1. A DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE
a. What is the most enduring characteristic of our Creator? 1 John 4:16.
“‘God is love,’ is written upon every opening bud, upon the petals of every flower, and upon every spire of grass. . . . All things in nature testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy. His prohibitions and injunctions are not intended merely to display His authority, but in all that He does He has the well-being of His children in view.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 600.
b. How did God most fully demonstrate His love? John 3:16; Romans 5:6–8.
“The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite and a tender pity surpassing a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child.”—Steps to Christ, p. 15.
2. SAVED FROM SIN
a. What great mission did Jesus accomplish by His sacrifice? Matthew 1:21.
“Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted and life to the perishing.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 22, 23.
“Christ’s mission could be fulfilled only through suffering. Before Him was a life of sorrow, hardship, and conflict, and an ignominious death. He must bear the sins of the whole world. He must endure separation from His Father’s love.”—Ibid., p.129.
b. What is His will for every person? 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4.
“Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His.”—Ibid., p.25.
c. How do we receive the benefit of Christ’s death for our sins? Acts 16:31; 1 John 1:9.
“The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.”—Steps to Christ, p. 37.
“Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against sin. Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own sinfulness, is an evidence that His Spirit is moving upon our hearts.”—Ibid., p.26.
3. SAVED FROM EVIL WITHIN
a. Being saved includes not only forgiveness, but what else? Titus 2:11–14; Galatians 2:20.
“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. . . . Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.”—Steps to Christ, p. 18.
b. What does the power of God do within the converted Christian? Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20, 21.
“The law is an expression of the thought of God; when received in Christ, it becomes our thought. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 308.
“As we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for good. Ever learning of the divine Teacher, daily partaking of His nature, we cooperate with God in overcoming Satan’s temptations.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 943.
c. What should be our constant prayer? Psalm 139:23, 24.
“No man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 159.
4. SPIRITUAL WARFARE
a. What inward battle must be fought every day? Proverbs 16:32; Ephesians 6:11.
“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought.”—Steps to Christ, p. 43.
“The cross stands as a pledge that not one need be lost, that abundant help is provided for every soul.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 96.
b. What will be the final step in the salvation of the righteous? Hebrews 9:28; 1 Corinthians 15:51–54.
“Though [those who sleep in Jesus] may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured in this mortal life, yet in their resurrected and glorified body their individual identity will be perfectly preserved, and we shall recognize, in the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, the lineaments of those we love.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 219.
“The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye’ (1 Corinthians 15:52). At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air.”—The Great Controversy, p. 645.
c. When will the warfare be finally over? 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.
“Nearest the throne [of Christ in the New Jerusalem] are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands’ (Revelation 7:9). Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.”—Ibid., p.665.
5. THE HAND THAT KNOCKS
a. What invitation does Jesus extend to every soul today? John 7:37, 38; Revelation 22:17.
“The same divine mind that is working upon the things of nature is speaking to the hearts of men and creating an inexpressible craving for something they have not. The things of the world cannot satisfy their longing. The Spirit of God is pleading with them to seek for those things that alone can give peace and rest—the grace of Christ, the joy of holiness. Through influences seen and unseen, our Saviour is constantly at work to attract the minds of men from the unsatisfying pleasures of sin to the infinite blessings that may be theirs in Him. To all these souls, who are vainly seeking to drink from the broken cisterns of this world, the divine message is addressed, [Revelation 22:17 quoted].
“You who in heart long for something better than this world can give, recognize this longing as the voice of God to your soul.”—Steps to Christ, p. 28.
b. What should we remember about the hand that knocks on our heart’s door? Revelation 3:20; Zechariah 13:6.
“We must gather about the cross. Christ and Him crucified should be the theme of contemplation, of conversation, and of our most joyful emotion. We should keep in our thoughts every blessing we receive from God, and when we realize His great love we should be willing to trust everything to the hand that was nailed to the cross for us.”—Ibid., pp.103, 104.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How has God demonstrated His love to you?
2. What is the significance of Christ’s death for every human being?
3. How does salvation go beyond the mere forgiveness of past sins?
4. What will be the final step in completing the work of salvation?
5. What makes today the best day to respond to Jesus’ knock on your heart’s door?