Saved by Grace

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

The subject of salvation by grace is very special to me. I have preached many times on the subject, and it was the subject of the first sermon I preached after the deaths of my brother Marshall and his family. I hope to continue preaching about it in this world as long as the Lord gives me the breath to do so, and then, after Jesus comes, I want to go all over the universe and tell everyone about the grace that Jesus manifested to save us.

Why We Need Grace

Grace is especially necessary for people who are in the middle of difficult trials, or are suffering because of bereavement, sickness, sorrow, or some other kind of distress. Paul had a problem—he called it a thorn in the flesh—and “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” Sometimes when we are in trouble, we think that the Lord should just make that trouble go away. But God’s method is not always to take the trouble away. His answer to us might be the same as it was to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, first part. Instead of making the trouble go away, God provides what is necessary for us to make our way through it.

Was Paul bitter because of the Lord’s response? Not at all. Listen to his praise of God’s will: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Verses 9, last part, 10

Consider this: your heart is broken, your body in pain, your mind overwhelmed, and you think that you cannot bear any more; you recognize your weakness, but instead of asking the Lord to remove all the troubles, you simply turn everything over to Him, and trust that in His strength you will be made strong to bear the burdens of this life. Imagine the peace! Imagine the security of knowing that He is always with you, and that whatever you need, His grace will supply it.

“We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15, 16

God made Adam and Eve physically and mentally perfect for each other as husband and wife. Their temperaments were perfectly matched each with the other, so they did not need grace. This was the only perfect marriage ever in this world, because when sin came in, that perfect marriage was immediately destroyed. They were still married, but as soon as they sinned, they began to find fault with each other.

Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed Eve, and then they both blamed God. After all, He had made the serpent that deceived Eve, and He also had made Eve, the one for whom Adam’s love was so great that he had chosen her fate over obedience to God.

Listen to what they said: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12. “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Verse 13, last part. Both justified their actions by blaming each other, a snake, and God.

From the time man was removed from the garden, he has indulged the spirit of self-justification and blaming others, and that is why we need grace. “The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies; it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they yielded to the influence of Satan, and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam. Instead of humbly confessing their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame upon others, upon circumstances, upon God—making even His blessing an occasion of murmuring against Him.” Patriarch and Prophets, 58

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us to the adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. … That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Ephesians 1:3–6, 10, 11

The Effects of Grace

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Verse 7

Forgiveness is one of the most wonderful words in the English language. It is wonderful because we all have committed so many sins for which we need to be forgiven. Without forgiveness, a man is lost. I am so glad that when I go to the throne of grace, God never says, “Well, sorry, I’m all out of grace today, come back next month.”

Paul says that forgiveness for our sins is given according to the riches of His grace, and it is a bank that will never run out of currency. So, the first aspect of grace is that, when it comes into the human heart and life, guilt is gone. How wonderful! To men and women who have committed all manner of sin, God is saying that it doesn’t matter what they have done, or how bad they have been, if they come to the throne of grace, there is forgiveness.

The devil’s plan will lead man to blame someone else and justify his actions; grace leads you to forgive one another. Now here is how you can tell if you have received the spirit of grace in your heart. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14, 15

When the human race followed the way of sin, God loved them so much that He made a way, through the blood of His Son, so that forgiveness would be available for all their sins. When we receive the spirit of grace in our hearts, rather than condemning our fellow man, we will forgive him.

Christ exhibited this grace while nailed to the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34. They hammered the nails through His hands and feet, they had been and continued mocking and cursing Him, they pressed a crown of thorns deep into the flesh of His head, and still His only response was “Father, forgive them.” This is grace.

A love so strong that no matter how horrible a person may be, Jesus would have died just for him. He then was willing to forgive him and give him a heart filled with grace so that he might show the love of God by forgiving others. When the spirit of grace is able to break through the barriers of the cold, human heart, it will change the character. Forgiveness is the first effect of grace.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Titus 2:11, 12. If you have received the grace of God in your life, you will deny the ungodly things of this world and live a righteous and godly life. This is the second effect of grace on the human heart.

Some years ago, when I was teaching at Southwestern Adventist College, I was walking home. A car stopped and the driver asked, “Do you want a ride?” I said, “Yes, I’ll take a ride.”

I got into the car and looked at him, but I didn’t recognize him at all. He was smoking, so I thought he was just a local resident of the Cleburne, Texas, area.

He looked at me and said, “You are John Grosboll, aren’t you?”

I looked at him and said, “Yes. Who are you?”

He said, “I went to school with you at Campion Academy.”

I thought, Who is this? In the course of the conversation, I discovered that he had turned away from the gospel and he told me he had no interest in hearing anything I had to say about it, so I didn’t talk much, I just listened to what he said.

“I believe that you can do whatever you want to do and then, when Jesus comes, all in a flash, everything’s going to change.”

Paul is very clear about what it means to receive grace. If you have received grace, you will be living a righteous and godly life right now, not waiting for some miraculous change in the future.

Somehow the devil has convinced people to think that they can live like the devil in this world, and still be miraculously saved right at the end. But, friends, the gospel holds no such assurance for that kind of salvation. None whatsoever. There is not one text in the Bible to support it.

The Source of Grace

We have seen two effects of grace on the human heart, but what is the source of this marvelous grace? “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 1:16, 17. Jesus is the source of grace, and to receive grace in your life, you need to spend time with Jesus.

“It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His Spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.” The Desire of Ages, 83

The word of God is a living book. From it we can learn how to strengthen our faith, to understand grace, and to clearly see that Jesus Christ is the source of grace. And this grace that Jesus offers changes people’s lives.

Friends, I know that there are worldly things that often cause minor emergencies that can interfere with our plans to start the day with devotion and Bible study. But if we want the grace of God to come into our lives, we must do our very best to make these the top priorities in our day, not only for ourselves, but for our family members as well.

The Cost of Grace

Grace is the most expensive thing in the world, and you will never be anything more than a superficial Christian unless you realize the cost of grace. “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem.” Zechariah 12:10, 11, first part

Notice, these people are receiving grace from the Lord, but what affect is it having on them? They are mourning because they recognize that their sinfulness has killed the Son of God. To have grace in your life, God’s Son had to die for you.

God’s Grace is Sufficient

I was about 20 and already preaching when I was asked to preach in a small church on the eastern slope in Colorado. The rest of my family went up into the mountains for the weekend, and after church and a potluck lunch, I drove the good part of two hours to join them. My family had attended church in that area, and a visiting minister from out of state had come to spend Sabbath afternoon with them. After I arrived, we all headed out for a hike in the mountains.

We first drove as far as you could go, and then at the end of the road, we left the car and started walking up the trail. It was an engaging time as we took in the trees and flowers all along the trail, and we soon fell into conversation. As I said, I was still young and hadn’t studied nearly as much Spirit of Prophecy or even the Bible as I have today. In preparation for my sermon for that morning, I had read some statements that really got me thinking. For instance:

“No tears are shed that God does not notice.” Steps to Christ, 86

“Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart.” The Desire of Ages, 356

“He knows our difficulties, He understands our distresses. Not a sigh is heard, nor a throb of anguish felt, but the pang vibrates in the heart of Christ.” The Signs of the Times, August 1, 1900

With these statements in mind, I said to this minister, “It must be terrible to be God if that’s the case because if He sees everything, and if it hurts Him all the time, He would be hurting constantly all the time.” He nodded and said, “Yes. One of the greatest statements that Ellen White ever wrote is on this subject.” And this is what he shared.

“Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony, but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God—subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death—it is said that ‘His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.’ ‘In their affliction, He was afflicted: … and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.’ ” Education, 263

We will never understand what it means to be a Christian if we do not understand the cost of grace. It gives us hope and security for the future. Grace is expensive.

A Terrible Price

Many years ago, when the United States was still a young nation, a young man left his wife and son and headed to California to strike it rich in the California gold rush. He wanted to get rich and build a beautiful home for his family. But as often happens, it took longer than he expected.

However, he was ultimately successful, and the time came when he sent for his wife and son to come to him. In those days, you traveled by stagecoach. The terrain was rough and dangerous. A study of United States history will show that many people died in their efforts to reach California and Oregon.

Not wanting his wife and son to be in a dangerous situation, and because he could afford to do it, the man chose to have them come in what he felt would be the safest way, by ship. This was before the Panama Canal had been built, so ships sailed from New York, around the tip of South America, and sailed north up the California coast to San Francisco.

