Sabbath, December 2, 2006
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7.
1. What was the difference between the Jews and the converted Gentiles?
Romans 9:32, 33 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
“The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.” –The Desire
2. Why did Israel fail, while the Gentiles found righteousness?
Romans 10:2, 3, 16 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God… But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
THE GOAL OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
3. To whom should Israel have been directed from the law?
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
“Abundant grace has been provided that the believing soul may be kept free from sin; for all heaven, with its limitless resources, has been placed at our command. We are to draw from the well of salvation. Christ is the end of law for righteousness to everyone who believeth. In ourselves we are sinners; but in Christ we are righteous. Having made us righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ, God pronounces us just, and treats us as just. He looks upon us as His dear children. Christ works against the power of sin, and where sin abounded, grace much more abounds.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 394.
In the different versions this verse is translated in two ways. Some Bibles have the word “end” and others have the term “goal.” This is due to the Greek “télos,” which may be translated as “end” as well as “goal,” depending on the context. That the goal of the law is Christ in righteousness is clearly
4. According to what characteristic does God choose His elect, if not by nationality or works?
Romans 11:5-7 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
“If we comply with the conditions the Lord has made, we shall secure our election to salvation. Perfect obedience to His commandments is the evidence that we love God, and are not hardened in sin. “Christ has a church in every age. There are in the church those who are not made any better by their connection with it. They themselves break the terms of their election. Obedience to the commandments of God gives us a right to the privileges of His church.” –S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1079.
GRAFTED INTO CHRIST
5. What happened to the Jews who rejected their Messiah? What did that mean to the heathen? What was this to provoke in the Jews?
Romans 11:11, 12 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
6. With what illustration did Paul explain this phenomenon?
Romans 11:16-18 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
“Paul likens the remnant in Israel to a noble olive tree, some of whose branches have been broken off. He compares the Gentiles to branches from a wild olive tree, grafted into the parent stock. …
“Through unbelief and the rejection of Heaven’s purpose for her, Israel as a nation had lost her connection with God. But the branches that had been separated from the parent stock God was able to reunite with the true stock of Israel –the remnant who had remained true to the God of their fathers.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 377, 378.
GLORY TO THE REDEEMER
7. With what words of praise did Paul finish his doctrinal exposition in the Epistle to the Romans?
Romans 11:33-36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
“We can so far comprehend His dealing with us, and the motives by which He is actuated, that we may discern boundless love and mercy united to infinite power. We can understand as much of His purposes as it is for our good to know; and beyond this we must still trust the might of the Omnipotent, the love and wisdom of the Father and Sovereign ”–Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 699.
8. What sacrifice would a Christian be willing to make when he has experienced the mercy of God and his heart is filled with love?
Romans 12:1, 2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
“In order to answer life’s great ends you must avoid the example of those who are seeking for their own pleasure and enjoyment, and who have not the fear of God before them. God has made provisions for you that are ample. He has provided that if you comply with the conditions laid down in His word, and separate from the world, you may receive strength from Him to repress every debasing influence and to develop that which is noble, good, and elevating. Christ will be in you ‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’ The will, the intellect, and every emotion, when controlled by religion, have a transforming power.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 83, 84.
• What advantage does the Lord give me to aid my spiritual progress?
• Do I accept the offering of grace?
• How do I express the love of my Saviour to my fellowmen?
• Do I “play” with grace?