Sabbath, October 19, 2019
Lesson 16 – The Gospel–God’s Power for Salvation
“‘The gospel,’ he declared, ‘is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.’ It is of this gospel of Christ, equally efficacious for Jew and Gentile, that Paul in his epistle to the Romans declared he was not ashamed.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 380.
1. What do the Scriptures say about one who claims that he has not sinned? What is the truth about everyone in the world?
Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
“There is no one, however earnestly he may be striving to do his best, who can say, ‘I have no sin.’ He who would say this would be under a dangerous deception. ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ 1 John 1:8. How then can we escape the charge, ‘Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting’? We are to look to Christ. At infinite cost, He has covenanted to be our representative in the heavenly courts, our Advocate before God.” –The Upward Look, p. 53.
Temptation and inner weakness
2. How does temptation gain a foothold in the human mind and heart? How insidiously does sin work, even in the smallest thing?
James 1:14, 15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Romans 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
“The sin of evilspeaking begins with the cherishing of evil thoughts. Guile includes impurity in all its forms. An impure thought tolerated, an unholy desire cherished, and the soul is contaminated, its integrity compromised. ‘Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.’ James 1:15. If we would not commit sin, we must shun its very beginnings. Every emotion and desire must be held in subjection to reason and conscience. Every unholy thought must be instantly repelled. To your closet, followers of Christ. Pray in faith and with all the heart. Satan is watching to ensnare your feet. You must have help from above if you would escape his devices.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 177.
“The natural, inherited tendencies, if erratic, will be, by the obedient, corrected by the Word; they will not be cherished as virtues….” –Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 287.
3. What occurs when sin gets established in a person? What is the ultimate consequence of sin?
Romans 7:14; 6:16; 7:24 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin…. 6:16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?… 7:24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
“Very many who profess to be servants of Christ are none of His. They are deceiving their souls to their own destruction. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are not living in obedience to His will. ‘Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?’ Romans 6:16. Many, while professing to be servants of Christ, are obeying another master, working daily against the Master whom they profess to serve. ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ Matthew 6:24.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 442.
Payment with His pure, holy life
4. With one’s own strength and capacity, how possible is it to get untangled from sin? Who laid down His life to free man from sin and its disastrous consequences?
Romans 5:6, 8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
“The Lord Jesus will receive all who come unto Him. He died for the ungodly and every man who will come, may come.” –Selected Messages, book 3, p. 315.
“When we consider that Christ died for the ungodly while they were yet sinners, we are led to realize how willing and even anxious He is to bless us, that we may be a blessing to others.” –Lift Him up, p. 353.
“Have you forgotten the scenes of Gethsemane? Christ passed through His last terrible trial in order that you might not perish, but have eternal life. ‘Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’ 1 John 3:16.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, p. 94.
5. How do the Scriptures define the great work of the gospel? What special power does it implant in the heart? What does the gift of God accomplish in the converted heart?
Romans 1:16, 17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Romans 6:23, last part … The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“The gospel is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 245.
“There is no defect in God’s plan for the salvation of men. If the gospel is not to every soul the power of God unto salvation, it is not because the gospel is at fault, but because men are not practical believers, practical receivers of the grace and righteousness of Christ…. The professed believers do not take Christ as their personal Saviour, but follow Jesus a great way off. One reason for this lack of personal religion is that they have not been educated in these vital principles.” –This Day with God, p. 18.
6. How high is the cost of man’s redemption? What should the fact that the Son of God had to sacrifice His holy, pure life for our redemption cause us to do?
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.
“Jesus is our atoning sacrifice. We can make no atonement for ourselves; but by faith we can accept the atonement that has been made. ‘For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.’ 1 Peter 3:18. ‘Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’ 1 Peter 1:18, 19. It was through infinite sacrifice and inexpressible suffering that our Redeemer placed redemption within our reach…. 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, pp. 321, 322.
Justified and redeemed freely
7. How much must one pay for this great redemption? What will be the natural, generous response to such supreme love and the Saviour’s spotless sacrifice?
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
“The sinner cannot depend upon his own good works as a means of justification. He must come to the point where he will renounce all his sin, and embrace one degree of light after another, as it shines upon his pathway. He simply grasps by faith the free and ample provision made in the blood of Christ. He believes the promises of God which through Christ are made unto him sanctification and righteousness and redemption.
“And if he follows Jesus, he will walk humbly in the light, rejoicing in the light, and diffusing that light to others. Being justified by faith, he carries cheerfulness with him in his obedience in all his life. Peace with God is the result of what Christ is to him. The souls who are in subordination to God, who honor Him, and are doers of His Word, will receive divine enlightenment. In the precious Word of God, there is purity and loftiness as well as beauty that, unless assisted by God, the highest powers of man cannot attain to.” –Reflecting Christ, p. 78.
For additional study
“By faith and prayer all may meet the requirements of the gospel. No man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must be first gained; the soul must purpose the sinful act before passion can dominate over reason or iniquity triumph over conscience. Temptation, however strong, is never an excuse for sin. ‘The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers.’ 1 Peter 3:12. Cry unto the Lord, tempted soul. Cast yourself, helpless, unworthy, upon Jesus, and claim His very promise. The Lord will hear. He knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will help in every time of temptation.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 177.
“He who repents of his sin and accepts the gift of the life of the Son of God, cannot be overcome. Laying hold by faith of the divine nature, he becomes a child of God. He prays, he believes. When tempted and tried, he claims the power that Christ died to give, and overcomes through His grace. This every sinner needs to understand. He must repent of his sin, he must believe in the power of Christ, and accept that power to save and to keep him from sin. How thankful ought we to be for the gift of Christ’s example.” –Selected Messages, book 3, p. 356.