This We Believe (2)
July 31 – August 6, 2022
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 359–369
“Apart from Christ we have no merit, no righteousness. Our sinfulness, our weakness, our human imperfection make it impossible that we should appear before God unless we are clothed in Christ’s spotless righteousness. We are to be found in Him not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness which is in Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 333
1 OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS: FILTHY RAGS
1.a. How did our first parents try to justify themselves after they disobeyed God? Genesis 3:12, 13. How do people excuse their disobedience today?
Note: “Since the fall of Adam, men in every age have excused themselves for sinning, charging God with their sin, saying that they could not keep His commandments. This is the insinuation Satan cast at God in heaven. But the plea, ‘I cannot keep the commandments,’ need never be presented to God; for before Him stands the Saviour, the marks of the crucifixion upon His body, a living witness that the law can be kept. It is not that men cannot keep the law, but that they will not.” The Review and Herald, May 28, 1901
1.b. What does the Bible declare about self-justification or self-righteousness? Job 9:20; Isaiah 64:6; Luke 16:15
Note: “Whoever trusts in himself that he is righteous, will despise others. As the Pharisee judges himself by other men, so he judges other men by himself.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 151
2 CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS: HIS CHARACTER
2.a. In the experience of Joshua the high priest, what should be done before the change of garment takes place? Zechariah 3:3, 4
Note: “Joshua, who represents God’s people, is clothed in filthy garments, and stands before the angel; but as the people repent before God for the transgression of His law, and reach up by the hand of faith to lay hold on the righteousness of Christ, Jesus says, ‘Take away the filthy garments from them, and clothe them with change of raiment.’ It is through Christ’s righteousness alone that we are enabled to keep the law.” The Signs of the Times, June 2, 1890
“The filthy garments are removed; for Christ says, ‘I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee’ (Zechariah 3:4). The iniquity is transferred to the innocent, the pure, holy, Son of God; and man, all undeserving, stands before the Lord cleansed from all unrighteousness, and clothed with the imputed righteousness of Christ. Oh, what a change of garment is this!” That I May Know Him, 108
“The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 555, 556
2.b. What does the white raiment offered by Jesus represent? Matthew 22:11, 12; Revelation 3:18; 19:8
Note: “By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ’s true followers will possess. To the church it is given ‘that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,’ ‘not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Revelation 19:8, first part; Ephesians 5:27. The fine linen, says the Scripture, ‘is the righteousness of saints’ Revelation 19:8, last part. It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 310
“The white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience.” Testimonies, Vol. 4, 88
3 JUSTIFICATION: FORGIVENESS
3.a. What is the definition of justification? Romans 3:25; Colossians 3:13. What is the only way that sinners can be justified before God? Romans 3:24, 26; 5:1; 1 John 1:8, 9
Note: “Justification means the saving of a soul from perdition, that he may obtain sanctification, and through sanctification, the life of heaven. Justification means that the conscience, purged from dead works, is placed where it can receive the blessings of sanctification.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, 908
“Pardon and justification are one and the same thing. Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption. The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are borne by his substitute and surety.” Faith and Works, 103
“Justification is the opposite of condemnation. God’s boundless mercy is exercised toward those who are wholly undeserving.” Ibid., 104
3.b. Once a man is justified by faith in Christ, what is he to do? John 5:14; 8:11; 15:4. How does God consider a person who annuls His justification by returning to sin? Hebrews 10:26–29
Note: “It is by grace that the sinner is saved, being justified freely by the blood of Christ. But Christ did not die to save the sinner in his sins. The whole world is condemned as guilty before God, for they are transgressors of His holy law; and they will certainly perish unless they repent, turn from their disobedience, and through faith in Christ claim the merits of His precious blood.” The Signs of the Times, July 29, 1886.
“As we look into the divine mirror, the law of God, we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and our own lost condition as transgressors. But by repentance and faith we are justified before God, and through divine grace enabled to render obedience to His commandments.” Reflecting Christ, 96
“If the soul whose sins have been forgiven abides in Christ, he remains justified, and he is sanctified by the Holy Spirit; but if he continues in sin, he cuts himself off from communion with God, and, unless he repent, his sins are reckoned unto him in full, and the wrath of God abideth on him. The forgiven of God must abide in Christ, in faith and obedience.” The Review and Herald, December 9, 1890
4 SANCTIFICATION: FITNESS FOR HEAVEN
4.a. What does the Bible say about perfection of character (sanctification)? Matthew 5:46–48; 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Note: “He who is being sanctified by the truth will be self-controlled, and will follow in the footsteps of Christ until grace is lost in glory. The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven.” Messages to Young People, 35
“True sanctification comes through the working out of the principle of love. ‘God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ 1 John 4:16. The life of him in whose heart Christ abides, will reveal practical godliness. The character will be purified, elevated, ennobled, and glorified. Pure doctrine will blend with works of righteousness; heavenly precepts will mingle with holy practices.” The Acts of the Apostles, 560
“Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the sanctification of the truth, the believer becomes fitted for the courts of heaven; for Christ works within us, and His righteousness is upon us. Without this no soul will be entitled to heaven. We would not enjoy heaven unless qualified for its holy atmosphere by the influence of the Spirit and the righteousness of Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 395
4.b. What is the divine counsel regarding our characters, and how can we achieve His requirements? 1 Peter 1:15, 16; Romans 13:14
Note: “We need constantly a fresh revelation of Christ, a daily experience that harmonizes with His teachings. High and holy attainments are within our reach. Continual progress in knowledge and virtue is God’s purpose for us. His law is the echo of His own voice, giving to all the invitation, ‘Come up higher. Be holy, holier still.’ Every day we may advance in perfection of Christian character.” The Ministry of Healing, 503
“We can keep the law only through making the righteousness of Christ our own. Christ says, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing.’ When we receive the heavenly gift, the righteousness of Christ, we shall find that divine grace has been provided for us, and that human resources are powerless. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit in large measure for great emergencies, to help our infirmities, to give us strong consolation, to illuminate our minds, and purify and ennoble our hearts.” Reflecting Christ, 103
5 RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SAINTS
5.a. In order to achieve true sanctification, what is expected from our part? Philippians 2:12, 13; 2 Peter 1:5–11
Note: “If men are willing to be molded, there will be brought about a sanctification of the whole being. The Spirit will take the things of God and stamp them on the soul. By His power the way of life will be made so plain that none need err therein.” The Acts of the Apostles, 53
“What is holiness?—Doing everything with an eye single to the glory of God. Holiness is so living that men shall see your good works, and by seeing them shall glorify God.” The Medical Missionary, October 1, 1893
“We are not to live like the world. We must show that the grace of Christ has a sanctifying influence upon our lives.” The Signs of the Times, March 9, 1888
5.b. What will be the result of constantly looking to Jesus? 2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 12:2; Revelation 3:5; 19:7–9
Note: “A true believer shows that his character has been transformed by living a spiritual life, by living on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. His consecration is shown by the words that fall from his lips and by his zeal in good works.” The Review and Herald, January 25, 1898
“Those who have rendered obedience to God in all ages, have been transformed in character, and in these last days, when iniquity abounds on every hand, our wisdom and understanding before all people will consist in our obedience to the standard of righteousness.” The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1888
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Why is the habit of self-justification so destructive to our spirituality?
2 How can we obtain the righteousness of Christ?
3 What does “justification” mean?
4 What does “sanctification” mean?
5 How does the righteousness of Christ change our lives, and why must we allow it to do so?
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