May 12, 2013 – May 18, 2013
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 315–320; Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 141–144.
“For six thousand years, faith has builded upon Christ. For six thousand years the floods and tempests of satanic wrath have beaten upon the Rock of our salvation; but it stands unmoved.” The Desire of Ages, 413.
1 FAITH, A GREAT POWER
- What is the definition of faith? Hebrews 11:1; II Corinthians 4:18. How is faith born? Romans 10:17.
Note: “Faith is not the ground of our salvation, but it is the great blessing—the eye that sees, the ear that hears, the feet that run, the hand that grasps. It is the means, not the end. If Christ gave His life to save sinners, why shall I not take that blessing? My faith grasps it, and thus my faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Thus resting and believing, I have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1073.
- How are we to develop “the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3) that God has granted each one of us? John 6:53, 63; Luke 17:5; I Peter 2:2.
Note: “Courage, fortitude, faith, and implicit trust in God’s power to save do not come in a moment. These heavenly graces are acquired by the experience of years.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 213.
“You have to talk faith, you have to live faith, you have to act faith, that you may have an increase of faith; and thus exercising that living faith you will grow to strong men and women in Christ Jesus.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1121, 1122.
2 FAITH ASSIMILATES THE TRUTH
- How does true faith assimilate the word of God? II Timothy 3:15–17; I Peter 1:22, 23.
Note: “The word of God must be interwoven with the living character of those who believe it. The only vital faith is that faith which receives and assimilates the truth till it is a part of the being and the motive power of the life and action. … The followers of Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must assimilate the word of God. They must be changed into its likeness by the power of Christ and reflect the divine attributes. They must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, or there is no life in them. The spirit and work of Christ must become the spirit and work of His disciples.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 576.
“Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons.” The Great Controversy, 600.
- What agencies work together in the process of sanctification? II Thessalonians 2:13; II Timothy 2:15; John 17:17.
Note: “The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character. Christ prayed, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth’ (John 17:17). If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in body, soul, and spirit to His own image.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 100.
“By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His hungering, thirsting people. They will find that Christ is a personal Saviour. As they feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature.” The Desire of Ages, 391.
3 LIVING FAITH OR MERE PROFESSION?
- What is the difference between genuine faith and a mere profession of faith? James 1:6, 7; Titus 1:16; Hebrews 11:6.
Note: “There are thousands who claim to have the light of truth who take no steps in advance. They have no living experience, notwithstanding they have had every advantage. They do not know what consecration means. Their devotions are formal and hollow, and there is no depth to their piety. The word of God offers spiritual liberty and enlightenment to those who seek for it earnestly. Those who accept the promises of God, and act on them with living faith, will have the light of heaven in their lives. They will drink of the fountain of life, and lead others to the waters that have refreshed their own souls. We must have that faith in God that takes Him at His word.” The Review and Herald, September 22, 1910.
- What will be the result of true faith? Galatians 5:6 (compare Romans 13:9, 10); James 2:14–17.
Note: “The apostle James saw that dangers would arise in presenting the subject of justification by faith, and he labored to show that genuine faith cannot exist without corresponding works. The experience of Abraham is presented. ‘Seest thou,’ he says, ‘how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect’ (James 2:22)? Thus genuine faith does a genuine work in the believer. Faith and obedience bring a solid, valuable experience.
“There is a belief that is not a saving faith. The Word declares that the devils believe and tremble. The so-called faith that does not work by love and purify the soul will not justify any man. … Abraham believed God. How do we know that he believed? His works testified to the character of his faith, and his faith was accounted to him for righteousness.
“We need the faith of Abraham in our day, to lighten the darkness that gathers around us, shutting out the sweet sunlight of God’s love, and dwarfing spiritual growth. Our faith should be prolific of good works; for faith without works is dead. Every duty performed, every sacrifice made in the name of Jesus, brings an exceeding great reward. In the very act of duty, God speaks and gives His blessing.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 936.
4 FAITH DEMONSTRATED
- How did a Roman centurion exercise faith when his servant was sick at the point of death? Luke 7:2, 3.
Note: “Already he [the Centurion] had broken through the barriers of national prejudice and hatred that separated the conquerors from the conquered people. He had manifested respect for the service of God, and had shown kindness to the Jews as His worshipers. In the teaching of Christ, as it had been reported to him, he found that which met the need of the soul. All that was spiritual within him responded to the Saviour’s words. But he felt unworthy to come into the presence of Jesus, and he appealed to the Jewish elders to make request for the healing of his servant. They were acquainted with the Great Teacher, and would, he thought, know how to approach Him so as to win His favor.” The Desire of Ages, 315, 316.
- As far as faith was concerned, what was the difference between the Roman centurion and the Jewish elders (who recommended him to Christ)? Luke 7:4–10.
Note: “The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God’s mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to ‘our nation.’ But the centurion said of himself, ‘I am not worthy.’ His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind.
“It is thus that every sinner may come to Christ. ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us’ (Titus 3:5). When Satan tells you that you are a sinner, and cannot hope to receive blessing from God, tell him that Christ came into the world to save sinners. We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say—‘In my hand no price I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 316, 317.
5 VICTORIOUS FAITH
- What assurance is given us in seeking to live by faith? I Peter 1:7–9; Philippians 4:6, 7.
Note: “When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself. 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. But let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, and He will preserve us. Looking unto Jesus, we are safe. Nothing can pluck us out of His hand. In constantly beholding Him, we ‘are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (II Corinthians 3:18).” [Author’s italics.] Steps to Christ, 72.
- What are some of the things that faith accomplished in the past, and what will it accomplish today? Hebrews 11:29–35; I John 5:4.
Note: “Faith is simple in its operation and powerful in its results.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1074.
“It is faith that connects us with the power of heaven, and that brings us the strength for coping with the powers of darkness.” The Review and Herald, September 22, 1910.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 What is faith, and how is it developed?
2 What are the results of feeding upon God’s Word?
3 What characterizes living faith?
4 What can we learn from the Roman centurion?
5 Name some examples which show us the power of faith.
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.