April 22, 2007 – April 28, 2007
“The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.” Psalm 121:7.
Study Help: Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 343, 344.
“God proves His people in this world. This is the fitting-up place to appear in His presence. Here, in this world, in these last days, persons will show what power affects their hearts and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead to good works. It will elevate the receiver, and make him noblehearted and generous, like his divine Lord. But if evil angels control the heart, it will be seen in various ways. The fruit will be selfishness, covetousness, pride, and evil passions.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Professors of religion are not willing to closely examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith; and it is a fearful fact that many are leaning on a false hope. Some lean upon an old experience which they had years ago; but when brought down to this heart-searching time, when all should have a daily experience, they have nothing to relate. They seem to think that a profession of the truth will save them. When they subdue those sins which God hates, Jesus will come in and sup with them and they with Him. They will then draw divine strength from Jesus, and will grow up in Him, and be able with holy triumph to say: ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 188.
1 What is sin? 1 John 3:4; 5:17.
note: “God did not make the infinite sacrifice of giving His only-begotten Son to our world, to secure for man the privilege of breaking the commandments of God in this life and in the future eternal life. This is an infamous lie originated by Satan, which must be made to appear in its false, deceitful character. This law that Satan so much desires to have regarded null and void, is the great moral standard of righteousness. Any violation of it is an act of transgression against God, and will be visited with the penalty of the divine law. To all the inhabitants of the world who make void the law of Jehovah, and continue to live in transgression, death must surely come.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1116.
2 What examples are given by the wise man of what sin is? Proverbs 24:9; 10:19.
note: “We may deny Christ by our worldly conversation and by our pride of apparel. You have a circle of friends who are a snare to you and to your children. You love their companionship. Through association with them, you are led to dress yourselves and your children after the fashions followed by those who have no fear of God before their eyes. You thus show that you have friendship with the world. . . . Does your intercourse with these friends incline you to visit the closet and ask divine love and grace, or does it estrange your mind from God?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 437.
3 When the Saviour magnified the law, what did He say it covered? See Matthew 5:21–28.
note: “It [God’s law] extends to the deep secrets of man’s moral nature and throws a flood of light upon that which has been concealed from the sight and knowledge of men. What the hands may do or the tongue may utter—what the outer life reveals—but imperfectly shows man’s moral character. The law searches his thoughts, motives, and purposes. The dark passions that lie hidden from the sight of men, the jealousy, hatred, lust, and ambition, the evil deeds meditated upon in the dark recesses of the soul, yet never executed for want of opportunity—all these God’s law condemns.” The Acts of the Apostles, 424.
“The righteousness which Christ taught is conformity of heart and life to the revealed will of God. Sinful men can become righteous only as they have faith in God and maintain a vital connection with Him. Then true godliness will elevate the thoughts and ennoble the life. Then the external forms of religion accord with the Christian’s internal purity. Then the ceremonies required in the service of God are not meaningless rites, like those of the hypocritical Pharisees.
“Jesus takes up the commandments separately, and explains the depth and breadth of their requirement. Instead of removing one jot of their force, He shows how far-reaching their principles are, and exposes the fatal mistake of the Jews in their outward show of obedience. He declares that by the evil thought or the lustful look the law of God is transgressed. One who becomes a party to the least injustice is breaking the law and degrading his own moral nature.” The Desire of Ages, 310.
4 What standard of moral perfection is to characterize those waiting for the coming of the Lord? 11 Peter 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:23. To what state of character must we attain in order to see God in peace when He comes? Hebrews 12:14. Compare Exodus 3:2–5; Joshua 5:13–15.
note: “The Scriptures teach us to seek for the sanctification to God of body, soul, and spirit. In this work we are to be laborers together with God. Much may be done to restore the moral image of God in man, to improve the physical, mental, and moral capabilities. Great changes can be made in the physical system by obeying the laws of God and bringing into the body nothing that defiles. And while we cannot claim perfection of the flesh, we may have Christian perfection of the soul. Through the sacrifice made in our behalf, sins may be perfectly forgiven. Our dependence is not in what man can do; it is in what God can do for man through Christ. When we surrender ourselves wholly to God, and fully believe, the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. The conscience can be freed from condemnation. Through faith in His blood, all may be made perfect in Christ Jesus. Thank God that we are not dealing with impossibilities. We may claim sanctification. We may enjoy the favor of God. We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but about what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 32, 33.
5 Through whom is victory over sin gained? 1 Corinthians 15:57.
note: “The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 15:57.” The Great Controversy, 469, 470.
