Bible Study – A Special Invitation

March 26 – April 1, 2023

Key Text

“Moreover whom He predestined, them He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:30

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 328–332


“Calling and justification are not one and the same thing. Calling is the drawing of the sinner to Christ, and it is a work wrought by the Holy Spirit upon the heart, convicting of sin, and inviting to repentance.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 390



1.a. What invitation does Jesus Christ send to all of us? Matthew 11:28

Note: “And to those who are longing for rest and peace today just as truly as to those who listened to His words in Judea, He is saying, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ ” The Signs of the Times, June 24, 1897

“Turning from the ambitious, self-satisfied favorites of this world, He declared that those were blessed who, however great their need, would receive His light and love. To the poor in spirit, the sorrowing, the persecuted, He stretched out His arms, saying, ‘Come unto Me, … and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” Education, 79, 80

1.b. What is the relationship between Christ’s invitation and the Sabbath? Isaiah 58:13, 14

Note: “And the Lord says, ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; … then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.’ Isaiah 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him.” The Desire of Ages, 289



2.a. What does Christ offer us together with His invitation? Matthew 11:29

Note: “ ‘Take My yoke upon you,’ Jesus says. The yoke is an instrument of service. Cattle are yoked for labor, and the yoke is essential that they may labor effectually. By this illustration Christ teaches us that we are called to service as long as life shall last. We are to take upon us His yoke, that we may be coworkers with Him.

“The yoke that binds to service is the law of God. The great law of love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will of God. If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan’s ranks and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service. The yoke of service Christ Himself has borne in humanity. He said, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. ‘I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.’ John 6:38.” The Desire of Ages, 329, 330

“When you find your work hard, when you complain of difficulties and trials, when you say that you have no strength to withstand temptation, that you cannot overcome impatience, and that the Christian life is uphill work, be sure that you are not bearing the yoke of Christ; you are bearing the yoke of another master.” Child Guidance, 267

2.b. What is Christ willing to teach us? Matthew 11:29

Note: “We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God.

“In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage.” The Desire of Ages, 330



3.a. What does Christ mean when He says, “My yoke is easy”? Matthew 11:30

Note: “The yoke is placed upon the oxen to aid them in drawing the load, to lighten the burden. So with the yoke of Christ. When our will is swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others, we shall find life’s burden light. He who walks in the way of God’s commandments is walking in company with Christ, and in His love the heart is at rest. When Moses prayed, ‘Show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee,’ the Lord answered him, ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’ And through the prophets the message was given, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.’ Exodus 33:13, 14; Jeremiah 6:16. And He says, ‘O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.’ Isaiah 48:18.” The Desire of Ages, 331

3.b. What words does John employ to utter the same message? 1 John 5:3

Note: “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, 468



4.a. What is the main hindrance that has prevented our entrance into the heavenly Canaan? Hebrews 3:18, 19

Note: “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be … delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief.’ Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.

“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.

“We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action.” Evangelism, 696

4.b. On the other hand, how can we enter into Christ’s rest? Hebrews 4:1–3

Note: “It is not a conclusive evidence that a man is a Christian because he manifests spiritual ecstasy under extraordinary circumstances. Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love.” The Acts of the Apostles, 51

“By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return.” The Desire of Ages, 633



5.a. What is the fruit of entering into Christ’s rest? Hebrews 4:10, 11

Note: “ ‘There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. … Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.’ The rest here spoken of is the rest of grace, obtained by following the prescription, Labor diligently. Those who learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness find rest in the experience of practicing His lessons. It is not in indolence, in selfish ease and pleasure-seeking, that rest is obtained. Those who are unwilling to give the Lord faithful, earnest, loving service will not find spiritual rest in this life or in the life to come. Only from earnest labor comes peace and joy in the Holy Spirit—happiness on earth and glory hereafter.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, 928

5.b. What is the final rest reserved for God’s people? Revelation 7:15–17

Note: “As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here.” The Desire of Ages, 331, 332



1    What does Christ offer to those who accept His invitation?

2    What is the meaning of the “yoke” of Christ?

3    Under what circumstances is the “yoke” of Christ easy?

4    When do we really enter into Christ’s rest?

5    When will God’s people have complete rest?

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

Bible Study – False Justification

March 19 – 25, 2023

Key Text

“Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” Romans 4:4, 5

Study Help: Faith and Works, 15–18


“Justification is wholly of grace and not procured by any works that fallen man can do.” Faith and Works, 20



1.a. What is written about the purpose of God’s law? Romans 3:20, 28

Note: “I would call on all who would win heaven, to take warning. Do not devote your precious probationary time to sewing together fig leaves to cover the nakedness which is the result of sin. As you look into the Lord’s great moral looking glass, His holy law, His standard of character, do not for a moment suppose that it can cleanse you. There are no saving properties in the law. It cannot pardon the transgressor. The penalty must be exacted.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, 1070

1.b. What is written about the Israelites as a nation? Romans 10:1–4

Note: “Priests and rulers became fixed in a rut of ceremonialism. They were satisfied with a legal religion, and it was impossible for them to give to others the living truths of heaven. They thought their own righteousness all-sufficient, and did not desire that a new element should be brought into their religion. The good will of God to men they did not accept as something apart from themselves, but connected it with their own merit because of their good works.” The Acts of the Apostles, 15



2.a. What does the Bible say about a person’s good works? Romans 4:1–5

Note: “The reward is not of works, lest any man should boast; but it is all of grace. ‘What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.’ Romans 4:1–5. Therefore there is no occasion for one to glory over another or to grudge against another. No one is privileged above another, nor can anyone claim the reward as a right.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 401, 402

“The work of faith means more than we think. It means genuine reliance upon the naked word of God. By our actions we are to show that we believe that God will do just as He has said. The wheels of nature and of providence are not appointed to roll backward nor to stand still. We must have an advancing, working faith, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul from every vestige of selfishness. It is not self, but God, that we must depend upon. We must not cherish unbelief. We must have that faith that takes God at His word. …

“Sanctification of soul, body, and spirit will surround us with the atmosphere of heaven. 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.” Bible Training School, June 1, 1915

2.b. What is said about the works of righteousness and our salvation? Titus 3:5

 Note: “Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 199



3.a. What did the apostle Paul explain to the Galatians? Galatians 2:16

Note: “Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit. Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned as wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.” Faith and Works, 19, 20

3.b. Who is the author of the theory of salvation by works? 

