1. ABRAHAM’S TRUE CHILDREN
a. Whom does the Bible regard the true children of Abraham as true Israelites? Romans 9:6–8; Galatians 3:7–9.
“To Isaiah it was given to make very plain to Judah the truth that among the Israel of God were to be numbered many who were not descendants of Abraham after the flesh. This teaching was not in harmony with the theology of his age, yet he fearlessly proclaimed the messages given him of God and brought hope to many a longing heart reaching out after the spiritual blessings promised to the seed of Abraham.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 367.
b. How can the Gentiles, who are not children by literal descent, now be regarded as Abraham’s true seed? Romans 9:30; 4:11, 12, 16, 17.
“All who through Christ should become the children of faith were to be counted as Abraham’s seed; they were inheritors of the covenant promises; like Abraham, they were called to guard and to make known to the world the law of God and the gospel of His Son.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 476.
2. ABRAHAM’S ADOPTED CHILDREN
a. Through faith in Christ as Abraham’s promised seed, into what family are we adopted? Romans 8:14–16; Galatians 4:4–7.
“God wills that all men should be saved; for ample provision has been made, in giving His only begotten Son to pay man’s ransom. Those who perish will perish because they refuse to be adopted as children of God through Christ Jesus. The pride of man hinders him from accepting the provisions of salvation.”—Our High Calling, p. 78.
b. How does the sacrifice of Jesus Christ make one a child of God, even a child of faith, and to whom does this apply? Galatians 3:27–29.
“Men may perform great deeds in the eyes of the world; their achievements may be many and of a high order in the sight of men, but all the talent, all the skill, all the ability of the world will fail to transform the character and make a degraded child of sin a child of God, an heir of heaven. Men have no power to justify the soul, to sanctify the heart. . . . The highest gift of heaven, even the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, is alone able to redeem the lost. . . . The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary’s cross is a consideration that surpasses all the overwhelming power of sin; and when a sense of sin presses upon the heart of the sinner, and the burden seems intolerable, Jesus invites him to look to Him and live.”—The Signs of the Times, May 2, 1892.
c. Explain why Abraham’s children are from every tribe and nation instead of just from Israel. Revelation 7:9, 10; Genesis 17:4–6; Acts 10:34, 35.
“Christ recognized no distinction of nationality or rank or creed. The scribes and Pharisees desired to make a local and a national benefit of all 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.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 190.
3. ABRAHAM’S FALSE CHILDREN
a. Why did most of Abraham’s literal descendants disqualify themselves from being true Israelites in the eyes of God? Romans 10:1–4.
“The Jews were, by their sins, separating themselves from God. They were unable to discern the deep spiritual significance of their symbolic service. In their self-righteousness they trusted to their own works, to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of relying upon the merits of Him to whom all these things pointed. Thus ‘going about to establish their own righteousness’ (Romans 10:3), they built themselves up in a self-sufficient formalism. Wanting the Spirit and grace of God, they tried to make up for the lack by a rigorous observance of religious ceremonies and rites. Not content with the ordinances which God Himself had appointed, they encumbered the divine commands with countless exactions of their own devising. The greater their distance from God, the more rigorous they were in the observance of these forms.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 708, 709.
b. What is the only way we can be justified before God? Galatians 3:11,12; 2:16. What change will be evident in the life of those who have been justified by faith?
“Justification is wholly of grace and not procured by any works that fallen man can do.”—Faith and Works, p. 20.
“The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 300.
“He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.”—Ibid., p. 172.
4. ABRAHAM’S SERVANTS
a. Those who do not embrace the faith of Abraham in Christ as the promised seed, are regarded as servants, instead of sons or daughters. What will happen to them? Genesis 16:3–6; Galatians 4:30, 31.
“Noah and his household were within the ark, ‘and the Lord shut him in.’ . . . The massive door, which it was impossible for those within to close, was slowly swung to its place by unseen hands. Noah was shut in, and the rejecters of God’s mercy were shut out. The seal of Heaven was on that door; God had shut it, and God alone could open it. So when Christ shall cease His intercession for guilty men, before His coming in the clouds of heaven, the door of mercy will be shut. Then divine grace will no longer restrain the wicked, and Satan will have full control of those who have rejected mercy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 98.
b. To whom and to what are they really servants? John 8:31–35, 39–44.
“‘To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey’ (Romans 6:16). If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin. ‘No man can serve two masters’ (Matthew 6:24). If we serve sin, we cannot serve Christ.”—The Review and Herald, November 15, 1887.
c. Why will the rejecters of Christ never be able to enter into the land of Canaan that was promised to Abraham and his seed? Hebrews 3:17–19; Acts 4:10–12; Galatians 3:9.
“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.”—Evangelism, p. 696.
5. A WARNING TO THE CHURCH
a. What warning was given to the church at Galatia, and why? Galatians 3:1–6; 4:7–11.
“The redemption that was wrought out for us by our Lord on the cross of Calvary was to bring us to obedience to the law of God, making it possible, through His righteousness imputed to us, to keep the law of God. . . .
“There is nothing so offensive to God as sin. Instead of making void the law of God by continuing in sin, every truly converted soul will be walking in the path of humble obedience to all of God’s commandments. They will search the Scriptures that they might know the truth. Who hath bewitched the impenitent, the transgressor, that sin is chosen rather than obedience? It is the power of Satan that came to Adam and Eve in Eden, the deceiving, bewitching power of the fallen angel.”—The Upward Look, p. 209.
b. How do Abraham’s struggles with his own faith stand as a lesson to us? Genesis 15:3–6; 17:17, 18; Hebrews 4:1, 2. On the other hand, what does true faith give us? 1 John 5:4, 5.
“The Christian’s life should be one of faith, of victory, and joy in God . . . . God is able and willing to bestow upon His servants all the strength they need, and to give them the wisdom that their varied necessities demand. He will more than fulfill the highest expectations of those who put their trust in Him.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 126.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How important is faith to a Christian?
2. Why can a Christian call God his or her Father?
3. How can we avoid being cursed by God?
4. What is the difference between being Abraham’s servant and his son or daughter?
5. How can we be bewitched by the devil in corrupting our faith?