Sabbath, December 5, 2009
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22.
The cross and victory
1. After Jesus’ severe conflict in the desert and in Gethsemane, where did He achieve the greatest triumph over sin?
Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
“Without the cross, man could have no connection with the Father. On it hangs our every hope. In view of it the Christian may advance with the steps of a conqueror; for from it streams the light of the Saviour’s love. When the sinner reaches the cross, and looks up to the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which man can attain. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ; and the words of pardon are spoken: Live, O ye guilty sinners, live. Your repentance is accepted; for I have found a ransom.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1133.
2. What great result did Jesus achieve in the relationship between God and man through His tremendous sacrifice?
Romans 5:10, 11 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Colossians 1:21 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.
(See Ephesians 2:16.)
“The apostle exalted Christ before his brethren as the One by whom God had created all things and by whom He had wrought out their redemption. He declared that the hand that sustains the worlds in space, and holds in their orderly arrangements and tireless activity all things throughout the universe of God, is the hand that was nailed to the cross for them…. ‘And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His sight.’” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 471, 472.
Jesus’ ministry in the heavens
3. Following His sacrifice on the cross, what ministry did Jesus take up in the heavenly sanctuary?
Hebrews 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 8:1, 2 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Hebrews 7:25, 26 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. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.
“As our intercessor, Christ’s office work is to introduce us to God as His sons and daughters. He intercedes in behalf of those who receive Him. With His own blood He has paid their ransom. By virtue of His own merits He gives them power to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. And the Father demonstrates His infinite love for Christ by receiving and welcoming Christ’s friends as His friends. He is satisfied with the atonement made. He is glorified by the incarnation, the life, death, and mediation, of His Son.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 14.
4. What wonderful work is Jesus doing in the heavenly sanctuary constantly for us?
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
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.
“What is Christ doing in heaven? He is interceding for us. By His work the threshold of heaven is flushed with the glory of God which will shine upon every soul who will open the windows of the soul heavenward. As the prayers of the sincere and contrite ones ascend to heaven Christ says to the Father, ‘I will take their sins. Let them stand before You innocent.’ As He takes their sins from them, He fills their hearts with the glorious light of truth and love.” –(Manuscript 28, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 930.
A work of judgment
5. What is Jesus’ ministry, beyond that of forgiveness?
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
“Now is our time to prepare to meet Christ. God has given us this time, and if we use it in self-gratification instead of in helping others and honoring God, we shall come up to the judgment unprepared. In that day many will plead as an excuse that they did not know that Christ’s coming was near. But the excuse will not be accepted. They did not know simply because they did not want to know. God gave them abundant opportunity for knowing, but they closed their eyes, that they might not see, and stopped their ears, that they might not hear.” –The Signs of the Times, April 12, 1905.
6. Depending on our attitude and action, what can God do?
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Exodus 32:32, 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.
Deuteronomy 9:14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
(See Psalm 51:1, 9.)
“Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living…. 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…
“All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life….” –The Faith I Live by, p. 212.
Purification of God’s people
7. In the past, just as in the present, what is God’s desire for His people?
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
“God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. Christ gave Himself to the world that He might ‘purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ This refining process is designed to purge the church from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention, that they may build up instead of tear down, and concentrate their energies on the great work before them. God designs that His people should all come into the unity of the faith.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 17.
8. If we will not permit God to purify us from every sin, what consequence will we eventually face?
Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
“When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. Christ in the Revelation, looking forward to that time, declares: ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’ Revelation 22:11, 12.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 490, 491.