The mother and son boarded the ship and sailed for California. But on the way there, as they were sailing around the tip of South America, they encountered a violent storm, so violent that the ship was wrecked.

They tried to save everyone, but there wasn’t enough room in the lifeboats. The mother looked over the railing and saw that there was only one seat left. She quickly picked up her son and put him in the lifeboat. As the boy looked up into his mother’s face for the last time, she said to him, “Son, when you get to California, tell your father that your mother died for you.”

Friends, just as this young mother sacrificed her life to save her son, so Jesus sacrificed His life to save you and me. Grace is expensive, but Jesus’ love for His children has made it possible for you to have a heart filled with grace, to be forgiven, and made righteous. Don’t let His sacrifice for you be in vain.

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.

Bible Study – God’s Amazing Grace

June 19 – 25, 2022

Key Text

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 557–567


“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.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 398



1.a. What did sin cause between humanity and God? Isaiah 59:1, 2

Note: “It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man.” The Desire of Ages, 25

“His [man’s] nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by Satan, and would have remained so forever had not God specially interposed.” Steps to Christ, 17

1.b. Without the grace of God, what would be our fate, and how only can we be delivered from it? Romans 5:12, 15; 6:23

Note: “By sin man was shut out from God. Except for the plan of redemption, eternal separation from God, the darkness of unending night, would have been his. Through the Saviour’s sacrifice, communion with God is again made possible.” Education, 28

“God’s love and justice have provided one way, and one only, whereby man can be saved from eternal separation from heaven and alienation from God, and that is by faith in Christ and obedience to His law.” The Signs of the Times, December 15, 1887



2.a. What happened to the beautiful light that enshrouded Adam and Eve when they sinned? Genesis 3:7

Note: “The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father. A beautiful soft light, the light of God, enshrouded the holy pair. This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence. Had they remained true to God, it would ever have continued to enshroud them. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 310, 311

2.b. To cover up their nakedness, what did Adam and Eve do? Genesis 3:7. What did God provide to clothe the guilty pair? Genesis 3:21

Note: “Naked and ashamed, they [our first parents] tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.

“This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God.

“But this they can never do. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence. No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

“Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. … This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311



3.a. What was, and still is, the Lord’s attitude towards fallen human beings? Psalm 103:13; 1 John 4:10

Note: “He [Christ] pitied and loved not only those who sought to be obedient and loving, but those also who were wayward and perverse. Jesus has not changed; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He still loves and pities the erring, seeking to draw them to Himself, that He may give them divine aid. He knows that a demon power is struggling in every soul, striving for the mastery; but Jesus came to break the power of Satan and to set the captives free.” My Life Today, 300

“While upon the earth, He [the Lord] was ever touched with human woe. Although He is now ascended to His Father, and is adored by angels who quickly obey His commands, His heart, which loved, pitied, and sympathized, knows no change. It remains a heart of unchangeable tenderness still. That same Jesus was acquainted with all your trials, and did not leave you alone to struggle with temptations, battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow.” Testimonies, Vol. 2, 271

3.b. How did God show His infinite love to men and women who have not loved Him? 1 John 4:9, 10, 16, 19; John 3:16, 17

Note: “Jesus looked upon the world in its fallen state with infinite pity. He took humanity upon Himself that He might touch and elevate humanity. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199

“In the gracious blessings which our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us we may discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite, and a tender pity surpassing a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child. When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice.” Testimonies, Vol. 4, 461

“He [the world’s Redeemer] came to this world all seared and marred by the curse, that He might come close to man in his woe and affliction. With His long human arm He encircled the race, while with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the Infinite, bringing to fallen man divine power to cooperate with His human effort.” The Review and Herald, November 21, 1899



4.a. To how many does God wish to extend His tender mercy and grace? John 1:12; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4; Hebrews 7:25

Note: “Christ is the atoning sacrifice. He left the glory of heaven, He parted with His riches, He laid aside His honor, not in order to create love and interest for man in the heart of God, but to be an exponent of the love that existed in the heart of the Father. He came into the world to make man accept the fact that although man had sinned against God, ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Jesus paid the price of all His riches, He assumed humanity, He condescended to a life of poverty and humiliation, in order that He might seek and save that which was lost.

“Through the grace of Christ we may be strengthened and matured, so that though now imperfect we may become complete in Him. We have mortgaged ourselves to Satan, but Christ came to ransom and redeem us. We cannot purchase anything from God. It is only by grace, the free gift of God in Christ, that we are saved.” The Youth Instructor, September 5, 1895

4.b. What is the sure result of justification? Matthew 1:21; Titus 2:11–14

Note: “When the Spirit of God controls mind and heart, the converted soul breaks forth into a new song; for he realizes that in his experience the promise of God has been fulfilled, that his transgression has been forgiven, his sin covered. He has exercised repentance toward God for the violation of the divine law, and faith toward Christ, who died for man’s justification. ‘Being justified by faith,’ he has ‘peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Romans 5:1.

“But because this experience is his, the Christian is not therefore to fold his hands, content with that which has been accomplished for him. He who has determined to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Each day he must renew his consecration, each day do battle with evil. Old habits, hereditary tendencies to wrong, will strive for the mastery, and against these he is to be ever on guard, striving in Christ’s strength for victory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 476, 477



5.a. By what means will the redeemed enter the kingdom of God? Ephesians 2:8–10; Hebrews 4:16; 12:28

Note: “Man cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change can be effected. The leaven—something wholly from without—must be put into the meal before the desired change can be wrought in it. So the grace of God must be received by the sinner before he can be fitted for the kingdom of glory. All the culture and education which the world can give will fail of making a degraded child of sin a child of heaven. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 96, 97

“Your obedience to God’s commandments will prove your right to an inheritance with the saints in light. God has elected a certain excellence of character; and everyone who, through the grace of Christ, shall reach the standard of His requirement, will have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of glory.” Christian Education, 118

5.b. What encouraging words are given us to proceed in our pilgrimage to the very end? Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 12:12–14

Note: “He [the Father] desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance.” Steps to Christ, 64



1    What is our natural condition without Christ in our life?

2    What changes occurred in Adam and Eve once they experienced sin?

3    Why do we have reason for deep gratitude for the gift of Christ?

4    What shows the great personal interest God has for each individual?

5    How does the grace of Christ work to restore us to His image?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Inspiration – God’s Love for the Church

I testify to my brethren and sisters that the church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard. While He extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church. “If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning.” “Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”

Ministers and all the church, let this be our language, from hearts that respond to the great goodness and love of God to us as a people and to us individually, “Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever.” “Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto His name; for it is pleasant. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure. For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.” Consider, my brethren and sisters, that the Lord has a people, a chosen people, His church, to be His own, His own fortress, which He holds in a sin-stricken, revolted world; and He intended that no authority should be known in it, no laws be acknowledged by it, but His own.

Satan has a large confederacy, his church. Christ calls them the synagogue of Satan because the members are the children of sin. The members of Satan’s church have been constantly working to cast off the divine law, and confuse the distinction between good and evil. Satan is working with great power in and through the children of disobedience, to exalt treason and apostasy as truth and loyalty. And at this time the power of his satanic inspiration is moving the living agencies to carry out the great rebellion against God that commenced in heaven.

At this time the church is to put on her beautiful garments,—“Christ our righteousness.” There are clear, decided distinctions to be restored and exemplified to the world in holding aloft the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The beauty of holiness is to appear in its native luster in contrast with the deformity and darkness of the disloyal, those who have revolted from the law of God. Thus we acknowledge God, and recognize His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and throughout His earthly dominions. His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world; and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of Jehovah. If in defiance of God’s arrangements the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext, if the church waver here, there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ. The church is firmly and decidedly to hold her principles before the whole heavenly universe and the kingdoms of the world; steadfast fidelity in maintaining the honor and sacredness of the law of God will attract the notice and admiration of even the world, and many will, by the good works which they shall behold, be led to glorify our Father in heaven. The loyal and true bear the credentials of heaven, not of earthly potentates. All men shall know who are the disciples of Christ, chosen and faithful, and shall know them when crowned and glorified as those who honored God and whom He has honored, bringing them into possession of an eternal weight of glory. …

The Lord has provided His church with capabilities and blessings, that they may present to the world an image of His own sufficiency, and that His church may be complete in Him, a continual representation of another, even the eternal world, of laws that are higher than earthly laws. His church is to be a temple built after the divine similitude, and the angelic architect has brought his golden measuring rod from heaven, that every stone may be hewed and squared by the divine measurement, and polished to shine as an emblem of heaven, radiating in all directions the bright, clear beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The church is to be fed with manna from heaven, and to be kept under the sole guardianship of His grace. Clad in complete armor of light and righteousness, she enters upon her final conflict. The dross, the worthless material, will be consumed, and the influence of the truth testifies to the world of its sanctifying, ennobling character. …

The Lord Jesus is making experiments on human hearts through the exhibition of His mercy and abundant grace. He is effecting transformations so amazing that Satan, with all his triumphant boasting, with all his confederacy of evil united against God and the laws of His government, stands viewing them as a fortress impregnable to his sophistries and delusions. They are to him an incomprehensible mystery. The angels of God, seraphim and cherubim, the powers commissioned to cooperate with human agencies, look on with astonishment and joy, that fallen men, once children of wrath, are through the training of Christ developing characters after the divine similitude, to be sons and daughters of God, to act an important part in the occupations and pleasures of heaven.

