Bible Study – Good Works

May 21 – 27, 2023

Key Text

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Study Help: Faith and Works, 47–50; 95–98


“The unselfish labor of Christians in the past should be to us an object lesson and an inspiration. The members of God’s church are to be zealous of good works, separating from worldly ambition and walking in the footsteps of Him who went about doing good.” The Acts of the Apostles, 109



1.a. What is the sure foundation of our salvation? Ephesians 2:8, 9

Note: “Salvation is God’s free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ’s sake alone. The troubled soul may find peace through faith in Christ, and his peace will be in proportion to his faith and trust.” The Review and Herald, January 29, 1895

1.b.        What is the role of good works in our spiritual life? Ephesians 2:10

Note: “The Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ’s merit alone; and the acts of mercy, the deeds of charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith; and they become a blessing to us; for men are to be rewarded according to their works. It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We deserve no thanks from God. We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.” The Review and Herald, January 29, 1895



2.a. What is the meaning of the expression “dead works”? Hebrews 9:14

Note: “True sanctification means perfect love, perfect obedience, perfect conformity to the will of God. We are to be sanctified to God through obedience to the truth. Our conscience must be purged from dead works to serve the living God. We are not yet perfect; but it is our privilege to cut away from the entanglements of self and sin, and advance to perfection.” The Acts of the Apostles, 565

“If God has chosen us from eternity, it is that we might be holy, our conscience purged from dead works to serve the living God. We must not in any way make self our god. God has given Himself to die for us, that He might purify us from all iniquity. The Lord will carry on this work of perfection for us if we will allow ourselves to be controlled by Him. He carries on this work for our good and His own name’s glory.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 200, 201

2.b.        How can we be purged from dead works? Isaiah 6:5–7

Note: “Let every soul who claims to be a son or a daughter of God examine himself in the light of Heaven; let him consider the polluted lips that make him ‘undone.’ They are the medium of communication. …

“How many words are spoken in lightness and foolishness, in jesting and joking! This would not be so did the followers of Christ realize the truth of the words, ‘Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’

“Harsh and unkind words, words of censure and criticism of God’s work and His messengers, are indulged in by those who profess to be His children. When these careless souls discern the greatness of God’s character, they will not mingle their spirit and attributes with His service. When our eyes look by faith into the sanctuary, and take in the reality, the importance and holiness, of the work there being done, everything of a selfish nature will be abhorred by us. Sin will appear as it is—the transgression of God’s holy law. The atonement will be better understood; and by living, active faith, we shall see that whatever of virtue humanity possesses, it exists only in Jesus Christ, the world’s Redeemer.” The Review and Herald, December 22, 1896


3 DEAD WORKS (continued)

3.a. What is the result of works which lack faith? Romans 14:23 

Note: “We are not perfect, but it is our privilege to cut away from the entanglements of self and sin, and go on unto perfection.” The Upward Look, 99

“The Pharisee goes up to the temple to worship, not because he feels that he is a sinner in need of pardon, but because he thinks himself righteous and hopes to win commendation. His worship he regards as an act of merit that will recommend him to God. At the same time it will give the people a high opinion of his piety. He hopes to secure favor with both God and man. His worship is prompted by self-interest.

“And he is full of self-praise. He looks it, he walks it, he prays it. Drawing apart from others as if to say, ‘Come not near to me; for I am holier than thou’ (Isaiah 65:5), he stands and prays ‘with himself.’ Wholly self-satisfied, he thinks that God and men regard him with the same complacency.

“ ‘God, I thank thee,’ he says, ‘that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.’ He judges his character, not by the holy character of God, but by the character of other men. His mind is turned away from God to humanity. This is the secret of his self-satisfaction.

“He proceeds to recount his good deeds: ‘I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’ The religion of the Pharisee does not touch the soul. He is not seeking Godlikeness of character, a heart filled with love and mercy. He is satisfied with a religion that has to do only with the outward life. His righteousness is his own—the fruit of his own works—and judged by a human standard.

“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. His righteousness is estimated by theirs, and the worse they are the more righteous by contrast he appears. His self-righteousness leads to accusing. ‘Other men’ he condemns as transgressors of God’s law. Thus he is making manifest the very spirit of Satan, the accuser of the brethren. With this spirit it is impossible for him to enter into communion with God. He goes down to his house destitute of the divine blessing.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 150, 151

3.b.        What is the source of dead works? James 2:17, 26



4.a. How do true good works come into being? Isaiah 26:12; John 7:37–39

Note: “Love is the basis of godliness. Whatever the profession, no man has pure love to God unless he has unselfish love for his brother. But we can never come into possession of this spirit by trying to love others. What is needed is the love of Christ in the heart. When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously. The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within—when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart and is revealed in the countenance.

“It is not possible for the heart in which Christ abides to be destitute of love. If we love God because He first loved us, we shall love all for whom Christ died. We cannot come in touch with divinity without coming in touch with humanity; for in Him who sits upon the throne of the universe, divinity and humanity are combined. Connected with Christ, we are connected with our fellow men by the golden links of the chain of love. Then the pity and compassion of Christ will be manifest in our life. We shall not wait to have the needy and unfortunate brought to us. We shall not need to be entreated to feel for the woes of others. It will be as natural for us to minister to the needy and suffering as it was for Christ to go about doing good.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 384, 385 [Author’s emphasis.]

4.b.        What did Paul say about the basis of his spiritual life? Galatians 2:20, 21 

Note: “Paul realized that his sufficiency was not in himself, but in the presence of the Holy Spirit, whose gracious influence filled his heart, bringing every thought into subjection to Christ. He spoke of himself as ‘always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.’ 2 Corinthians 4:10. In the apostle’s teachings Christ was the central figure. ‘I live,’ he declared, ‘yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Galatians 2:20. Self was hidden; Christ was revealed and exalted.” The Acts of the Apostles, 251



5.a. What did Christ say about the purpose of good works? Matthew 5:16

Note: “Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.

“God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. When Christ healed the sick, He laid His hands upon them. So should we come in close touch with those whom we seek to benefit.

