March 4, 2007 – March 10, 2007
“Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7.
Study Help: The Great Controversy, 467, 468, 424–428.
“The announcement, ‘The hour of His judgment is come’ [Revelation 14:7], points to the closing work of Christ’s ministration for the salvation of men.” The Great Controversy, 435.
1 Why are we to fear God now more than ever? Revelation 14:7; 11 Corinthians 5:10.
note: “How solemn is the thought! Day after day, passing into eternity, bears its burden of records for the books of heaven. Words once spoken, deeds once done, can never be recalled. Angels have registered both the good and the evil. The mightiest conqueror upon the earth cannot call back the record of even a single day. Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn.” The Great Controversy, 486, 487.
2 What should be our great concern in view of the judgment? 1 Peter 4:17, 18.
note: “All who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth.” The Great Controversy, 490.
3 What is our only hope in the judgment? 1 John 2:1, 2.
note: “While Jesus is pleading for the subjects of His grace, Satan accuses them before God as transgressors. The great deceiver has sought to lead them into skepticism, to cause them to lose confidence in God, to separate themselves from His love, and to break His law. Now he points to the record of their lives, to the defects of character, the unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer, to all the sins that he has tempted them to commit, and because of these he claims them as his subjects.
“Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying: I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of My hands.” The Great Controversy, 484.
4 What distinction is made between Christ’s true followers and those who only profess to believe in Him? Matthew 7:21–23; 1 John 2:4–6. When and how does this distinction become unmistakably clear?
note: “There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the judgment—those who violate God’s law and those who obey it.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 283.
“Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church, but He has not committed to us the work of judging character and motive. He knows our nature too well to entrust this work to us.” Ibid., 71.
“Sinners who make a pretension of piety mingle for a time with the true followers of Christ, and the semblance of Christianity is calculated to deceive many; but in the harvest of the world there will be no likeness between good and evil. Then those who have joined the church, but who have not joined Christ, will be manifest.” Ibid., 74.
5 By what standard will all be judged as they are enlightened by God’s Word? Romans 2:12; 3:19; James 2:10–12.
note: “The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it. After the Fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. ‘Concerning thy testimonies,’ says the psalmist, ‘I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever’ (Psalm 119:152).
“By this law, which governs angels, which demands purity in the most secret thoughts, desires, and dispositions, and which shall ‘stand fast for ever’ (Psalm 111:8), all the world is to be judged in the rapidly approaching day of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 220.
6 How does the amount of light we have received relate to our accountability in the judgment? Luke 12:47, 48.
note: “God’s test of the heathen, who have not the light, and of those living where the knowledge of truth and light has been abundant, is altogether different. He accepts from those in heathen lands a phase of righteousness which does not satisfy Him when offered by those of Christian lands. He does not require much where much has not been bestowed.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1121.
7 What question, asked in the judgment, will decide the eternal destiny of each one of us? Matthew 19:16, 17.
note: “The only question asked in the judgment will be, ‘Have they been obedient to My commandments?’ ” Gospel Workers, 315.
“In His [Christ] teaching He ever presented the law as a divine unity, showing that it is impossible to keep one precept and break another; for the same principle runs through all. Man’s destiny will be determined by his obedience to the whole law.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 377, 378.
8 By what principles must we be governed now, on earth, if we want to have a place in heaven? Luke 10:25–28; 1 John 5:2, 3.
note: “Both the poor and the rich are deciding their own eternal destiny and proving whether they are fit subjects for the inheritance of the saints in light. Those who put their riches to a selfish use in this world are revealing attributes of character that show what they would do if they had greater advantages, and possessed the imperishable treasures of the kingdom of God. The selfish principles exercised on the earth are not the principles which will prevail in heaven. All men stand on an equality in heaven; for there is no caste with God. Christ said, ‘All ye are brethren.’ [Matthew 23:8.]” Review and Herald, March 31, 1896.
“In heaven none will think of self, nor seek their own pleasure; but all, from pure, genuine love, will seek the happiness of the heavenly beings around them. If we wish to enjoy heavenly society in the earth made new, we must be governed by heavenly principles here.” In Heavenly Places, 233.
9 What prophecy points to the investigative judgment? Malachi 3:1. How is this depicted in the parable of the wedding garment? Matthew 22:11–14.
note: “The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event.” The Great Controversy, 426.
10 How does Daniel describe the investigative judgment? Daniel 7:9–13. What will Christ receive after the judgment, and what will be the next great event? Daniel 7:14; Luke 12:36; Revelation 22:12.
note: “The followers of Christ are to ‘wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding.’ Luke 12:36. But they are to understand His work, and to follow Him by faith as He goes in before God. It is in this sense that they are said to go in to the marriage.” The Great Controversy, 427. [Author’s emphasis.]
“Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, ‘dominion, and glory, and a kingdom’; He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, ‘prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people.” Ibid.
The Law of God
“The law of God, from its very nature, is unchangeable. It is a revelation of the will and the character of its Author. God is love, and His law is love. Its two great principles are love to God and love to man. ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Romans 13:10. The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law. Says the psalmist: ‘Thy law is the truth’; ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness.’ Psalm 119:142, 172. And the apostle Paul declares: ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ Romans 7:12. Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.
“It is the work of conversion and sanctification to reconcile men to God by bringing them into accord with the principles of His law. In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God’s law. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Romans 8:7. But ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,’ that man might be reconciled to God. [John 3:16.] Through the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, ‘he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ [John 3:3.]
“The first step in reconciliation to God is the conviction of sin. ‘Sin is the transgression of the law.’ ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin.’ 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20. In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God’s great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects in his own.
“The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy. While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. He must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed; and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Thus he obtains ‘remission of sins that are past’ and becomes a partaker of the divine nature. [Romans 3:25.] He is a child of God, having received the spirit of adoption, whereby he cries: ‘Abba, Father!’
“Is he now free to transgress God’s law? Says Paul: ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.’ ‘How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ And John declares: ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.’ Romans 3:31; 6:2; 1 John 5:3. In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then ‘the righteousness of the law’ will ‘be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:4. And the language of the soul will be: ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97.
“ ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7. Without the law, men have no just conception of the purity and holiness of God or of their own guilt and uncleanness. They have no true conviction of sin and feel no need of repentance. Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God’s law, they do not realize their need of the atoning blood of Christ. The hope of salvation is accepted without a radical change of heart or reformation of life. Thus superficial conversions abound, and multitudes are joined to the church who have never been united to Christ.” The Great Controversy, 467, 468.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.