To His church, Christ has given ample facilities, that He may receive a large revenue of glory from His redeemed, purchased possession. The church, being endowed with the righteousness of Christ, is His depository, in which the wealth of His mercy, His love, His grace, is to appear in full and final display. The declaration in His intercessory prayer, that the Father’s love is as great toward us as toward Himself, the only-begotten Son, and that we shall be with Him where He is, forever one with Christ and the Father, is a marvel to the heavenly host, and it is their great joy. The gift of His Holy Spirit, rich, full, and abundant, is to be to His church as an encompassing wall of fire, which the powers of hell shall not prevail against. In their untainted purity and spotless perfection, Christ looks upon His people as the reward of all His suffering, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory—Christ, the great center from which radiates all glory. “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 206–209

Bible Study Guides – The Covenant Restored

January 10 – 16, 2021

Key Text

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel” (Exodus 34:27).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 319–330.


“At God’s command he [Moses] had prepared two tables of stone, and had taken them with him to the summit; and again the Lord ‘wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments’ (Exodus 34:28).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 329.



1.a. What did Moses bring with him when he came down from the mount, and how did Joshua and Moses each interpret the noise that they heard in the camp? Exodus 32:15, 17, 18.

1.b.      Describe the reaction of Moses to the idolatry in the camp and Aaron’s vain attempt at self-justification. Exodus 32:19–24.

Note: “When Moses, on returning to the camp, confronted the rebels, his severe rebukes and the indignation he displayed in breaking the sacred tables of the law were contrasted by the people with his brother’s pleasant speech and dignified demeanor, and their sympathies were with Aaron. To justify himself, Aaron endeavored to make the people responsible for his weakness in yielding to their demand; but notwithstanding this, they were filled with admiration of his gentleness and patience. But God seeth not as man sees. Aaron’s yielding spirit and his desire to please had blinded his eyes to the enormity of the crime he was sanctioning. His course in giving his influence to sin in Israel cost the life of thousands.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 323.



2.a. How offensive was the attitude of Aaron in the eyes of God? Deuteronomy 9:20.

Note: “If Aaron had had courage to stand for the right, irrespective of consequences, he could have prevented that apostasy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 323.

2.b.      What appeal did Moses make after he had rebuked his brother, and what was the result? Exodus 32:26–29.

Note: “It was necessary that this sin should be punished, as a testimony to surrounding nations of God’s displeasure against idolatry. By executing justice upon the guilty, Moses, as God’s instrument, must leave on record a solemn and public protest against their crime. As the Israelites should hereafter condemn the idolatry of the neighboring tribes, their enemies would throw back upon them the charge that the people who claimed Jehovah as their God had made a calf and worshiped it in Horeb. Then though compelled to acknowledge the disgraceful truth, Israel could point to the terrible fate of the transgressors, as evidence that their sin had not been sanctioned or excused.

“Love no less than justice demanded that for this sin judgment should be inflicted. God is the guardian as well as the sovereign of His people. He cuts off those who are determined upon rebellion, that they may not lead others to ruin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 325.

2.c. What did Moses communicate to those who were sorry for their sin, and how did he later communicate with God in their behalf? Exodus 32:30–35.

Note: “Moses realized how dreadful would be the fate of the sinner; yet if the people of Israel were to be rejected by the Lord, he desired his name to be blotted out with theirs; he could not endure to see the judgments of God fall upon those who had been so graciously delivered. The intercession of Moses in behalf of Israel illustrates the mediation of Christ for sinful men. But the Lord did not permit Moses to bear, as did Christ, the guilt of the transgressor. ‘Whosoever hath sinned against Me,’ He said, ‘him will I blot out of My book’ (Exodus 32:33).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 326, 327.



3.a. How did the people react when they heard that the Lord would not lead them to Canaan because of their sin? Exodus 33:1–6.

3.b.      Where did Moses pitch the tabernacle after this dreadful experience? What token revealed hope for those who sought the Lord? Exodus 33:7–10.

Note: “The tent was pitched without the encampment, but Moses called it ‘the tabernacle of the congregation’ (Exodus 33:7). All who were truly penitent, and desired to return to the Lord, were directed to repair thither to confess their sins and seek His mercy. When they returned to their tents Moses entered the tabernacle. With agonizing interest the people watched for some token that his intercessions in their behalf were accepted. If God should condescend to meet with him, they might hope that they were not to be utterly consumed. When the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the entrance of the tabernacle, the people wept for joy, and they ‘rose up and worshiped, every man in his tent door’ (verse 10).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 327.

3.c. What assurance did Moses obtain from the Lord? Exodus 33:11–17. How can we obtain the same assurance?

Note: “This experience—above all else the promise that the divine Presence would attend him—was to Moses an assurance of success in the work before him; and he counted it of infinitely greater worth than all the learning of Egypt or all his attainments as a statesman or a military leader. No earthly power or skill or learning can supply the place of God’s abiding presence.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 328.

“Go to God and tell Him as did Moses, ‘I cannot lead this people unless Thy presence shall go with me.’ And then ask still more; pray with Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory.’ What is this glory?—the character of God. That is what He proclaimed to Moses. Let the soul, in living faith, fasten upon God. Let the tongue speak His praise. When you associate together, let the mind be reverently turned to the contemplation of eternal realities. Thus you will be helping one another to be spiritually minded. When your will is in harmony with the divine will, you will be in harmony with one another; you will have Christ by your side as a counselor.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 499.



4.a. What further request did Moses make, and what was the Lord’s answer? Exodus 33:18, 19. How did the Lord proclaim His name to Moses? Exodus 34:5–7.

Note: “It is our privilege to reach higher and still higher for clearer revealings of the character of God. When Moses prayed, ‘I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory,’ the Lord did not rebuke him, but He granted his prayer. God declared to His servant, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee’ (Exodus 33:18, 19).

“It is sin that darkens our minds and dims our perceptions. As sin is purged from our hearts, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, illuminating His word and reflected from the face of nature, more and more fully will declare Him ‘merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth’ (Exodus 34:6).” The Ministry of Healing, 464, 465.

4.b.      After God revealed His glory to Moses, what did Moses pray for, and how did God answer? Exodus 34:8–17, 27.

Note: “Moses was full of confidence in God because he had appropriating faith. He needed help, and he prayed for it, grasped it by faith, and wove into his experience the belief that God cared for him. He believed that God ruled his life in particular. He saw and acknowledged God in every detail of his life and felt that he was under the eye of the All-seeing One, who weighs motives, who tries the heart. He looked to God and trusted in Him for strength to carry him uncorrupted through every form of temptation. … The presence of God was sufficient to carry him through the most trying situations in which a man could be placed.

“Moses did not merely think of God; he saw Him. God was the constant vision before him; he never lost sight of His face. He saw Jesus as his Saviour, and he believed that the Saviour’s merits would be imputed to him. This faith was to Moses no guesswork; it was a reality. This is the kind of faith we need, faith that will endure the test.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 651, 652.



5.a. What were the children of Israel now able to appreciate about the blessings offered under the Abrahamic covenant in contrast to their first covenant with God? Psalm 103:8; Hebrews 7:19; Jeremiah 31:33, 34.

Note: “They [the children of Israel] had witnessed the proclamation of the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the mount; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant which they had broken; and now, seeing their sinfulness and their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic covenant and shadowed forth in the sacrificial offerings. Now by faith and love they were bound to God as their deliverer from the bondage of sin. Now they were prepared to appreciate the blessings of the new covenant.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 372.

5.b.      What did Moses bring down from the mount after forty days, and how did the people feel when they saw him? Exodus 34:28–30, 33.