“There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead and a Physician there.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 417, 418

5.b.        What will be the result of faith which works by love and purifies the soul? Galatians 5:5, 6; Romans 8:24

Note: “In the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 417



1    What is the place of good works in Christian life?

2    What are dead works?

3    What is the relation between justification by faith and good works?

4    What is the source of all good works?

5    How can the world know that we really believe in Christ?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – Faith

May 14 – 20, 2023

Key Text

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ ” Romans 1:16, 17

Study Help: Education, 253–261


“Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged; and the disciples were to show a faith of the same enduring nature. They were to work as He had worked, depending on Him for strength. Though their way would be obstructed by apparent impossibilities, yet by His grace they were to go forward, despairing of nothing and hoping for everything.” The Acts of the Apostles, 23



1.a. What is the Bible definition of faith? Hebrews 11:1 

Note: “We can have the salvation of God in our families; but we must believe for it, live for it, and have a continual, abiding faith and trust in God.” Child Guidance, 484

“The prayer of the publican was heard because it showed dependence reaching forth to lay hold upon Omnipotence. Self to the publican appeared nothing but shame. Thus it must be seen by all who seek God. By faith—faith that renounces all self-trust—the needy suppliant is to lay hold upon infinite power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159

1.b.        What is written about the creation of the universe? Hebrews 11:3; Psalm 33:6, 9

Note: “God spoke, and His words created His works in the natural world. God’s creation is but a reservoir of means made ready for Him to employ instantly to do His pleasure.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, 1081



2.a. What is recorded about Abel? Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 11:4

Note: “In every offering to God we are to acknowledge the one great Gift; that alone can make our service acceptable to Him. When Abel offered the firstling of the flock, he acknowledged God, not only as the Giver of his temporal blessings, but also as the Giver of the Saviour. Abel’s gift was the very choicest he could bring; for it was the Lord’s specified claim. But Cain brought only of the fruit of the ground, and his offering was not accepted by the Lord. It did not express faith in Christ. All our offerings must be sprinkled with the blood of the atonement. As the purchased possession of the Son of God, we are to give the Lord our own individual lives.” The Review and Herald, November 24, 1896

“Fallen man, because of his guilt, could no longer come directly before God with his supplications; for his transgression of the divine law had placed an impassable barrier between the holy God and the transgressor. But a plan was devised that the sentence of death should rest upon a Substitute of superior value to the law of God. In the plan of redemption there must be the shedding of blood, for death must come in consequence of man’s sin. The beasts for sacrificial offerings were to prefigure Christ. In the slain victim, man was to see the fulfillment for the time being of God’s word, ‘Ye shall surely die.’ ” Ibid., March 3, 1874

2.b.        What was the main difference between Cain and Abel’s offerings? Genesis 4:3–5

Note: “Cain thought himself righteous, and he came to God with a thank offering only. He made no confession of sin, and acknowledged no need of mercy. But Abel came with the blood that pointed to the Lamb of God. He came as a sinner, confessing himself lost; his only hope was the unmerited love of God. The Lord had respect to his offering, but to Cain and his offering He had not respect. The sense of need, the recognition of our poverty and sin, is the very first condition of acceptance with God. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ Matthew 5:3.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 152



3.a. Summarize the biography of Enoch. Genesis 5:21–24

Note: “Did he [Enoch] see God by his side? Only by faith. He knew that the Lord was there, and he adhered steadfastly to the principles of truth. We, too, are to walk with God. When we do this, our faces will be lighted up by the brightness of His presence, and when we meet one another, we shall speak of His power, saying, Praise God. Good is the Lord, and good is the word of the Lord.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, 1087

3.b.        What was Enoch’s reward? Hebrews 11:5

Note: “We can have what Enoch had. We can have Christ as our constant companion. Enoch walked with God, and when assailed by the tempter, he could talk with God about it. He had no ‘It is written’ as we have, but he had a knowledge of his heavenly Companion. He made God his Counselor, and was closely bound up with Jesus. And Enoch was honored in this course. He was translated to heaven without seeing death. And those who will be translated at the close of time, will be those who commune with God on earth. Those who make manifest that their life is hid with Christ in God will ever be representing Him in all their life practices. Selfishness will be cut out by the roots.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, 1087

“Be ambitious, for the Master’s glory, to cultivate every grace of character. In every phase of your character building you are to please God. This you may do; for Enoch pleased Him though living in a degenerate age. And there are Enochs in this our day.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 332

“If you will only watch, continually watch unto prayer, if you will do everything as if you were in the immediate presence of God, you will be saved from yielding to temptation, and may hope to be kept pure, spotless, and undefiled till the last.” Gospel Workers, 128



4.a. What is written of Noah? Genesis 5:28, 29, 32; 6:8, 9, 13, 14, 22; Hebrews 11:7

Note: “The descendants of Seth were called the sons of God—the descendants of Cain, the sons of men. As the sons of God mingled with the sons of men, they became corrupt, and by intermarriage with them, lost, through the influence of their wives, their peculiar, holy character, and united with the sons of Cain in their idolatry. Many cast aside the fear of God, and trampled upon His commandments. But there were a few that did righteousness, who feared and honored their Creator. Noah and his family were among the righteous few.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 1, 66

“While Noah was giving his warning message to the world, his works testified of his sincerity. It was thus that his faith was perfected and made evident. He gave the world an example of believing just what God says. All that he possessed, he invested in the ark. As he began to construct that immense boat on dry ground, multitudes came from every direction to see the strange sight and to hear the earnest, fervent words of the singular preacher. Every blow struck upon the ark was a witness to the people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 95

4.b. What title did God Himself apply to Noah? Genesis 7:1; 2 Peter 2:5

Note: “Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God’s word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver shall come to punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to repent, and return to their allegiance; but with the majority these warnings will be in vain. Says the apostle Peter, ‘There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.’ 2 Peter 3:3, 4. Do we not hear these very words repeated, not merely by the openly ungodly, but by many who occupy the pulpits of our land?” Patriarchs and Prophets, 102, 103



5.a. How was Abraham justified before God? Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:1–5

Note: “The first and the last are to be sharers of the great, eternal reward, and the first should gladly welcome the last. He who grudges the reward to another, forgets that he himself is saved by grace alone.” The Review and Herald, July 10, 1894

5.b.        How was Abraham justified before the whole universe? James 2:18–26

Note: “In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect.” The Review and Herald, November 4, 1890

“The faith that does not produce good works does not justify the soul.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 397

“Faith works by love and purifies the soul. Faith buds and blossoms and bears a harvest of precious fruit. Where faith is, good works appear. The sick are visited, the poor are cared for, the fatherless and the widows are not neglected, the naked are clothed, the destitute are fed. Christ went about doing good, and when men are united with Him, they love the children of God, and meekness and truth guide their footsteps. The expression of the countenance reveals their experience, and men take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Christ and the believer become one, and His beauty of character is revealed in those who are vitally connected with the Source of power and love.” Ibid., 398



