he was blameless in his performance of the deeds of the law; but the Christ who made the law of any value he refused. He was confident that he was right. … For a time Paul did a very cruel work, thinking that he was doing God service. … But his sincerity did not justify his work, or make error truth.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 346.
“Faith is the medium through which truth or error finds a lodging place in the mind. It is by the same act of mind that truth or error is received, but it makes a decided difference whether we believe the Word of God or the sayings of men. When Christ revealed Himself to Paul, and he was convinced that he was persecuting Jesus in the person of His saints, he accepted the truth as it is in Jesus. A transforming power was manifested on mind and character, and he became a new man in Christ Jesus. He received the truth so fully that neither earth nor hell could shake his faith.” Ibid.
- A mere external keeping of God’s law promotes legalism and is weak. What was the purpose of God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man and what did it accomplish? Romans 8:3, 4.
Note: “There are many who cry, ‘Believe, only believe.’ Ask them what you are to believe. Are you to believe the lies forged by Satan against God’s holy, just, and good law? God does not use His great and precious grace to make of none effect His law, but to establish His law. What is the decision of Paul? He says: ‘What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law. … For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and [the commandment then ended?—No.] I [Paul] died. … Wherefore the law is [standing directly in the way of my having liberty and peace?—No.] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:7–12).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 347.
4 LAW AND GRACE
- Explain Psalm 85:10 in conjunction with the grace of Christ and the Law of God.
Note: “The grace of Christ and the law of God are inseparable. In Jesus mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. In His life and character He not only reveals the character of God, but the possibility of man. He was the representative of God and the exemplar of humanity. He presented to the world what humanity might become when united by faith with divinity. The only-begotten Son of God took upon Him the nature of man, and established His cross between earth and heaven. Through the cross, man was drawn to God, and God to man. Justice moved from its high and awful position, and the heavenly hosts, the armies of holiness, drew near to the cross, bowing with reverence; for at the cross justice was satisfied. Through the cross the sinner was drawn from the stronghold of sin, from the confederacy of evil, and at every approach to the cross his heart relents and in penitence he cries, ‘It was my sins that crucified the Son of God.’ ” Selected Messages, Book 1, 349.
- What does the sinner leave at the cross and gain through the grace of Christ? (See note.)
Note: “At the cross he leaves his sins, and through the grace of Christ his character is transformed. The Redeemer raises the sinner from the dust, and places him under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As the sinner looks upon the Redeemer, he finds hope, assurance, and joy. Faith takes hold of Christ in love. Faith works by love, and purifies the soul.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 349.
5 MEASURE OF GRACE
- What is available to every one who desires it? Ephesians 4:7.
Note: “We must obtain that measure of the grace of Christ that will enable us to dwell together in love and unity in this life, else we can never dwell together in the life to come. I am trying to show our people the need of the unity for which Christ prayed. The soul must fully own the power and authority of the Word of God. Christ, the perfect example, is ever before us. To Him we may look for grace and power to overcome every fault.” This Day with God, 372.
- Where is grace to be found and for what purpose? Hebrews 4:16.
Note: “ ‘Without Me,’ says Christ, ‘ye can do nothing’ (John 15:5); but with His divine grace working through our human efforts, we can do all things. His patience and meekness will pervade the character, diffusing a precious radiance which makes bright and clear the pathway to heaven. By beholding and imitating His life we shall become renewed in His image. The glory of heaven will shine in our lives and be reflected upon others. At the throne of grace we are to find the help we need to enable us to live thus. This is genuine sanctification, and what more exalted position can mortals desire than to be connected with Christ as a branch is joined to the vine?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 306.
- What has Jesus promised? Hebrews 13:5.
Note: “God will honor and uphold every truehearted, earnest soul who is seeking to walk before Him in the perfection of the grace of Christ. The Lord Jesus will never leave nor forsake one humble, trembling soul. Shall we believe that God will work in our hearts? that if we allow Him to do so, He will make us pure and holy, by His rich grace qualifying us to be laborers together with Him? Can we with keen, sanctified perception appreciate the strength of the promises of God, and appropriate them to our individual selves, not because we are worthy, but because Christ is worthy, not because we are righteous, but because by living faith we claim the righteousness of Christ in our behalf?” Selected Messages, Book 1, 108.