Note: “The glory reflected in the countenance of Moses illustrates the blessings to be received by God’s commandment-keeping people through the mediation of Christ. It testifies that the closer our communion with God, and the clearer our knowledge of His requirements, the more fully shall we be conformed to the divine image, and the more readily do we become partakers of the divine nature.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 330.



1    Why do we often despise the one who rebukes sin and admire the gentle, yielding ones?

2    Why was the sin of worshiping the golden calf so great?

3    What was of more value to Moses than his skill as a statesman or a military leader? Why?

4    As Jesus cleanses the heart from sin, what will we see shining from His word and reflected in nature?

5    What two things will lead me to become more fully conformed to God’s image? How?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – A Covenant of Grace

Wilderness Wanderings

December 27 – January 2, 2021

Key Text

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws 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).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 363–373.


“The ‘new covenant’ was established upon ‘better promises’—the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 372.



1.a. For how long has God’s covenant of grace existed? Romans 16:25.

Note: “The covenant of grace is not a new truth, for it existed in the mind of God from all eternity. This is why it is called the everlasting covenant.” The Faith I Live By, 77.

1.b.      When was the covenant of grace confirmed to humanity by promise? Genesis 3:15. When was it fully established? John 19:30; Romans 3:25.

Note: “The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man, when a plan was devised for the redemption of the guilty race. It then existed in the purpose and by the promise of God; and through faith, men could become its subjects. Yet it was not actually established until the death of Christ. … When the Saviour yielded up His life, and with His expiring breath cried out, ‘It is finished,’ then the fulfillment of the plan of redemption was assured. The promise of salvation made to the sinful pair in Eden was ratified. The kingdom of grace, which had before existed by the promise of God, was then established.” The Great Controversy, 347, 348.



2.a. What blessing did God promise to Abraham under the covenant of grace? Genesis 12:1–3. Who is the promised “Seed”? Galatians 3:16.

Note: “Christ was not alone in making His great sacrifice. It was the fulfillment of the covenant made between Him and His Father before the foundation of the world was laid. With clasped hands They had entered into the solemn pledge that Christ would become the surety for the human race if they were overcome by Satan’s sophistry.” The Youth’s Instructor, June 14, 1900.

2.b.      What does God do under this covenant for all who believe in Christ alone for salvation? Galatians 3:8; Romans 5:1.

Note: “The covenant made with Abraham four hundred and thirty years before the law was spoken on Sinai was a covenant confirmed by God in Christ, the very same gospel which is preached to us.” The Signs of the Times, August 24, 1891.

2.c. What promise did God’s covenant with Abraham also include, and what will receiving it do for the believer in Christ? Galatians 3:14; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

Note: “The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth ‘the fruits of the Spirit.’ Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked. Through the prophet He declared of Himself, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart’ (Psalm 40:8). And when among men He said, ‘The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him’ (John 8:29).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 372.



3.a. Why did God confirm His everlasting covenant to Abraham by an oath? Genesis 22:16–18; Hebrews 6:13–18.

Note: “This promise [Genesis 22:18] pointed to Christ. So Abraham understood it (see Galatians 3:8, 16), and he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 370.

“On Mount Moriah, God again renewed His covenant, confirming with a solemn oath the blessing to Abraham and to his seed through all coming generations. …

“Abraham was human; his passions and attachments were like ours; but he did not stop to question how the promise could be fulfilled if Isaac should be slain. He did not stay to reason with his aching heart. He knew that God is just and righteous in all His requirements, and he obeyed the command to the very letter.” Ibid., 153.

3.b.      What shows that obedience to God’s law will always be seen in the life of those under the covenant of grace? Genesis 26:5.

Note: “The covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God’s law. The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, ‘I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect’ (Genesis 17:1). The testimony of God concerning His faithful servant was, ‘Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws’ (Genesis 26:5). And the Lord declared to him, ‘I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee’ (Genesis 17:7).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 370. [Emphasis author’s.]

“The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and the law under the new covenant. He says: ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.’ ‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh’—it could not justify man, because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law—‘God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’ (Romans 5:1; 3:31; 8:3, 4).” Ibid., 373. [Emphasis author’s.]



4.a. Why was another covenant formed at Sinai and what was its purpose? Deuteronomy 4:35–37.

Note: “In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. In delivering them from Egypt, God sought to reveal to them His power and His mercy, that they might be led to love and trust Him. He brought them down to the Red Sea—where, pursued by the Egyptians, escape seemed impossible—that they might realize their utter helplessness, their need of divine aid; and then He wrought deliverance for them. Thus they were filled with love and gratitude to God and with confidence in His power to help them. He had bound them to Himself as their deliverer from temporal bondage.

“But there was a still greater truth to be impressed upon their minds. Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God’s law, and their need of a Saviour. All this they must be taught.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 371.

4.b.      Why is the covenant made with Abraham called a “new” covenant even though it was made before the one at Sinai? Hebrews 9:16–20.

Note: “Though this covenant was made with Adam and renewed to Abraham, it could not be ratified until the death of Christ. It had existed by the promise of God since the first intimation of redemption had been given; it had been accepted by faith; yet when ratified by Christ, it is called a new covenant. The law of God was the basis of this covenant, which was simply an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the divine will, placing them where they could obey God’s law.

“Another compact—called in Scripture the ‘old’ covenant—was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified by the blood of a sacrifice. The Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the ‘second,’ or ‘new,’ covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 370, 371.



5.a. What did the Israelites fail to understand when they entered into the covenant at Sinai? Exodus 24:7; Romans 10:2, 3; John 15:5.

Note: “The people did not realize … that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God’s law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, ‘All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient’ (Exodus 24:7).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 371, 372.

5.b.      How can we be in danger today of making the same mistake the children of Israel made at Sinai? Romans 8:15.

Note: “The spirit of bondage is engendered by seeking to live in accordance with legal religion, through striving to fulfill the claims of the law in our own strength. There is hope for us only as we come under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of grace by faith in Christ Jesus.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 22, 1892.

“All religious service, however attractive and costly, that endeavors to merit the favor of God, all mortification of the flesh, all penance and laborious work to procure the forgiveness of sin and the divine favor—whatever prevents us from making Christ our entire dependence, is abomination in the sight of God. There is no hope for man but to cease his rebellion, his resistance of God’s will, and own himself a sinner ready to perish, and cast himself upon the mercy of God. We can be saved only through Christ.” The Signs of the Times, August 24, 1891.



1    Why is the covenant of grace called an everlasting covenant?

2    How am I blessed today by the covenant made with Abraham?

3    What does God promise to do for me under the covenant of grace?

4    Why is the covenant of grace called a “new” covenant?

5    How can I ensure today that I am under the covenant of grace?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

The Cost of God’s Grace

Before modern modes of transport, it was a very rugged trip to cross the United States from the east coast to either Oregon or to California. Many people believed that there were great rewards to be gained in the West and with the desire in their hearts to make life easier for their families, they would set out on their journey to search for gold or other riches. Many were successful, but others were not so fortunate.

One man who left his wife and his son in the eastern United States and went out to California to seek riches prospered enough that he sent for his wife and son to come and join him. Instead of having them endure such a rugged journey as was involved in traveling on a stagecoach clear across the country, he arranged, as many did in those days, for them to board a ship for their journey. The Panama Canal did not yet exist, so the sea journey to California from New York or South Carolina took you all the way around the bottom of South America and up to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Tickets were purchased for this man’s wife and son to board the ship to California.

The straits at the bottom of South America are notorious for the violent storms that arise in that area. Unfortunately, the ship carrying this man’s precious cargo was involved in one of these storms and went down. As the ship was sinking, the passengers and crew scrambled to get on lifeboats. Looking desperately to save herself and her son, the mother discovered that there was only one seat left on the lifeboat. Without hesitation she lifted her son into that seat. As he looked up to her for the last time she said to him, “When you get to California tell your father that your mother died for you.” In order for him to live, she knew that she would have to die.

Grace is expensive  

Grace is the most expensive thing in the world. Paul wrote, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

Again he says, “You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:1–9).

Grace is wonderful

Because of grace, your sins and my sins can be forgiven. In fact, Paul said that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). Even if you are the chief of sinners, the worst sinner in this world, your sins can be forgiven. But friend, don’t ever forget that the forgiveness of sins came at a great cost.

“We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). By grace your sins can be forgiven, but that grace is expensive; it cost heaven the greatest sacrifice that has ever been made. The sacrifice was not just one of money, but a sacrifice that involved suffering, separation, and the agonizing death of the dear Son of God.

