August 16, 2009 – August 22, 2009
“Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 629–635; Ibid., vol. 6, 349–353.
“The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 350.
1 What basic truths must we understand for our soul’s salvation? Ezekiel 18:4, 20–24.
Note: “There is no such thing in the Word of God as unconditional election—once in grace, always in grace. …
“There is truth to be received if souls are saved. The keeping of the commandments of God is life eternal to the receiver. But the Scriptures make it plain that those who once knew the way of life and rejoiced in the truth are in danger of falling through apostasy, and being lost. Therefore there is need of a decided, daily conversion to God.
“All who seek to sustain the doctrine of election, once in grace, always in grace, do this against a plain, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ ” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1114, 1115.
2 What should we realize when tempted to question God’s fairness in dealing with our individual cases? Ezekiel 18:25.
Note: “The attitude which many assume in expressing doubts and unbelief as to whether the Lord will save them is a reflection upon the character of God. Those who complain of His severity are virtually saying: ‘The way of the Lord is not equal.’ But He distinctly throws back the imputation upon the sinner: ‘Are not your ways unequal?’ Can I pardon your transgressions when you do not repent and turn from your sins?’ … The Lord will receive the sinner when he repents and forsakes his sins so that God can work with his efforts in seeking perfection of character.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 631, 632.
3 What warning invites sinners to turn to God without delay? Ezekiel 18:26–30.
Note: “Let none venture into sin as he [Solomon] did, in the hope that they too may recover themselves. Sin can be indulged only at the peril of infinite loss. …
“But none who have fallen need give themselves up to despair. … There is still hope for them if they repent, forsake sin, and turn to God.” The Review and Herald, February 22, 1906.
“Satan is ready to steal away the blessed assurances of God. He desires to take every glimmer of hope and every ray of light from the soul; but you must not permit him to do this.” Steps to Christ, 53.
4 What is needed in preparing for Heaven? Ezekiel 18:31, 32.
Note: “Regeneration is the only path by which we can reach the holy city. It is narrow and the gate by which we enter is strait, but along it we are to lead men and women and children, teaching them that in order to be saved, they must have a new heart and a new spirit. The old hereditary traits of character are to be overcome. The natural desires of the soul must be changed. All deception, all falsifying, all evil-speaking must be put away. The new life, which makes men and women Christlike, is to be lived. We are, as it were, to swim against the current of evil.” This Day With God, 108.
5 For what purpose did God remind the Israelites of their sojourn in Egypt? Ezekiel 20:7–11.
Note: “Pharaoh boasted that he would like to see their [the Israelites’] God deliver them from his hands. These words destroyed the hopes of many of the children of Israel. It appeared to them very much as the king and his counselors had said. They knew that they were treated as slaves, and that they must endure just that degree of oppression their taskmasters and rulers might put upon them. Their male children had been hunted and slain. Their own lives were a burden, and they were believing in, and worshiping, the God of Heaven.
“Then they contrasted their condition with that of the Egyptians. They did not believe at all in a living God who had power to save or to destroy. Some of them worshiped idols, images of wood and stone, while others chose to worship the sun, moon, and stars; yet they were prospered and wealthy. And some of the Hebrews thought that if God was above all gods He would not thus leave them as slaves to an idolatrous nation.
“The faithful servants of God understood that it was because of their unfaithfulness to God as a people, and their disposition to intermarry with other nations, and thus being led into idolatry, that the Lord suffered them to go into Egypt. And they firmly declared to their brethren that God would soon bring them up from Egypt and break their oppressive yoke.” The Story of Redemption, 114, 115.
6 How serious of an offense is it to reject God’s law and His holy Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:13, 14, 23, 24.
Note: “Those who trample upon God’s authority, and show open contempt to the law given in such grandeur at Sinai, virtually despise the Lawgiver, the great Jehovah. …
“By transgressing the law which God had given in such majesty, and amid glory which was unapproachable, the people showed open contempt of the great Lawgiver, and death was the penalty.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.
