Sabbath, July 15, 2006
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.
“Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 320.
THE POWER OF GOD IN THE GOSPEL
1. From what great event does all this power flow?
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
“The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary, and in connection with the wondrous, central truth of the Saviour’s
atonement. Those who study the Redeemer’s wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 221.
2. What powerful truth is revealed when the gospel is faithfully preached? What happens when people who are searching hear this wonderful message?
Romans 1:17, first part: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith…
“…as we behold the Lamb of God upon the cross of Calvary, the mystery of redemption begins to unfold to our minds, and the goodness of God leads us to repentance. In dying for sinners, Christ manifested a love that is incomprehensible; and as the sinner beholds this love, it softens the heart, impresses the mind, and inspires contrition in the soul.” –Steps to Christ, pp. 26, 27.
3. How is this godly righteousness revealed in the believer?
Romans 1:17, last part: … The just shall live by faith.
“The righteousness of Christ is revealed from faith to faith; that is, from your present faith to an increased understanding of that faith which works by love and purifies the soul.” –S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1067.
“When you turn away from the broken cisterns that can hold no water, and in the name of Jesus your Advocate come directly to God, asking for the things you need, the righteousness of Christ will be revealed as your righteousness, the virtue of Christ as your virtue. You will then understand that justification will come alone through faith in Christ; for in
Jesus is revealed the perfection of the character of God; in His life is manifested the outworking of the principles of holiness.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 330.
4. What is absolutely necessary for growth in faith?
Colossians 2:6 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
“Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,–all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with Him, daily, hourly,–by abiding in Him, –that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the Author, but the Finisher of our faith. It is Christ first and last and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at
every step of the way. David says, ‘I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’ Psalm 16:8.
“Do you ask, ‘How am I to abide in Christ?’ –In the same way as you received Him at first. ‘As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.’ ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Colossians 2:6; Hebrews 10:38. You gave yourself to God, to be His wholly, to serve and obey Him, and you took Christ as your Saviour. You could not yourself atone for your sins or change your heart; but having given yourself to God, you believe that He for Christ’s sake did all this for you.” –Steps to Christ, pp. 69, 70.
THE POWERFUL EFFECTS ON THE LIFE
5. How was Martin Luther moved at the discovery of this powerful doctrine?
“Luther was one day devoutly climbing these steps, when suddenly a voice like thunder seemed to say to him, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Romans 1:17. He sprung upon his feet, and hastened from the place, in shame and horror. That text never lost its power upon his soul. From that time he saw more clearly than ever before the fallacy of trusting
to human works for salvation, and the necessity of constant faith in the merits of Christ.” –The Great Controversy, p. 125.
6. What incomprehensible position do people take with respect to sin? How do they react when others commit sin?
Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
“Form John Wesley’s Journal, May 1738: ‘In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change, which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death’.” – John Wesley, Works, vol. 1, p. 103.
MANY SUPPRESS THE TRUTH
7. What does the Lord reveal upon those who push the truth away from them?
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
“The reason that the Lord can do so little for those who are handling weighty truths is that so many hold these truths apart from their life. They hold them in unrighteousness. Their hands are not clean, their hearts are defiled with sin, and should the Lord work for them in the power of His Spirit corresponding with the magnitude of the truth which He has opened to the understanding, it would be as though the Lord sanctioned sin” –Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 81.
“By faith apply the blood of Christ to your heart, for that alone can make you whiter than snow. But you say, ‘This surrender of all my idols will break my heart.’ This giving up of all for God is represented by your falling upon the Rock and being broken. Then give up all for Him; for unless you are broken, you are worthless.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 329.
• Do I do something which I know positively that I should not do?
• Do I excuse others who do the same thing?
• What effect does the truth of the gospel have on my life?
• Who will discover the righteousness of God in the Gospel?