Bible Study Guides – The New Birth

December 9 – 15, 2001

“Except a Man be Born Again”

MEMORY VERSE: “Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3

STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, 98–102.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Born again means a transformation, a new birth in Christ Jesus.” The Adventist Home, 206.


“All are not constituted alike. Conversions are not all alike. Jesus impresses the heart, and the sinner is born again to new life. Often souls have been drawn to Christ when there was no violent conviction, no soul rending, no remorseful terrors. They looked upon an uplifted Saviour; they lived. They saw the soul’s need; they saw the Saviour’s sufficiency and His claims; they heard His voice saying, ‘Follow Me,’ and they rose up and followed Him. This conversion was genuine, and the religious life was just as decided as was that of others who suffered all the agony of a violent process.” Evangelism, 287, 288.

“O Wretched Man that I Am!”

1 What must each of us admit before we can be born again? Romans 7:18. Compare Ephesians 2:2, 3.

NOTE: See Steps to Christ, 19.

2 How does Jeremiah state the impossibility of a person transforming himself? Jeremiah 13:23.

NOTE: “Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them.… Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” God’s Amazing Grace, 120.

“Through Jesus Christ Our Lord”

3 What is the only remedy for the soul’s sickness? Romans 7:24, 25, first part.

NOTE: “The converting power of God can transform inherited and cultivated tendencies; for the religion of Jesus is uplifting. ‘Born again’ means a transformation, a new birth in Christ Jesus.” The Adventist Home, 206.

“The change of heart represented by the new birth can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.…Pride and self-love resist the Spirit of God; every natural inclination of the soul opposes the change from self-importance and pride to the meekness and lowliness of Christ. But if we would travel in the pathway to eternal life, we must not listen to the whispering of self. In humility and contrition we must beseech our heavenly Father, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Psalm 51:10. As we receive divine light, and cooperate with the heavenly intelligences, we are ‘born again,’ freed from the defilement of sin by the power of Christ. The mighty power of the Holy Spirit works an entire transformation in the character of the human agent, making him a new creature in Christ Jesus.” The Faith I Live By, 137.

4 How does Paul describe the change that God makes through Christ? Ephesians 2:4–6. Compare Ephesians 1:3–6.

NOTE: “We must each become acquainted with Christ in order properly to represent Him to the world. ‘His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue’ (2 Peter 1:3). None of us need excuse our hasty temper, our misshapen characters, our selfishness, envy, jealousy, or any impurity of soul, body, or spirit.…We must learn of Christ. We must know what He is to those He has ransomed. We must realize that through belief in Him it is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, and so escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity. As we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for good. Ever learning of the divine Teacher, daily partaking of His nature, we cooperate with God in overcoming Satan’s temptations. God works, and man works, that man may be one with Christ as Christ is one with God. Then we sit together with Christ in heavenly places. The mind rests with peace and assurance in Jesus.…In Him there is inexhaustible fullness.…God has given us every facility, every grace. He has provided the riches of heaven’s treasure, and it is our privilege to draw continually from this capital.” God’s Amazing Grace, 235.

“A Living Sacrifice”

5 What part must we play in the work of conversion? Romans 12:1. Compare Psalm 50:5.

NOTE: See Early Writings, 66.

6 What precious gifts will this sacrifice buy for us? Revelation 3:18.

NOTE: “Buy faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer.…He invites us to buy the white raiment, which is His glorious righteousness; and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart’s door to this heavenly visitor? We cannot provide a robe of righteousness for ourselves, for the prophet says, ‘All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. There is nothing in us from which we can clothe the soul so that its nakedness shall not appear. We are to receive the robe of righteousness woven in the loom of heaven, even the spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness. The eye is the sensitive conscience, the inner light, of the mind. Upon its correct view of things the spiritual healthfulness of the whole soul and being depends. The ‘eyesalve,’ the Word of God, makes the conscience smart under its application, for it convicts of sin. But the smarting is necessary that the healing may follow, and the eye be single to the glory of God.…Says Christ, By renouncing your own self-sufficiency, giving up all things, however dear to you, you may buy the gold, the raiment, and the eyesalve that you may see.” Our High Calling, 350.

“Crucified with Christ”

7 How does Paul describe this living sacrifice? Galatians 2:20.

NOTE: “God will accept nothing less than unreserved surrender. Half-hearted, sinful Christians can never enter heaven. There they would find no happiness; for they know nothing of the high, holy principles that govern the members of the royal family. The true Christian keeps the windows of the soul open heavenward. He lives in fellowship with Christ. His will is conformed to the will of Christ. His highest desire is to become more and more Christlike.…Earnestly and untiringly we are to strive to reach God’s ideal for us. Not as a penance are we to do this, but as the only means of gaining true happiness. The only way to gain peace and joy is to have a living connection with Him who gave His life for us, who died that we might live, and who lives to unite His power with the efforts of those who are striving to overcome.” This Day With God, 145.

8 What change will this sacrifice of self work in us? Romans 12:2.

NOTE: “The transforming power of Christ’s grace molds the one who gives himself to God’s service. Imbued with the Spirit of the Redeemer, he is ready to deny self, ready to take up the cross, ready to make any sacrifice for the Master. No longer can he be indifferent to the souls perishing around him. He is lifted above self-serving. He has been created anew in Christ, and self-serving has no place in his life. He realizes that every part of his being belongs to Christ, who has redeemed him from the slavery of sin; that every moment of his future has been bought with the precious lifeblood of God’s only-begotten Son.” Lift Him Up, 58.

“Christ came to restore to its original loveliness a world ruined by sin.…In the new earth there will be no sin nor disease.…And the body will be restored to its original perfection. We shall wear the spotless image of our Lord.…As the heart becomes transformed by the renewing of the mind, the graces of the Spirit leave their impress on the face, and it expresses the refinement, delicacy, peace, benevolence, and pure and tender love that reign in the heart.” My Life Today, 153.