Note: “A legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. Fasting or prayer that is actuated by a self-justifying spirit is an abomination in the sight of God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposing sacrifice, proclaim that the doer of these things regards himself as righteous, and as entitled to heaven; but it is all a deception. Our own works can never purchase salvation.” The Desire of Ages, 280

“The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.” Ibid., 35, 36



4.a. What did James explain about false faith? James 2:14–20

Note: “The apostle James saw that dangers would arise in presenting the subject of justification by faith, and he labored to show that genuine faith cannot exist without corresponding works. The experience of Abraham is presented. ‘Seest thou,’ he says, ‘how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?’ James 2:22. Thus genuine faith does a genuine work in the believer. Faith and obedience bring a solid, valuable experience. …

“The so-called faith that does not work by love and purify the soul will not justify any man. ‘Ye see,’ says the apostle, ‘how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.’ James 2:24. Abraham believed God. How do we know that he believed? His works testified to the character of his faith, and his faith was accounted to him for righteousness. We need the faith of Abraham in our day, to lighten the darkness that gathers around us, shutting out the sweet sunlight of God’s love, and dwarfing spiritual growth. Our faith should be prolific of good works; for faith without works is dead.” The Faith I Live By, 115

4.b. On the other hand, what is the result of true faith? Galatians 5:6

Note: “The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in body, soul, and spirit to His own image. Then God can use us to do His will. The power given us works from within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the truth that has been communicated to us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 100

“The faith that works by love and purifies the soul could find no place for union with the religion of the Pharisees, made up of ceremonies and the injunctions of men.” The Acts of the Apostles, 15



5.a. What is written about our own righteousness? Isaiah 64:6; Revelation 3:18

Note: “The true Witness has said, ‘Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.’ What is the shame of this nakedness and poverty? It is the shame of clothing ourselves with self-righteousness, and of separating ourselves from God, when He has made ample provision for all to receive His blessing.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, 965

5.b. What will be the fate of those who cling to their own righteousness? Revelation 3:16

Note: “There are those who, though professedly serving God, are witnessing against Him. To them the message to the Laodicean church is given. Christ says to them, ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot.’ When the avenging angel shall pass through the land, Christ cannot say of them, ‘Touch them not. I have graven them upon the palms of my hands.’ No; of these halfhearted ones He says, ‘I will spew them out of my mouth. They are offensive to me.’ ” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, 963



1    God’s law cannot justify anyone. Why?

2    Can a person’s good works assure his or her salvation?

3    Why do we have no merits in ourselves before God?

4    How does James explain true faith?

5    Why are we not justified before God by our own righteousness?

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

Bible Study – The Righteousness of Christ

March 12 – 18, 2023

Key Text

“The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21

Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 236–241


“Paul and his fellow workers proclaimed the doctrine of righteousness by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. They presented Christ as the One who, seeing the helpless condition of the fallen race, came to redeem men and women by living a life of obedience to God’s law and by paying the penalty of disobedience.” The Acts of the Apostles, 207



1.a. What did Jeremiah prophesy about Jesus? Jeremiah 23:5, 6

 Note: “Jeremiah also bore witness of the coming Redeemer as a Prince of the house of David: ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.’ And again: ‘Thus saith the Lord: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.’ Jeremiah 23:5, 6; 33:17, 18.” The Acts of the Apostles, 223

1.b. How did Micah identify Jesus in his prophecy? Micah 5:1

 Note: “Had not Micah prophesied, ‘They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek’? Micah 5:1.” The Acts of the Apostles, 225



2.a. What did Pilate declare about Jesus during the judgment? Luke 23:4

Note: “Christ affirmed that His word was in itself a key which would unlock the mystery to those who were prepared to receive it. It had a self-commending power, and this was the secret of the spread of His kingdom of truth. He desired Pilate to understand that only by receiving and appropriating truth could his ruined nature be reconstructed.

“Pilate had a desire to know the truth. His mind was confused. He eagerly grasped the words of the Saviour, and his heart was stirred with a great longing to know what it really was, and how he could obtain it. ‘What is truth?’ he inquired. But he did not wait for an answer. The tumult outside recalled him to the interests of the hour; for the priests were clamorous for immediate action. Going out to the Jews, he declared emphatically, ‘I find in Him no fault at all.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 727

2.b. What words did Judas utter before the Sanhedrin? Matthew 27:3, 4

 Note: “As the trial [of Jesus] drew to a close, Judas could endure the torture of his guilty conscience no longer. Suddenly a hoarse voice rang through the hall, sending a thrill of terror to all hearts: He is innocent; spare Him, O Caiaphas!

“The tall form of Judas was now seen pressing through the startled throng. His face was pale and haggard, and great drops of sweat stood on his forehead. Rushing to the throne of judgment, he threw down before the high priest the pieces of silver that had been the price of his Lord’s betrayal. Eagerly grasping the robe of Caiaphas, he implored him to release Jesus, declaring that He had done nothing worthy of death. Caiaphas angrily shook him off, but was confused, and knew not what to say. The perfidy of the priests was revealed. It was evident that they had bribed the disciple to betray his Master.

“ ‘I have sinned,’ again cried Judas, ‘in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.’ But the high priest, regaining his self-possession, answered with scorn, ‘What is that to us? see thou to that.’ Matthew 27:4. The priests had been willing to make Judas their tool; but they despised his baseness. When he turned to them with confession, they spurned him.” The Desire of Ages, 721, 722



3.a. What powerful public testimony did Peter give about Jesus? Acts 3:14, 15

Note: “When Jesus died, the priests thought that no more miracles would be performed among them, that the excitement would die out and the people would again turn to the traditions of men. But lo! right among them the disciples were working miracles, and the people were filled with amazement. Jesus had been crucified, and they wondered where His followers had obtained this power. When He was alive, they thought that He imparted power to them; but when He died, they expected the miracles to cease. Peter understood their perplexity and said to them, ‘Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know.’ ” Early Writings, 192, 193

3.b. What did the same apostle write later? 1 Peter 2:21–23 

Note: “Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled. He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” The Acts of the Apostles, 570

“Christ is our Master. By definite instructions He prepared His followers for their work before leaving them. As soon as He could talk, Christ used the talent of speech, in the family circle and among friends and acquaintances, in a way that was without fault. Not one impure word escaped His lips. Never did He do a wrong action, for He was the Son of God. Although He possessed a human form, yet He was without a taint of sin.” Welfare Ministry, 286, 287