1    What is faith?

2    Why did God accept Abel’s offering?

3    How did Enoch walk with the Lord?

4    How was Noah considered by God, and why?

5    What is the basic difference between faith and presumption?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – Grace

May 7 – 13, 2023

Key Text

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. … And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:14, 16, 17

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 167–177


“Those who labor for souls must attain to a deeper, fuller, clearer knowledge of God than can be gained by ordinary effort. They must throw all their energies into the work of the Master. They are engaged in a high and holy calling, and if they gain souls for their hire they must lay firm hold upon God, daily receiving grace and power from the Source of all blessing.” The Acts of the Apostles, 205



1.a. What is grace? John 1:14–17

Note: “Grace is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his own, without any claim to offer to God. He is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who stands in the courts of heaven as the sinner’s substitute and surety.” Amazing Grace, 182

1.b.        To whom is God’s grace offered? Titus 2:11

Note: “In the council of heaven, provision was made that men, though transgressors, should not perish in their disobedience, but, through faith in Christ as their substitute and surety, might become the elect of God, predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. God wills that all men should be saved; for ample provision has been made, in giving His only-begotten Son to pay man’s ransom.” The Faith I Live By, 157



2.a. What is the main purpose of God’s grace? Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11

Note: “The Lord saw our fallen condition; He saw our need of grace, and because He loved our souls, He has given us grace and peace. Grace means favor to one who is undeserving, to one who is lost. The fact that we are sinners, instead of shutting us away from the mercy and love of God, makes the exercise of His love to us a positive necessity in order that we may be saved.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 347

2.b.        Who needs grace? 1 Timothy 1:15

Note: “Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature and finally driven from the soul temple. It is through grace that we are brought into fellowship with Christ, to be associated with Him in the work of salvation. Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin. Faith can present Christ’s perfect obedience instead of the sinner’s transgression and defection. When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then according to His unfailing promises, God pardons his sin and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his Substitute and Surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness.” Faith and Works, 100

2.c. What poignant thought from a diary entry of Sister White relates to us all?

Note: “This day has been a day of perplexity and trial. We feel deeply our need of the grace of God. These small trials are worse to bear than heavy afflictions. Shall I ever learn to be perfectly patient under minor trials? I know that I shall be tempted and proved until self shall be hid in Jesus. My earnest prayer to God daily is for divine grace to do His will.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 20, 209



3.a. How are we to overcome sin? Romans 6:14

Note: “Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ, obedient to all the principles of the law. But of himself man is utterly unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God’s word declares he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth. Man’s obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ’s righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help.

“The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous one. Day by day God labors for man’s sanctification, and man is to cooperate with Him, putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits. He is to add grace to grace; and as he thus works on the plan of addition, God works for him on the plan of multiplication. Our Saviour is always ready to hear and answer the prayer of the contrite heart, and grace and peace are multiplied to His faithful ones. Gladly He grants them the blessings they need in their struggle against the evils that beset them.” The Acts of the Apostles, 532

3.b.        What is promised to all who surrender to Christ? Matthew 16:24–27; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6–10

Note: “The only safety for the youth in this age of pollution is to make God their trust. Without divine help they will be unable to control human passions and appetites. In Christ is the very help needed, but how few will come to Him for that help. Said Jesus when upon the earth, ‘Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.’ In Christ all can conquer. You can say with the apostle, ‘Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.’ Again, ‘But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.’ ” Child Guidance, 467



4.a. What is the fruit of a Christian, and how is it borne? Galatians 5:22, 23; 2 Corinthians 9:8

Note: “The prayer of the living Christian will be ‘to be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding, that they may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering, with joyfulness;’ ‘In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’

“Here is the true knowledge which should be desired, and possessed by every Christian. This knowledge will not lead to ungodliness. It will not break down the constitution, nor bring a gloomy cloud over the mind; but will impart substantial joys, and true happiness. This wisdom is divine, and flows ceaselessly from a pure fountain which gives peace, joy, and health.” An Appeal to Mothers, 32, 33

4.b.  What enables us to continuously bear fruit? John 15:5

Note: “As the graft receives life when united to the vine, so the sinner partakes of the divine nature when connected with Christ. Finite man is united with the infinite God. When thus united, the words of Christ abide in us, and we are not actuated by a spasmodic feeling, but by a living, abiding principle. The words of Christ must be meditated upon and cherished and enshrined in the heart. They should not be repeated, parrot-like, finding no place in the memory and having no influence over the heart and life.

“As the branch must abide in the vine to obtain the vital sap which causes it to flourish, so those who love God and keep all His sayings must abide in His love. Without Christ we cannot subdue a single sin or overcome the smallest temptation. Many need the Spirit of Christ and His power to enlighten their understanding, as much as blind Bartimaeus needed his natural sight. ‘As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.’ All who are really in Christ will experience the benefit of this union. The Father accepts them in the Beloved, and they become objects of His solicitude and tender, loving care. This connection with Christ will result in the purification of the heart and in a circumspect life and faultless character.” Testimonies, Vol. 4, 355 [Author’s emphasis.]



5.a. How can believers grow in grace? 2 Peter 1:2–8; 3:18 

Note: “It is the Lord’s desire that His followers shall grow in grace, that their love shall abound more and more, that they shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God. …

“One of the divine plans for growth is impartation. The Christian is to gain strength by strengthening others. ‘He that watereth shall be watered also himself.’ This is not merely a promise; it is a divine law, a law by which God designs that the streams of benevolence, like the waters of the great deep, shall be kept in constant circulation, continually flowing back to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the secret of spiritual growth.” The Signs of the Times, June 12, 1901

5.b. What do we need to grow in God’s grace? Psalm 119:9–11, 105; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Proverbs 4:23

Note: “Diligent heart-keeping is essential to a healthy growth in grace.” Our High Calling, 161

“How is it possible that we may grow in grace? It is possible to us only as we empty our hearts of self, and present them to heaven, to be molded after the divine Pattern. We may have a connection with the living Channel of Light; we may be refreshed with the heavenly dew, and have the showers of heaven descend upon us. As we appropriate the blessing of God, we shall be able to receive greater measures of His grace. As we learn to endure as seeing Him who is invisible, we shall become changed into the image of Christ. The grace of Christ will not make us proud, cause us to be lifted up in self, but we shall become meek and lowly in heart.” The Signs of the Times, January 16, 1893



