Sabbath, April 3, 2004
“Ministers need to have a more clear, simple manner in presenting the truth as it is in Jesus. Their own minds need to comprehend the great plan of salvation more fully. Then they can carry the minds of the hearers away from earthly things to the spiritual and eternal. There are many who want to know what they must do to be saved. They want a plain and clear explanation of the steps requisite in conversion and there should not a sermon be given unless a portion of that discourse is to especially make plain the way that sinners may come to Christ and be saved.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 157.
• To experience the divine message of justification by faith in our daily lives.
• To understand the relationship between justification by faith and the third angel’s message.
• To see the fruit of justification in the sanctification of our life.
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
1. When we trust in God, what wonderful assurance of receiving forgiveness for our sins do we have?
Acts 13:38, 39 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
“As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf, and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and in the life to come, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith. Every believing soul is to conform his will entirely to God’s will, and stay in a state of repentance and contrition, exercising faith in the atoning merits of the Redeemer and going from strength to strength, from glory to glory.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1070.
2. How can this message be practiced in our lives?
Romans 5: 1-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
3. Can we say that “justification by faith” and the third angel’s message have something in common?
Romans 1:16,17 For 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. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
“This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety. It invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all commandments of God… This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 91, 92.
SANCTIFICATION, A GROWING PROCESS
4. How did Jesus clearly show the different stages of spiritual growth in the Christian life?
Mark 4:26-28 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
“As in nature, so in grace; there can be no life without growth. The plant must either grow or die. As its growth is silent and imperceptible, but continuous, so is the development of the Christian life. At every stage of development our life may be perfect if God’s purpose for us is fulfilled; there will be continual advancement. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 65.
5. In the heavenly work of justification and sanctification by faith, to whom will we joyfully subject our decisions, feelings, and will?
Romans 6:19-22 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
“Holiness is wholeness to God. The soul is surrendered to God. The will, and even the thoughts, are brought into subjection to the will of Christ. The love of Jesus fills the soul, and is constantly going out in a clear refreshing stream, to make glad the hearts of others.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1076.
THE END RESULT IN THE LIFE OF GOD’S PEOPLE
6. What is the final goal of Jesus, to be realized consecutive the steps of spiritual growth of the believers?
Ephesians 4: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
“ ‘The wheat develops, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear’. The object of the husbandman in the sowing of the seed and the culture of the growing plant is the production of grain. He desires bread for the hungry and seed for future harvest. So the divine Husbandman looks for a harvest as the reward of His labor and sacrifice. Christ is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men and He does this through those who believe in Him. The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing–the reproduction of Christ’s character in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 67.
7. What is the result of the third angel’s message and, therefore, of justification and sanctification by faith?
Revelation 14:9-12 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
“Who are these? God’s denominated people–those who on this earth have witnessed to their loyalty. Who are they? Those who have kept the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ; those who have owned the Crucified One as their Saviour.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 981.
• Have we realized the great importance of understanding and living the message of justification by faith?
• Will an understanding of the relationship of justification by faith and the third angel’s message affect our influence and the testimony we give to the world?
• In the day-by-day sanctification of your Christian walk have you seen the fruit of justification?