Sabbath, October 18, 2008
“Saving faith is a transaction, by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which, through the grace of Christ, the soul becomes a conquering power.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 62.
• To distinguish saving faith from its definition.
• To understand that faith in Christ is indispensable to face the investigative judgment.
• To see, through the experiences of various individuals in the Bible, that faith produces good actions.
“An awakening power must be revealed in every believer. We must no longer act like sinners, while as Christians we should be revealing a living, saving faith. Living faith in Christ Jesus will produce fruit. There will be a holy, unwavering devotion to the Lord. Laboring with an eye single to His glory, we shall be sustained amidst the perils of the last days.” –The Upward Look, p. 244.
1. What is the definition of saving faith?
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
“Faith, saving faith, is to be taught. The definition of this faith in Jesus Christ may be described in few words: It is the act of the soul by which the whole man is given over to the guardianship and control of Jesus Christ. He abides in Christ and Christ abides in the soul by faith as supreme. The believer commits his soul and body to God and with assurance may say, Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. All who will do this will be saved unto life eternal. There will be an assurance that the soul is washed in the blood of Christ and clothed with His righteousness and precious in the sight of Jesus. Our thoughts and our hopes are on the second advent of our Lord. That is the day when the Judge of all the earth will reward the trust of His people.” –(Manuscript 6, 1889) Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 531.
2. What is the covering of faith? When does one receive this covering?
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
“The Lord Jesus Christ has prepared a covering–the robe of His own righteousness–that He will put on every repenting, believing soul who by faith will receive it. Said John, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Sin is the transgression of the law. Christ died to make it possible for every man to have his sins taken away.” –The Upward Look, p. 378.
“If we have not experienced that repentance which is not to be repented of, and have not with true humiliation of soul and brokenness of spirit confessed our sins, abhorring our iniquity, we have never truly sought for the forgiveness of sin; and if we have never sought, we have never found the peace of God. The only reason why we do not have remission of sins that are past is that we are not willing to humble our hearts and comply with the conditions of the word of truth….” –Steps to Christ, p. 38.
3. What danger is there of confusing saving faith with presumption?
1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Romans 14:23, last part – … for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
“Men boast of illumination, which in reality is the blindest presumption, for they are in opposition to the plain Word of God. Many exalt human reason, idolize human wisdom, and set the opinions of men above the revealed wisdom of God…. Among the great mass of professed Christians the grievous character of the transgression of the law of God is not understood. They do not realize that salvation can be obtained only through the blood of Christ….” –That I May Know Him, p. 206.
“But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 126.
Faith focused on the heavenly sanctuary
4. How can we enter the heavenly sanctuary, and why must we do so?
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
“The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, ‘whither the forerunner is for us entered.’ [Hebrews 6:20.] There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to Heaven; the sacrifice made is equal to the broadest demands of the broken law of God. Jesus has opened the way to the Father’s throne, and through His mediation the sincere desire of all who come to Him in faith may be presented before God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 489.
5. What work that Jesus is performing in the heavenly sanctuary should be accepted by faith?
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
“The third angel closes his message thus: ‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God’s commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts.” –Early Writings, p. 254.
6. What scene illustrates Christ’s intercession? Who are benefited by it, and who are not?
1 John 2:1, 2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Exodus 32:33 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
“As the books of record are opened in the Judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected. When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God’s remembrance.…
“It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement, who receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf; while those who reject the light which brings to view this work of ministration, are not benefited thereby.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 483, 430.
The lighthouse of faith on the earth
7. What firm decisions do men and women of faith make? Comment on the experiences made by people of faith listed in Hebrews 11.
“Doing, not saying merely, is expected of the followers of Christ. It is through action that character is built…. Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 149, 150.
“Wherever they sought refuge, the followers of Christ were hunted like beasts of prey. They were forced to seek concealment in desolate and solitary places. ‘Destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.’ [Hebrews 11:36, 37, 38.] The catacombs afforded shelter for thousands. Beneath the hills outside the city of Rome, long galleries had been tunneled through earth and rock; the dark and intricate network of passages extended for miles beyond the city walls. In these underground retreats, the followers of Christ buried their dead; and here also, when suspected and proscribed, they found a home. When the Lifegiver shall awaken those who have fought the good fight, many a martyr for Christ’s sake will come forth from those gloomy caverns.” –The Great Controversy, p. 40.
8. What relationship is there between faith and works?
James 2:17-26 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
“Justice, truth, and mercy, are the fruits of faith. We need to walk in the light of God’s law: then good works will be the fruit of our faith, the proceeds of a heart renewed every day. The tree must be made good before the fruit can be good. We must be wholly consecrated to God. Our will must be made right before the fruit can be good. We must have no fitful religion. ‘Whatsoever ye do … do all to the glory of God.’ ” –Bible Training School, June 1, 1915.
9. What do many people think about the relationship between faith and action?
John 8:39 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Genesis 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
“There are many who fail to understand the relation of faith and works. They say, ‘Only believe in Christ, and you are safe. You have nothing to do with keeping the law.’ But genuine faith will be manifest in obedience. Said Christ to the unbelieving Jews, ‘If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.’ John 8:39. And concerning the father of the faithful the Lord declares, ‘Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’ Genesis 26:5.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 153, 154.