1. TRANSFORMATION THROUGH CHRIST
a. What transformation takes place in our life as we accept Jesus Christ? John 14:23; 1 John 2:3–6; 4:15–21.
“If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him.”—Steps to Christ, p. 58.
“When Christ abides in the heart, the whole nature is transformed. Christ's Spirit, His love, softens the heart, subdues the soul, and raises the thoughts and desires toward God and heaven.”—Ibid., p.73.
“Let this point be fully settled in every mind: If we accept Christ as a Redeemer, we must accept Him as a Ruler. We cannot have the assurance and perfect confiding trust in Christ as our Saviour until we acknowledge Him as our King and are obedient to His commandments. Thus we evidence our allegiance to God. We have then the genuine ring in our faith, for it is a working faith. It works by love.”—Faith and Works, p. 16.
2. THE ISSUE AT STAKE
a. Describe how the marvelous work of transformation through Christ involves an ongoing battle. Ephesians 6:12, 13; 1 Peter 5:6–10.
“In every soul two powers are struggling earnestly for the victory. Unbelief marshals its forces, led by Satan, to cut us off from the Source of our strength. Faith marshals its forces, led by Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Hour by hour, in the sight of the heavenly universe, the conflict goes forward. This is a hand-to-hand fight, and the great question is, Which shall obtain the mastery? This question each must decide for himself. In this warfare all must take a part, fighting on one side or the other. From the conflict there is no release.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 328.
“"If our eyes could be opened to see the good and evil agencies at work, there would be no trifling, no vanity, no jesting or joking. If all would put on the whole armor of God and fight manfully the battles of the Lord, victories would be gained that would cause the kingdom of darkness to tremble.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 41.
“The test comes to everyone. There are only two sides. On which side are you?”—Ibid., vol.8, p. 120.
b. What is the most expensive thing in the world—and how is its magnitude revealed? Romans 6:23 (first part); Hebrews 9:27.
“Can we not understand that the most costly thing in the world is sin? It is at the expense of purity of conscience, at the cost of losing the favor of God and separating the soul from Him, and at last losing heaven. . . . What a scene will be presented when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened to testify the salvation or the loss of all souls! It will require the unerring decision of One who has lived in humanity, loved humanity, given His life for humanity, to make the final appropriation of the rewards to the loyal righteous, and the punishment of . . . the disloyal, and the unrighteous.
“The work of our salvation lies between God and our own souls. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before Him, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being on earth.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 360.
3. ACTIVE FAITH
a. Describe the intensity of faith needed in salvation. Luke 10:27.
“Anything less than active, earnest service for the Master gives the lie to our profession of faith. Only the Christianity that is revealed by earnest, practical work will make an impression upon those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Praying, humble, believing Christians, those who show by their actions that their greatest desire is to make known the saving truth which is to test all people, will gather a rich harvest of souls for the Master. . . .
“We are doing a work in the world, but we are not showing sufficient activity and zeal. If we were more in earnest, men would be convinced of the truth of our message. . . . We may perform all the outward acts of service and yet be as destitute of the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. We all need spiritual moisture, and we need also the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to soften and subdue our hearts. . . . Bible principles are to be taught and then backed up by holy practice.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 417, 418.
b. How does Jesus vividly illustrate the drastic change He wants to see in us? John 3:5–7.
“The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ.”—The Review and Herald, April 12, 1892.
“Let those who wish for something new seek for that newness of life resulting from the new birth. Let them purify their souls by obeying the truth, and act in harmony with the instruction Christ gave to the lawyer who asked what he must do in order to inherit eternal life:
“ ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.’ ‘This do, and thou shalt live’ (Luke 10:27, 28). All who will conform their lives to the plain requirements of God’s word will inherit eternal life.”—Notebook Leaflets, vol. 2, p. 164.
4. ALL IS OF GOD
a. What thought should ever be kept in our mind? 1 Chronicles 29:14.
“Every member of the human family is given wholly into the hands of Christ, and whatever we possess—whether it is the gift of money, of houses, of lands, of reasoning powers, of physical strength, of intellectual talents—in this present life, and the blessings of the future life, are placed in our possession as God’s treasures to be faithfully expended for the benefit of man. Every gift is stamped with the cross and bears the image and superscription of Jesus Christ. All things come of God. From the smallest benefits up to the largest blessing, all flow through the one Channel—a superhuman mediation sprinkled with the blood that is of value beyond estimate because it was the life of God in His Son. . . .
“We possess nothing, can offer nothing in value, in work, in faith, which we have not first received of God and upon which He can lay His hand any time and say, They are Mine—gifts and blessings and endowments I entrusted to you, not to enrich yourself, but for wise improvement to benefit the world.”—Faith and Works, p. 22.
b. How should this reality affect our attitudes? Romans 2:1–4; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11.
“You cannot have a thought without Christ. You cannot have an inclination to come to Him unless He sets in motion influences and impresses His Spirit upon the human mind. . . .
“Then don’t let us ever say that we can repent of ourselves, and then Christ will pardon. No, indeed. It is the favor of God that pardons. It is the favor of God that leads us by His power to repentance. Therefore, it is all of Jesus Christ, everything of Him, and you want to just give back glory to God. Why don’t you respond more when you meet together in your meetings? Why don’t you have the quickening influence of the Spirit of God when the love of Jesus and His salvation are presented to you? It is because you do not see that Christ is first and last and best, and the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the very Author and Finisher of our faith.”—Ibid., p.73.
5. FOLLOWING IN OUR MASTER’S FOOTSTEPS
a. Explain the cross in our daily life. Ephesians 2:11–18; Matthew 16:24, 25.
“Look not to a future, more convenient season, when the cross to be lifted will be less heavy, when the inclinations of the carnal heart will be subdued with less effort. ‘Today,’ saith the Spirit of God, ‘if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart.’ Today go about the work, else you may be one day too late.”—The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886.
b. We cannot earn salvation—it is attained only through the merits of Christ—yet what are we nonetheless bidden? Philippians 2:12, 13.
“It is not committed to us, weak, feeble mortals to work out our own salvation in our own line. It is Christ that worketh in you. And this is the privilege of every son and daughter of Adam. But we are to work. We are not to be idle. We are put here in this world to work. We are not put here to fold our arms.”—This Day With God, p. 72.
“You cannot enjoy [God’s] blessing without any action on your part. Salvation is a gift offered to you free; on no other condition can you obtain it, than as a free gift. But cooperation on your part is essential for your salvation. . . . We are daily working out our destiny. We have a crown of eternal life to win, a hell to shun.”—The Review and Herald, August 25, 1891.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Explain the change that comes when we accept Christ as Lord of our life.
2. What is the most costly thing in the world—and why?
3. Describe the fruits of true repentance and conversion.
4. Explain how far-reaching is the basic truth that God is all-in-all.
5. What can or cannot we do toward our salvation?