1    What is grace and to whom is it offered?

2    What is man’s condition without God’s grace?

3    How can we be overcomers?

4    What is the result of God’s grace in our life?

5    What is essential for us to grow in grace?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – Knowing God

Christian Character (2)

April 30 – May 6, 2023

Key Text

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 409426


“The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. This is the knowledge that works transformation of character. Received into the life, it will re-create the soul in the image of Christ. This is the knowledge that God invites His children to receive, beside which all else is vanity and nothingness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 475



1.a. What is written about worldly wisdom? 1 Corinthians 1:19, 20

Note: “In their pride of intellect and human wisdom may be found the reason why the gospel message met with comparatively little success among the Athenians. The worldly-wise men who come to Christ as poor lost sinners, will become wise unto salvation; but those who come as distinguished men, extolling their own wisdom, will fail of receiving the light and knowledge that He alone can give.” The Acts of the Apostles, 240

“Many of the greatest scholars and statesmen, the world’s most eminent men, will in these last days turn from the light because the world by wisdom knows not God.” Ibid., 241, 242

1.b.        What special effort should we make in behalf of learned men? Matthew 22:9

Note: “God’s servants are to improve every opportunity to communicate the truth to these [eminent] men. Some will acknowledge their ignorance of the things of God and will take their place as humble learners at the feet of Jesus, the Master Teacher.” The Acts of the Apostles, 242



2.a. What does Scripture teach about true wisdom? Proverbs 1:2, 3, 5, 7; Jeremiah 9:23, 24

2.b.        Where can we find this true wisdom? Isaiah 34:16; 1 Corinthians 1:22–25, 30 

Note: “There is no branch of legitimate business for which the Bible does not afford an essential preparation. Its principles of diligence, honesty, thrift, temperance, and purity are the secret of true success. These principles, as set forth in the book of Proverbs, constitute a treasury of practical wisdom.” Education, 135

2.c. As we seek such wisdom, what also should we bear in mind? Romans 11:33

Note: “We can never by searching find out God. We must not attempt to lift with presumptuous hand the curtain behind which He veils His majesty. … We can so far comprehend His dealings with us, and the motives by which He is actuated, that we may discern boundless love and mercy united to infinite power. Our Father in heaven orders everything in wisdom and righteousness, and we are not to be dissatisfied and distrustful, but to bow in reverent submission. He will reveal to us as much of His purposes as it is for our good to know, and beyond that we must trust the Hand that is omnipotent, the Heart that is full of love.” The Great Controversy, 527

2.d.        What qualifies us to receive that wisdom which God intends for us to have? Psalm 25:9 

Note: “The Bible is yet but dimly understood. A lifelong, prayerful study of its sacred revealings will leave still much unexplained. It is the deep movings of the Spirit of God that is needed to operate upon the heart to mold character, to open the communication between God and the soul, before the deep truths will be unraveled.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 82



3.a. What is essential for us in order to know God? Jeremiah 24:7; John 3:3

Note: “The refining influence of the grace of God changes the natural disposition of man. Heaven would not be desirable to the carnal minded; their natural, unsanctified hearts would feel no attraction toward that pure and holy place, and if it were possible for them to enter, they would find there nothing congenial. The propensities that control the natural heart must be subdued by the grace of Christ before fallen man is fitted to enter heaven and enjoy the society of the pure, holy angels. When man dies to sin and is quickened to new life in Christ, divine love fills his heart; his understanding is sanctified; he drinks from an inexhaustible fountain of joy and knowledge, and the light of an eternal day shines upon his path, for with him continually is the Light of life.” The Acts of the Apostles, 273

3.b.        How can we attain to a knowledge of God? Matthew 11:27; John 1:18

Note: “Only by knowing God here can we prepare to meet Him at His coming.” In Heavenly Places, 250

“The world by wisdom knows not God. Many have talked eloquently about Him, but their supposed sound reasoning, their subtle arguments, bring men no nearer to Him, because they themselves are not in vital connection with Him. … A correct knowledge of God is not a hearsay report, but an intelligent, experimental knowledge. …

“Only by knowing Christ can we know God.” The Review and Herald, July 20, 1897

“Christ is the perfect revelation of God. Let those who desire to know God, study the work and teaching of Christ. To those who receive Him and believe on Him, He gives power to become the sons of God.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 94

“The heavens are full of rich blessings, and it is our privilege to have the joy of Christ in us that our joy may be full. We have not because we ask not, or because we do not pray in faith, believing that we shall be blessed with the special influence of the Holy Spirit. To the true seeker through the mediation of Christ the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit are imparted in order that the receiver may impart a knowledge of saving truth.” Sabbath-School Worker, February 1, 1896



4.a. Why is it vitally important to cultivate a knowledge of Christ? John 14:9

Note: “ ‘This is life eternal,’ Christ declared, ‘that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.’ These words mean much. It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. The Sent of God calls upon all to listen to these words. They are the words of God, and all should give heed to them; for by them they will be judged. To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practice His words. Without this, all else is valueless.

“Christ came to this world to reveal the Father. What patience, what pitying tenderness, what divine compassion, what strength of purpose, He manifested! He did not fail nor become discouraged. He was the embodiment of purity, and His love was without a parallel. At every step He practiced self-denial and self-sacrifice. In His death He was the revelation of the reconciliation between God and man. By taking our nature, He bound Himself to us through eternal ages. He is our representative and head. He represents our race before God, still and forever bearing the humanity of the race. He pleads before the Father the perfect righteousness of all who accept Him.” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898

4.b. What is our knowledge of Christ to involve? 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30

Note: “To talk of religion in a casual way, to pray without soul hunger and living faith, avails nothing. A nominal faith in Christ, which accepts Him merely as the Saviour of the world, can never bring healing to the soul. The faith that is unto salvation is not a mere intellectual assent to the truth. He who waits for entire knowledge before he will exercise faith, cannot receive blessing from God. It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. Many hold faith as an opinion. Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power.” The Desire of Ages, 347 [Author’s emphasis.]