Grace received changes people 

We can never be the same or live the same after we have received grace. Why? Because it cost so much to give it to us. The little boy who took the last seat on the lifeboat would never be the same again because he knew that an infinite price had been paid for his life. He would be a different person for he gained life at the expense of another.

Writing to Titus, Paul said, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly [without being intoxicated], righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11–14). Notice especially verse 14. Jesus did not come to this world and die on the cross so that you could go on and just live the same as you did before. Notice why He did it. It says, “He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Receiving God’s grace will change you.

“He [Jesus] died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). As long as that boy lived, his most treasured memory would be of his mother, who gave her life for him. He could never live in a way that would bring dishonor upon her memory. Jesus died for all, so that we would no longer live for ourselves. Friend, if you’re living for yourself, you are living under the banner of the evil one and are still under his control. He claims you as his own (see The Desire of Ages, 130). The devil knows well that if he can get you to live for yourself then he’s got you; you are in his kingdom. Jesus died so that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the One who died for us.

If that boy had lived his life for himself, lived a sinful life and brought dishonor upon his mother’s memory, it would have been considered a terrible crime. Jesus has died for all and whoever turns his or her back on Him, choosing to live selfishly commits a heinous crime. The Bible says, “If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:26–29)? It is an insult; it is an outrage to the Holy Spirit, to go on and live in sin after receiving the grace of Christ and acknowledging His sacrifice.

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:14–17). Friend, grace is not something that can be trifled with. It is the most wonderful and generous gift in the world. It is expensive; it cost the greatest sacrifice that has ever been made. It shows that God is willing to save even the chief of sinners, but when a price like that has been paid to make grace available, it must be respected. Unfortunately, that is not what has happened in the Christian world for the last 2000 years.

Jude 4 says, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, it is the thought that because of the abundance of grace available, you can just go on and sin because all you have to do is ask for it to be forgiven. Sin and repent, sin and repent again. This doctrine has overtaken a large part of the Christian world. People think they can deliberately sin and then go and confess it to the priest, or sin and then go and tell the Lord that they are sorry. Friend, that is a dangerous game to play. That is an example of premeditated sin, turning the grace of God into lewdness, making God’s grace essentially granting permission to sin. It is not uncommon for people to think that they can sin and then come and ask God for forgiveness. That is what Esau did. He thought he could come and be forgiven at any time, but he found out God was not Someone who could be trifled with.

“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). Evidently it is possible to receive the grace of God in vain or we would not have been given this counsel. The grace of God does not only provide forgiveness from sins that are past, but the grace of God brings you the power to make it possible to live a new life, free from sin. If you don’t ever live the new life, then the grace of God is in vain for you.

Grace stabilizes a person’s life

From the time that little boy arrived in California, he felt duty bound to bring honor to his mother’s memory. He would maintain a constant effort to do what is right. Paul says, “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them” (Hebrews 13:9). Notice Paul says that grace will establish you; in other words, stabilize you so that you can’t be just blown about here and there by every wind of doctrine, till you are not sure what to believe.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Grace stabilizes a person’s life so they’re always attempting to do what is right.

Grace makes life serious, never a carnival Life is precious because it has been purchased at an infinite price. Grace makes life serious. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Your neighbor’s life is also precious because of the infinite price that was paid for the entire race. Realization of that completely changes the way we regard and deal with each other. This is one of the main differences between Christian and non-Christian nations. Christian nations recognize that a human life is precious and will do anything that they can to preserve it. In non-Christian nations oftentimes life is cheap. Grace makes life more serious. True Christians recognize the infinite price that has been paid, not only for their own life but for the lives of all and affects the way they deal with each other.

A crude illustration is the way two different types of rock are treated. My house used to be on a country road about 300 feet back. To maintain the driveway, we would have dump trucks deliver rock which would be dumped on the driveway which I then smoothed out with the blade of my tractor. The reason the rock was brought in the dump trucks and dumped out and driven over is because that rock was common rock; it was not precious. But there are some rocks that are precious – a diamond for instance. You would not put diamonds in a dump truck and dump them on a driveway, smooth them out with a tractor and drive on them. Though they would make it a very hard road, diamonds are way too precious for that. Instead, you would place them in a velvet lined box and store them in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box or bank vault. Diamonds would be treated completely differently from the common rocks that you put on your driveway.

If I understand that all lives are precious, how then will I treat you? Some people, like rough diamonds, need their flaws removed and then to be polished. A diamond in the rough is still a diamond. It may need a lot of polishing and grinding in God’s workshop, but it’s still a diamond. Think about it. How do we treat each other? Do you treat your fellow men like gravel to be picked up and dumped here or there and driven on, or do you treat them like a diamond, though they still may be a bit rough?

Grace changes the way that we speak

There are many texts in the Bible about our speech. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

In an Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah, it says, “You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever” (Psalm 45:2). A Christian speaks with grace. “He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the King will be his friend” (Proverbs 22:11).

The path of grace leads to character perfection

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14–16).

The Lord has promised that before the final outpouring of His judgments on this world, there is going to be a revival of primitive godliness among His people that has not been seen since the time of the apostles. We earnestly pray that we will accept the grace that has been freely offered, hold fast our confession, take up the armor of God and join with Him to take a part in this finishing work before Jesus returns.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

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.

Editorial – Lest Any Fail of the Grace of God

It is possible to receive the grace of God in vain and fail to receive eternal life.

Paul said, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:14, 15).

“We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1).

The special messenger to the Second Advent Movement gives us insight as to how this happens.

“A soul hurt is often a soul destroyed. …

“The redemption of man means unity with Jesus Christ. The Saviour pledged Himself to recover the principles of human dependence upon a plan that could save and reform man. He would make man a laborer together with God. By the sacrifice of Himself He would enable every human being to be one with his fellow men and with God. …

“This plan unites the believers to God as one man. One rule of life is the principle of action. A chain of mutual dependence, made fast to the throne of God, passes round every blood-bought soul. … It is the work of God to expel evil from the soul by connecting humanity with divinity. All difference and disunion are destroyed by a union with the great Center.  …

“Man stands in need of just such a firm, abiding life-principle, a principle which will connect him with God, and through God with his fellow man. …

“The Redeemer did not shun man as man is inclined to shun his fellow men. When God condemned the guilty sinner because he was deserving of condemnation, the Majesty of heaven came near in all the fullness of the God-head. … He knew that by paying the ransom He could end the reign of the enemy, and vindicate the justice of God. Therefore He clothed His divinity with humanity. He stooped to this fallen world that He might restore in man the divine image.

“ ‘Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,’ the apostle writes; ‘and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed’ (Hebrews 12:12). … Let not your coldness, your unkindness, turn souls from the path that leads to Christ. There are souls who need your words of encouragement, and these can not be helped by your unfeeling decisions, and words and looks of contempt.” Excerpted from The Review and Herald, June 5, 1900. (All emphasis supplied.)

Bible Study Guides – “ALL HAVE SINNED”

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” 1 John 3:7.

STUDY HELP: Education, 14–15.

INTRODUCTION: “There are many who in their hearts murmur against God. They say, ‘We inherit the fallen nature of Adam, and are not responsible for our natural imperfections.’ They find fault with God’s requirements, and complain that He demands what they have no power to give. Satan made the same complaint in heaven, but such thoughts dishonor God. And the Lord knoweth our thoughts afar off. He speaks to His people, saying, ‘O my people, what have I done unto thee? And wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against Me.’ ” Signs of the Times, August 29, 1892.


  1. How was man originally created? Genesis 1:27.

NOTE: “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.” Education, 15.

  1. How was that image marred? Romans 8:7.

NOTE: “Through sin the divine likeness was marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death.” Education, 15.

  1. Does sinful man still retain the image of God? 1 Corinthians 11:7; Genesis 9:5, 6.

NOTE: “Whatever may be the nation, kindred or tongue, whether a man is white or black, he still bears the image of God, and ‘the proper study of mankind is man,’ viewed from the fact that he is the purchase of the blood of Christ. To show contempt for, to manifest hatred toward any nation, is to reveal the characteristic of Satan. God has placed His estimate upon man in giving Jesus to a life of humiliation, poverty, and self-sacrifice, to contempt, rejection, and death, in order that man, His lost sheep, might be saved.” Signs of the Times, November 20, 1893.

  1. Does God impute guilt to a person for the sins committed by his ancestors? Ezekiel 18:19, 20.

NOTE: Though, because of the presence of sin in the human race, our physical powers are weakened, our mental capacities lessened and our spiritual vision dimmed by sin, yet the Lord does not hold any man but Adam to be guilty of Adam’s sin. We do not inherit sin or its guilt.