“A New Heart Will I Give You”

9 How is the contrast between the sinner and the converted soul described? Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26, 27.

NOTE: “Be not discouraged because your heart seems hard. Every obstacle, every internal foe, only increases your need of Christ. He came to take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh. Look to Him for special grace to overcome your peculiar faults. When assailed by temptation, steadfastly resist the evil promptings.…Cry to the dear Saviour for help to sacrifice every idol and to put away every darling sin. Let the eye of faith see Jesus standing before the Father’s throne, presenting His wounded hands as He pleads for you. Believe that strength comes to you through your precious Saviour.” God’s Amazing Grace, 84.

10 What plea does the Lord make to His people? Ezekiel 18:31, 32.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 325.

“Create in Me a Clean Heart”

11 What prayer of David’s should also be ours? Psalm 51:10. Compare Matthew 23:25–28.

NOTE: “Unless the mind of God becomes the mind of man, every effort to purify himself will be useless; for it is impossible to elevate man except through a knowledge of God. The outward gloss may be put on, and men may be as were the Pharisees whom Jesus describes as ‘whited sepulchres,’ full of corruption and dead men’s bones. But all the deformity of the soul is open to Him who judgeth righteously, and unless the truth is planted in the heart, it cannot control the life. Cleansing the outside of the cup will never make the vessel pure within. A nominal acceptance of truth is good as far as it goes, and the ability to give a reason for our faith is a good accomplishment, but if the truth does not go deeper than this, the soul will never be saved.” Our High Calling, 142.

12 What prayer must accompany our desire for a new heart? Psalm 139:23, 24.

NOTE: “The Lord Jesus has given man an example in His own life. For the selfish heart of sin, He gives the new heart of love. He changes the heart, and produces an entire revolution in the soul. He brings light out of darkness, love out of enmity, and holiness out of impurity, that those who believe in Christ may represent Christ’s life and character to the world.” Testimonies to Southern Africa, 39.

“If Christ is abiding in the heart, He will be in all our thoughts. Our deepest thoughts will be of Him, His love, His purity. He will fill all the chambers of the mind. Our affections will center about Jesus. All our hopes and expectations will be associated with Him. To live the life we now live by faith in the Son of God, looking forward to and loving His appearing, will be the soul’s highest joy. ” In Heavenly Places, 163.

By Gordon Anderson

How to Have Life, Part II

If we do not have a connection to Christ, we are not Christians, no matter what our profession may be. We may, by our acts, appear to be moral, but we will not be righteous, because there is only one place to obtain righteousness. We must ask Him for the desire and the life. Our great need is not for more rules and more works and more religion, but more of Him. This is what we really need, but the desire is not natural. We need to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.

“We must be daily controlled by the Spirit of God or we are controlled by Satan.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 102. There are only two options, and every morning, when we get out of bed, we decide which one is going to control us. We do need to be under the control of the Spirit, and that comes through surrender. But to be controlled by the Spirit does not mean to be replaced by Him. When the evil spirits take over, they take over. They want to totally possess us, but the Holy Spirit does not want to possess us. He wants to empower us. The Holy Spirit works in cooperation with our faculties. He does not force; He empowers.

If we ask Him, He will teach us to love the things He loves and to hate the things He hates. When the Holy Spirit is in control, we will have total freedom—real, genuine freedom. Then we will have the power and the ability and the desire to do what is right. We will even have the right motives. Egotism will no longer be the motive, as in the worldly systems. We will be free indeed, and then the mind and the heart and the life will all be alive in Christ. Without this experience, truth is only a theory to fight about at best, and at worst, it makes us angry, and we rebel against it, calling people who obey it fanatics. If it goes far enough, we kill them, because it makes us feel guilty. That is what happened between Cain and Abel, and that is what happened with the Jewish leaders in Christ’s day. We do not like people making us feel guilty.

Nothing but the influence of Christ through the Holy Spirit can change us. We must have the original union that God gave to man. “Satan will constantly present allurements to induce us to break this tie—to choose to separate ourselves from Christ. Here is where we need to watch, to strive, to pray, that nothing may entice us to choose another master; for we are always free to do this.” Steps to Christ, 72.

Keeping the Union

Do you ever wonder how to keep that union? “Unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul with God, so that life from God flows into our life; and from our life, purity and holiness flow back to God.” Ibid., 98.

Ellen White also wrote: “We may keep so near to God that in every unexpected trial our thoughts will turn to Him as naturally as the flower turns to the sun.” Ibid., 99, 100. How I would like to have that experience! Would you? When unexpected trials come, our hearts would automatically turn to God like the flowers do to the sun!

Being Born Again

Now, let us get down to brass tacks. How are we born again? In other words, what must we do to be saved? Well, that depends! How the process works depends on our mental stage when the invitation comes. Let us look at two different men who asked this same question.

“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:17–22.

Now, look at Acts 16:25–34, and see this question asked again by another man. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”

Two Men—Two Answers

Two men asked the same question. It appears that they were given two different answers. Why did not Jesus give the same answer as Paul? For the young Jew, Jesus gave a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to eternal life, and, unfortunately, it proved to be just that for him. But for the Gentile jailer, Paul gave a very simple answer. Why not the same answer? Did Paul’s response make salvation easy, while Christ’s answer made it difficult, if not almost impossible? Is salvation not freely offered to all? Matthew 11:28 invites, “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden.” Is the gospel that we claim as simple as that?