6 What will the armor of God enable us to do? Ephesians 6:13.
note: “The gaining of eternal life will ever involve a struggle, a conflict. We are continually to be found fighting the good fight of faith. We are soldiers of Christ; and those who enlist in His army are expected to do difficult work, work which will tax their energies to the utmost. We must understand that a soldier’s life is one of aggressive warfare, of perseverance and endurance. For Christ’s sake we are to endure trials.
“Victories are not gained by ceremonies or display but by simple obedience to the highest General, the Lord God of heaven. He who trusts in this Leader will never know defeat. Obedience to God is liberty from the thraldom of sin, deliverance from human passion and impulse. Man may stand conqueror of himself, conqueror of his own inclinations, conqueror of principalities and powers, and of the ‘rulers of the darkness of this world,’ and of ‘spiritual wickedness in high places.’ [Ephesians 6:12.]” In Heavenly Places, 259.
7 How continuous may be our victory through Jesus? Where is this victory manifest? 11 Corinthians 2:14. What further assurance of victory is given us through Him who loves us? Romans 8:35–37.
note: “The love of God does not lead Him to excuse sin. He did not excuse it in Satan; He did not excuse it in Adam or in Cain; nor will He excuse it in any other of the children of men. He will not connive at our sins or overlook our defects of character. He expects us to overcome in His name.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 316.
“The tempter’s agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act. Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.” The Desire of Ages, 311.
8 From what does the psalmist say the Lord will preserve us? Psalm 121:7. Compare Isaiah 56:2. How will submission to God affect the enemy? James 4:7.
note: “Satan carefully studies the constitutional sins of men, and then he begins his work of alluring and ensnaring them. We are in the thickest of temptations, but there is victory for us if we fight manfully the battles of the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 97.
“Every Christian must stand on guard continually, watching every avenue of the soul where Satan might find access. He must pray for divine help and at the same time resolutely resist every inclination to sin. By courage, by faith, by persevering toil, he can conquer. But let him remember that to gain the victory Christ must abide in him and he in Christ.” Ibid., 47.
9 What standard of life did Jesus set before the man healed of an infirmity? John 5:14.
note: “The Saviour in His miracles revealed the power that is continually at work in man’s behalf, to sustain and to heal him. Through the agencies of nature, God is working, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, to keep us alive, to build up and restore us. When any part of the body sustains injury, a healing process is at once begun; nature’s agencies are set at work to restore soundness. But the power working through these agencies is the power of God. All life-giving power is from Him. When one recovers from disease, it is God who restores him.
“Sickness, suffering, and death are work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the restorer. . . .
“When Christ healed disease, He warned many of the afflicted ones, ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.’ John 5:14. Thus He taught that they had brought disease upon themselves by transgressing the laws of God, and that health could be preserved only by obedience.” The Ministry of Healing, 112, 113.
10 What power is promised to the believer? Ephesians 1:17–22.
note: “Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ’s word of power. . . . God ‘hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.’ Colossians 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance.” The Desire of Ages, 320.
11 How did the 70 testify concerning the power given to them? What additional assurance was given? What was a greater cause of rejoicing? Luke 10:17–20.
note: “Christ’s followers were to look upon Satan as a conquered foe. Upon the cross, Jesus was to gain the victory for them; that victory He desired them to accept as their own. [Luke 10:19 quoted.]
“The omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit is the defense of every contrite soul. Not one that in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power. The Saviour is by the side of His tempted and tried ones. With Him there can be no such thing as failure, loss, impossibility, or defeat; we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.” The Desire of Ages, 490.
12 In whom are we complete? Colossians 1:19; 2:9, 10.
note: “The mighty power of the Holy Spirit works an entire transformation in the character of the human agent, making him a new creature in Christ Jesus. When a man is filled with the Spirit, the more severely he is tested and tried, the more clearly he proves that he is a representative of Christ. The peace that dwells in the soul is seen on the countenance. The words and actions express the love of the Saviour. There is no striving for the highest place. Self is renounced. The name of Jesus is written on all that is said and done.
“We may talk of the blessings of the Holy Spirit, but unless we prepare ourselves for its reception, of what avail are our works? Are we striving with all our power to attain to the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for his fullness, ever pressing toward the mark set before us,—the perfection of his character? When the Lord’s people reach this mark, they will be sealed in their foreheads. Filled with the Spirit, they will be complete in Christ, and the recording angel will declare, ‘It is finished.’ ” Review and Herald, June 10, 1902.
Adapted from “The Victorious Life,” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1924.