5.a. How does the apostle Paul compare divine wisdom with human wisdom? 1 Corinthians 1:18–21

Note: “To each of us God has committed sacred trusts, for which He holds us accountable. He designs that man shall be so educated as to develop his mental and moral powers, that he may have a well-balanced mind and a symmetrical character. But education alone will not prepare him to answer the object of his creation. He needs the grace of God, and divine aid awaits his demand. Divine power united with human effort will enable him to do good and glorify his Creator.” The Signs of the Times, April 3, 1884

5.b. Why do so few learned men accept the true gospel? 1 Corinthians 1:25–31; Matthew 11:25, 26

 Note: “Because of the pride and ambition of the children of men, God has chosen to perform His mighty works by the most simple and humble means. It is not the men whom the world honors as great, talented, or brilliant, that God selects. He chooses those who will work in meekness and simplicity, acknowledging Him as their leader and their source of strength. He would have us make Him our protector and our guide in all the duties and affairs of life. …

“The Majesty of heaven works by whom He will. His providence sometimes selects the humblest instruments to do the greatest work, for His power is revealed through the weakness of men. We have our standard of reckoning, and by it we pronounce one thing great, and another small; but God estimates not according to the standard of men; He does not graduate His scale by theirs. We are not to suppose that what is great to us must be great to God, and what is small to us must be small to Him.” The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1881



1    What is the basis of false wisdom?

2    How can we be wise in the sight of God?

3    What kind of knowledge can we have about God?

4    How can we know God?

5    What is the main distinction between false and true wisdom?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Recipe – Pear Cream


About 88% of pears in the U.S. are grown in Washington and Oregon. They grow best in this region due to its volcanic soil, clean mountain water, warm spring days, and cool nights. They are in season and at their best from August-November, but are available most of the year.

While you may be most familiar with Bartletts and Boscs, there are more than 5,000 different varieties grown around the globe. Other top varieties include Anjou, Comice, Starkrimson, and Asian, which is also known as an apple pear.

Pears rank higher than almost any fruit when it comes to dietary fiber, with six grams or 21% of the daily value in just one pear. For the value of fiber, look no further than your gastrointestinal tract and the helpful bacteria that live there. Fiber helps maintain balance, regularity, and reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Dietary fiber also slows digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract, leaving one feeling fuller longer, and slows absorption of sugars, reducing sugar spikes and cravings. Soluble fiber in pears also serves as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in your gut.

Antioxidants can help to decrease inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation increases the risk for chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease. Regularly eating fruits like pears can help decrease the risk of chronic disease.

Pears ripen best off the tree, from the inside out. They may be hard, green, and unripe when bought fresh, but when pressing the stem area gives to pressure, it is ripe and ready to eat. Use pears to make delicious crisps, tarts, pies, cobblers, puddings, sauces, dried leathers, jams, and butters.


Recipe – Pear Cream


1 cup cashews or Brazil nuts

1-2 tsp. vanilla flavoring

2 15-oz. cans unsweetened pears in own juice or 3 large pears, steamed with 1 cup water until soft

Pinch of salt


Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour over waffles, pancakes, granola, cooked cereal, etc.

In Harmony with God

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifested in the flesh.”

1 Timothy 3:16

In the old covenant, God’s law was written on stone, but in the new covenant, His law is written on a fleshly tablet—the heart. “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:2, 3

Jesus is a perfect, living example of the ten commandments written in the heart and lived out in the life. We can read this in Psalm 40:8. “I delight to do Your will, O My God, and Your law is within My heart.” The context of this verse makes it clear that this is a prophecy regarding the Messiah.

Since Jesus is our perfect, living example of how the ten commandments are to be lived out in the life, anything that is in my life, anything that I think or say or do that is not Christlike is a violation of the ten commandments, and therefore is sin. This is the new covenant understanding of what sin is.

Just as God was manifested in the flesh of Jesus Christ, He wants to be manifested in my flesh and in your flesh. In fact, unless this happens in your life and my life, we will never be in the kingdom of heaven. Let me repeat that. If God is not manifested in your flesh and my flesh, as He was in the flesh of Jesus Christ, then we will not be in the kingdom of heaven.

Mrs. White wrote the following regarding the purpose of the plan of salvation. “In order to understand what is comprehended in the work of education, we need to consider both the nature of man and the purpose of God in creating him. We need to consider also the change in man’s condition through the coming in of a knowledge of evil, and God’s plan for still fulfilling His glorious purpose in the education of the human race.” Education, 14, 15

There are four things in this quotation we need to study:

  1. The nature of man
  2. The purpose of God in creating him
  3. The change in man’s condition through the knowledge of evil
  4. God’s plan for fulfilling His purpose in the education of the human race

When God created man, He said, “ ‘Let Us make man in Our image, and in Our likeness.’ ” The purpose of the plan of salvation is to restore in mankind, in all who will accept His salvation, the image of God.

When I was seven years old, I began reading my Bible through for the first time. I read the first chapter of Genesis and contemplated that man was created in the image of God. I thought that we must then look like God. I have hands and eyes, feet and ears, so God must have those, too, I thought. But I was a child, and as I grew into adulthood, I started thinking differently about the terms likeness and image.

Being in the likeness of something has to do with resemblance, being a copy, representing someone, acting like someone, specifically bearing the character or power of another. Children may have the same color eyes and hair as their parents, but they also may adopt their parents’ mannerism and habits, they may sound like them, walk like them, they may have the same moral character and spiritual beliefs as their parents. People will say of them, “You are just like your mother,” or “You are just like your father.”

God wants you to become like Him. He wants people to look at you and me and see Him in our words and actions, in our compassion and love. “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached.” Ibid., 18

“When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. ‘God created man in His own image’ (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived, the more fully he should reveal this image—the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator. All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase. Vast was the scope offered for their exercise, glorious the field opened to their research. The mysteries of the visible universe—the ‘wondrous works of Him which is perfect in knowledge’ (Job 37:16)—invited man’s study. Face-to-face, heart-to-heart communion with his Maker was his high privilege. Had he remained loyal to God, all this would have been his forever. Throughout eternal ages he would have continued to gain new treasures of knowledge, to discover fresh springs of happiness, and to obtain clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the wisdom, the power, and the love of God. More and more fully would he have fulfilled the object of his creation, more and more fully have reflected the Creator’s glory.” Ibid., 15.

That was God’s purpose when man was created, but when man sinned, it seemed to the whole universe that God’s plan would never be fulfilled.

Man was created to be like his Creator in every way, and it was God’s plan that as he continued to live, he would more and more fully reveal or reflect His image. “The glory of God is His character. While Moses was in the mount, earnestly interceding with God, He prayed, ‘I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.’ In answer God declared ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.’ ” The Signs of the Times, September 3, 1902

“In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart.” The Great Controversy, 467

In his original state, Adam was in perfect harmony, not only with the law of God, but also with the nature of God. The principles of righteousness were written on his heart. You will recall that nature, heart, mind, and character are used synonymously in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. It is the natural thoughts and feelings, the disposition and affections that make up a person’s character. Adam’s natural thoughts and feelings, his disposition and affections were in harmony with the nature and law of God; he reflected the character of God.