Unfortunately, it is not always that simple. To get someone to make a right response—to surrender and trust God totally, placing themselves wholly on His side, depending on Him completely—can be very difficult. It depends very much upon where he or she is at in his or her mind, when the invitation is given. Notice that the invitation comes every day with every temptation, but the response depends on their state of mind when the invitation comes. If they are at a place where they are in dire straits, spiritually bankrupt, the invitation and response could be simple. They may readily put their whole weight on Christ and depend totally on Him. He can then help them.

But if they are at the place where they may just need a little push to get into the kingdom, as the rich young ruler, then things get a lot more complicated. The answer then depends upon their understanding of their condition and what their true need is.

How Are We?

Are we basically good, just in need of a little bit of development? Or can we, like Paul, say, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing”? Romans 7:18. Do we just need a little push, or do we, like Paul, have no good thing in us? Are we totally bankrupt, or are we proud of all the knowledge we have of the truth? That certainly can be a problem for historic Seventh-day Adventists; since we study more than the average person, we tend to have more knowledge, and it is easy to get proud of that.

A statement in the Review and Herald, July 23, 1889, says, “The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God’s people the light of the world.”

The Jewish people in Christ’s day were very proud of the fact that the oracles of God had been committed to them. They thought that they were quite righteous. If we are a people that have a lot of good in us that just needs a little bit of developing, I fear for us. If we are in that condition, we are in trouble. We have some hard lessons to learn. Those lessons were the purpose of John the Baptist’s message.

John the Baptist’s Message

Ellen White, commenting on John the Baptist’s message, wrote, “The message that God had given him [John the Baptist] to bear was designed to startle them [God’s people] from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.

“God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security.” The Desire of Ages, 103, 104.

Ask Not—Receive Not

That was the purpose of John the Baptist’s message—to arouse God’s people out of that lethargic condition, to help them to realize their true need. Today, we are in need of that same thing, but we do not even realize we have that need. We cannot come up with it on our own.

James 4:2 says that we have not because we ask not. Perhaps the reason we do not ask is because we either do not think we need to or we do not realize our need. We even need to ask God to show us our need. I have been asking Him to show me my need without having to go though some terrible experience in order to see it. That is one way we can learn of our need—to go through something terrible where God really gets our attention. I am certain there is an easier way to learn.

Did you ever struggle with a besetting sin? Most historic Seventh-day Adventists are not open sinners. Most of the sins with which we deal are in our thoughts—thoughts of lust, coveting, impatience, pride and anger. Do you ever cry out to God and say, “If You do not fix me, I am never going to get fixed”? That is a prayer that works well. It is amazing what God will do, when you cry out like that. Tell Him that you know that if He does not save you, you will be lost. Pray, “Lord, save me, or I will perish.” (See Our High Calling, 131.) We are told that as long as we pray that in sincerity, we will never be lost. Do you pray that? Do you cry out to God like that? If not, what will it take to get you to that point?

Remember, God had to strike Paul with blindness to get his attention. Peter was a good man, but he had to deny his Lord before God could get his attention. What will you have to go through?

Just a Little Shove

“And one of the Pharisees [Simon] desired him [Christ] that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that [he], to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” Luke 7:36–50.

Simon had a problem. He owed 500 pence, but he thought he only owed 50 pence. He thought everyone else owed 500, but not him. He thought that surely he was not as low as the prostitute. He definitely knew that for a fact. On the other hand, Mary had what we all need. She saw herself, like Paul, the chief of sinners. She did not have a pride problem. She knew that she had sinned much and had been forgiven much. But Simon had only sinned a little bit in his mind, and he had only been forgiven a little bit. All the others needed a lot of help, he thought, but in his mind, he only needed that little bit of a shove to get into the kingdom.

Are you like Simon, or are you like Mary? What is your attitude? What are your thoughts of your condition? Do you only need that little shove?

Lord, Help Us

Many men and women whom God has used powerfully over the years have had to learn some really hard lessons in the last few years, because they did not know their true conditions. I have had to say to God, “You know the evil thoughts in my mind. I know some of them, but You know them all. Reveal them to me, when I can handle them.”

God does not show us all of our problems at once, or it would kill us. We would die of guilt. “The path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. It is like the sun coming up in the east. It comes up gradually, and our eyes adjust to it; it does not flip instantly on at high noon. That is the way God reveals things to us.

As He reveals our sins to us, we should ask Him to make those sins revolting to us, to give us an absolute hatred for them. Ask for the enmity that He promised in Genesis 3:15. We should ask Him to teach us to love the things He loves and to hate the things He hates. We should plead with Him that He will not allow us to ruin our reputations and our influences and bring shame to Him and His work or to cause others to stumble. We should pray that, as He helps us, we will not get puffed up or forget that He has given us victories; we have done nothing in our own power. Let us plead with Him to keep us humble and dependent on Him always.

“Let us not forget that as activity increases, and we become successful in doing the work that must be accomplished, there is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. We shall be in danger of losing our sense of dependence upon God, who alone can make our work succeed; but although this is the tendency, let no one think that the human instrument is to do less. No, he is not to do less, but to do more by accepting the heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit.” Review and Herald, July 4, 1893.

Christ’s will, His work, His teachings, His doctrines, His decisions were all from His Father. He did nothing of Himself. He stayed connected continually to His Father. Do we stay connected? Do we realize the need to stay connected?

Sift as Wheat

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31, 32. When Peter was sifted, he found that he was unconverted. He, fortunately, was given a second chance. There is coming a day when Satan is going to sift every one of us, and there will not be a second chance, because probation is going to close.

God has been protecting us in our weaknesses for years, but one of these days He is going to have to back off and let Satan sift us. We know that we are going to be sifted, but we should learn from Peter’s mistake, because if we repeat it in the time in which we are living, there may not be another chance to get it right.


