Sabbath, September 30, 2017
“Man, who has defaced the image of God in his soul by a corrupt life cannot, by mere human effort, effect a radical change in himself. He must accept the provisions of the gospel; he must be reconciled to God through obedience of His law and faith in Jesus Christ. His life from thenceforth must be governed by a new principle. Through repentance, faith and good works he may develop and perfect a righteous character, and claim through the merits of Christ the privileges of the sons of God. The principles of divine truth received and cherished in the heart will carry us to a height of moral excellence we had not deemed possible for us to reach.” –(Signs of the Times, August 1, 1878) Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 294.
Enemies and haters of God
1. How do the Scriptures describe man’s unconverted state in relation to God?
Jeremiah 5:23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
Romans 1:30; 5:10, first part Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents…. 5:10For if, when we were enemies,…
“The human family have all transgressed the law of God, and as transgressors of the law, man is hopelessly ruined; for he is the enemy of God, without strength to do any good thing. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Romans 8:7. Looking into the moral mirror–God’s holy law–man sees himself a sinner, and is convicted of his state of evil, his hopeless doom under the just penalty of the law. But he has not been left in a state of hopeless distress in which sin has plunged him; for it was to save the transgressor from ruin that He who was equal with God offered up His life on Calvary. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 321.
The greatest offering
2. What special event took place while we were still sinners, rebels, and enemies of God?
Romans 5:8, 10 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…. 10For 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.
“Jesus was the majesty of heaven, the beloved commander of the angels, who delighted to do His pleasure. He was one with God, ‘in the bosom of the Father’ (John 1:18), yet He thought it not a thing to be desired to be equal with God while man was lost in sin and misery. He stepped down from His throne, He left His crown and royal scepter, and clothed His divinity with humanity. He humbled Himself even to the death of the cross, that man might be exalted to a seat with Him upon His throne. In Him we have a complete offering, an infinite sacrifice, a mighty Saviour, who is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. In love He comes to reveal the Father, to reconcile man to God, to make him a new creature renewed after the image of Him who created him.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 321.
3. In His dealings with man, what has the Father done through His Son?
2 Corinthians 5:18, first part And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ….
Ephesians 2:17, 18 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
“Christ suffered in order that through faith in Him our sins might be pardoned. He became man’s substitute and surety, Himself taking the punishment, though all undeserving, that we who deserved it might be free, and return to our allegiance to God through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. He is our only hope of salvation. Through His sacrifice we who are now on probation are prisoners of hope. We are to reveal to the universe, to the world fallen and to worlds unfallen, that there is forgiveness with God, that through the love of God we may be reconciled to God. Man repents, becomes contrite in heart, believes in Christ as His atoning sacrifice, and realizes that God is reconciled to him.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 369.
Reconciliation with God
4. How does Jesus’ sacrifice reconcile man to God?
Colossians 1:20-22 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. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
“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.” –(Review and Herald, April 29, 1902) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1133.
“It required the infinite merits of His blood to make an atonement for those who receive His love, and follow in His footsteps. Man may obtain pardon and peace only through Him who has loved us, and who will wash us from our sins in His own blood.” –Signs of the Times, July 6, 1888.
5. How complete is Jesus’ blood in cleansing man from sin and reconciling him to God?
Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.
Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…. See also verses 20-22.
“And the apostle Paul, writing to the church at Colosse, says: ‘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 unblameable and unreprovable in His sight.’ ” –Bible Echo, February 21, 1898.
“There is a serious, solemn work to be done at this time. In all places the standard is to be lifted. God has ‘made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:…’ ” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 51.
Reconciliation among people
6. How did Jesus’ sacrifice bridge the gap between heaven and earth, and also remove divisions among men?
Ephesians 2:12-14, 16 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;… 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.
“Christ recognized no distinction of nationality or rank or creed. The scribes and Pharisees desired to make a local and a national benefit of the gifts of heaven, and to exclude the rest of God’s family in the world. But Christ came to break down every wall of partition. He came to show that His gift of mercy and love is as unconfined as the air, the light, or the showers of rain that refresh the earth. The life of Christ established a religion in which there is no caste, a religion by which Jew and Gentile, free and bond, are linked in a common brotherhood, equal before God. No question of policy influenced His movements. He made no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. That which appealed to His heart was a soul thirsting for the waters of life.” –Reflecting Christ, p. 27.
A special ministry
7. Having accomplished such great healing between heaven and earth, what wonderful ministry has Jesus Christ given to His people?
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
“There is a great work before us. The world is to be warned. The truth is to be translated into many languages, that all nations may enjoy its pure, life-giving influence. This work calls for the exercise of all the talents that God has entrusted to our keeping–the pen, the press, the voice, the purse, and the sanctified affections of the soul. Christ has made us ambassadors to make known His salvation to the children of men; and if we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace.” –Evangelism, pp. 570, 571.
For additional study
“Those who are in Christ’s stead beseeching souls to be reconciled to God should by precept and example manifest an undying interest to save souls. Their earnestness, perseverance, self-denial, and spirit of sacrifice should as far exceed the diligence and earnestness of those securing earthly gain as the soul is more valuable than the trash of earth and the subject more elevated than earthly enterprises…. Earthly things are not enduring, although they cost so much. But one soul saved will shine in the kingdom of heaven throughout eternal ages.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 336.
“Through the cross we learn that our heavenly Father loves us with an infinite and everlasting love, and draws us to Him with more than a mother’s yearning sympathy for a wayward child. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’? It is our privilege also to glory in the cross of Calvary, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to Him who gave Himself for us. Then with the light of love that shines from His face on ours, we shall go forth to reflect it to those in darkness.” –(Review and Herald, April 29, 1902) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1133.