May 5, 2013 – May 11, 2013
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.
Study Help: Fundamentals of Christian Education, 196–200; The Acts of the Apostles, 557–567.
“The gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced.” My Life Today, 224.
1 GRASPING THE SOLUTION
- How does the Bible define sin? I John 3:4; James 4:17. Why do we struggle with sin, and how can we gain the victory over it? Romans 7:14–24; John 8:34, 36; 15:5.
Note: “Enslaved by sin, the moral powers are under the tyranny of Satan. The soul is made the sport of his temptations; and unless some mighty arm is stretched out to rescue him, man goes where the arch-rebel leads the way.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 42.
- What should we realize in seeking Christ’s strength? Hebrews 4:15, 16; 7:25; 12:2.
Note: “Many have a feeble religious experience because, instead of seeking the Lord for the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, they make flesh their arm.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 381.
“Our faith must pierce beyond the veil, seeing things that are invisible. No one else can look for you. You must behold for yourself.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 930.
- What happens when we come to Christ? Ephesians 2:8; Romans 2:4; 5:1, 2.
Note: “The very first step to Christ is taken through the drawing of the Spirit of God; as man responds to this drawing, he advances toward Christ in order that he may repent.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 390.
“If we are drawn to Christ, it is through His power and virtue. The grace of contrition comes through Him, and from Him comes justification.” Ibid., 391.
- When we accept Christ as our personal Saviour, how are we benefited by the work that Christ has done for us? Romans 5:18, 19; II Corinthians 5:21.
Note: “Justification is a full, complete pardon of sin. The moment a sinner accepts Christ by faith, that moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Christ is imputed [credited] to him, and he is no more to doubt God’s forgiving grace.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1071.
“By faith he [the repentant sinner] can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous.” Ibid., 1073.
“The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. There will be a continual reaching out of the soul after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the heart before Him. At every advance step in our Christian experience our repentance will deepen. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone and shall make the apostle’s confession our own: ‘I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.’ ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world’ (Romans 7:18; Galatians 6:14).” The Acts of the Apostles, 561.
- What work does Christ do in us through the Holy Spirit, with our consent and cooperation? John 3:7, 8; II Corinthians 5:17; 7:1.
Note: “It is the grace that Christ implants in the soul which creates in man enmity against Satan. Without this converting grace and renewing power, man would continue the captive of Satan, a servant ever ready to do his bidding. But the new principle in the soul creates conflict where hitherto had been peace. The power which Christ imparts enables man to resist the tyrant and usurper. Whoever is seen to abhor sin instead of loving it, whoever resists and conquers those passions that have held sway within, displays the operation of a principle wholly from above.” The Great Controversy, 506.
- In what way does the process of sanctification involve daily choices on our part? Romans 8:1, 5, 13; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:8–11.
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’ (Romans 6:4). It is ‘perfecting holiness in the fear of God’ (II Corinthians 7:1).” Sons and Daughters of God, 200.
“To learn of Christ means to receive His grace, which is His character. But those who do not appreciate and utilize the precious opportunities and sacred influences granted them on earth, are not fitted to take part in the pure devotion of heaven. Their characters are not molded according to the divine similitude. By their own neglect they have formed a chasm which nothing can bridge. Between them and the righteous there is a great gulf fixed.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 271.
4 A JOINT OPERATION
- How do justification and sanctification operate together in our salvation? I John 1:9; Romans 6:1, 2, 7, 22.
Note: “Justification means the saving of a soul from perdition, that he may obtain sanctification, and through sanctification, the life of heaven. Justification means that the conscience, purged from dead works, is placed where it can receive the blessings of sanctification.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 908.
- Who directs the combined operation of justification and sanctification? I Corinthians 6:9–11; Colossians 3:8–10; Philippians 4:13.
Note: “The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength.” The Great Controversy, 469, 470.
- In what sense do we have to cooperate with Christ to become holy? Colossians 1:21–23, 29.
- For what purpose do we receive power through the gospel? Romans 1:16; Ephesians 3:16–20.
Note: “The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 482.
5 THE POWER OF GOD IN MAN
- What changes does God bring forth in giving us His grace? Titus 2:11–14; 3:5. How does the leaven in the parable illustrate the radical change? Matthew 13:33.
Note: “As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97.
“The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice. Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words. An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering.
“The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a habitual gentleness, a more than human love.” Ibid., 102.
- On what condition can we receive the power of God’s grace? What kind of faith do we need? Matthew 17:20; Jude 20.
Note: “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.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How can we overcome feebleness in our religious experience?
2 What is justification, and how can we obtain it?
3 What is sanctification, and how can we obtain it?
4 Explain our co-partnership with Christ in the plan of redemption.
5 What symptoms reveal the action of the leaven of truth in the Christian’s heart?
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.