We have to trust and obey and cooperate with God. There is a battle to fight to enter into God’s kingdom. Are we converted? Are we converted from dependence on ourselves? Is our dependence on God? Are we surrendered?

“Many are inquiring, ‘How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?’ You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart; you cannot, of yourself, give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13.) Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.

“Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.” Steps to Christ, 47, 48.

Many of us do not come to that point. We do not now choose to be Christians.

Exercise of Will

“Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life.” Ibid., 48. What is the next logical question we ought to ask? What does it mean, “the right exercise of the will”?

Mrs. White explains, “By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers.” Ibid.

I used to read that statement, and I heard it used in lots of different sermons. People would quote it a lot and say, “Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life.” And I would read, “You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will.” Messages to Young People, 151. And, “Everything depends on the right action of the will.” The Ministry of Healing, 176. The thought that came to my mind was that I need to get my will directed in the right direction!

Getting our wills turned in the right direction is possible only as we yield them to Christ. We must ask Him to take our wills and make them in harmony with His. We cannot grit our teeth and try to twist our wills into shape; God will do the work. That is the only way it will happen. “You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.” Steps to Christ, 48.

Are you converted from self-dependence to dependence upon God? If not, what will it take? I urge you to pray about it. On the authority of truth, I can guarantee you that if you ask Him, He will answer your prayer.

Righteousness by Faith

We need righteousness by faith to be able to stand in the last days. “What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are pre-pared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 117. It could be stated just the opposite. If we do not see our own nothingness, we are not pre-pared to receive Christ’s righteousness.

Do you want to see your own nothingness, so you can be clothed with the righteousness of Christ? If that is your desire, ask God right now to reveal to you your nothingness, and ask Him to take away your dependence on self and give you total dependence on Him.

Steve Currey is a Bible worker for Steps to Life. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

How to Have Life, Part I

John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” With these words, Christ proclaimed His purpose for coming to this earth—to give us life.

The word life is translated from the Greek word zoe, which, in a theological sense, is eternal life. It is the kind of life that Adam and Eve were given before the fall. They were created with zoe, but they lost it when they sinned. Their physical life was extended, but they were no longer conditionally immortal. Jesus came to restore the condition of immortality. That is in contrast with what the thief said, which is also mentioned in this verse; he came to steal and to kill and to take away that life.

Jesus said that He not only wants us to have that life but He wants us to have it more abundantly. Our physical life is a great blessing, but He wants to restore us to the original life that has been stolen by the thief.

This life of Christ is what He spoke about in Matthew 4:4, when He said that “man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” “Bread alone” is needed for the physical life, but the Word of God is essential for that zoe, that immortal life, that eternal life. It is for the spiritual, intellectual life.

In John 14:6, we read: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” This must be one of the most basic short verses in the entire Bible! It tells us how to get to God, how to get life, which is only through Jesus, because Jesus is the way. Jesus is the path back to the Father. That path has been lost through the separation brought on by sin. Christ is the reality of the promise that we can have that life, as He offers to unite His divine life with our human life. When those two are put together, we end up with zoe; that is the life that He wants to restore.

Man does not have any life in himself. Ellen White wrote: “Separated from God, existence may be ours for a little time, but we do not possess life.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 61. So we have existence, but we do not have life, according to the Spirit of Prophecy. An example of how this could happen is given in 1 Timothy 5:6: “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” This verse is talking about people who are physically alive but spiritually dead.

As previously stated, when Adam and Eve were created, God gave them this zoe life. As long as they remained perfect and connected to God, Who is the Source of life, their lives continued on in conditional eternal life. As long as there was a union between them and God, this zoe life continued, but as soon as they sinned, this union—this life- giving relationship—was broken. Life immediately began to withdraw from them. They were banished from God’s presence. By what were they banished? They were banished by sin. They were banished by their choice of being independent of God.

The serpent came along and told Adam and Eve that he had a better way, and they bought into it. So, they were separated from God by their own independence. They were still alive—alive to sinning, but they were dead to spiritual things. They were physically alive but spiritually dead. All of man’s functions, from that point on, began to operate on a natural, carnal level. Except for Christ, every man since then has experienced this broken union with God, the Source of life. Nowhere is man’s life, in its natural state, seen to be in a right state of dependence upon God.

Physically Alive–Spiritually Dead

Let us look at Ephesians 2:1–6: “And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus.” (Note that in some versions of the Bible quickened is interpreted as “made alive” and conversation is interpreted as “living in the pleasure of or indulging in the passions of our flesh.”) Obviously, the people Paul referred to in this passage were physically alive, but he said they were dead.

It seems that men still believe Satan’s original lie that somehow we can have life apart from God. It is called self-sufficiency, and every day that we walk out the doors of our homes and go out into the world without having hooked up to God, without having spent time with Him through His Word and prayer, we prove that we still believe that lie. We think that somehow we can have life without being connected to the Source of life.

Now, we may walk out the door and stay “moral.” God’s definition of “moral” is a lot deeper than the world’s. As for the worldly meaning, we may walk out the door and stay “moral,” but we are not spiritual. We cannot be spiritual unless we connect to the Source of spiritual life. Culture, worldly education, and even the exercise of the will may enable us to put up good fronts—at least for a time.

Mrs. White wrote: “Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” Steps to Christ, 18.

Even though culture and worldly education and the use of the will may enable us to put up good fronts and fool some people, we will not fool God. Without actually having this connection with God, we will not be able to see any further than the kingdom of man. We will not be able to understand or perceive God’s kingdom. We will still just be natural or carnal humans—possibly reasonable, good, moral humans, but if we cultivate the natural man, what do we get? We just get more of the natural man.