“It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, but they are not punished for the parents’ guilt, except as they participate in their sins. It is usually the case, however, that children walk in the steps of their parents. By inheritance and example, the sons become partakers of the father’s sin. Wrong tendencies, perverted appetites, and debased morals, as well as physical disease and degeneracy, are transmitted as a legacy from father to son, to the third and fourth generation. This fearful truth should have a solemn power to restrain men from following a course of sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 306.

  1. How did Paul express the truth that each man suffers death for his own personal sins? Romans 5:12.

NOTE: “God declared, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die.’ And, apart from the plan of redemption, human beings are doomed to death. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’” Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.

“Our first parents by their disobedience opened the floodgates of woe to the race, and notwithstanding we have before us their sad experience in transgression, and the terrible result, we do not cease to sin; but while we deplore the sin of Adam, which was attended with such fearful consequences, we follow in the same course and realize the penalty of our own sins; for which suffering we alone are accountable.” Forest Park Reporter, March 30, 1879.


  1. How does Paul describe the struggle he experienced to keep the Law of God before he became a Christian? Romans 7:1, 24.

NOTE: “By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves, we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking. There are many who realize their helplessness, and who long for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God; they are vainly striving to obtain it. In despair they cry, ‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ Romans 7:24, margin. Let these desponding, struggling ones look up. The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His word, and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is ‘dead in trespasses.’ Ephesians 2:1. He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin.” Desire of Ages, 203.

  1. What was the principle reason why Paul could find no victory in his struggle to keep the Law of God? Romans 7: 25, last part.

NOTE: The words “I myself” are the key to Paul’s dilemma as a Pharisee before he encountered the Lord Jesus. The two Greek words are “ego autos.” The first word simply means “I” but the two words together mean, emphatically, “I alone.” In the context of Romans 7, it effectively means “I on my own” that is, without Christ. Paul is saying, “I alone, without Christ, with the mind serve the Law of God but with the flesh the law of sin and death.” In contrast, notice Galatians 2:20, Philippians 4: 13, Ephesians 4: 23, Romans 8: 10. What “I alone” could never do can be done “through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (For a more detailed consideration of this point, read The Word Was Made Flesh by Ralph Larson, 351 – 364.) See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 201.


  1. Who alone could bring Paul victory in his struggle to obey God’s Law? Romans 7:25, first part.

NOTE: “Paul realized his weakness, and well he might distrust his own strength. Referring to the law, he says, ‘The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.’ He had trusted in the deeds of the law. He says, concerning his own outward life, that as ‘touching the law’ he was ‘blameless;’ and he put his trust in his own righteousness. But when the mirror of the law was held up before him, and he saw himself as God saw him, full of mistakes, stained with sin, he cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ Paul beheld the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He heard the voice of Christ saying, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.’ He determined to avail himself of the benefits of saving grace, to become dead to trespasses and sins, to have his guilt washed away in the blood of Christ, to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness, to become a branch of the Living Vine. He walked with Christ, and Jesus became to him, not a part of salvation, while his own good deeds were another part, but his all in all, the first and last and best in everything. He had the faith that draws life from Christ, that enabled him to conform his life to that of the divine example. This faith claims nothing for its possessor because of his righteousness, but claims everything because of the righteousness of Christ.”Signs of the Times, November 24, 1890.

  1. Did Christ, when He came to earth, share the common inheritance of mankind? Hebrews 2:17.

NOTE: “Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”Desire of Ages, 49. See also Desire of Ages, 24.

  1. What was a primary purpose of Christ coming to earth “in the likeness of sinful flesh”? Romans 8:3, 4.

NOTE: “Satan declared that it was impossible for the sons and daughters of Adam to keep the law of God, and thus charged upon God a lack of wisdom and love. If they could not keep the law, then there was fault with the Lawgiver. Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men can not keep the law of God. Jesus humbled Himself, clothing His divinity with humanity, in order that He might stand as the head and representative of the human family, and by both precept and example condemn sin in the flesh, and give the lie to Satan’s charges. He was subjected to the fiercest temptations that human nature can know, yet He sinned not; for sin is the transgression of the law. By faith He laid hold upon divinity, even as humanity may lay hold upon infinite power through Him.” Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896.


  1. Why did Paul not claim perfection? (See Philippians 3: 12.) Job 9: 20, 21 and compare Job 1:1, 8; 2:3.

NOTE: Though God Himself described Job as a perfect man, Job himself would not make that claim. Aware of the inadequacy and deceptiveness of human judgment, he knew that he did not possess unerring insight into the state of his soul.

“Let those who feel inclined to make a high profession of holiness, look into the mirror of God’s law, which discovers to us the defects of our character. Those who see the far-reaching claims of the law of God, those who realize that it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, will not presume to make the boast of sinlessness, and venture to declare, ‘I am perfect, I am holy.’

‘If we,’ John says, not separating himself from his brethren, ‘say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’” Signs of the Times, May 23, 1895.

  1. Once we have been justified by God’s grace, can we continue to sin? Romans 6:1. (Read verses 1–6.)

NOTE: “God’s will is expressed in His holy law, and Jesus says, ‘Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.’ The law of God is the standard by which character is to be measured, and he whose life is in harmony with that law is worthy to be trusted, but of what value is the testimony of a man whose life and teaching contradict the law of Jehovah? He then measures himself by his

own finite standard, and may claim for himself as much as does the pope of Rome; but in the light of the detector of sin, his character may be wholly wanting. He may claim great spiritual riches, and think that he is in need of nothing, and may boast of the grace of Christ, but at the same time may have turned that precious grace into lasciviousness. This spurious character of religion is on the increase, and many whose hearts are carnal prate of the grace of Christ, while at the same time they openly blaspheme the name of the God of heaven by casting contempt upon the law of God, which rebukes their inconsistent course and detects their unchristlike character.” Review and Herald, August 28, 1894.

  1. What does sin in the life of the professing Christian reveal? 1 John 3:6. (Read verses 3–10.)

NOTE: “It is folly to bid the sinner come to Christ before being convicted of his sin by being brought before the mirror of the law of God. What is the sinner to be converted from? The transgression of God’s law to obedience of it. But if he is told that he cannot keep the law of God, and that, if he should attempt it, he would be brought into bondage, to what is he then converted, from transgression of the law to a continuance in that transgression? This is absurd. Yet professed ministers of Christ tell the sinner that he is guiltless while disloyal to the law of God. Such conversions are not ratified in heaven.” Signs of the Times, July 18, 1878.

Bible Study Guides – “The Church of the Living God”

Week 1

General Introduction

“I have seen a device representing a bullock standing between a plough and an altar, with the inscription, `Ready for either’, willing to swelter in the weary furrow or to bleed on the altar of sacrifice. This is the position the child of God should ever be in, willing to go where duty calls, to deny self, and to sacrifice for the cause of truth. The Christian church was founded upon the principle of sacrifice. `If any man will come after Me,’ says Christ, `let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ He requires the whole heart, the entire affections. The exhibitions of zeal, earnestness, and unselfish labor which His devoted followers have given to the world should kindle our ardor and lead us to emulate their example. Genuine religion gives an earnestness and fixedness of purpose which molds the character to the divine image and enables us to count all things but loss for the excellency of Christ. This singleness of purpose will prove an element of tremendous power.

“We have a greater and more solemn truth than was ever before committed to mortals, and we are responsible for the way we treat that truth. Every one of us should be intent on saving souls. We should show the power of the truth upon our own hearts and characters, while doing all we can to win others to love it. To bring a sinner to Christ is to elevate, dignify, and ennoble his whole character, and make him a blessing in the home, in society, and in the church. Is not this a work that is worthy of our noblest powers?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 307.

Lesson 1

“The Whole Family in Heaven and Earth”

MEMORY VERSE: “But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8.

STUDY HELP: The Desire of Ages, 325-327.

INTRODUCTION: “`Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ Here are stated the conditions of adoption into the family of God. We are to separate ourselves from the enemies of the Lord. Those who will firmly take their stand upon God’s word, and obey His commandments, will be called old-fashioned and singular. But God designed that His people should be a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, purifying unto Himself a peculiar people. Those who belong to Christ are not like the world in thought or action, and only those who are unlike the world will God acknowledge as His. There are many pretenders to piety, but few really live for Christ, and let their light shine forth to the world in good works. Those who are content to have little knowledge of God here, who take no delight in communing with Him, will never see heaven, because they do not delight in heaven or heavenly things.” Review and Herald, May 13, 1890.