4.a. What other title was prophetically applied to Jesus? Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16

Note: “Centuries before the Saviour’s advent Moses had pointed to the Rock of Israel’s salvation. The psalmist had sung of ‘the Rock of my strength.’ Isaiah had written, ‘Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation.’ Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 62:7; Isaiah 28:16.” The Desire of Ages, 413

“But every building erected on other foundation than God’s word will fall. He who, like the Jews in Christ’s day, builds on the foundation of human ideas and opinions, of forms and ceremonies of man’s invention, or on any works that he can do independently of the grace of Christ, is erecting his structure of character upon the shifting sand. The fierce tempests of temptation will sweep away the sandy foundation and leave his house a wreck on the shores of time.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 150, 151

4.b. How did Jesus apply this prophecy? Matthew 21:42–44

Note: “The prophets had spoken of the rejected stone; and Christ Himself, speaking on one occasion to the priests and elders, said: ‘Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’ Matthew 21:42–44.” The Acts of the Apostles, 64

“Christ would have averted the doom of the Jewish nation if the people had received Him. But envy and jealousy made them implacable. They determined that they would not receive Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. They rejected the Light of the world, and thenceforth their lives were surrounded with darkness as the darkness of midnight. The doom foretold came upon the Jewish nation. Their own fierce passions, uncontrolled, wrought their ruin. In their blind rage they destroyed one another. Their rebellious, stubborn pride brought upon them the wrath of their Roman conquerors.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 295, 296


5 “THE REJECTED STONE” (continued)

5.a. How did Peter apply the prophecy of Isaiah to Jesus? Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4–8

Note: “Peter himself, writing by inspiration, applies this prophecy to Jesus. He says, ‘If ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious: unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.’ 1 Peter 2:3–5, R. V.” The Desire of Ages, 413

5.b. What did Paul declare about the “chief cornerstone”? Ephesians 2:20–22

Note: “In infinite wisdom, God chose the foundation stone, and laid it Himself. He called it ‘a sure foundation.’ The entire world may lay upon it their burdens and griefs; it can endure them all. With perfect safety they may build upon it. Christ is a ‘tried stone.’ Those who trust in Him, He never disappoints. He has borne every test. He has endured the pressure of Adam’s guilt, and the guilt of his posterity, and has come off more than conqueror of the powers of evil. He has borne the burdens cast upon Him by every repenting sinner. In Christ the guilty heart has found relief. He is the sure foundation. All who make Him their dependence rest in perfect security.” The Desire of Ages, 598, 599



1    What is the meaning of the expression “The Lord Our Righteousness”?

2    What testimony did Pilate and Judas bear about Christ?

3    What is written about Christ’s character?

4    Explain the words “whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken.”

5    Why is Christ called “the rejected stone”?

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

Bible Study – The Great Law of Love

March 5 – 11, 2023

Key Text

“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18

Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 211–215


“The law of God is as holy as He is holy, as perfect as He is perfect. It presents to men the righteousness of God. It is impossible for man, of himself, to keep this law; for the nature of man is depraved, deformed, and wholly unlike the character of God. The works of the selfish heart are ‘as an unclean thing;’ and ‘all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6).” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 54



1.a. What is written about the law of God? Psalm 19:7, 8

 Note: “In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings. Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man.” The Acts of the Apostles, 505

1.b. What is the relation between the law of God and the unconverted heart? Romans 8:7

Note: “By nature the heart is evil, and ‘who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.’ Job 14:4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ ‘Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.’ Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19.” The Desire of Ages, 172



2.a. What did Paul declare in regard to the law? Romans 7:12

 Note: “Through the plan of salvation the law holds its dignity in condemning the sinner, and the sinner can be saved through the propitiation of Christ for our sins, ‘in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.’ The law is not changed in any particular to meet man in his fallen condition. It remains what it ever has been—holy, just, and good.” The Review and Herald, May 23, 1899

2.b. Mention one of the purposes of the law. Romans 7:7, 8

 Note: “Paul says that ‘as touching the law’—as far as outward acts were concerned—he was ‘blameless,’ but when the spiritual character of the law was discerned, when he looked into the holy mirror, he saw himself a sinner. Judged by a human standard, he had abstained from sin, but when he looked into the depths of God’s law, and saw himself as God saw him, he bowed in humiliation, and confessed his guilt. He did not go away from the mirror and forget what manner of man he was, but he exercised genuine repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. He was washed, he was cleansed. He says, ‘I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.’

“Sin then appeared in its true hideousness, and his self-esteem was gone. He became humble. He no longer ascribed goodness and merit to himself. He ceased to think more highly of himself than he ought, and he ascribed all the glory to God. He was no longer ambitious for greatness. He ceased to want to avenge himself, and was no longer sensitive to reproach, neglect, or contempt. He no longer sought earthly alliance, station, or honor. He did not pull others down to uplift himself. He became gentle, condescending, meek and lowly of heart, because he had learned his lesson in the school of Christ.” The Review and Herald, July 22, 1890



3.a. What other essential function does the law of God have? Galatians 3:24

 Note: “ ‘The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.’ In this scripture, the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking especially of the moral law. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ, and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, 1110

“When the law was proclaimed from Sinai, God made known to men the holiness of His character, that by contrast they might see the sinfulness of their own. The law was given to convict them of sin, and reveal their need of a Saviour. It would do this as its principles were applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. This work it is still to do. In the life of Christ the principles of the law are made plain; and as the Holy Spirit of God touches the heart, as the light of Christ reveals to men their need of His cleansing blood and His justifying righteousness, the law is still an agent in bringing us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.” The Desire of Ages, 308

3.b. What is the essence of God’s law? Romans 13:8–10

 Note: “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.” The Great Controversy, 467



4.a. What will be the standard of judgment for all human beings? Romans 2:12, 13

 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 gives the test by which to prove our loyalty or disloyalty. ‘If ye love Me,’ He says, ‘keep My commandments. … He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. … He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.’ ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’ John 14:15–24; 15:10.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 283

“He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with God’s great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men. This will be the test of character in the judgment.” Ibid., 314

4.b. How is the duty of every person clearly delineated? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Matthew 5:17–20

Note: “In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings. Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 505



5.a. What vital question did a learned man put to Christ? Matthew 19:16

 Note: “The Lord desires every one of us to be decidedly in earnest. We cannot afford to make a mistake in spiritual matters. The life-and-death question with us is, ‘What shall I do that I may be saved, eternally saved?’ ‘What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life—a life that measures with the life of God?’ This is a question that it becomes every one of us to consider carefully.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 98

5.b. What was Christ’s answer? Matthew 19:17

 Note: “ ‘If thou wilt enter into life,’ He [the Saviour] added, ‘keep the commandments.’