If we have a whole garden full of weeds and all we do is take care of those weeds, we are going to end up with weeds. We may have some good, healthy weeds, and we may have more weeds than when we started, but they are still just weeds. If we cultivate the natural man, that is all we are going to end up with—the natural man, plus self-exaltation and pride, because of the cultivation that we have given to that natural man.

Hold Fast

You may recall that these natural traits got Lucifer booted out of heaven, and if we are going to go to heaven and take his place, we are going to have to get rid of those kinds of character traits. There is no place for the natural man in the kingdom of God. The Bible speaks of two Adams, and from them two kinds of life emerged: the natural, which is standard equipment, and the spiritual, which would be like after-market equipment. The first Adam lost life by alienation from God through sin. The second Adam, Christ, came to redeem us from that separation. The Spirit of Prophecy says, “The first Adam fell; the second Adam held fast to God and His Word under the most trying circumstances.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1129. The first Adam, in other words, let go of that hold on God. The second Adam held fast. “His faith in His Father’s goodness, mercy, and love did not waver for one moment.” Ibid.

Consider the following statement very carefully. “Sin not only shuts us away from God, but destroys in the human soul both the desire and the capacity for knowing Him.” Education, 28, 29. That is a somber thought. We know that sin separates us from God, but do we realize that it also destroys our desires and capacities for knowing Him? The only way back to God is through His Son. John 17:3 tells us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The only way to eternal life is through the Son, but the statement above says that sin destroys both the desire and the capacity for knowing Him. Now that is a serious problem!

Sin will separate us from God, from zoe life. We have to go back to God through Christ to get zoe life, yet we cannot know Him, as we need to know Him, because of sin. Because of sin, we do not have the desire. How glad we should be that God came looking for us, and we do not have to go looking for Him! Romans 3:11 says, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” None of us go seeking for God; we respond to God seeking for us.

Recognize the Need

Do we realize that we need something that we do not possess? Apparently Nicodemus realized his need. John 3:1–6 tells his story: “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Nicodemus was a highly educated man, a member of the Sanhedrin, but apparently, with all his learning and position, he realized that something was missing. He may not have known exactly what it was, and in his pride, he may not even have known what he was looking for, but something drove him to come to Jesus.

He came to Jesus by night; he came to be taught. In his position, Nicodemus could have sent one of his servants or one of his students, but he came personally. Why did he do that? Let me answer that question with an illustration, a parable.

Pre-chewed Food

Recently, I took my wife, Paula, to a restaurant for dinner. On the bottom of the restaurant’s menu was a short statement that said we could get any item on that menu as pre-chewed food for only several dollars more than the same item cost unchewed.

I asked the waiter, “What in the world is pre-chewed food?”

He explained, “We have a couple of guys in the back that will chew up your selection for you. All you have to do is spoon it into your mouth and swallow it.”

That sounds revolting, but are we trying to live off of pre-chewed food in the spiritual capacity? Do we come to Jesus personally, as Nicodemus did, and examine Jesus’ Word? Or are we trying to live off of the pre-chewed food that we get from the pulpit? The discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus goes right to the heart of man’s problem to bring about a spiritual change from death to life. A new birth—a spiritual regeneration and re-creation—has to take place.

Nicodemus perhaps knew something radical had to happen, but he was not sure what it was or how to get it. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like something radical has to happen in your life, but you do not know what it is, where to get it, or how it happens? We all go through that from time to time. Sometimes I wonder if it is ever going to happen, but by faith, I know that God is faithful.

Greatest Need

What do we as sinners most need to receive from Christ? Christ explained that to Nicodemus.

First, we have to understand that we are born of the flesh. We are tied to sin by our nature. If we walk in our own desires, we are under the power of nature—the one with which we are born.

Second, the fleshly nature can only produce after its kind. As stated previously, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” We know things only produce after their kind. We do not get catfish from alley cats—unless something supernatural happens, unless someone does some genetic engineering. We know that it is not normal to have things cross species. The flesh stays flesh, and the spirit stays spirit, and unless something supernatural happens, we are going to stay flesh. “That which is born of flesh is flesh.”

Third, the spiritual life in man can only be created by the spiritual power of God through the Holy Spirit. We have to be reborn from above, which indicates that it is a supernatural life. Elaborating on John 3:3, Mrs. White explains: “The Saviour said, ‘Except a man be born from above,’ unless he shall receive a new heart, new desires, purposes, and motives, leading to a new life, ‘he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ ” Steps to Christ, 18. I was referring to this earlier, when I stated that we cannot perceive the kingdom of God. The word see, in John 3:3, is actually talking about seeing with perception—not just seeing with our eyes, but perceiving with understanding the kingdom of God.

Little Boost or New Birth

“To arouse those spiritually dead, to create new tastes, new motives, requires as great an outlay of power as to raise one from physical death.” Review and Herald, March 12, 1901. Have you tried raising anyone from the dead? It takes quite a bit of power! It obviously takes supernatural power. It is very important to understand that the new birth is not the fallen nature renovated; it is a whole new life from heaven.

Recently, I heard a preacher on the radio say, “We do not need a boost from beneath; we need a birth from above.” A lot of times we think that we just need a boost to get us into the kingdom of God, but we need a whole new birth and a whole new life, if we are going to be in the kingdom.

Many do not understand that it is not a one shot deal, either. A number of people are able to tell you the date, usually back in the past, when they were “born again.” When we meet someone who says that, we need to ask him or her if they were born again this very morning. This experience must be a daily conversion. Yesterday’s victories are good, but they are not good enough for today. Each new day brings new temptations. New victories, new life from above has to happen each day. We must, like Paul, die daily and be spiritually reconnected daily to the new life. (1 Corinthians 15:31.) This comes only through the Source of life.

