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Sabbath Bible Lessons

Justification, Sanctification and Righteousness

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Lesson 3 Sabbath, January 19, 2013

The Law of God

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18).

“As the sacrifice in behalf of man was complete, so the restoration of man from the defilement of sin must be thorough and complete. The law of God has been given to us, that we may have rules to govern our conduct.”—Christian Education, p. 112.

Suggested Reading:   The Great Controversy, pp. 465-468

Sunday January 13

1. THE LAW BEFORE THE FALL

a. What is the evidence that the law existed before the Fall? Exodus 16:4; 20:8 (first part).

“The law of God existed before the creation of man or else Adam could not have sinned.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 230.

“The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it.”—Ibid., p.220.

“In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart.”—The Great Controversy, p. 467.

b. What attitude is necessary for all created beings to continue in full harmony with God and with each other? Psalm 119:165.

“The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect conformity of all beings, of everything, animate and inanimate, to the law of the Creator. God has ordained laws for the government, not only of living beings, but of all the operations of nature.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 52.


Monday January 14

2. THE CONSEQUENCES OF TRANSGRESSION

a. What is said of the law? Why has obedience to it ever been the condition of eternal life? Romans 7:12; Luke 10:25–28.

“The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 52.

“The character of God is expressed in His law; and in order for you to be in harmony with God, the principles of His law must be the spring of your every action. Christ does not lessen the claims of the law. In unmistakable language He presents obedience to it as the condition of eternal life—the same condition that was required of Adam before his fall. The Lord expects no less of the soul now than He expected of man in Paradise, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement made in Eden—harmony with God’s law, which is holy, just, and good.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 391.

“The gospel does not weaken the claims of the law; it exalts the law and makes it honorable. Under the New Testament, no less is required than was required under the Old Testament.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 373, 374.

b. What is transgression of the law? What is the inevitable consequence of disobedience? 1 John 3:4; Romans 6:23 (first part).

“The law demands perfect obedience. ‘Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all’ (James 2:10). Not one of those ten precepts can be broken without disloyalty to the God of heaven. The least deviation from its requirements, by neglect or willful transgression, is sin, and every sin exposes the sinner to the wrath of God.”—Ibid., p.218.

“Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death.”—Ibid., p.235.


Tuesday January 15

3. THE LAW AFTER THE FALL

a. What change of attitude came as a result of disobedience? What is evidenced by the fact that our first parents hid themselves from the presence of God? Romans 8:7, 8; Isaiah 59:2.

“Sin alienated [man] from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God’s law. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Romans 8:7).”—The Great Controversy, p. 467.

b. How do we know that the law was not changed after the Fall? Where was it written later? Psalm 119:152; Deuteronomy 4:12, 13.

“After the Fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. ‘Concerning thy testimonies,’ says the psalmist, ‘I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever’ (Psalm 119:152).”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 220.

“After the transgression of Adam the principles of the law were not changed but were definitely arranged and expressed to meet man in his fallen condition.”—Ibid., p.230.

c. Under the new covenant, where is the law written? Hebrews 8:10; 10:16.

“It is the work of conversion and sanctification to reconcile men to God by bringing them into accord with the principles of His law.”—The Great Controversy, p. 467.

“‘Thy law is the truth.’ By the word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is ‘holy, and just, and good,’ a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ ‘I do always those things that please Him’ (John 15:10; 8:29). The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.”—Ibid., p.469.


Wednesday January 16

4. THE LAW AND GRACE ARE CONNECTED

a. Upon what is the throne of God founded? What was a continual reminder of this in the most holy place of the sanctuary? Psalm 89:14; Exodus 25:17–14.

“In the temple in heaven, the dwelling place of God, His throne is established in righteousness and judgment. In the most holy place is His law, the great rule of right by which all mankind are tested. The ark that enshrines the tables of the law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner’s behalf. Thus is represented the union of justice and mercy in the plan of human redemption. This union infinite wisdom alone could devise and infinite power accomplish; it is a union that fills all heaven with wonder and adoration. The cherubim of the earthly sanctuary, looking reverently down upon the mercy seat, represent the interest with which the heavenly host contemplate the work of redemption. This is the mystery of mercy into which angels desire to look—that God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinner and renews His intercourse with the fallen race; that Christ could stoop to raise unnumbered multitudes from the abyss of ruin and clothe them with the spotless garments of His own righteousness to unite with angels who have never fallen and to dwell forever in the presence of God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 415.

b. What two principles must ever be in harmony? How do we know that mercy does not do away with the law? Psalm 85:10.

“The law and the gospel are in perfect harmony. Each upholds the other. In all its majesty the law confronts the conscience, causing the sinner to feel his need of Christ as the propitiation for sin. The gospel recognizes the power and immutability of the law. ‘I had not known sin, but by the law,’ Paul declares (Romans 7:7). The sense of sin, urged home by the law, drives the sinner to the Saviour.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 240, 241.

“The grace of Christ and the law of God are inseparable. In Jesus mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. In His life and character He not only reveals the character of God, but the possibility of man.” —Ibid., p.349.


Thursday January 17

5. GOD’S IDEAL FOR HUMANITY

a. What is God’s ideal for His children according to the plan of salvation? Matthew 5:48; Romans 8:4.

“God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48). This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 311.

“The law is an expression of God’s idea. When we receive it in Christ, it becomes our idea. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin. ‘Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them’ (Psalm 119:165)—cause them to stumble.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 235.

b. In order to reach this ideal, with what must we live in harmony? Psalm 119:1, 142, 167; John 17:17; James 2:12.


Friday January 18

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. How does the law of God maintain perfect harmony?

2. What may we know of the consequences of disobeying the law of God?

3. What may we know of the perpetuity of the law?

4. What lesson may be learned from the cover of the ark containing the tables of the law?

5. What enables the believers to become like Christ?

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