“The character of God is expressed in His law; and in order for you to be in harmony with God, the principles of His law must be the spring of your every action.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 391



1    Why is the law of God immutable?

2    Mention three characteristics of the law of God.

3    What is the meaning of the word “schoolmaster” as applied to the law of God?

4    Before God, how many classes are there in the world?

5    How can we fulfill the condition of eternal life?

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

Bible Study – Jacob’s Dream

Christian Character (1)

February 26 – March 4, 2023

Key Text

“Then he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” Genesis 28:12

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 183–187


“The ladder represents Jesus, the appointed medium of communication. Had He not with His own merits bridged the gulf that sin had made, the ministering angels could have held no communion with fallen man. Christ connects man in his weakness and helplessness with the source of infinite power.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 184



1.a. After deceiving his brother, what step was Jacob forced to take? Genesis 28:10, 11

Note: “Threatened with death by the wrath of Esau, Jacob went out from his father’s home a fugitive; but he carried with him the father’s blessing; Isaac had renewed to him the covenant promise, and had bidden him, as its inheritor, to seek a wife of his mother’s family in Mesopotamia. Yet it was with a deeply troubled heart that Jacob set out on his lonely journey.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 183

1.b. Describe the state of Jacob’s conscience.

 Note: “The evening of the second day found him [Jacob] far away from his father’s tents. He felt that he was an outcast, and he knew that all this trouble had been brought upon him by his own wrong course. The darkness of despair pressed upon his soul, and he hardly dared to pray. But he was so utterly lonely that he felt the need of protection from God as he had never felt it before. With weeping and deep humiliation he confessed his sin, and entreated for some evidence that he was not utterly forsaken. Still his burdened heart found no relief. He had lost all confidence in himself, and he feared that the God of his fathers had cast him off.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 183



2.a. How did the Lord manifest Himself to His fugitive servant? Genesis 28:12–15

Note: “But God did not forsake Jacob. His mercy was still extended to His erring, distrustful servant. The Lord compassionately revealed just what Jacob needed—a Saviour. He had sinned, but his heart was filled with gratitude as he saw revealed a way by which he could be restored to the favor of God.

“Wearied with his journey, the wanderer lay down upon the ground, with a stone for his pillow. As he slept he beheld a ladder, bright and shining, whose base rested upon the earth, while the top reached to heaven. Upon this ladder angels were ascending and descending; above it was the Lord of glory, and from the heavens His voice was heard: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.’ The land whereon he lay as an exile and fugitive was promised to him and to his posterity, with the assurance, ‘In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ This promise had been given to Abraham and to Isaac, and now it was renewed to Jacob. Then in special regard to his present loneliness and distress, the words of comfort and encouragement were spoken: ‘Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 183, 184

2.b. How did Jacob react to his dream? Genesis 28:16–22

Note: “Jacob awoke from his sleep in the deep stillness of night. The shining forms of his vision had disappeared. Only the dim outline of the lonely hills, and above them the heavens bright with stars, now met his gaze. But he had a solemn sense that God was with him. An unseen presence filled the solitude. ‘Surely the Lord is in this place,’ he said, ‘and I knew it not. … This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 187



3.a. What was revealed to Jacob through his dream?

Note: “The Lord knew the evil influences that would surround Jacob, and the perils to which he would be exposed. In mercy He opened up the future before the repentant fugitive, that he might understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and scheming men. There would be ever before him the high standard at which he must aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to faithfulness.

“In this vision the plan of redemption was presented to Jacob, not fully, but in such parts as were essential to him at that time.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 184

3.b. How did Jesus explain the meaning of this ladder? John 1:51

Note: “The mystic ladder revealed to him in his dream was the same to which Christ referred in His conversation with Nathanael. Said He, ‘Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.’ John 1:51. Up to the time of man’s rebellion against the government of God, there had been free communion between God and man. But the sin of Adam and Eve separated earth from heaven, so that man could not have communion with his Maker. Yet the world was not left in solitary hopelessness. The ladder represents Jesus, the appointed medium of communication. Had He not with His own merits bridged the gulf that sin had made, the ministering angels could have held no communion with fallen man. Christ connects man in his weakness and helplessness with the source of infinite power.

“All this was revealed to Jacob in his dream. Although his mind at once grasped a part of the revelation, its great and mysterious truths were the study of his lifetime, and unfolded to his understanding more and more.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 184



4.a. Describe the ladder Jacob saw and its meaning. Genesis 28:12, 13; John 1:51

Note: “ ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.’

“Here Christ virtually says, On the bank of the Jordan the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended like a dove upon Me. That scene was but a token that I am the Son of God. If you believe on Me as such, your faith shall be quickened. You shall see that the heavens are opened, and are never to be closed. I have opened them to you. The angels of God are ascending, bearing the prayers of the needy and distressed to the Father above, and descending, bringing blessing and hope, courage, help, and life, to the children of men.” The Desire of Ages, 142, 143

4.b. Why could only Christ be humanity’s Saviour? Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

Note: “From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was ‘the image of God,’ the image of His greatness and majesty, ‘the outshining of His glory.’ It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love—to be ‘God with us.’ …

“Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which ‘angels desire to look,’ and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which ‘seeketh not her own’ has its source in the heart of God. …

“Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.” God’s Amazing Grace, 45

“The angels prostrated themselves at the feet of their Commander and offered to become a sacrifice for man. But an angel’s life could not pay the debt; only He who created man had power to redeem him. Yet the angels were to have a part to act in the plan of redemption. Christ was to be made ‘a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.’ Hebrews 2:9. As He should take human nature upon Him, His strength would not be equal to theirs, and they were to minister to Him, to strengthen and soothe Him under His sufferings. They were also to be ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who should be heirs of salvation. Hebrews 1:14. They would guard the subjects of grace from the power of evil angels and from the darkness constantly thrown around them by Satan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 64, 65