Cost of Connecting

That connection will cost you something, though. There is an interesting statement in the December 13, 1887, Review and Herald: “The power of evil is so identified with human nature that no man can overcome except by union with Christ. Through this union we receive moral and spiritual power. If we have the Spirit of Christ, we shall bring forth the fruit of righteousness.” Stopping right there, we could undo that equation the other way. If we do not have the fruit of righteousness, what does that tell us? It tells us that we do not have the Spirit of Christ.

Mrs. White continues, “A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last, and best in everything. But this union costs us something.” Ibid. How much does it cost? “It is a relationship of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being.” Ibid. So, it will cost us getting rid of our pride, and a proud being does not like that.

“All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment, as well as a work of attachment.” Ibid. Oh, yes, the union will cost us!

Not a Self-improvement Program

When Christ gives us this life, He does not just give it to us to possess on our own. He does not make us unconditionally immortal. This life is ours only as long as we remain connected with the Source of life. Even throughout eternity, I do not believe that God just hands us immortality. We are immortal throughout eternity, because we choose never to commit sin, which separated us from zoe life in the first place. We know sin will never rise again the second time, so no one will ever choose to disconnect, but as long as we stay connected, we have zoe life, and that can begin now. (See Nahum 1:9; The Faith I Live By, 71.) We do not have to wait until Christ returns. As a matter of fact, if we wait until then, we will not have it then either. We have to start now.

God does not just hand us zoe life and say, “Now go develop yourself.” It is not a self-improvement program, a self-centered program; they fail every time. We are told, “The idea that it is necessary only to develop the good that exists in man by nature, is a fatal deception.” Steps to Christ, 18, 19. If we want to die eternally, all we have to do is stay on that program.

The world offers all kinds of self-improvement programs. They are based on ego motivation, and they do work to a certain extent. Some people do experience success with them. Many have learned to put up a good front to receive the praises of men. It seems that one of the biggest problems God has is to get man to see the bankruptcy of all purely human systems—all the human systems that the world offers—and to see the need of the entirely new, completely surrendered life to Christ. God has a difficult time getting us to see that we have that need. The last thing man wants to give up is trust in himself.

If you have ever read one of those little books that gives different facts about the Bible, you know that Psalm 118:8 is the very central verse of the whole Bible. If you were to start counting from the front then start counting from the back of the Bible, when you would get right to the middle, you would find this is the very central verse. It says something very interesting, because it is talking about the very central issue in the great controversy. It says, “[It is] better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” or men. We are not to trust in ourselves or in anyone else. I cannot believe that it is a coincidence that this text is the central verse in the Bible.

To give up on self and to depend totally on God is so hard for us to experience, let alone believe that we need to do so. It took Paul being struck blind to be able to do it. And Peter had to deny his Lord before he could do it. I wonder what will it take before we do it.

Constant Union

Life, even spiritual life, is dependent upon God’s continued action. There must be a constant union between God and us in order for life to continue. That is the purpose for which Christ came, not only to make that union possible, but to demonstrate and show us what it looks like when it is maintained. The union begins when we respond to God’s drawing into His invitation to a new birth. It is active as long as we are connected to Him. (See John 15:1–8.)

Electrically, things work real well, as long as they are plugged in, but if they are unplugged, they are worthless. This planet chose to “unplug” itself from the Source of life. The miracle of moment by moment regeneration reverses that problem that was caused by sin. The new birth, which once again unites us with God and this life of zoe, is the result.

When Christ was here in the flesh, He maintained the union with the Father, and He prayed that we would experience that union as well. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” John 17:22, 23. If we do not have that connection to Christ, we are not Christians, no matter what our profession is.

To be continued . . .

Steve Currey is a Bible worker for Steps to Life. He may be contacted by e-mail at, or by telephone at 316-788-5559.

Bible Study Guides – Who is Your Master?

March 7, 2010 – March 13, 2010

Key Text

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:17, 18.

Study Help: The Faith I Live By, 135; Lift Him Up, 340; Reflecting Christ, 94.


“A profession of Christianity without corresponding faith and works will avail nothing. No man can serve two masters.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 404.

1 How are we to consider ourselves in relation to sin? Romans 6:11.

Note. “The natural man must die, and the new man, Christ Jesus, take possession of the soul, so that the follower of Jesus may say in verity and truth: ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me’ [Galatians 2:20].

“Self is difficult to conquer. Human depravity in every form is not easily brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. But all should be impressed with the fact that unless this victory is gained through Christ, there is no hope for them. The victory can be gained; for nothing is impossible with God. By His assisting grace, all evil temper, all human depravity, may be overcome. Every Christian must learn of Christ, ‘who, when He was reviled, reviled not again’ [I Peter 2:23].” Testimonies, vol. 4, 348, 349.

2 What is it that is corrupt, or degraded? What are we to do with it? Ephesians 4:22–24.

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

3 Who lives in us when we live by faith? Galatians 2:20.

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

4 In Christ we are a new creature. What has passed away? II Corinthians 5:17.

Note. “Those who have been truly converted have been buried with Christ in the likeness of His death, and raised from the watery grave in the likeness of His resurrection, to walk in newness of life. By faithful obedience to the truth they are to make their calling and election sure.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1115.

5 If raised with Christ, what are we to seek? Colossians 3:1–3.

Note. “When His words of instruction have been received, and have taken possession of us, Jesus is to us an abiding presence, controlling our thoughts and ideas and actions. We are imbued with the instruction of the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. A sense of human accountability and of human influence gives character to our views of life and of daily duties. Jesus Christ is everything to us—the first, the last, the best in everything. Jesus Christ, His Spirit, His character, colors everything; it is the warp and the woof, the very texture of our entire being. The words of Christ are spirit and life. We cannot, then, center our thoughts upon self; it is no more we that live, but Christ that liveth in us, and He is the hope of glory. Self is dead, but Christ is a living Saviour. Continuing to look unto Jesus, we reflect His image to all around us.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 389.

