Sabbath, August 5, 2006
“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin.” John 15:22.
“None will be condemned for not heeding light and knowledge that they never had, and they could not obtain. But any refuse to obey the truth that is presented to them by Christ’s ambassadors, because they wish to conform to the world’s standard; and the truth that has reached their understanding, the light that has shone in the soul, will condemn
them in the judgment.” –S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1145.
CALLED TO DO GOOD
1. What did James say about this? How completely does God judge our behaviour?
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
“Said the angel: ‘Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet.’ Said the angel: ‘If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 116.
2. Where is the righteousness of God revealed?
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
1 Peter 1:9, 10 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.
DOING GOD’S WILL
3. When did Peter come to fully realize the far-reaching significance of preaching the gospel? .
Acts 10:34, 35 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
4. How does God deal with the heathen world which does not have the written “word” and therefore cannot fathom the true God?
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
“In the ages of darkness that had preceded the advent of Christ, the divine Ruler had passed lightly over the idolatry of the heathen; but now, through His Son, He had sent men the light of truth; and He expected from all repentance unto salvation, not only from the poor and humble, but from the proud philosopher and the princes of the earth” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 239.
“Knowledge is power, either for good or for evil. Bible religion is the only safeguard for human beings.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 111.
UNDERSTANDING AND RESPONSIBILITY
5. How does our conscience work?
John 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
6. How does knowledge relate to accountability?
Acts 17:30, last part: … but now commandeth all men every where to repent
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
“When secret prayer and reading of the Scriptures are neglected today, tomorrow they can be omitted with less remonstrance of conscience. There will be a long list of omissions, all for a single grain sown in the soil of the heart. On the other hand, every ray of light cherished will yield a harvest of light. Temptation once resisted will give power to more firmly resist the second time; every new victory gained over self will smooth the way for higher and nobler triumphs. Every victory is a seed sown to eternal life.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 120.
THE BASIS FOR GOD’S JUDGMENT
7. How will those who do not know God’s law be judged?
Romans 2:14, 15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
“Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 638.
8. What historical example did Jesus use to show how God judges?
Matthew 11:20-24 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
“Adam and Eve, at their creation, had a knowledge of the law of God; they were acquainted with its claims upon them; its precepts were written upon their hearts.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 363.
• Do I cherish with humility the richness of knowledge concerning God’s will?
• Have my actions made me a blind leader or a divine educator of others?
• Is God’s name praised or ridiculed because of me?
• In what ways does my character need to be trained or tamed?