First John 4:16 tells us that “God is love.” This is His nature. Adam was in harmony with the nature of God because the principles of righteousness were written in his heart. A principle is “a law of action in a human being,” in other words, an innate propensity common to the human species. And when man was created, his nature was in harmony with the nature of God.

Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is about the ten commandments. Verse 172 says, “My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.” The principles of righteousness are the principles of God’s commandments. Paul says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10. Ellen White describes it like this: “Love must be the principle of action. Love is the underlying principle of God’s government in heaven and earth, and it must be the foundation of the Christian’s character. This alone can make and keep him steadfast. This alone can enable him to withstand trial and temptation.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 49

So, what causes the Christian to obey God? Obedience is the outworking of a principle within. “The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer, doing right because it is right.” That I May Know Him, 118

“Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has a tendency to corrupt and destroy; the power of force is strong to do hurt; but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. … Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly origin, which lives and flourishes where Christ reigns.

“Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless.” Gospel Workers, 311, 312

After man sinned, when he was no longer in harmony with the character and love of God, we are told that, “Christ came to our world to represent the character of God as it is represented in His holy law; for His law is a transcript of His character.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 1, 44

Christ came and lived the very principles of the law of God; the principles that are the very nature of God (Steps to Christ, 60). It is God’s purpose that as the law was written in the heart of Jesus (Psalm 40:8), so they will be written in our hearts. This is His promise to His people under the new covenant. “ ‘This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ says the Lord. ‘I will put My law into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.’ ” Hebrews 8:10

To be in the kingdom of heaven, the law of God must be written in your heart. It was once a natural part of the nature of man, but once man sinned, selfishness took its place and became the all-governing principle of the human heart and mind.

“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.” The Desire of Ages, 668

Imagine it! To be so aligned with Christ that you would rather die than sin; that all you want, all you think about is to do the will of God. To know God so well that you literally hate sin. Have you ever eaten something and hated it so bad you would never eat it again? I’m reminded of a child with their lips firmly closed together, absolutely refusing the food mom is trying to spoon in their mouth.

If sin isn’t like that for me, then I don’t know God. If there is any sin that has not become hateful to me, if I have chosen to become a Christian, but there is still some darling sin that I am hanging on to, then I do not know God. But once the sinful things I used to love become hateful and terrible to me, then I can say that I know God and that He has changed me so that I now hate sin and once again love righteousness.

As part of his nature, Adam also had other powers of mind that were created in the image of God, such as his judgment, his reason, his intellect, and his affection, but these, too, were ruined when Adam sinned.

“When man came from the hand of his Creator, he was perfect in organization and beautiful in form.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, 1082. What does it mean that “he was perfect in organization”?

“Those who would have clear minds to discern Satan’s devices must have their physical appetites under the control of reason and conscience. The moral and vigorous action of the higher powers of the mind are essential to the perfection of Christian character.” Messages to Young People, 236, 237

This speaks of the higher powers of man’s mind. His will, judgment, reason, and conscience were regulated according to the truth, the law or the will of God, and therefore, they controlled the lower powers of the body.

“Before his fall Adam was free from the results of the curse. When he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He was created perfect in thought and in action.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 141

Our actions, good and bad, have their very foundation in the mind. The thought must exist before the action can take place. People must sin in their mind before they can sin with their lips or their hand. “Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy.” Steps to Christ, 17

“In the counsels of heaven God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. … So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him.’ The Lord created man’s moral faculties and his physical powers. All was a sinless transcript of Himself. God endowed man with holy attributes, and placed him in a garden made expressly for him.” The Youth’s Instructor, July 20, 1899

“God did not create man sinful. Adam came forth from the hand of his Maker without the taint of evil.” The Signs of the Times, August 26, 1897

All moral evil is sin. Therefore, the taint of evil can also be called the taint of sin. To be tainted with evil or sin means to be sinful. So, God made man upright with intellectual and moral powers. He was not created sinful, but was created without the taint of evil. “God made man upright. He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil. He endowed him with high intellectual powers, and presented before him the strongest possible inducements to be true to his allegiance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 49

When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature a likeness to his Maker. He was noble, pure and holy, with no tendency to evil. The purpose of the new covenant is to restore men and women to the perfection they possessed when created. Christ alluded to the significance of this restoration in His conversation with the scribes and Pharisees.

“ ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.’ ” Matthew 23:25–28

Notice, the people who crucified Jesus appeared clean on the outside, but on the inside they were unclean and full of wickedness. They worked to look good to the world, but they had failed to do the heart work necessary to make the inside clean so that the outside would then be truly clean.

Let’s say a bomb exploded inside your house and caused a lot of damage—ruined your furniture, blew out a couple walls and made holes in the ceiling, broke all the windows and left burn marks and peeling paint outside. You hurriedly replaced the windows and had the exterior of the house repainted, making sure that all signs of the damage were no longer visible. You stand back and smile because now everyone will see that the outside looks like new again. But inside, you just cleared a path and made do, making no repairs, not even making sure that the house was still in stable condition.

That’s what the scribes and Pharisees were doing. Sin had made a horrible mess on the inside of their lives, but they were only concerned with cleaning up what people could see.

God doesn’t work that way. He is determined to clean up the inside first. In our spiritual lives, with the inside clean, the outside actions and words will be clean also. When God gives us a new heart and mind, then our character will be like Christ’s character. This is the purpose of the plan of salvation under the new covenant. God’s purpose is to restore perfection in man’s physical, mental, and moral nature so that it once again reflects the likeness of his Creator.

Remember, the image of God is His glory and the glory of God is His character. God’s character was reflected in the character of Adam because the law of God, the principles of righteousness, were written upon his heart, and the Holy Spirit was the ruling power in his life. The law of God is a transcript of His character, and it is also, Ellen White says, an expression of His very nature.

Lucifer told God that he wanted a change in the law, but what he was actually telling his Creator was, You change. And today, people are still saying that. They look at the ten commandments as rules too restrictive to bear and they want to be free to adjust or do away with them as they please.

But the ten commandments are a transcript of God’s character, His very nature, the embodiment of the great principle of love that prompted God to create man in the first place. When God made man, He placed these precepts in his heart. They were a part of his very nature. Obedience to the law kept every thought and action in harmony with God’s own nature.