5.a. Describe the animal sacrificed for purification. Numbers 19:2

Note: “This heifer was to be red without spot, which was a symbol of blood. It must be without blemish, and one that had never borne a yoke. Here, again, Christ was typified. The Son of God came voluntarily to accomplish the work of atonement. There was no obligatory yoke upon him, for He was independent and above all law.” The Review and Herald, January 9, 1883

5.b. Where was the red heifer to be offered as a sacrifice? Numbers 19:3. Where was Jesus offered as sacrifice for us? Hebrews 13:11, 12

Note: “The sacrificial heifer was conducted without the camp, and slain in the most solemn manner. Thus Christ suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, for Calvary was outside the city walls. This was to show that Christ did not die for the Hebrews alone, but for all mankind. He proclaims to a fallen world that He has come to be their Redeemer, and urges them to accept the salvation which He offers.” The Review and Herald, January 9, 1883

5.c. What is our duty as Christ’s followers? Hebrews 13:13; Matthew 28:19, 20

Note: “Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe, but know that My presence will be there. Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I will forsake you.” The Desire of Ages, 822



1    How did Jacob’s conscience feel after deceiving his father?

2    Explain the meaning of the ladder in Jacob’s dream.

3    Who takes an active part in the plan of redemption?

4    Explain the broad meaning of the expression “God with us.”

5    Describe the ceremonial sacrifice of the red heifer.

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

Recipe – Blueberry Apple Fold-Over Pie


Research reveals that there is a serious amount of interesting evidence to support eating a lot of blueberries—improved memory, reduced depression, prevention of diabetes and the formation of new neurons. There are nutrition scientists who have devoted their careers to studying blueberries.

They have found that rats who ate blueberries for two months showed improvements in working memory, did better than their peers at remembering how to navigate a water maze, became better at balancing on a narrow rod and walking on a rotating rod. And lest these findings be dismissed as a coincidence, researchers found blue anthocyanins—among the plant chemicals widely attributed with health benefits due to antioxidant properties—scattered throughout their cerebellum, cortex, hippocampus, and striatum.

Human studies have shown that blueberries lower blood pressure after eight weeks of daily ingestion and that children do better on cognitive tests after eating blueberries. In small trials, people who drank blueberry juice found a reduction in depressive symptoms, improved blood-sugar levels, and improvements in recalling words. Older adults who ate two cups of blueberries daily reportedly saw cognition and mobility improvements.

If any fruit is deserving of superfruit status, it is the blueberry. They are heroic.

Recipe – Blueberry Apple Fold-Over Pie


1 cup Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced

¼ cup coconut sugar

1 Tbs. water

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs. whole wheat pasty flour, or flour of choice

¼ tsp. salt

1 Tbs. plant-based butter or coconut oil

½ tsp. vanilla flavoring

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 pie crusts

2 baking sheets


  • In a saucepan, combine the apple, coconut sugar, water, and lemon juice.
  • Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Cover, lower heat to low, cook 6-8 minutes, stirring often.
  • In a bowl, mix flour, and salt. Stir into apple mixture until it thickens. Remove from heat; add butter or oil and vanilla. Fold blueberries into mixture. Let cool about 10 minutes.
  • Lay one pie crust on a baking sheet, lay the other crust on a second baking sheet.
  • Spoon half of filling onto center of one crust. Fold over pie crust to meet other edge. Press edges with fork tines. Cut a few small slits on top of crust. Repeat with the second crust.
  • Bake at 375° for 25-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven. Let cool. Cut into desired servings.

What is Sin?

Seventh-day Adventists take great pride in knowing what sin is. Our friend Evan Sadler tells a story of a person who was trying to find out what sin really is. He asked a clergyman, but the clergyman could only say that it was something bad. Then he met a Seventh-day Adventist and was told that sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Yes, Adventists know what sin is. Or do they?

It is a dangerous thing for a Seventh-day Adventist to be mixed up about what sin really is. We cannot rest upon the assurance that our sins will be blotted out in the judgment, leaving our eternal life in jeopardy, if we don’t fully understand what sin is.

“Those [Seventh-day Adventists] who have permitted their minds to become beclouded in regard to what constitutes sin are fearfully deceived. Unless they make a decided change they will be found wanting when God pronounces judgment upon the children of men. They have transgressed the law and broken the everlasting covenant, and they will receive according to their works.” Testimonies, Vol. 9, 267. Mrs. White wrote this specifically to the Seventh-day Adventist leadership.

We must understand that we have sinned and are sinners, and as such, the Bible tells us what we must do: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive to us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. It is a prerequisite that, before we are forgiven and cleansed from unrighteousness, we must first repent of and confess our sins. But how can I confess a sin if I don’t even know that I have committed one?

It is very important for us to understand what sin is. And because we can quote 1 John 3:4, it’s very easy for us to say that we know what sin is. But does the Bible give us more information about what sin is than what we find in this text alone?

Jesus warned His followers that in the last days it would be possible that they could be deceived. “False christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24. Peter told us the same thing in 2 Peter 2:1. Notice that these destructive heresies are done in secret because Inspiration tells us that Satan must deceive in order to lead astray. This deception is so imperceptibly accomplished that those who will be caught up in it will unwittingly deny the Lord and speak evil of His glory.

“And Peter, describing the dangers to which the church was to be exposed in the last days, says that as there were false prophets who led Israel into sin, so there will be false teachers, ‘who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. … And many shall follow their pernicious ways.’ … Here the apostle has pointed out one of the marked characteristics of spiritualist teachers. They refuse to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 686

1 John 3:4 tells us that sin is the transgression of the law. Paul says, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ ” Romans 7:7. Paul is clear, the law makes known the knowledge of sin and without the law, we would not know what sin is, nor would we know that we were breaking the law.

“All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.” 1 John 5:17. Sin is the transgression of the law and all unrighteousness is sin, therefore all unrighteousness is the transgression of God’s law. But the sin described in this text is one that “is not leading to death,” rather it is a sin confessed and forsaken.

“The law requires righteousness—a righteous life, a perfect character.” The Desire of Ages, 762. If the law requires a perfect character, then what exactly is character? “If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong; and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character.” The Review and Herald, April 21, 1885. God’s law requires a perfect character made up of pure and perfect thoughts and feelings.

“The law requires us to present to God a holy character. It demands of men and women today just what it demanded of Adam in Eden—perfect obedience, perfect harmony with all its precepts in all relations of life, under all circumstances and conditions.” The Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895

If the thoughts and feelings in all relations of life, under all circumstances and all conditions must be holy and in harmonious agreement with the precepts of God’s law, then anything other than this is sin, transgression of God’s law.