To what family do our sinful actions reveal that we belong? John 8:44.

NOTE: “Jesus denied that the Jews were children of Abraham. He said, `Ye do the deeds of your father.’ In mockery they answered, `We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.’ These words, in allusion to the circumstances of His birth, were intended as a thrust against Christ in the presence of those who were beginning to believe on Him. Jesus gave no heed to the base insinuation, but said, `If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God.’ Their works testified of their relationship to him who was a liar and a murderer.” The Desire of Ages, 467.

What fundamental principle did Jesus explain to show whether we are a child of God or a child of Satan? John 8:41, first part.

NOTE: “All that is not in accordance with the known and expressed will of God, is at enmity with God, and has its origin in the synagogue of Satan. The will of God is expressed in His law, and sin is the transgression of the law. Those who disregard the commandments of God, and teach for doctrines the commandments of men, are working in Satan’s line, and are in harmony with the great leader of apostasy. When the Jews were claiming Abraham for their father, while not doing the works of Abraham, Jesus said to them: `Ye are of your father the devil.'” Signs of the Times, June 11, 1894.

“To Them Gave He Power”

How may we cease to become children of the devil and join the family of God? John 1:12.

NOTE: “Christ is our example, our inspiration, our exceeding great reward. `Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.’ 1 Corinthians 3:9. God is the Master Builder, but man has a part to act. He is to co-operate with God. `We are laborers together with God.’ Verse 9. Never forget the words, `together with God.’ Remember that working with Christ as your personal Savior is your strength and your victory. This is the part that all are to act. To those who do this comes the assurance: `As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.’ John 1:12. Christ declares: `Without Me ye can do nothing.’ John 15:5. And the humble, believing soul responds: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Philippians 4:13.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 39.

What is God’s attitude to those who truly wish to become members of His family? John 6:37.

NOTE: “Let the heart-searching God reprove the erring, and let each one bow before Him in humility and contrition, casting aside all self-righteousness and self-importance, confessing and forsaking every sin, and asking God, in the name of the Redeemer, for pardon. God declares, `Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37); and those who in sincerity present themselves before Him will be pardoned and justified, and will receive power to become the sons of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 101.

What description did Jesus give of those who are truly members of His family? Matthew 12:46-50.

NOTE: “Here is the relationship that exists between Christ and His followers. We occupy this exalted position, if we are indeed doing the will of God. We are to consider ourselves as constituting the family of Christ, and we are to follow Him as dear children. Adopted into the household of God, shall we not honor our Father and our kindred? We have no excuse to plead, for through Jesus we may command all power in Heaven and earth that we may walk worthy of our high calling.” Signs of the Times, March 23, 1888.

“If we are doing the will of God, we are counted as the brethren and sisters of our Master. We are to remember this in our daily life. We are to be in harmony with God, but at enmity with Satan. There is too much fellowship with the prince of darkness. It is not natural for us to bruise Satan under our feet; but we are to close our hearts to the temptations of the evil one, and to open them to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We are to press toward the mark for the prize of our high calling, exerting every God-given power, that we may be overcomers. We must be constantly drawing nigh to God. We must talk of Jesus, expressing His love in a devoted life of entire consecration to His service. The more we dwell upon the purity of the character or Christ, the more we shall desire to become like Him, and thus we shall be brought nearer to Him. The more we behold His loveliness, the more we shall reflect His divine image.” Review and Herald, August 7, 1888.

What will be the fundamental question upon which Christ judges us? Matthew 7:21-23.

NOTE: “This is the assurance given to all who follow the teachings of Christ that they shall become members of the heavenly family. Says Christ, Obedience to My Father in heaven is filial obedience. This is the bond of union between Me and all who shall become members of the heavenly family. All who accept the word of truth will enter the hallowed circle that binds to Me every believer as brother or sister or mother.” Review and Herald, September 26, 1899.

What spirit must be seen in the life of the one who loves God? 1 John 4:20, 21; 1 John 3:18.

NOTE: “I saw that brethren should feel interested for one another. Especially should those who are blessed with health have a kind regard and care for those who have not good health. They should favor them. They should remember the lesson taught by Jesus of the Good Samaritan. Said Jesus: `Love one another, as I have loved you.’ How much? His love cannot be told. He left the glory that He had with the Father before the world was. `He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.’ He patiently bore every indignity and scorn. Behold His agony in the garden, when He prayed that the cup might pass from Him! Behold His sufferings on Calvary! All this for guilty, lost man. And Jesus says: `Love one another, as I have loved you.’ How much? Well enough to give your life for a brother.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 150.

How does Paul describe the life of one who truly loves? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

NOTE: “Christ has given us an example of pure, disinterested love. You have not as yet seen your deficiency in this respect, and your great need of this heavenly attainment, without which all your good purposes, and your zeal, even if it be of that nature that you could give your goods to feed the poor and your body to be burned, is nothing. You need that charity which suffereth long, is not easily provoked, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Without the spirit of love, no one can be like Christ. With this living principle in the soul, no one can be like the world.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 169.

Once we accept God as our Father, what must we be willing to let Him do? Isaiah 64:8. (See Isaiah 45:9; Jeremiah 18:1-6.).

NOTE: “As we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands, and say, `I have nothing to do; I am saved; Jesus has done it all’? No, we are to put forth every energy that we may become partakers of the divine nature. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, we cannot pay a ransom for our souls, We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God; neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that He is drawing you to Himself, and that you are responding to His drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter; and if you submit yourself to Christ, He will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself that he may obtain the grace that will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, `The Lord is my helper.'” Bible Echo, May 15, 1892.

“The potter takes the clay in His hands and molds and fashions it according to His own will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and then presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, He continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 186.

Because God is our Father, what privilege does this give us? Luke 11:2-4.

NOTE: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him. . . . Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. `The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.’ James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. `He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.” Steps to Christ, 93, 100.

For what is the whole creation waiting? Romans 8:19.

NOTE: The marginal reading for “creature” is “creation.” “He God has paid a great price to redeem them from Satan’s power, that they might become sons and daughters of God. When they act like sinners, they are counted as sinners, and must repent and do their first works of love. Christians are to love one another, as Christ has loved them. Upon the manifestation of this love hinges the world’s recognition of the truth of the gospel. It was for this that Christ prayed in the last prayer He offered. Christians must not act like unruly children. Before the world those who claim to be God’s children must give evidence that they have left behind them the childish ways of their unconverted life.” 1888 Materials, 1791.

What will the whole creation see when the sons of God are made manifest? Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2.

NOTE: “Christ has given to the church a sacred charge. Every member should be a channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that the Savior desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and His character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for men and women through whom God can reveal the power of Christianity.” Acts of the Apostles, 600.

Bible Study Guides – “He Shall Save His People from Their Sins”

January 1, 2000 – January 7, 2000

General Introduction

Satan’s work is to make the truth of God of none effect. Cast out of heaven because of his transgression, his aim has ever been to defeat God’s purpose for man. He seeks to make it appear that the law is imperfect, unjust, tyrannical. He declares that it is impossible for man to keep the law. And in his own power man cannot keep the law. Without a Savior, he is without hope.

“Christ saw the helpless condition of the race, and He came to redeem them by living the life of obedience the law requires, and by paying in His death the penalty of disobedience. He came to bring us the message and means of deliverance, an assurance of salvation, not through the abrogation of the law, but through obedience made possible by His merits….

“Christ’s death shows God’s great love for man. It is the pledge of our salvation. To remove the cross from the Christian would be like blotting out the sun. The cross brings us near to God, reconciling us to Him. Jehovah looks upon it with the relenting compassion of a Father’s love. He looks upon the suffering His Son endured in order to save the race from eternal death, and He accepts us in the Beloved.

“Without the cross, man could have no connection with the Father. On it hangs our every hope. In view of it the Christian may advance with the steps of a conqueror; for from it streams the light of the Savior’s love. When the sinner reaches the cross, and looks up to the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which man can attain. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ; and the words of pardon are spoken: Live, O ye guilty sinners live. Your repentance is accepted; for I have found a ransom.

“Through the cross we learn that our Heavenly Father loves us with an infinite and everlasting love, and draws us to Him with more than a mother’s yearning sympathy for a wayward child. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’? It is our privilege also to glory in the cross of Calvary, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to Him who gave Himself for us. Then with the light of love that shines from His face on ours, we shall go forth to reflect it to those in darkness.

