November 13, 1999 – November 19, 1999
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13.
Study Help: The Great Controversy, 469–478.
“We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 355.
“To Serve Him in Holiness”
What is God’s desire for all His people? Luke 1:74, 75.
note: “It is our privilege to stand with the light of heaven upon us. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. It was no easier for Enoch to live a righteous life than it is for us at the present time. The world in his time was no more favorable to growth in grace and holiness than it is now. It was by prayer and communion with God that Enoch was enabled to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. We are living in the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same source. We must walk with God. A separation from the world is required of us; for we can not remain free from its pollution unless we follow the example of the faithful Enoch.” Review and Herald, January 9, 1900.
How does Jesus describe the ones who will have the privilege of seeing God? Matthew 5:8.
note: “The Bible contains instruction regarding the character God’s children must possess. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart,’ it declares, ‘for they shall see God.’ Matthew 5:8. ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ Hebrews 12:14. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.’ 1 John 3:2, 3.” Counsels to Teachers, Parents and Students, 429.
“Blessed are the pure in heart—now; not, Blessed will be the pure in heart. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’ Matthew 5:8. Yes, as did Moses, they shall endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. They have the assurance of the richest blessings, both in this life and in the life that is to come.” Counsels to Teachers, Parents and Students, 103.
“Shall We Continue in Sin That Grace May Abound?”
How may we be freed from the guilt of those sins we have committed? 1 John 1:9.
note: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. 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; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy. The apostle says, ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ James 5:16. Confess your sins to God, who only can forgive them, and your faults to one another. If you have given offence to your friend or neighbor, you are to acknowledge your wrong, and it is his duty freely to forgive you. Then you are to seek the forgiveness of God, because the brother you have wounded is the property of God, and in injuring him you sinned against his Creator and Redeemer.” Steps to Christ, 37.
Is forgiveness all that we need to inherit eternal life? Romans 6:1, 2.
note: “None can endure to be with God if they are not constantly conforming their minds and hearts to His will and developing characters after the divine similitude. None can have forgiveness without living the purity of character exemplified in Christ. No man need expect happiness without the holiness of God. They cannot partake of the feast without the garment of Christ’s righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven. Privileges and opportunities improved will give every soul a fitness to obey the law of His kingdom.” Home Missionary, November 1, 1897. [Emphasis supplied.]
“Let Us Cleanse Ourselves”
What “exceeding great and precious promises” does God give to those who wish to become like Jesus? 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:10.
note: “Bid the tempted one look not to circumstances, to the weakness of self, or to the power of temptation, but to the power of God’s word. All its strength is ours. ‘Thy word,’ says the psalmist, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.’ ‘By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.’ Psalms 119:11; 17:4. Talk courage to the people; lift them up to God in prayer. Many who have been overcome by temptation are humiliated by their failures, and they feel that it is in vain for them to approach unto God; but this thought is of the enemy’s suggestion. When they have sinned, and feel that they cannot pray, tell them that it is then the time to pray. Ashamed they may be, and deeply humbled; but as they confess their sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive their sins and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Savior. By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings may live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold them by a hand that will never let go.” Ministry of Healing, 181, 182.
In the light of God’s promises, what counsel does Paul give? 2 Corinthians 7:1.
note: “The Christian life is constantly an onward march. Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of His people; and when His image is perfectly reflected in them, they are perfect and holy, and prepared for translation. A great work is required of the Christian. We are exhorted to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Here we see where the great labor rests. There is a constant work for the Christian. Every branch in the parent vine must derive life and strength from that vine, in order to yield fruit.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 340.
Who works in co-operation with the Christian to complete the work of salvation from all sin? Philippians 2:12, 13.
note: “God requires us to bear much fruit. He will not give commands without giving with them power for their performance. He will not do our part of the work, neither does He require that we do His. It is God that worketh in us, but we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. ‘Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ Faith must be sustained by works; the doers of the work are justified before God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 166, 167.
“Man is allotted a part in this great struggle for everlasting life; he must respond to the working of the Holy Spirit. It will require a struggle to break through the powers of darkness, and the Spirit works in him to accomplish this. But man is no passive being, to be saved in indolence. He is called upon to strain every muscle and exercise every faculty in the struggle for immortality; yet it is God that supplies the efficiency. No human being can be saved in indolence.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 65.
“Be Ye Holy; for I am Holy”
To what kind of lives has God called us? 1 Thessalonians 4:7.
note: “We are called to represent to the world the character of God as it was revealed to Moses. In answer to the prayer of Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory,’ the Lord promised, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ ‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6, 7. This is the fruit that God desires from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they are to demonstrate that the ‘law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 221.
What is the measure of the holiness to which God has called us? 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
note: “A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life. The heavenly intelligences will work with the human agent who seeks with determined faith that perfection of character which will reach out to perfection in action. To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you. As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 332, 333.
“Holy and Without Blemish”
How in practical detail is this holiness described? Titus 1:8; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, Romans 12:1, Colossians 1:22, 1 Peter 1:15, Ephesians 5:27.
note: “Holiness is agreement with God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 743.
“Holiness is constant agreement with God. Shall we not be that which Christ so greatly desires us to be,—Christians in deed and in truth,—that the world may see in our lives a revelation of the saving power of truth?” Southern Watchman, June 11, 1903.
“True holiness is wholeness in the service of God. This is the condition of true Christian living. Christ asks for an unreserved consecration, for undivided service. He demands the heart, the mind, the soul, the strength. Self is not to be cherished. He who lives to himself is not a Christian.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 48, 49. (See also Desire of Ages, 555, 556; Acts of the Apostles, 51.)
How does the Bible describe those who have part in the first resurrection, at the Second Coming of Jesus? Revelation 20:6.
note: “We may not be living when Christ shall come in power and great glory, for all are subject to death at any time, but if we are righteous, in harmony with the law of God, we shall respond to the voice that will call the people of God from their graves, and shall come forth to receive immortality. It is only the blessed and holy who will be ready for the first resurrection; for when Christ comes, He will not change the character.” Signs of the Times, February 9, 1891.
How does the Bible describe those who are alive to see Jesus as He is? 1 John 3:2.
What important counsel does John give to those who hope to meet Jesus? 1 John 3:3–6.
note: “The exhortation of the apostle is, ‘Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.’ It is by engaging in this work, and by exercising living faith in God, that we are to perfect Christian character. The work of cleansing the soul-temple and preparing for Christ’s appearing must be done while we are in this world of temptation. Just as Christ finds us in character when He comes, so we shall remain.” Signs of the Times, September 29, 1887.