Sabbath, September 16, 2017

“ ‘This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.’ All other knowledge is worthless only as Christ dwells in the heart, and is interwoven with the affections. Our Lord designed that His church should reflect to the world the fullness and sufficiency that we find in Him. His children derive their enjoyment from a Source higher than the world can comprehend; and as they are constantly receiving of God’s bounty in spiritual and temporal gifts, they are to represent to the world the love and beneficence of Christ.” –Review and Herald, December 11, 1888.

The Saviour

1. How did the angel of the Lord describe Jesus’ atoning work for the peni-tent? What was necessary before He could wash away the sins of the people?

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

“We should meditate upon the Scriptures, thinking soberly and candidly upon the things that pertain to our eternal salvation. The infinite mercy and love of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, call for most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should seek to comprehend the meaning of the plan of salvation. We should meditate upon the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins. By constantly contemplating heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger. Our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God, because they will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be more intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and you will have a daily, living experience in the willingness and power of Christ to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him….” –Our High Calling, p. 113. 

He who knew no sin was made sin for man

2. Despite being innocent and holy, what did Jesus take upon Himself to atone for man’s sin and save him from condemnation? What would He give to cleanse man’s sin? 

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. 

Isaiah 53:11, 12 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. 

“Hating sin with a perfect hatred, He yet gathered to His soul the sins of the whole world. Guiltless, He bore the punishment of the guilty. Innocent, yet offering Himself as a substitute for the transgressor. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer. The evil thoughts, the evil words, the evil deeds of every son and daughter of Adam, called for retribution upon Himself; for He had become man’s substitute. Though the guilt of sin was not His, His spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men, and He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 321. 

Wounded for our transgressions

3. What suffering did the Saviour endure to atone for man’s sin?

Isaiah 53:4, 5, 10 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed…. 10Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

“It was generally believed by the Jews that sin is punished in this life. Every affliction was regarded as the penalty of some wrongdoing, either of the sufferer himself or of his parents. It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God’s law, but this truth had become perverted…. Hence one upon whom some great affliction or calamity had fallen had the additional burden of being regarded as a great sinner. 

“Thus the way was prepared for the Jews to reject Jesus. He who ‘hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows’ was looked upon by the Jews as ‘stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;’ and they hid their faces from Him. Isaiah 53:4, 3.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 471.

“The cry of the soul must be,… Let me see Him as my helper, as the Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Thou, O Lord, must be my helper. Thou wast wounded for my transgressions, bruised for my iniquities,… and with Thy stripes I am healed.” –Lift Him Up, p. 110. 

Redemption through the precious blood

4. Can the value of the precious blood and life of God’s Son be estimated? Was man’s redemption accomplished by the giving of corruptible things, such as money or material goods? 

1 Peter 1:18, 19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Hebrews 9:13, 14 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 

“All men have been bought with this infinite price. By pouring the whole treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven, God has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, of every human being. Whether believers or unbelievers, all men are the Lord’s property. All are called to do service for Him, and for the manner in which they have met this claim, all will be required to render an account at the great judgment day.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 326. 

“You should be willing for all to know that you are not your own but His who bought you with an infinite price, and that you are not only bound but are determined to glorify Him in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. May the love of so great magnitude constrain you to confess Christ not only with the mouth but with the life, to bear fruit to the glory of God.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 90.

Giving His own life

5. In the Old Testament time, the sinner brought and sacrificed the animal as the victim, but how was the greatest sacrifice ever made in history carried out?

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 

“Thus Christ, in His own spotless righteousness, after shedding His precious blood, enters into the holy place to cleanse the sanctuary. And there the crimson current is brought into the service of reconciling God to man.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 200. 

“As the high priest sprinkled the warm blood upon the mercy seat while the fragrant cloud of incense ascended before God, so, while we confess our sins and plead the efficacy of Christ’s atoning blood, our prayers are to ascend to heaven, fragrant with the merits of our Saviour’s character. Notwithstanding our unworthiness, we are to remember that there is One who can take away sin, and who is willing and anxious to save the sinner. With His own blood He paid the penalty for all wrongdoers. Every sin acknowledged before God with a contrite heart, He will remove.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 970.

The sufficient atonement 

6. Did the sacrifice provided by God’s Son have a limited result, as was the case for the animal sacrifices in ancient times? How far does the redemption purchased by Jesus reach?

Hebrews 9:11, 12 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

“There is a blessing pronounced upon all who mourn. Had there been no mourners in our world, Christ could not have revealed to man the parental character of God. Those oppressed by the conviction of sin are to know the blessedness of forgiveness, and to have their transgressions blotted out. Had there been none who mourn, the sufficiency of Christ’s expiation for sin would not have been understood.” –Signs of the Times, August 8, 1895.

“The blood of Christ is efficacious, but it needs to be applied continually. God not only wants His servants to use the means He has entrusted to them for His glory, but He desires them to make a consecration of themselves to His cause. If you, my brethren, have become selfish,… then you need the blood of sprinkling thoroughly applied, consecrating you and all your possessions to God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 122, 123.

Preaching repentance and remission of sins in His name

7. Considering the great value of the redemption purchased for all humanity, what do God’s faithful people proclaim to the world? 

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Luke 24:46, 47 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 

“Christ told His disciples that they were to begin their work at Jerusalem. That city had been the scene of His amazing sacrifice for the human race. There, clad in the garb of humanity, He had walked and talked with men, and few had discerned how near heaven came to earth. There He had been condemned and crucified. In Jerusalem were many who secretly believed Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, and many who had been deceived by priests and rulers. To these the gospel must be proclaimed. They were to be called to repentance. The wonderful truth that through Christ alone could remission of sins be obtained, was to be made plain. And it was while all Jerusalem was stirred by the thrilling events of the past few weeks, that the preaching of the disciples would make the deepest impression.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 31, 32.

For additional study

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. 

“The offering made by our Saviour was of sufficient value to make a full expiation for the sins of the whole world, and all who by repentance and faith flee to this Refuge, will find security; here they will find peace from the heaviest pressure of guilt, and relief from the deepest condemnation. By the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and His work of mediation in our behalf, we may become reconciled to God. The blood of Christ will prove efficacious to wash away the crimson stain of sin.” –Signs of the Times, January 20, 1881.

“When men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great sacrifice which was made by the Majesty of heaven in dying in man’s stead, then will the plan of salvation be magnified,… This world will appear of but little value to those who appreciate the great price of man’s redemption, the precious blood of God’s dear Son…. Who can measure the love Christ felt for a lost world as He hung upon the cross, suffering for the sins of guilty men? This love was immeasurable, infinite.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 212.