Sabbath, August 26, 2006
“As it is written. There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10. “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.
A SIGN MISUNDERSTOOD
1. How was circumcision considered by some Jewish Christians?
Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
“At Jerusalem the delegates from Antioch met the brethren of the various churches, who had gathered for a general meeting, and to them they related the success that had attended their ministry among the Gentiles. They then gave a clear outline of the confusion that had resulted because certain converted Pharisees had gone to Antioch declaring that, in order to be saved, the Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 191.
2. What did the apostles decide in the assembly dealing with this matter?
Acts 15:7-9, 28, 29 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith… For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
“This yoke was not the law of Ten Commandments, as some who oppose the binding claims of the law assert; Peter here referred to the law of ceremonies, which was made null and void by the crucifixion of Christ.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 193.
CIRCUMCISION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS BY WORKS
3. How did Moses remind Abraham’s descendants of the true meaning of circumcision?
Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART
4. How did Paul state this truth to the Christians at Rome?
Romans 2:25-27 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
5. Who, then, is a true Israelite?
Romans 2:28, 29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Ezekiel 36:26, 27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
“The great truth of the conversion of the heart by the Holy Spirit is presented in Christ’s words to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he can not see the kingdom of God. …
“The leaven hidden in the flour works invisibly to bring the whole mass under its leavening process; so the leaven of truth works secretly, silently, steadily, to transform the soul. The natural inclinations are softened and subdued. New thoughts, new feelings, new motives, are implanted. A new standard of character is set up–the life of Christ. The mind is changed; the faculties are roused to action in new lines. Man is not endowed with new faculties, but the faculties he has are sanctified. The conscience is awakened. We are endowed with traits of character that enable us to do service for God.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 98, 99.
PURITY IN CHRIST
6. How is this truth explained elsewhere?
Galatians 6:15, 16 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
7. Through what action would one who wants to follow Jesus today make a covenant with God?
Colossians 2:10-12 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
“The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, powers infinite and omniscient, receive those who truly enter into covenant relation with God. They are present at every baptism, to receive the candidates who have renounced the world and have received Christ into the soul temple.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 143.
• Do I bear in mind that I can also be in apostasy?
• Do I recognize my weakness and need of Christ’s blood?
• Do I apply the law of God to others or to myself?
• How much time do I devote to the personal study of God’s Word?