After man sinned, however, man’s nature was governed by selfishness, and it became necessary for God to write the ten commandments in stone so that man could read them and know what God required of him. But it wasn’t enough to have the law written down. So God sent His Son, in person, so that we, sinful man, could see Him live out the principles of God’s law—principles of righteousness and love so strong that Jesus was willing to die to redeem us, so that we might once again have these principles written in our hearts and perfectly reflect the nature of God.

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:1–6

Jesus Christ was a perfect reflection of the glory of God, the law of God, the nature of God. “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Verse 6. The purpose of the new covenant is to restore in you and me a perfect reflection of the law of God, the nature of God, the thoughts of God, the character of God.

Let it be our constant prayer to be changed so that the new covenant can be worked out in our lives; that the law may once again be written in our hearts, so that our lives will be in harmony with God and our characters will be like Jesus.

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health – Depression

Not all that long ago, depression was known as melancholia and looked upon as a resulting state of mind when a loved one died, a person lost their job, or maybe things just weren’t going the way a person hoped they would, so they would sigh and find it hard to get through the day.

But we now know that depression is classified as a mental illness and it has become, for some, an everyday way of life. Hopelessness and fear consume them, and too many come to believe that suicide is the only way to find peace.

“Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.”

It affects how you feel, how you think and behave, and it can cause a number of physical and emotional problems. A person can have trouble just getting through a normal day, sometimes even feeling as if life isn’t worth living.

It seems odd that it is during the holiday season filled with joyful celebration and the start of a new year with the potential of fresh beginnings, that we find the number of suicides and instances of depression and discouragement to be higher than at almost any other time throughout the year.

Many things can contribute to depression such as feelings of low self-esteem, bullying, conditions in the world, loss of a job or loved one, long debilitating illness—as occurred during the personal and societal changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The symptoms of depression can include

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts and frustration
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Reduced or increased appetite with resulting weight loss or gain
  • Anxiety
  • Slowed thinking
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Unexplained physical problems

Anyone who has any of these symptoms or others like them should talk to a friend, a loved one, someone you trust, or it might be time to consult with your physician.


“Nothing is so fruitful a cause of disease as depression, gloominess, and sadness. Mental depression is terrible.” Testimonies, Vol. 1, 702

We must, however, always remember that we know the One who cares for us in a way no one else does or even can. Jesus is always here and He loves us (see Christ’s Object Lessons, 100).

“Do not give way to depression, but let the comforting influence of the Holy Spirit be welcomed into your heart, to give you comfort and peace.” This Day With God, 305

“A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul … .

“Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression.

“Because God’s love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful. To be anxious about themselves tends to cause weakness and disease. If they will rise above depression and gloom, their prospect of recovery will be better … .” Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 2, 482

“A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is in the pathway to health.” My Life Today, 150

“Let nothing depress you. It will not pay to allow yourself to become cast down. Satan is pleased when he can work his will in this respect. You are to look to the One who has never failed you, who will never leave you. You need not be discouraged, notwithstanding there may be many things of a discouraging nature to meet … .

“Let us gather to our souls the sure encouragements the Lord has given, and read often the precious promises of His word. Christ is our Mediator and our Redeemer.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 19, 62–64

Today, in this world of ever-increasing sin, depression and discouragement have a stranglehold on many people, even, or maybe more so, on professed Christians. Studying God’s word, reliance upon His promises and the arm of the Holy Spirit, prayer, a positive frame of mind, helping others in need, spending time in the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air, and making certain that we have adequate exercise and rest are all effective defenses against depression.

However, it is not wrong if a person feels the need to consult with the appropriate physician and/or counselor because of sadness and depression, and this should not be looked upon as lack of faith in God. God is the Great Physician, and He can and will help us when we ask according to His will for our lives. But He also has given man the knowledge and skill to help himself. We should ever look to Him who knows all things and does all things for our best good when we seek counsel from man; but we also must use the counsel that God has given us. He created us. He made every part of our body and mind to work efficiently when we maintain it according to His guidance. We are colaborers with God in our spiritual health, and He has also provided that man may be a colaborer with Him in his physical health.

[Emphasis supplied.]

Nature – Daddy Longlegs

Daddy Longlegs are quite fascinating. Equally fascinating are the false and misleading accounts regarding the nature of these creatures. Many of these accounts have been passed down from generation to generation with the validity rarely challenged. Do they have fangs? Are they venomous? Do they bite, even humans? Are they even spiders? Let us explore the facts. The fossil record shows that daddy longlegs have been around for quite some time.


It sounds silly today, but as early as the 1600s, English farmers believed that daddy longlegs had a scythe (sickle) that assisted them with each harvest and killing one was thought to be bad luck. Some farmers believed that holding a daddy longlegs with one leg free would help them locate the direction of their lost cattle. And the poor among the French longed to see one in the evening, because they believed it was a sign of good fortune, hope, and happiness.

Environment, Defense & Feeding

Currently, of thousands of daddy longlegs species, six are critically endangered with a high possibility of extinction, eight are endangered, and two are vulnerable. Their habitat is being destroyed, degraded, and even lost due to man-made factors such as coffee growing, urban development, runoff pollution, and cave tourism.

Daddy longlegs live on every continent except Antarctica. In the temperate northern hemisphere, their legs tend to be longer; a male’s legs are also longer than a female’s legs. Their preferred environment is dark and moist, although they can also thrive in the desert. In your house, they would prefer a crawl space, your basement, or garage. Outside they live under logs and rocks, in tree burrows, and in sodden grassland. They have a 2-7 year lifecycle; taking a single year to develop from an egg into an adult.

Interestingly, daddy longlegs do not produce silk, therefore you will only find them in a web if they have fallen victim to the web spun by another type of spider.

Daddy longlegs are social creatures. They gather in thick, clustered communities of at least 300,000 individuals called aggregations. Researchers think that they aggregate for mating, temperature and humidity control, and to deter predators. When threatened by a parasite or predator, the entire aggregation signals a warning by excreting a foul scent. They then bob in a disorienting motion. Finally, they scatter quickly and individually. This foul scent is also used to communicate with one another, perfectly explaining the synchronized defense tactic. Other defenses include blending in with the surroundings, use of its armored body, playing dead to repulse, or willfully detaching a leg or legs to disorient a predator. Loss of a leg or legs is a permanent disability that occurs in at least 60% of their community.