7 What sign did God give to His people to set them apart as His own peculiar treasure? Ezekiel 20:12.
Note: “The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they are His obedient subjects, that they keep holy His law. The observance of the Sabbath is the means ordained by God of preserving a knowledge of Himself and of distinguishing between His loyal subjects and the transgressors of His law. This is the faith once delivered to the saints, who stand in moral power before the world, firmly maintaining this faith.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 198.
“To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience.” Ibid., vol. 6, 350.
8 What did the Jews reveal by polluting the Lord’s Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:15, 16.
Note: “The Lord designed that by a faithful observance of the Sabbath command, Israel should continually be reminded of their accountability to Him as their Creator and their Redeemer.” Prophets and Kings, 182.
“So long as the fact that He [God] is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, man’s thoughts and affections would have been led to the Creator as the object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel.” The Great Controversy, 438.
9 What was and still is well understood by God’s faithful remnant in connection with the Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:19, 20.
Note: “Though sin has entered the world to mar His perfect work, God still gives to us the Sabbath as a witness that One omnipotent, infinite in goodness and mercy, created all things. Our heavenly Father desires through the observance of the Sabbath to preserve among men a knowledge of Himself. He desires that the Sabbath shall direct our minds to Him as the true and living God, and that through knowing Him we may have life and peace.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 349.
“The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.’ [Matthew 5:18.] So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun.” The Desire of Ages, 283.
10 What promise was very precious to the faithful remnant in the days of Ezekiel? Ezekiel 20:36–42. What do we read about the remnant of Israel in these last days? Isaiah 10:20–22.
Note: “From ‘every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people’ there will be some who will gladly respond to the message, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ They will turn from every idol that binds them to earth, and will ‘worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ They will free themselves from every entanglement and will stand before the world as monuments of God’s mercy. Obedient to the divine requirements, they will be recognized by angels and by men as those that have kept ‘the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Revelation 14:6, 7, 12.” Prophets and Kings, 299, 300.
“The law of God is the one great standard that will measure every man’s character in the day of God. The prayer of Christ was, ‘Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.’ Therefore the sanctification of the Spirit of God upon the heart, leads men to walk in the way of God’s commandments. The very test that God brought upon Adam in Eden, will be brought upon every member of the human family. Obedience to God was required of Adam, and we stand in the same position that he did to have a second trial, to see whether we will listen to the voice of Satan and disobey God, or to the Word of God and obey.” The Review and Herald, June 10, 1890.
“The Bible is the standard by which to test the claims of all who profess sanctification. Jesus prayed that His disciples might be sanctified through the truth, and He says, ‘Thy word is truth;’ [John 17:17] while the psalmist declares, ‘Thy law is the truth.’ [Psalms 119:142.] All whom God is leading will manifest a high regard for the Scriptures in which His voice is heard. The Bible will be to them ‘profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.’ [II Timothy 3:16, 17.] ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits.’ [Matthew 7:16.] We need no other evidence in order to judge of men’s sanctification; if they are fearful lest they shall not obey the whole will of God, if they are listening diligently to His voice, trusting in His wisdom, and making His Word the man of their counsel, then, while they make no boasts of superior goodness, we may be sure that they are seeking to attain to perfection of Christian character. But if the claimants of holiness even intimate that they are no longer required to search the Scriptures, we need not hesitate to pronounce their sanctification spurious. They are leaning to their own understanding, instead of conforming to the will of God.” The Faith and Works, 51.
“The truth as it is in Jesus is obedience to every precept of Jehovah. It is heart work. Bible sanctification is not the spurious sanctification of today, which will not search the Scriptures, but trusts to good feelings and impulses rather than to the seeking for truth as for hidden treasure. Bible sanctification is to know the requirements of God and to obey them. There is a pure and holy heaven in store for those who keep God’s commandments. It is worth lifelong, persevering, untiring effort. Satan is on your right hand and on your left; he is before and behind; he has a dish of fables cooked up for every soul who is not cherishing the truth as it is in Jesus. The destroyer is upon you to palsy your every effort. But there is a crown of life to be won, a life that measures with the life of God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1147.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.