“In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings. Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 505

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest … .” Hebrews 4:11, first part. If you look at the context of this verse, it is clear that Paul is writing about the Sabbath rest, a symbol of a rest from sin. Jesus spoke of the same rest in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Paul continues in Hebrews 4, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Verses 11–13

“The law of God is presented in the Scriptures as broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just and good. … They reach to the thoughts and the feelings of the soul; and they will produce conviction of sin in everyone who is sensible of having transgressed them. If the law extended only to the external conduct, men would not feel guilty over their wrong thoughts, desires, and designs. But the law requires that the soul itself, the spiritual agent, be pure, the mind holy, that all thoughts and feelings shall be in accordance with the law of love and righteousness. By its light men see themselves guilty before God.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 10, 287, 288

We must understand that the law does not cover actions only, but extends to our thoughts and feelings as well. Sadly, many Seventh-day Adventists don’t understand this. They have been taught that you do not sin until you actually do something. They don’t understand that our actions are simply an outward expression of our thoughts and feelings. What we say and do come from the thoughts and feelings that are constantly in our minds. These are thoughts, desires, intentions, and feelings that can, and do, constitute sin, and our actions are a result of the things we harbor in our minds.

The great controversy is a war being waged over the soul. Mrs. White explains, “Two powers are at work. On the one side Satan is working with all his forces to counterwork the influence of the work of God; on the other hand God is working through His servants to call men to repentance. Which will prevail?” The Youth’s Instructor, May 17, 1900

“In every soul, two powers are struggling earnestly for the victory. Unbelief marshals its forces, led by Satan, to cut us off from the source of our strength. Faith marshals its forces, led by Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.” Ibid., January, 10, 1901

“Every mind is controlled either by the power of Satan or the power of God.” The General Conference Bulletin, March 30, 1903

What happens if God isn’t the One who has control of our minds? The Bible tells us in John 8:43, 44, first part: “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” Notice, when Satan has control over your life, you want to do as he does.

Probably the most recognized example of this in the Bible is when the Jews, who had been longing and looking for the Messiah for millennia, demanded that Christ be crucified. They believed they were doing all the right things—tithing, sacrificing, keeping the Sabbath—but they didn’t realize who was really in control of their minds and hearts.

Some people believe that it is possible to allow God to be in control of your mind and feelings sometimes, but also allow the devil to be in control at other times. However, the truth is, if you allow the devil to control you even some of the time, it will become so easy to let him be in control all the time, and then you will continue to sin, all the while believing that you are obeying and following God. If we expect to spend eternity in the kingdom of heaven, our minds must be under the control of God all the time.

A rich, young man came to Jesus and asked what he should do to gain eternal life. Jesus’ response is recorded in Matthew 22:37–40 and Luke 10:25–28. “He [Jesus] said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’ ” Jesus presented the ten commandments to this young man as two basic principles: loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself.

But, the carnal, fleshly, mind is unable to do this.

“ ‘The carnal [natural] mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Human nature could not keep the law, even if it would.” The Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895.

“By nature man has no love for God. It is not natural for him to think of heavenly things.” The Review and Herald, March 12, 1901

Human nature, the carnal mind, cannot keep the law even if it wanted to.

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve by nature loved God. So why does man now have a nature that does not love God?

“When man sinned all heaven was filled with sorrow; for through yielding to temptation, man became the enemy of God, a partaker of the satanic nature.” The Signs of the Times, February 13, 1893

Notice, once man sinned, he no longer had the pure, perfect nature God had given him at creation.

“But when man fell, the law of self was set up.” Ibid., January 25, 1899. Paul explains that in Romans 7:23. “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” The law of self harmonizes with the will of sinful humanity. There is no strife between them. The charm of obedience was broken by Adam’s disobedience. To the carnal nature, the importance of obedience as an absolute necessity ceased to exist in the mind. Man now thinks that he can choose when to obey God and when he can disobey Him. But this is a lie fostered by the father of lies because even if you choose to obey God, you are not capable of doing it unless you receive divine aid from the Holy Spirit.

“You must remember that your will is the spring of all your actions. This will, that forms so important a factor in the character of man, was at the Fall given into the control of Satan; and he has ever since been working in man to will and to do of his own pleasure, but to the utter ruin and misery of man.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, 515

“Until the requirements of the holy law were applied as the rule of life, fallen man could not understand his own guilt, nor realize his condemned, lost condition. Jesus made application of the law directly to the soul, and laid under its jurisdiction the will and desires and works of man. Wrongdoing and all thoughts and feelings condemned by the law are to be overcome.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 9, 235, 236

Thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character, and God’s holy law requires that love be the ruling principle of life. But at the Fall, selfishness took the place of love in man’s heart. Inherited from Adam, we are now born into this world with selfishness as the ruling principle of life.

“As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death.” Ibid., 236. We have been taught that we are not guilty of sin until we have committed a sinful act on our own, but this statement says that man is inherently sinfully guilty.

“Adam was required to render perfect obedience to God, not only in his own behalf, but in behalf of his posterity. God promised him that if he would stand the test of temptation, preserving his allegiance to the Creator during the great trial to which he would be subjected, his obedience would ensure his acceptance and favor with God. He would then be forever established in holiness and happiness, and these blessings would extend to all his posterity.” Ibid., 229

Adam was required to obey God not only for himself, but also for the benefit of future generations. He was the father of the human race. Had he remained obedient, his holiness and his happiness would be guaranteed forever, and this same blessing would extend to all his posterity. “But Adam failed to bear the test. And because he revolted against God’s law, all his descendants have been sinners.” Ibid. Even a baby who is born and never comes to conscientiousness and dies, is, by nature, still a sinner who cannot be saved except through the blood of Christ.

“Never should we lower the standard of righteousness in order to accommodate inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrongdoing. We need to understand that imperfection of character is sin.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 330. If imperfection of character is sin, then who can be saved?