6 Whomever we yield ourselves to, we become servants to. What two choices for masters do we have? Romans 6:16; II Peter 2:19.

Note. “If one sin is cherished in the soul, or one wrong practice retained in the life, the whole being is contaminated. The man becomes an instrument of unrighteousness.” The Desire of Ages, 313.

“ ‘To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey’ [Romans 6:16]. If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin. ‘No man can serve two masters’ [Matthew 6:24]. If we serve sin, we cannot serve Christ. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; but the Spirit striveth against the flesh, keeping up a constant warfare. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims, ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ [I Corinthinians 15:57]!

“If we would develop a character which God can accept, we must form correct habits in our religious life. Daily prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life itself, as is temporal food to physical well-being. We should accustom ourselves to often lift the thoughts to God in prayer. If the mind wanders, we must bring it back; by persevering effort, habit will finally make it easy. We cannot for one moment separate ourselves from Christ with safety. We may have His presence to attend us at every step, but only by observing the conditions which He has Himself laid down.” Messages to Young People, 114, 115.

7 What are we not to yield our members to? Romans 6:13, 14.

Note. “I was referred to this scripture: ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God’ [Romans 6:12, 13]. Professed Christians, if no further light is given you than that contained in this text, you will be without excuse if you suffer yourselves to be controlled by base passions.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 454.

“A profession of Christianity without corresponding faith and works will avail nothing. No man can serve two masters. The children of the wicked one are their own master’s servants; to whom they yield themselves servants to obey, his servants they are, and they cannot be the servants of God until they renounce the devil and all his works. It cannot be harmless for servants of the heavenly King to engage in the pleasures and amusements which Satan’s servants engage in, even though they often repeat that such amusements are harmless. God has revealed sacred and holy truths to separate His people from the ungodly and purify them unto Himself. Seventh-day Adventists should live out their faith.” Ibid., vol. 1, 404.

8 What must we do daily so Satan will not gain the victory? I Corinthians 15:31.

Note. “The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.” The Ministry of Healing, 453.

“The position you must come into is to value salvation dearer than earthly gain, to count everything but loss that you may win Christ. The consecration on your part must be entire. God will admit of no reserve, of no divided sacrifice; you can cherish no idol. You must die to self and to the world. Renew your consecration to God daily. Everlasting life is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 49.

9 What is the constraining power in our lives? II Corinthians 5:14, 15.

Note. “None are living Christians unless they have a daily experience in the things of God and daily practice self-denial, cheerfully bearing the cross and following Christ. Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 505.

10 What are we to awake to and what knowledge are some lacking? Which master are you awaking to? I Corinthians 15:34.

Note. “The riches of this world will never advance us in the knowledge of God or in a Christian experience. The Saviour bids us seek for the true riches that are laid up in store for the righteous. To one who came to him saying, ‘I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,’ Christ replied, ‘Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head’ [Luke 9:57, 58]. Christ owned nothing in this world, and yet the world was his. Let us study his holy, self-denying example.

“We have no time to spend on the vanities and follies of this world. There is a world to be saved, and we should carefully consider the example we give to those around us, conforming our lives to the life of him who became a child of humanity that he might give a perfect example to every human being. From a study of his life and labors and his struggles with temptation, we are to learn how to become partakers of the divine nature, and overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Nowhere shall we find anything that will help our spiritual life as will a study of the life of Christ. And as we seek to walk in his footsteps, there will come to us a supply of divine grace such as sustained him under every circumstance.” The Review and Herald, January 6, 1910.

Additional Reading

“Sanctification is a daily work. Let none deceive themselves with the belief that God will pardon and bless them while they are trampling upon one of His requirements. The willful commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit, and separates the soul from God. Whatever may be the ecstasies of religious feeling, Jesus cannot abide in the heart that disregards the divine law. God will honor those only who honor Him.

“ ‘To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey.’ If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin. ‘No man can serve two masters.’ If we serve sin, we cannot serve Christ. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; but the Spirit striveth against the flesh, keeping up a constant warfare. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims, ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!’

“If we would develop a character which God can accept, we must form correct habits in our religious life. Daily prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life itself, as is temporal food to physical well-being. We should accustom ourselves to often lift the thoughts to God in prayer. If the mind wanders, we must bring it back; by persevering effort, habit will finally make it easy. We cannot for one moment separate ourselves from Christ with safety. We may have His presence to attend us at every step, but only by observing the conditions which He has Himself laid down.” Messages to Young People, 114, 115.

Lesson Studies were prepared by Judy Hallingstad of the LandMarks staff. She can be contacted at .

Bible Study Guides – A Rare Experience

February 16, 2014 – February 22, 2014

Key Text

“Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4.

Study Help: Lift Him Up, 79, 109.


“Christ declares that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we shall have eternal life. His word will be to us as the leaves of the tree of life if we will believe in Christ as our personal Saviour. If we eat the bread that came down from heaven, we shall have a live connection with God. We shall bring eternity into our reckoning. We shall live as in the presence of the whole heavenly host. The angels are watching and guarding us.” [Author’s italics.] Lift Him Up, 109.


  • The law was written to increase the awareness of sin and our need for a Saviour. What provision was made available in abundance to counter the sin problem? Romans 5:20, 21.

Note: “The gifts of Jesus are ever fresh and new. … Each new gift increases the capacity of the receiver to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of the Lord. He gives grace for grace. There can be no failure of supply. If you abide in Him, the fact that you receive a rich gift today insures the reception of a richer gift tomorrow.

“The gift of Christ to the marriage feast was a symbol (John 2:1–11). The water represented baptism into His death; the wine, the shedding of His blood for the sins of the world. The water to fill the jars was brought by human hands, but the word of Christ alone could impart to it life-giving virtue.

