November 18 – 24, 2018
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Study Help: The Signs of the Times, February 14, 1895; Ibid., July 29, 1913.
“Repentance, as well as forgiveness, is the gift of God through Christ. It is through the influence of the Holy Spirit that we are convicted of sin and feel our need of pardon.” Faith and Works, 38.
- What does God offer us through the redemption Jesus Christ accomplished, and for what aim? Ephesians 1:7; Acts 26:17, 18.
Note: “Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. You may say, I am sinful, very sinful. You may be; but the worse you are, the more you need Jesus. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. … He bids every trembling soul take courage. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration. …
“The souls that turn to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to His own divine-human nature.” The Desire of Ages, 568.
“The object of the Great Teacher is the restoration of the image of God in the soul.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 436.
PARDON AND JUSTIFICATION
- What life changing consequences are in store for those whom God forgives? Romans 8:28–30.
Note: “The work of redemption involves consequences of which it is difficult for man to have any conception. ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9). As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. Holiness finds that it has nothing more to require. God Himself is ‘the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus’ (Romans 3:26). And ‘whom He justified, them He also glorified’ (Romans 8:30). Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, even greater will be the honor and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings striving for conformity to the divine image there is imparted an outlay of heaven’s treasure, an excellency of power, that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 162, 163.
ACCEPTING GOD’S FORGIVENESS
- In the parable of the prodigal son, what can we learn of the forgiving love of God toward us? Luke 15:20–23.
Note: “In the parable there is no taunting, no casting up to the prodigal of his evil course. The son feels that the past is forgiven and forgotten, blotted out forever. And so God says to the sinner, ‘I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins’ (Isaiah 44:22). ‘I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more’ (Jeremiah 31:34). ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon’ (Isaiah 55:7). ‘In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found’ (Jeremiah 50:20).
“What assurance here, of God’s willingness to receive the repenting sinner!” Christ’s Object Lessons, 204, 205.
“Christ came to this world to prove the falsity of this [Satanic] statement [that there is no forgiveness with God], to show that God is love, that like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. Follow the Saviour from the manger to the cross, mark His life of unselfish ministry, His agony in the garden, and His death on the cross; and know that with God there is plenteous forgiveness. He abhors sin, but with a love that passes knowledge He loves the sinner.” The Review and Herald, January 19, 1911.
- What must be really believed in order to be overcomers? Mark 2:5.
Note: “Here is where thousands fail; they do not believe that Jesus pardons them personally, individually. They do not take God at His word. It is the privilege of all who comply with the conditions to know for themselves that pardon is freely extended for every sin. Put away the suspicion that God’s promises are not meant for you. They are for every repentant transgressor. Strength and grace have been provided through Christ to be brought by ministering angels to every believing soul. None are so sinful that they cannot find strength, purity, and righteousness in Jesus, who died for them. He is waiting to strip them of their garments stained and polluted with sin, and to put upon them the white robes of righteousness; He bids them live and not die.” Steps to Christ, 52, 53.
HUMAN FORGIVENESS AND DIVINE FORGIVENESS
- When a sinner is forgiven, what must he also do? What is the measure of forgiveness? Luke 11:4; Matthew 6:15.
Note: “Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. He who is unmerciful toward others shows that he himself is not a partaker of God’s pardoning grace. …
“It is true that he may once have received forgiveness; but his unmerciful spirit shows that he now rejects God’s pardoning love. He has separated himself from God, and is in the same condition as before he was forgiven. He has denied his repentance, and his sins are upon him as if he had not repented.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 251.
“[Matthew 6:14, 15 quoted.] He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.
- To what extent should we forgive those who have offended us? Luke 17:3, 4.
- How did Jesus forgive even those who were responsible for His death? Luke 23:34.
Note: “Jesus was earning the right to become the advocate of men in the Father’s presence.
“That prayer of Christ for His enemies embraced the world. It took in every sinner that had lived or should live, from the beginning of the world to the end of time. Upon all rests the guilt of crucifying the Son of God. To all, forgiveness is freely offered.” The Desire of Ages, 745.
THE ABUNDANCE OF GOD’S FORGIVENESS
- In addition to forgiveness, what further process will God do for the one who confesses his sins? 1 John 1:9.
Note: “God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart. David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me’ (Psalm 51:10). And again he says, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us’ (Psalm 103:12).” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 114.
- Since God has saved us by His grace and given us the Holy Spirit, how shall we respond in our daily life? Titus 3:3–8.
Note: “He [Paul] bids Titus to instruct the church that while they should trust to the merits of Christ for salvation, divine grace, dwelling in their hearts, will lead to the faithful performance of all the duties of life.” The Sanctified Life, 87.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Why can we only obtain forgiveness of sin through Jesus? Why was it necessary for Him to partake of our fallen human nature?
2 How can we encourage those who are erring and discouraged?
3 What should we remember when we are tempted to believe that we cannot come back to God after we have sinned?
4 How should we treat those who have offended us? What happens to us if we refuse to forgive others?
5 What will take place in the heart of those who receive God’s forgiveness?
© 2017 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.