God does not deal with actions so much as with the heart that prompts them. “Christ desires nothing so much as to redeem His heritage from the dominion of Satan. But before we are delivered from Satan’s power without, we must be delivered from his power within.” Ibid., 174, 175

Until our sins are blotted out at the end of the final day of atonement, all human beings will have sin within. It is our nature. Paul is crystal clear. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.” Romans 7:18, first part

“The danger has been presented to me again and again of entertaining, as a people, false ideas of justification by faith.” Faith and Works, 18

Those who do not have a clear understanding of what sin is, how permeated with sin we are, and how desperately we need to be cleansed, will have an incorrect understanding of justification by faith. The doctrine of justification by faith makes it clear that we cannot earn our way to heaven. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves fit to spend eternity with God. “It is a work of God … doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 457

Man cannot stop sinning by himself. It is only by the surrender of his will and by an act of the Holy Spirit in creating in him a new heart, mind, and spirit, that man has the ability to resist temptation and develop a perfect character.

Even more so, man is incapable to remove from his nature the principle of selfishness which makes him inherently sinful, and replace it with the principle of love and righteousness which creates within him pure devotion to God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. This is a finished work only God can perform.

It is not enough to understand the law of God as it was written on tables of stone. To understand what the law of God really is, you have to understand what it is when you see it in a person. Jesus Christ came to this world to reveal the law of God. Christ kept the law of God so that we would know how to keep it, too.

“What speech is to thought, so Christ is to the invisible Father, He is the manifestation of the Father, and is called the Word of God. God sent His Son into the world, His divinity clothed with humanity, that man might bear the image of the invisible God. He made known in His words, His character, His power and majesty, the nature and attributes of God. Divinity flashed through humanity in softening, subduing light. He was the embodiment of the law of God, which is the transcript of His character.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, 1131

Unless we understand what the law is in relation to who Jesus Christ is and what His life means to us, we do not really know what the law is nor what sin is. Studying the life of Christ is how we are able to understand what sin is. Jesus Christ is the law lived out in the life. Anything in our lives that is not Christlike is sinful, because if we are to live in harmony with God’s law, our lives must be a reflection of the life of Christ.

“The Lord Jesus is the embodiment of the glory of the Godhead. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. God has revealed Himself to men; He stooped to take upon Him our nature, and in His Son we see the glory of the divine attributes. Those who see not in Christ the divine character are in the shadow of Satan’s misrepresentation of divinity. ‘The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.’ ” The Signs of the Times, December 12, 1895

For six thousand years, the devil has misrepresented the divine character, painting God as having his attributes and describing himself to the human race as having the attributes of God so that people would be deceived. This is why the devil hated Jesus so much, and caused Him to be tortured and killed. Through Jesus, Satan’s deception was unraveled and revealed to the whole universe. Through Jesus, it was revealed that God is not at all like Satan had described Him to be to the universe or to human beings. Christ is a living representation of God’s law, and by His life on earth, He shows man that he can become Christlike by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Since ‘the law of the Lord is perfect,’ every variation from it must be evil. … The Saviour’s life of obedience maintained the claims of the law; it proved that the law could be kept in humanity, and showed the excellence of character that obedience would develop.” The Desire of Ages, 308, 309. Man can only keep the law by receiving the Holy Spirit.

“Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead … .” Ibid., 671

“To human eyes, Christ was only a man, yet He was a perfect man. In His humanity He was the impersonation of the divine character. God embodied His own attributes in His Son—His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His purity, His truthfulness, His spirituality, and His benevolence. In Him, though human, all perfection of character, all divine excellence, dwelt.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 16, 1897

“All righteous attributes of character dwell in God as a perfect, harmonious whole, and everyone who receives Christ as a personal Saviour is privileged to possess these attributes.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 330. God says, My thoughts will be your thoughts, and My law will be written in your heart by the Holy Spirit, not just on tables of stone, but on the fleshly tables of the heart.

Perfection. The world freely admits that no one in it is perfect, and they seem perfectly happy not to be. If I say I can be perfect, then I’m claiming to be like God because only God is perfect. Yet, Jesus was perfect and He said that He and His Father are one. He also said that we are to be perfect, even as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48). And finally, as the Father was in Him, He asked that we all might be one in Them (John 17:21). Jesus’ life guarantees that we, too, through His power, can be perfect as He is. And although we may achieve perfection of character, at heart, we remain sinners, by nature, until the final day of atonement.

To be perfect means two things: to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. If I take a thorough inventory of my thoughts and feelings, words and actions, and if I am truly honest with myself, I have to admit that every single sin I commit is breaking one of these two principles. And I cannot escape it, not alone.

Jesus is the express image, an exact personification of the Father. Perfection personified. No matter if you are the weakest person and the greatest sinner, that only means that you need Jesus as your personal Saviour all the more. He has enough power, enough wisdom, and enough love for all the righteous attributes of His character to become part of your character.

This requires, however, a complete surrender of your will to God. Only then can the Holy Spirit perform a complete transformation of your character. No more will you be trapped under the sway of the devil, helpless to resist his temptations and deceptions.

The Great Controversy, in its closing chapter, tells us that there will finally be a group of people who have been made spotless by the blood of the Lamb, who possess not one defect of character. “The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean.” Don’t you want to be part of that group? [All emphasis supplied.]

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.

Question – Does God love Satan?


Does God love Satan?


The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:16). Romans 8:38, 39, tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. And Hebrews 9:28 and John 3:16 tell us that Christ died for all. However, there are several Inspired statements that say that repentance was impossible for Satan and that there was never a plan for Christ to redeem the fallen angels (Confrontation, 21).

“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, [and] God desires from all His creatures the service of love … . He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34

“God made him [Lucifer] good and beautiful, as near as possible like Himself.

“God had made him [Lucifer] noble, had given him rich endowments. He gave him a high, responsible position. He asked of him nothing that was unreasonable.

“He was to administer the trust given him of God in a spirit of meekness and devotion, seeking to promote the glory of God, who had given him glory and beauty and loveliness.” The Truth About Angels, 26, 27

Did Lucifer love God?

“Peace and joy, in perfect submission to the will of Heaven, existed throughout the angelic host. Love to God was supreme, love for one another impartial. Such was the condition that existed for ages before the entrance of sin.

“He [Lucifer] had a knowledge of the inestimable value of eternal riches that man did not possess. He had experienced the pure contentment, the peace, the exalted happiness and unalloyed joys, of the heavenly abode. He had realized, before his rebellion, the satisfaction of the full approval of God. He had had a full appreciation of the glory that enshrouded the Father, and knew that there was no limit to His power.

