Sabbath, September 2, 2006
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24.
ADVANTAGES OF THE CHOSEN PEOPLE
1. What special oracles were entrusted to the Jews over other nations? Romans 3:1; 9:4; Psalm 78:5; Deuteronomy 4:8.
Romans 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.
Psalm 78:5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children.
Deuteronomy 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
“To this people were committed the oracles of God. They were hedged about by the precepts of His law, the everlasting principles of truth, justice, and purity. Obedience to these principles was to be their protection, for it would save them from destroying themselves by sinful practices. And as the tower in the vineyard, God placed in the midst of the land His holy temple.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 287, 288.
2. What should we do with the advantages God has given to us? John 12:36; Ephesians 5:8, second part.
John 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
Ephesians 5:8 second part: … but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
“The great light and privileges bestowed require returns of virtue and holiness corresponding to the light given. Anything short of this, God cannot accept. Great blessings or privileges should never lull to security or carelessness. They should never give license to sin or cause the recipients to feel that God will not be exact with them. All the advantages which God has given are His means to throw ardor into the spirit, zeal into effort, and vigor into the carrying out of His holy will.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 359.
REFUSING THE LIGHT
3. How did the Jew treat the entrusted treasure revealed in the plan of salvation? Isaiah 53:1; John 1:11.
Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
“The angels had wondered at the glorious plan of redemption. They watched to see how the people of God would receive His Son, clothed in the garb of humanity. Angels came to the land of the chosen people. Other nations were dealing in fables and worshiping false gods. To the land where the glory of God had been revealed, and the light of prophecy had shone, the angels came. They came unseen to Jerusalem, to the appointed expositors of the Sacred Oracles, and the ministers of God’s house… Yet Jerusalem was not preparing to welcome her Redeemer.
“With amazement the heavenly messengers beheld the indifference of that people whom God had called to communicate to the world the light of sacred truth.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 43, 44.
4. Why did Jesus lament over Jerusalem? What did God long to do for the Jewish nation, and what hindered Him from doing it? Luke 13:34, 35.
Luke 13:34, 35 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
“If Jerusalem had known what it was her privilege to know, and had heeded the light which Heaven had sent her, she might have stood forth in the pride of prosperity, the queen of kingdoms, free in the strength of her God-given power. There would have been no armed soldiers standing at her gates, no Roman banners waving from her walls. The glorious destiny that might have blessed Jerusalem had she accepted her Redeemer rose before the Son of God. He saw that she might through Him have been healed of her grievous malady, liberated from bondage, and established as the mighty metropolis of the earth. From her walls the dove of peace would have gone forth to all nations. She would have been the world’s diadem of glory.” – The Desire of Ages, p. 576.
5. What should we learn about the promises of God on the basis of this experience? Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15.
Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God… But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.
“It should be remembered that the promises and threatenings of God are alike conditional.”
“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 67, 69.
6. Nevertheless, what did the apostle lament? Was God’s faithfulness negated because of the infidelity of certain Jews? Romans 3:3, 4, first part.
Romans 3:3, 4, first part: For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar…
7. What should the Jewish people have learned about God’s character? Romans 3:3, 4.
Romans 3:3, 4 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
8. Is God’s righteousness exalted by our missteps? What human objections did Paul anticipate? Romans 3:5-8.
Romans 3:5-8 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
“But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)
“Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? Someone might argue, ‘If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Romans 3:5-7, New International Version.
• Do I try to reach the ideal of divine justice by my own human capacities?