Sabbath, December 25, 2010
“… Christ’s faithful ones will appear in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God’ (Psalm 90:17), in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 360.
1. What will be revealed on the judgment day about every person’s sense of responsibility for his salvation?
Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
“But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 412.
“Character is personal. We each have a work to do for time and for eternity. God abhors indifference in regard to the formation of character.” –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 429.
2. What will the harvest of this life be?
Galatians 6:7, 8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
“The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come.” –Education, p. 109.
“A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 332.
3. Can we hope for a change from unrighteousness to righteousness to take place when Christ gathers His elect?
1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
“… The character you bear in probationary time will be the character you will have at the coming of Christ. If you would be a saint in heaven, you must first be a saint on earth. The traits of character you cherish in life will not be changed by death or by the resurrection. You will come up from the grave with the same disposition you manifested in your home and in society. Jesus does not change the character at His coming. The work of transformation must be done now. Our daily lives are determining our destiny.” –The Adventist Home, p. 16.
“What we shall be in heaven is the reflection of what we are now in character and holy service.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 361.
“I urge you to prepare for the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 355.
The final result
4. What is still possible today that will end when Jesus leaves the Most Holy Place?
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.
“But those who are waiting to behold a magical change in their characters without determined effort on their part to overcome sin, will be disappointed. We have no reason to fear while looking to Jesus, no reason to doubt but that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto Him; but we may constantly fear lest our old nature will again obtain the supremacy, that the enemy shall devise some snare whereby we shall again become his captives. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. With our limited powers we are to be as holy in our sphere as God is holy in His sphere. To the extent of our ability, we are to make manifest the truth and love and excellence of the divine character. As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ.
“We are to grow daily in spiritual loveliness. We shall fail often in our efforts to copy the divine pattern. We shall often have to bow down to weep at the feet of Jesus, because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged; we are to pray more fervently, believe more fully, and try again with more steadfastness to grow into the likeness of our Lord. As we distrust our own power, we shall trust the power of our Redeemer, and render praise to God, who is the health of our countenance, and our God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 336, 337.
5. At this time of earth’s history, what exhortation of the apostle Paul is particularly significant?
Romans 13:11-14 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
“We have no time to lose. We know not how soon our probation may close. At the longest, we have but a brief lifetime here, and we know not how soon the arrow of death may strike our hearts. We know not how soon we may be called to give up the world and all its interests. Eternity stretches before us. The curtain is about to be lifted. But a few short years, and for everyone now numbered with the living the mandate will go forth:
“‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still:… and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’ Revelation 22:11.
“Are we prepared? Have we become acquainted with God, the Governor of heaven, the Lawgiver, and with Jesus Christ whom He sent into the world as His representative? When our lifework is ended, shall we be able to say, as did Christ our example:
“‘I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do…. I have manifested Thy name’? John 17:4-6.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 454.
6. At Jesus’ second coming there will be two groups of people. What will determine which one we belong to?
Matthew 25:31-36. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“The love of a holy God is an amazing principle, which can stir the universe in our behalf during the hours of our probation and trial. But after the season of our probation, if we are found transgressors of God’s law, the God of love will be found a minister of vengeance. God makes no compromise with sin. The disobedient will be punished. The wrath of God fell upon His beloved Son as Christ hung upon the cross of Calvary in the transgressor’s place. The love of God now reaches out to embrace the lowest, vilest sinner that will come to Christ with contrition. It reaches out to transform the sinner into an obedient, faithful child of God; but not a soul can be saved if he continues in sin.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 313.
“In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 107.
“In order for us to be like the Saviour, we must be changed (see Philippians 3:20, 21). Now is the time for us to bring into the daily life the virtues of Christ’s life. We have no time to lose. Should we fail in our character building, we shall lose eternal life. We must build on the true foundation…. We must do the work of Christ, and be constantly watching and praying. Then we shall be ready for His appearing, prepared to receive eternal life.” –The Upward Look, p. 311.
7. Of what should we be absolutely sure in relation to God’s work in making up His kingdom?
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
“The divine Worker spends little time on worthless material. Only the precious jewels does He polish after the similitude of a palace, cutting away the rough edges. The process is severe and trying; Christ cuts away the surplus surface, and putting the stone to the polishing wheel, presses it close, that all roughness may be worn off. Then, holding the jewel up to the light, the Master sees in it a reflection of Himself, and He pronounces it worthy of a place in His casket.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1154.
“When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69.
“In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 355.
Eternal privileges and blessings
8. What will be the privilege of those who reflect perfectly the likeness of their Saviour?
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
“Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will ‘grow up’ to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering traces of the curse of sin will be removed, and Christ’s faithful ones will appear in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God’ (Psalm 90:17), in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. Oh, wonderful redemption! long talked of, long hoped for, contemplated with eager anticipation, but never fully understood.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 360.
“A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 332.