“There was a time when … it was his [Satan’s] joy to execute the divine commands. His heart was filled with love and joy in serving his Creator.” Ibid., 28, 29

But something changed. In this place of peace and harmony, Lucifer exercised God’s gift of free will to make a terrible choice, and sin sprang up in his heart because he had been excluded from the inner council with God and His Son. He, next to Christ, was honored most by God and had been given power and glory above all the heavenly inhabitants, was given the name ‘son of the morning,’ and was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. He had been in the very presence of God, and the glory surrounding God rested upon him (Patriarchs and Prophets, 35), but as a result of persistent pride, there was no way back for him.

“So far as Satan himself was concerned, it was true that he had now gone too far to return.” The Truth About Angels, 42

“Satan trembled as he viewed his work. … His mighty frame shook as with a tempest. An angel from heaven was passing. He called him, and entreated an interview with Christ. This was granted him. He then related to the Son of God that he repented of his rebellion, and wished again the favor of God. He was willing to take the place God had previously assigned him, and be under His wise command. Christ wept at Satan’s woe, but told him, as the mind of God, that he could never be received into heaven. … The seeds of rebellion were still within him. …” Ibid., 46, 47

“Satan had declared that God knew nothing of self-denial, of mercy and love, but that he was stern, exacting, and unforgiving. Satan never tested the forgiving love of God; for he never exercised genuine repentance.” The Review and Herald, March 9, 1897

Nature – Snow is to Live With

In the world of birds and beasts, snow is not a nuisance, but welcome as the rain and the sun. It is an insulator, and a warm shelter for survival.

Birds and beasts feature some clever devices to keep on top of the snow. Some species of grouse have little horny scutes, or comblike points, that spread out on either side of the toes and act as snow rafts. The ptarmigan grows feathers on his feet. The Canadian lynx has enormous paws, more than twice as big as those of his cousin, the bobcat. Snowshoe hares sport powerful hind legs with large wide furry feet, with toes spreading out like snowshoes.

Creatures less specialized for snow than the lynx and ptarmigan have been forced to make use of one of the outstanding physical properties of snow—its poor conductivity of heat. Mice, several species of birds, porcupines and shrews go down under the snow, where the white crystals hold their body heat like a mountain of insulation.

Pheasants and quail often flutter their wings and wedge themselves into a snow pocket; grouse fly headfirst into a snowbank for the night. The danger is crusting, and birds are sometimes iced under the snow. The crust must thaw within a day and a half, or they may never get out.

Creatures unspecialized for dealing with snow cope with it in unique ways. Deer and moose, cottontails and squirrels beat down trails for easier travel, as deliberately as one shovels a walk. During snowstorms, herds of deer have been heard tramping down newly fallen snow, snapping twigs and limbs to keep their yard open to pantries of grasses and mosses they need to keep alive.

Most fascinating is the development of underground cities by wintering animals. Under the snow are millions of rooms, tunnels and roadways—drilled, packed, dug, and bitten by wintering animals, tunneled and carved with a nose or hot breath until a cross section of a week-old snowstorm looks like Swiss cheese.

The pikas or conies, relatives of rabbits, with short ears and no tails to get cold, live their daily lives six feet under the snow. They make sitting rooms, zigzag halls and corridors leading to barns of sweet grasses that have been stored during the summer months.

Mice, shrews, weasels and otters all carve roads and rooms beneath the snow. The star-nosed mole makes cloverleaves and roller coasters, turnpikes and apartments and he does it faster than anything.

Most wild animals and dogs love the snow. Minks and weasels play in it, leaping like darning needles in and out, diving into the snow like water.

Upon this white paper of winter is written marks of talon and claw, hoof and nose. To the birds and beasts, snow is as much a part of this world as the night.

Our Amazing World of Nature, Its Marvels and Mysteries, Jean George, ©1969, 210–212.

“No finite mind can fully comprehend the existence, the power, the wisdom, or the works of the Infinite One. Says the sacred writer: ‘Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.’ Job 11:7–9.” Christian Education, 196

Keys to the Storehouse – Things that Count with God

In this world, people tend to feel that the things they do or acquire with their own hands and hard work are the things that count the most. Even in Christianity, people feel that if they help others, contribute money, help with missions and in their own communities, then they have accomplished great things.

But I was looking through my Bible recently, and I came across a heading that read, “Things that Count with God.” And that made me think.

We’ve used Matthew 7:21–23 in many of the articles in several different issues of the LandMarks. But this scripture tells us that there will be many, too many, who feel that if they do these things or those things, then they have laid up their treasure in heaven. But the truth is, if a person does not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, then doing all these things will mean nothing, because the actions alone certainly don’t save.

So let’s take a little time and see just exactly what does count with God.

“The daily life of the Christian should bring no discredit upon our holy faith. The motive of the heart, as well as the words and actions, is weighed in estimating our moral worth. …

“Reliance on forms and ceremonies will not save us. … The Lord defines Bible religion as a principle in the soul, not merely the performance of virtuous acts, although virtuous acts are the natural fruit of this principle in the soul. It is the spirit in which the acts are performed rather than the performance that counts with God.

“A man may give his goods to feed the poor, his body to be burned, yet if he is not actuated by the living principles of love for God and man his work is a failure.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 15, 269

“It is not the ready speaker, the sharp intellect, that counts with God. It is the earnest purpose, the deep piety, the love of truth, the fear of God, that has a telling influence. A testimony from the heart, coming from lips in which is no guile, full of faith and humble trust, though given by a stammering tongue, is accounted of God as precious as gold … .

“The truly converted soul is illuminated by the light shining from the Sun of Righteousness. … Let everyone, to a man, now rise, and let his ‘light so shine before men that they may see his good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.’ Do what you can, and do it at once, cheerfully, heartily, prayerfully, joyfully, not as unto men, but unto God. Settle it in your hearts that you are not on the earth to exalt self, to make a great name, but to sink self wholly out of sight in Jesus Christ. Let Jesus be lifted up. Let the great truths connected with the salvation of man be the theme of your meditation day and night. Your work, both by precept and example, is to hold forth the word of life, to seek with all your power to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth.” Pamphlet 028, Elder Daniels and the Fresno Church, 26, 27

Yes, God wants us to do what He directs us to do. He wants us to have love and concern for our neighbor. But most of all, He wants us to surrender our hearts so that He can dwell within. All of our words and actions will then be a result of our relationship with Him.

Lord, help us to understand what really matters most to You.