Sabbath, November 2, 2019
Lesson 18 – The Gospel and Peace with God
“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.
Man’s natural condition
1. According to the Scriptures, what is the condition of the natural man? What is he like in his dealings with others, and even in his relationship with God?
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
Romans 5:10, first part For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son….
“Such is the grace of God, such the love wherewith He hath loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, enemies in our minds by wicked works, serving divers lusts and pleasures, the slaves of debased appetites and passion, servants of sin and Satan. What depth of love is manifested in Christ, as He becomes the propitiation for our sins. Through the ministration of the Holy Spirit souls are led to find forgiveness of sins.” –Lift Him up, p. 297.
2. Although we were previously rebels and enemies against God, what does the gospel bring about in our relationship with Him? Who makes it possible for a person to have a proper relationship with the heavenly Father?
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
“Christ is ‘the Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), and it is His mission to restore to earth and heaven the peace that sin has broken. ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Romans 5:1. Whoever consents to renounce sin and open his heart to the love of Christ, becomes a partaker of this heavenly peace.
“There is no other ground of peace than this. The grace of Christ received into the heart, subdues enmity; it allays strife and fills the soul with love. He who is at peace with God and his fellow men cannot be made miserable. Envy will not be in his heart; evil surmisings will find no room there; hatred cannot exist. The heart that is in harmony with God is a partaker of the peace of heaven and will diffuse its blessed influence on all around. The spirit of peace will rest like dew upon hearts weary and troubled with worldly strife.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 27, 28.
3. To what do we have access now by faith? Being at peace with God and with His law, what then is in our hearts?
Romans 5:2-5 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
“We learn a lesson in these trials…. ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;…’ Romans 5:1-3. But many are inclined to think, as these temptations fall upon us, that we must give up in discouragement, that we have no power to overcome. This is unbelief. We become weak because we fall under temptation and sin against God with our lips in talking discouragements and doubts, and talk on the off side and not on the side of hope and faith. You know Christ has had all these temptations. He was tempted in all points as we are. Christ says: ‘For the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30….” –The Upward Look, p. 282.
The Lord died for sinners
4. What was our spiritual condition when the Redeemer died for us? How do we know that He gave His life for people who were sinful and ungodly?
Romans 5:6-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
“Not because we first loved Him did Christ love us; but ‘while we were yet sinners’ He died for us. He does not treat us according to our desert. Although our sins have merited condemnation, He does not condemn us. Year after year He has borne with our weakness and ignorance, with our ingratitude and waywardness. Notwithstanding our wanderings, our hardness of heart, our neglect of His Holy Word, His hand is stretched out still.
“Grace is an attribute of God exercised toward undeserving human beings. We did not seek for it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow His grace upon us, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our only claim to His mercy is our great need.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 161.
5. Who took away from man the curse and sentence of the law? If the judgment of the law fell upon Him, are we still under the condemnation of the law?
Galatians 3:10, 13 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them…. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
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.
Isaiah 53:5 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.
“The broken law of God demanded the life of sinners. In all the universe there was but One who could, in behalf of humanity, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen humans from the curse of the law and bring them again into harmony with Heaven. Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin–sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father and His Son.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 30.
“The law has no power to pardon the transgressor, but it points him to Christ Jesus, who says to him, I will take your sin and bear it Myself, if you will accept Me as your substitute and surety. Return to your allegiance, and I will impute to you My righteousness.” –(Review and Herald, May 7, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1109.
No condemnation for those who are in Christ
6. Is one who is justified still under condemnation? From what does God save those who are justified by the blood of Christ?
Romans 8:1; 5:9 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…. 5:9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
“It is the privilege of everyone to so live that God will approve and bless him. You may be hourly in communion with Heaven; it is not the will of your heavenly Father that you should ever be under condemnation and darkness. It is not pleasing to God that you should demerit yourself…. It is not an evidence of true humility that you go with your head bowed down, and your heart filled with thoughts of self. It is your privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame and remorse.” –(Review and Herald, March 27, 1888) Daughters of God, p. 142.
“How shall we estimate the blessings thus brought within our reach? Could Jesus have suffered more? Could He have purchased for us richer blessings? Should it not melt the hardest heart when we remember that for our sakes He left the happiness and glory of heaven and suffered poverty and shame, cruel affliction and a terrible death?… In our present state, favored and blessed as we are, we cannot realize from what depths we have been rescued. We cannot measure how much deeper our afflictions would have been, how much greater our woes, had not Jesus encircled us with His human arm of sympathy and love, and lifted us up.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 316.
7. If the Lord reconciled us by His Son when we were His enemies, what will our life be like in the future if we are justified?
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. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
“What greater assurance can we have of the willingness, yea, the longing, of Christ to have all come unto Him and believe in Him that they may have eternal life! O, when we see the sorrows and suffering of loved ones, shall we turn away from Christ dissatisfied, murmuring, and complaining? No; that is the time to come close to the only One who can be our helper in every time of need. You have no time for repining, no time for unbelief, no time to let go of Jesus. When trial comes, press closer to His bleeding side. When the whole world was under condemnation, Christ took upon Himself the guilt of the sinner; He bore the wrath of God for the transgressor, and thus suffering the penalty of sin, He ransoms the sinner.” –Review and Herald, September 1, 1891.
“In the atonement made for him the believer sees such breadth, and length, and height, and depth of efficiency–sees such completeness of salvation, purchased at such infinite cost, that his soul is filled with praise and thanksgiving. He sees as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and is changed into the same image as by the Spirit of the Lord.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 105.
8. If we have peace with the Lord, who justifies us, can human accusation and condemnation endanger our relationship with Him?
Romans 8:31-34 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34Who 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.
“Jesus says, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ Matthew 28:20…. He knows how to succor those that are tempted. Now He is at the right hand of God, He is in heaven as our Advocate, to make intercession for us. We must always take comfort and hope as we think of this. He is thinking of those who are subject to temptations in this world. He thinks of us individually, and knows our every necessity. When tempted, just say, He cares for me, He makes intercession for me, He loves me, He has died for me. I will give myself unreservedly to Him. We grieve the heart of Christ when we go mourning over ourselves as though we were our own saviour. No; we must commit the keeping of our souls to God as unto a faithful Creator. He ever lives to make intercession for the tried, tempted ones. Open your heart to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and let not one breath of doubt, one word of unbelief, escape your lips, lest you sow the seeds of doubt. There are rich blessings for us; let us grasp them by faith.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 391.
For additional study
“Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of the Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks up to Him, grasps Him as the One who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father…. Christ’s glory is concerned in our success. He has a common interest in all humanity. He is our sympathizing Saviour.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 71.
“No one who believes in Jesus Christ is under bondage to the law of God; for His law is a law of life, not of death, to those who obey its precepts. All who comprehend the spirituality of the law, all who realize its power as a detector of sin, are in just as helpless a condition as is Satan himself, unless they accept the atonement provided for them in the remedial sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is our atonement–at-one-ment with God.
“Through faith in Christ obedience to every principle of the law is made possible.” –(Manuscript 122, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1077.