1. GOD’S PROVISION IN OUR BEHALF
a. Since when has fallen humanity had a Saviour? Revelation 13:8. How is God able to consider Christ as having already died for them from the foundation of the world? Romans 4:17 (last part).
“The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 63.
b. Why was no one except the Son of God able to redeem the fallen race? Isaiah 43:11; John 14:6; Acts 4:12.
“Only one equal with God could make atonement for [the law’s] transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law and bring him again into harmony with Heaven.”—Ibid.
c. Why did Christ have to die for us? Hebrews 9:22; Ephesians 1:7.
“To many it has been a mystery why so many sacrificial offerings were required in the old dispensation, why so many bleeding victims were led to the altar. . . . In every bleeding sacrifice was typified ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).”—Our High Calling, p. 47.
2. THE PLAN OF SALVATION ANNOUNCED
a. What did our first parents understand when they heard the sentence pronounced upon Satan? Genesis 3:15.
“God declares: ‘I will put enmity’ (Genesis 3:15). This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy. The apostate is never at rest, except as he obtains sympathy and support by inducing others to follow his example. For this reason fallen angels and wicked men unite in desperate companionship.”—The Great Controversy, p. 505.
“[Genesis 3:15 quoted.] This sentence, uttered in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold war between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great adversary would finally be broken.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 65, 66.
b. Whereupon was the plan of salvation established? John 3:16.
“The time came that a change must be made, or the image of God would be wholly obliterated from the hearts of the beings He had created. All heaven watched the movements of God with intense interest. Would He once more manifest His wrath? Would He destroy the world by fire? The angels thought that the time had come to strike the blow of justice, when, lo, to their wondering vision was unveiled the plan of salvation. Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! God sent His only begotten Son into the world to save the world! Amazing grace! ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (1 John 4:10).
“God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Outraged justice might have passed speedy sentence upon man. But in love and mercy God gave him another opportunity.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 569, 570.
c. To how many is the plan of salvation made available? 1 John 2:2; Revelation 22:17; 2 Peter 3:9.
3. GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE
a. How does the psalmist convey the reality of God’s foreknowledge of every human being? Psalm 139:1–4.
b. What does the apostle Paul mean when he says, “The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Timothy 2:19)? Give examples: Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15.
c. How did God reveal His foreknowledge concerning Esau and Jacob? Genesis 25:23.
“God knows the end from the beginning. He knew, before the birth of Jacob and Esau, just what characters they would both develop. He knew that Esau would not have a heart to obey Him. He answered the troubled prayer of Rebekah and informed her that she would have two children, and the elder should serve the younger. He presented the future history of her two sons before her, that they would be two nations, the one greater than the other, and the elder should serve the younger. The firstborn was entitled to peculiar advantages and special privileges, which belonged to no other members of the family.”—The Story of Redemption, p. 87.
d. In what sense is everyone predestined for salvation? Ephesians 1:3–6, 11, 12. Why, then, will anyone be lost? John 3:18, 36; 6:37.
“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. But human merit will not admit a soul into the presence of God. That which will make a man acceptable to God is the imparted grace of Christ through faith in His name. No dependence can be placed in works or in happy flights of feelings as evidence that men are chosen of God; for the elect are chosen through Christ. . . .
“When the repenting sinner comes to Christ, conscious of his guilt and unworthiness, realizing that he is deserving of punishment, but relying on the mercy and love of Christ, he will not be turned away.”—Our High Calling, p. 78.
4. ONGOING ACCOUNTABILITY
a. Where are our names written when we turn from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God? Luke 10:20. Where are our actions recorded? Philippians 4:3.
“All who choose Christ’s kingdom of love and righteousness and peace, making its interest paramount to all other, are linked to the world above, and every blessing needed for this life is theirs. In the book of God’s providence, the volume of life, we are each given a page. That page contains every particular of our history; even the hairs of the head are numbered. God’s children are never absent from His mind.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 313.
b. Explain why the doctrine “once-saved-always-saved” is in conflict with the Bible. 1 Corinthians 9:27; Hebrews 6:4–6; Revelation 3:5.
“When we become children of God, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and they remain there until the time of the investigative judgment. Then the name of every individual will be called and his record examined by Him who declares, ‘I know thy works.’ If in that day it shall appear that all our wicked deeds have not been fully repented of, our names will be blotted from the book of life, and our sins will stand against us.”—The Signs of the Times, August 6, 1885.
c. What is required of those who have been called and elected? Matthew 24:13; 2 Peter 1:1–11.
“Every soul is to strive with ‘all diligence’ to add constantly to his spiritual attainments, strengthening every grace, increasing in efficiency that he may grow in usefulness and holiness, as a fruit-bearing tree in the Lord’s garden. He is to be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. True religion leads to the cultivation of the gifts that make a man more precious in God’s sight than the gold of Ophir.”—The SDA Bible Commentary, [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 943.
5. THE ETERNAL PURPOSES OF GOD
a. By what name is the plan of redemption called in the Bible? Romans 16:25, 26; Colossians 1:26, 27.
“God had a knowledge of the events of the future, even before the creation of the world. He did not make his purposes to fit circumstances, but He allowed matters to develop and work out. He did not work to bring about a certain condition of things, but He knew that such a condition would exist. The plan that should be carried out upon the defection of any of the high intelligences of heaven—this is the secret, the mystery which has been hid from ages.”—The SDA Bible Commentary, [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1082.
b. How do we know that the door of probation will not remain open forever, and that there will be no second chance for unrepentant sinners? Revelation 10:6, 7 (compare Luke 13:23–25; 17:28–30).
“The gospel dispensation is the last period of probation that will ever be granted to men. Those who live under this dispensation of test and trial and yet are not led to repent and obey will perish with the disloyal. There is no second trial.”—Ibid., vol. 7, pp. 971, 972.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Since redemption is through the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14), how were God’s faithful servants saved before the cross of Calvary?
2. What was the first gospel message preached to Adam and Eve?
3. Give examples revealing the foreknowledge of God.
4. What do you know about the book of life?
5. What is “the mystery which hath been hid from ages” (Colossians 1:26)?