Review and Herald, April 29, 1902.

Compiler’s Foreword

The doctrine of the assurance of salvation is of Calvinistic origin and is based on the five points of the Synod of Dort, 1618, which attempted to answer the objections made by Jacob Hermann (Arminius), to the way in which the Dutch Reformed Church had developed the teaching of John Calvin. The five essential points of Calvinism, proposed by the synod and advocated by Reformed churches of the Calvinistic persuasion today, are as follows:

  1. Total depravity. Man can do nothing at all to bring about his salvation, not even to believe.
  2. Unconditional election. The decision that determines man’s salvation is entirely God’s, and not man’s in the slightest degree.
  3. Limited atonement. Jesus died on Calvary only for the elect.
  4. Irresistible grace. God’s grace, when presented to the sinner, cannot be resisted or refused.
  5. Perseverance of the saints. The elect are assured of salvation and can never be lost, no matter what they may do. (“Once saved, always saved.”)

Jacob Hermann, in contrast, had proposed that:

  1. Man is endowed by God with free will. He can choose to respond to, or reject, Christ’s call.
  2. Our election to eternal life is based on God’s foreknowledge as to who would choose to believe.
  3. Because God loves everyone, Christ died for the world and the Father is not willing that any should perish.
  4. Man, through exercise of his free will, may resist God’s grace.
  5. Man may, through exercise of his free will, choose to fall from grace.

When the Calvinists speak of the assurance of salvation, they refer to their belief that those chosen by God to eternal life can never be lost, no matter what sins they may commit. This teaching of the assurance of salvation is commonly described as “once saved, always saved.” Seventh-day Adventists have always held that “once saved, always saved” is unscriptural and a dangerous and misleading error. The term “assurance of salvation” is never found in Scripture. Ellen White employs the term only once in the following quotation: “Christ saw the helpless condition of the race, and He came to redeem them by living the life of obedience the law requires, and by paying in His death the penalty of disobedience. He came to bring us the message and means of deliverance, an assurance of salvation, not through the abrogation of the law, but through obedience made possible by His merits.” Review and Herald, April 29, 1902.

Here we are shown that the assurance of salvation that Christ brings is dependent on the Christian’s obedience to the Law of God, made possible through the merits of Christ.

Memory Verse

“And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 17–22.


“The Christian must represent Jesus by both being good and doing good. Then there will be a fragrance about the life, a loveliness of character, which will reveal the fact that he is a child of God, an heir of heaven. Brethren, be no longer slothful servants. Every soul must battle against inclination. Christ came not to save men in their sins, but from their sins. He has made it possible for us to possess a holy character; do not, then, be content with defects and deformities. But while we are to seek earnestly for perfection of character, we must remember that sanctification is not the work of a moment, but of a lifetime. Said Paul, ‘I die daily.’ (1 Corinthians 15:31.) Day by day the work of overcoming must go forward. Every day we are to resist temptation, and gain the victory over selfishness in all its forms.” Ye Shall Receive Power, 353.

“All Have Sinned”

1 What is the human problem from which we all need to be saved? Romans 3:23.

note: “The only definition we find in the Bible for sin is that ‘sin is the transgression of the law.’ (1 John 3:4.) The Word of God declares, ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ (Romans 3:23.) ‘There is none that doeth good, no, not one.’ (Romans 3:12.) Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 320.

2 What is the inevitable consequence of man’s sin? Romans 5:12.

note See The Great Controversy, 532, 533.

“Your Father the Devil”

3 What does sinful behavior reveal? John 8:44.

note: “The enmity to God has struck its roots deep in human hearts. It has become widespread, both in the world and in the professed churches of Christ. The world and the professed people of God are united by the all-pervading principle of aversion to God’s government. Their opposition to the law of God is sufficient to bind them together, to bear together the burden of their accumulated guilt. Any indication of returning to loyalty and obedience to God is denounced as treachery against the confederacy of disloyalty. A wakeful impiety is quickened into an instinctive vigilance, and rouses to demonstration of hatred against the testing truth for this time. Wherever the truth shall be proclaimed, it will be opposed in a decided manner, for men possess the attributes which Jesus charged upon the Jews when He said, ‘Ye are of your father the devil,’ and ‘ye do the deeds of your father.’” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 57.

4 How does Paul describe the activities of those who follow their sinful inclinations? Galatians 5:19–21.

note: “The greatest detriment to our churches, that which brings them into weakness and disfavor with God, is unhappy jealousies and differences. ‘Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’ Then let every soul examine himself, and see if he is approaching the committal of any such sins. ‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.’ Unsanctified hearts will be revealed in unsanctified actions.” Review and Herald, June 28, 1887.

5 What does Paul say about the consequences of sinful conduct? Galatians 5:21, last part.

note: “The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ. When men who claim to be Christians retain all their natural defects of character and disposition, in what does their position differ from that of the worldling? They do not appreciate the truth as a sanctifier, a refiner. They have not been born again.” Maranatha, 237.

“But God…”

6 How does Paul describe the situation of those who have not been born again? Ephesians 2:1–3.

note: “By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these: ‘Dead in trespasses and sins;’ ‘the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint’; ‘no soundness in it.’ We are held fast in the snare of Satan; ‘taken captive by him at his will.’ Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26. God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him.” The Faith I Live By, 87. (See also Testimonies, vol. 6, 426, 427.)

7 What difference is accomplished in the life by the power of God? Ephesians 2:4–6.

note: “The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness. Many realize their helplessness; they are longing for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God, and are striving to obtain it. But in vain.…Let those desponding, struggling ones look up. When sin struggles for the mastery.…look to the Savior. His grace is sufficient to subdue sin. Let your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, turn to Him. Lay hold on the hope set before you.…His strength will help your weakness; He will lead you step by step. Place your hand in His, and let Him guide you. He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin. He is always near. His loving presence surrounds you. Seek Him as One who desires to be found of you. God’s promise is, ‘Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.’” The Faith I Live By, 87.

“Repent and be Converted”

8 In order to receive forgiveness for the sins he has committed, what must the sinner do? 1 John 1:9.

note: “The conditions of obtaining mercy from God are simple and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order to gain forgiveness. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression. He that ‘confesseth and forsaketh’ his sin ‘shall have mercy.’ Proverbs 28:13.” Acts of the Apostles, 552.

9 How does David describe this experience? Psalm 32:5.

note: “How anxious are you to remove the record of the past, to have your wrong-doings blotted out? What depths of iniquity are open to God’s sight, that are hidden from all mortal view! Every secret thing shall be brought into judgement, whether it be good or evil. Past sins, unrepented of and unforgiven, will be brought up then, only to condemn us, and appoint our portion with the lost. But the promises of God are full of encouragement for us.” Review and Herald, January 13, 1891.

10 What other elements are essential parts of repentance? Ezekiel 33:15; Isaiah 55:7.

note: “Zacchaeus had heard of Jesus.…In this chief of the publicans was awakened a longing for a better life.…He felt that he was a sinner in the sight of God. Yet what he had heard of Jesus kindled hope in his heart. Repentance, reformation of life, was possible, even to him.…Zacchaeus began at once to follow the conviction that had taken hold upon him, and to make restitution to those whom he had wronged.” Conflict and Courage, 301. (See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 203.)

“I Will Receive You”

11 Can a sinner make himself righteous? Jeremiah 13:23.

note: “If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts?…There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing for ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are. Yield yourself to Christ without delay; He alone, by the power of His grace, can redeem you from ruin. He alone can bring your moral and mental powers into a state of health.” The Faith I Live By, 133.

12 What precious promise is given to those who choose to turn their backs on their former lives of sin? 2 Corinthians 6:17.

note: “God has given men faculties and capabilities. God works and cooperates with the gifts He has imparted to man, and man, by being a partaker of the divine nature and doing the work of Christ, may be an overcomer and win eternal life. The Lord does not propose to do the work He has given man powers to do. Man’s part must be done. He must be a laborer together with God, yoking up with Christ, learning His meekness, His lowliness. God is the all-controlling power. He bestows the gifts; man receives them and acts with the power of the grace of Christ as a living agent. ‘Ye are God’s husbandry.’ (1 Corinthians 3:9.) The heart is to be worked, subdued, ploughed, harrowed, seeded, to bring forth its harvest to God in good works. ‘Ye are God’s building.’ You cannot build yourself. There is a Power outside of yourself that must do the building of the church, putting brick upon brick, always cooperating with the faculties and powers given of God to man. The Redeemer must find a home in His building. God works and man works.” Faith and Works, 26.