They are poor-sighted creatures with a single pair of eyes, each one mounted on an eye turret that act as light sensors. You may wonder how they acquire food with such limited vision and no web in which to catch an unsuspecting meal. Researchers have concluded that they are most receptive to the light emitted by glowworms, which is a noteworthy portion of their diet. Although they are primarily scavengers of decomposing vegetable and animal matter, they are also opportunistic predators. As omnivores, they also eat plants, fungi, carrion (dead things), invertebrates (certain insects, like centipedes) and snails.

Daddy longlegs use small, hairy appendages near their mouth as sensory organs called pedipalps. These are not fangs nor venomous glands that cause harm by injecting venom into the prey to subdue it. The hairs secrete a poisonous and microscopic, glue-like substance that quickly subdues its prey, even those twice its own size. Although the poisonous secretion may cause harm through topical contact or ingestion by another creature, it is weak and therefore, not strong enough to harm humans.

Researchers have not, to date, found any evidence that daddy longlegs have fangs, are venomous, nor that they are capable of biting humans. Equally as important, they are not spiders.

In spite of their poor eyesight, daddy longlegs are able to sense their surroundings with the sensitive tips of their eight legs. The two longest legs are used as feelers while three legs are lifted and the other three legs touch the ground at the same time. This movement is compared to basketball dribbling or a bobbing motion. They keep these sensory organs in optimal condition by sliding one leg at a time through their mouth, in a motion called leg-threading.

Mistaken Identity 

The term, “granddaddy or daddy longlegs” is commonly used with reference to three different creatures: the crane fly, the cellar spider, and the harvestman. Only one is truly a spider. Only one is truly a daddy longlegs.

The crane fly is not a true spider so it is not a daddy longlegs.

The cellar spider is an arachnid in the family Phocidae. It has a two-part segmented body, eight legs, and eight eyes that are clustered together on the foremost segment of its body. It is a true spider, but it is not a daddy longlegs.

The harvestman is an arachnid in its own separate order Opiliones. It has a single, pill-like body without segments, eight legs, and a single pair of eyes. It does not have fangs or venom glands nor is it able to bite. The poisonous secretion found on its pedipalp hairs is actually a “glue” that subdues its prey, either by topical contact or ingestion. The more the prey struggles, the more stuck it becomes. It does not produce silk to spin webs. The harvestman is a true daddy longlegs.

As with daddy longlegs, there may be times in our lives when people mistake our nature, abilities, and limitations. There may also be times in our lives when people believe things about us that simply are not true. At times, we may become our own harshest critic; finding ourselves listening to the lies of the enemy without much resistance, surrendering in hopeless defeat.

Daddy longlegs are clueless to the myths and mistaken identities that have been imposed upon them, but we humans, we know what we think about ourselves, and more often than not, are aware of the beliefs and feelings that others have about us.

Beloved, let us not surrender in hopeless defeat, for we know that the thoughts imposed upon us cannot compare to the truth known by the Lord, the spiritual gifts and talents given by the Holy Spirit, and our true identity and life that is hidden in Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to know the beauty of proving all things, knowing the power by which we may rebuke falsities, and to hold fast to that which edifies and is good. Stand firm in truth.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4–6


Image credit: By Olei – Self-published work by Olei, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Question – Where is Heaven?


Where is Heaven?


Heaven. The home of God. Does heaven have an address? Do we have directions with which to find it? If we could stand just outside Earth’s atmosphere and gaze across the wide expanse of space—at least all that the human eye could see—could we discern it, perhaps just there, left of Jupiter about a zillion miles?

Mrs. White writes regarding a vision during which she heard the voice of God coming from the open space in Orion (Maranatha, 279). So is that where heaven is?

Inspiration tells us precisely where heaven should be found, and it’s not somewhere out there.

“To save the transgressor of God’s law, Christ, the One equal with the Father, came to live heaven before men, that they might learn to know what it is to have heaven in the heart. He illustrated what man must be to be worthy of the precious boon of the life that measures with the life of God.

“The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace, humility, truth, and love. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if he would join the church triumphant. The love of Christ is so broad, so full of glory, that in comparison to it, everything that men esteem as great, dwindles into insignificance. When we obtain a view of it, we exclaim, O the depth of the riches of the love that God bestowed upon men in the gift of His only begotten Son!” Christian Education, 76

Our focus now should not be outward, but inward. One day soon, Jesus will come and He will take His children home to heaven. Until that glorious morning, we must receive the transformation of character that results in living each day in such a way that heaven can be found in us.

[Emphasis supplied.]

What is Love?

A soldier hurt in a war lost his legs and suffered brain damage. His young wife sacrifices all to care for him. Is that love?

A single mother raising three children alone, working three jobs to keep them in school, dressed, fed, and housed. Is that love?

The mother bird gathers her chicks under her wings to protect them from a raging wildfire, sacrificing her own life to save theirs. Is that love?

Helping a man, an enemy, beaten and robbed on the side of the road when no one else will. Is that love?

Yes, it is. How do we know?

Because Jesus gave up everything to save you and me. He lived the life that He promises we will be able to live by His power. And He died to pay the penalty for our sinfulness that we could not pay. That is love!

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

We sacrifice, giving up everything, all of ourselves. We obey His commands and do His will. This is love.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”  Verses 11, 12

“Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly origin, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.

“Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless. … It is diffusive in its nature, and quiet in its operation, yet strong, mighty, to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence, and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful.” Gospel Workers, 312

“Those who have genuine love for God will manifest an earnest desire to know His will and to do it.” Reflecting Christ, 96

“John’s love for his Master was not a mere human friendship, but it was the love of a repentant sinner, who felt that he had been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. … His love for Jesus led him to love all for whom Christ died. …

“John desired to become like Jesus, and under the transforming influence of the love of Christ, he became meek and lowly of heart. Self was hid in Jesus. He was closely united to the Living Vine, and thus became a partaker of the divine nature.” Ibid., 92

“Perfect obedience to the law of God is the test by which it is known that our love is perfect toward Christ.” The Signs of the Times, June 18, 1896

“It is not the great results we attain, but the motives from which we act, that weigh with God.” Testimonies, Vol. 2, 510, 511

“We give evidence of being the friends of Christ when we manifest implicit obedience to His will. It is no evidence to say, and do not; but in doing, in obeying, is the evidence.” Testimonies, Vol. 1, 691

Lord, help us to seek and to obey Your will. Perfect Your love within us, for alone we are not able, but You have promised to do a work in us. Transform us by the power of Your love so that we are remade in Your image.