“The word of Christ supplied ample provision for the feast. So abundant is the provision of His grace to blot out the iniquities of men, and to renew and sustain the soul.

“Our condition through sin is unnatural, and the power that restores us must be supernatural, else it has no value. There is but one power that can break the hold of evil from the hearts of men, and that is the power of God in Jesus Christ. Only through the blood of the Crucified One is there cleansing from sin. His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature.” God’s Amazing Grace, 104.


  • What are we to fight and on what are we to lay hold? I Timothy 6:12, 19; Hebrews 6:18.

Note: “God has enriched the world in these last days proportionately with the increase of ungodliness, if His people will only lay hold of His priceless gift and bind up their every interest with Him. There should be no cherished idols, and we need not dread what will come, but commit the keeping of our souls to God, as unto our faithful Creator. He will keep that which is committed to His trust.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 339.

“Genuine faith always works by love. When you look to Calvary it is not to quiet your soul in the non-performance of duty, not to compose yourself to sleep, but to create faith in Jesus, faith that will work, purifying the soul from the slime of selfishness. When we lay hold of Christ by faith, our work has just begun. Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome by vigorous warfare. Every soul is required to fight the fight of faith. If one is a follower of Christ, he cannot be sharp in deal, he cannot be hardhearted, devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in his speech. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, nor can he use harsh words, and censure and condemn.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1111.

“Come to Jesus in faith. Ask, and ye shall receive. The forgiveness of sins is promised to him who repents, justification to him who believes, and the crown of life to him who is faithful unto death.” Ibid., vol. 7, 916.

  • What counsel is given to us regarding sin and the Law? Romans 6:1, 2; 3:31.

Note: “The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy.

“While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. He must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed; and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Thus he obtains ‘remission of sins that are past’ (Romans 3:25) and becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is a child of God, having received the spirit of adoption, whereby he cries: ‘Abba, Father!’ ” The Great Controversy, 468.


  • What should happen to the old man when we have been buried with Christ in baptism? Romans 6:4-6; II Corinthians 6:17, 18.

Note: “Every opportunity, every advantage, every privilege, has been given to us to gain a rich Christian experience; but we do not learn everything all at once. There must be a growth. Many, having learned a little in school, think they are ready to graduate. They think they know about all that is worth knowing. We are not to think that as soon as we are baptized we are ready to graduate from the school of Christ. When we have accepted Christ, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit have pledged ourselves to serve God, the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit—the three dignitaries and powers of heaven—pledge themselves that every facility shall be given to us if we carry out our baptismal vows to ‘come out from among them, and be … separate, … and touch not the unclean thing.’ When we are true to our vows, He says, ‘I will receive you’ (II Corinthians 6:17).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1075.

  • What is the experience through which each person must go and why? John 3:3.

Note: “The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1075.

  • How are we to walk and why? Romans 6:4; Ephesians 5:8; I Peter 2:9.

Note: “To walk in the light means to resolve, to exercise thought, to exert will-power, in an earnest endeavor to represent Christ in sweetness of character. It means to put away all gloom. You are not to rest satisfied simply in saying, ‘I am a child of God.’ Are you beholding Jesus, and, by beholding, becoming changed into His likeness? To walk in the light means advancement and progress in spiritual attainments. Paul declared, ‘Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but … forgetting those things which are behind,’ constantly beholding the Pattern, I reach ‘forth unto those things which are before’ (Philippians 3:12, 13). To walk in the light means to ‘walk uprightly,’ to walk ‘in the way of the Lord,’ to ‘walk by faith,’ to ‘walk in the Spirit,’ to ‘walk in the truth,’ to ‘walk in love,’ to ‘walk in the newness of life.’ It is ‘perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’

“What a terrible thing it is to darken the pathway of others by bringing shadow and gloom upon ourselves! Let each one take heed to himself. Charge not upon others your defections of character. … Talk light; walk in the light. ‘God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all’ (I John 1:5). … Gather to your souls the courage that can come only from the Light of the world.” Sons and Daughters of God, 200.


  • For what purpose was Jesus made to be sin for us? II Corinthians 5:21.

Note: “The steps in conversion, plainly marked out, are repentance, faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer, faith in His death, burial, and resurrection, shown by baptism, and His ascension on high to plead in the sinner’s behalf. At the very commencement of His public ministry, He presents Himself in the character He sustains to man throughout His mediatorial work. He identifies Himself with sinners as their substitute, taking upon Himself their sins, numbering Himself with the transgressors, and doing the work the sinner is required to do in repentance, faith, and willing obedience. What an example is here given in the life of Christ for sinners to imitate! If they will not follow the example given them, they will be without excuse.” Lift Him Up, 79.

“We are raised from the water as an emblem of His resurrection. We are to live as newborn souls, that we may be raised at the last great day. … You are pledged to live in newness of life; for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God’ (Colossians 3:1). This is where you are to place your treasure. Finite man cannot do your believing. Come to the great source of power for your strength.” [Author’s italics.] Ibid., 109.


  • When the old man is crucified, what is destroyed and what is it that is no longer served? Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22–24.

Note: “Those who have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life are the elect of God. They are holy unto the Lord, and are acknowledged by Him as His beloved. As such, they are under solemn covenant to distinguish themselves by showing humility of mind. They are to clothe themselves in garments of righteousness. They are separate from the world, from its spirit, its practises [sic], and they are to reveal that they are learning of Him. … If they realize that they have died with Christ, if they keep their baptismal vow, the world will have no power to draw them aside to deny Christ. If they live the life of Christ in this world, they are partakers of the divine nature.” Sons and Daughters of God, 133, 134.