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The Church and Her Mission

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Lesson 8 Sabbath, May 21, 2016

The Righteousness of Christ

“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: . . . and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:8, 9).

“It is impossible for man to save himself. He may deceive himself in regard to this matter, but he cannot save himself. Christ’s righteousness alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 331.

Suggested Reading:   Faith and Works, pp. 15-27

Sunday May 15


a. What was the position given to Adam in Eden? Genesis 1:28.

“Adam was crowned king in Eden. To him was given dominion over every living thing that God had created. The Lord blessed Adam and Eve with intelligence such as He had not given to any other creature. He made Adam the rightful sovereign over all the works of His hands.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1082.

b. What test was given to Adam? Genesis 2:16, 17. What qualified humanity to pass this test? Genesis 1:26, 27.

“Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy.”—The Signs of the Times, October 25, 1905.

Monday May 16


a. What were some of the consequences of Adam’s disobedience? Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:4 (last part). What was God’s reaction? John 3:16.

“Adam’s disobedience to God’s commands brought the human family under the death penalty. ‘In Adam all die,’ and eternal death, not eternal life, is the final punishment of all who continue in transgression.”—The Signs of the Times, June 17, 1897.

“The moment the workmanship of God refused obedience to the laws of God’s kingdom, that moment he became disloyal to the government of God and he made himself entirely unworthy of all the blessings wherewith God had favored him. . . .

“And the reason why man was not annihilated was because God so loved him that He made the gift of His dear Son that He should suffer the penalty of his transgression. Christ proposed to become man’s surety and substitute, that man, through matchless grace, should have another trial—a second probation—having the experience of Adam and Eve as a warning not to transgress God’s law as they did.”—Faith and Works, p. 21.

b. How did Christ show that obedience to the law was still required after the Fall as a condition for obtaining eternal life? Luke 10:25–28; Matthew 19:16, 17.

“The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been—just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents—perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled.”—Steps to Christ, p. 62.

“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 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.

Tuesday May 17


a. While there was no change in the condition for eternal life after sin, what change took place in the nature of humanity, and what was the result? Ephesians 2:3; Romans 3:11, 12.

“Adam and Eve . . . were told that their nature had become depraved by sin; they had lessened their strength to resist evil and had opened the way for Satan to gain more ready access to them.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 61.

b. Did the posterity of Adam inherit his sinless nature or his fallen nature? Psalm 51:5. What became impossible for Adam’s descendants to do on their own, and why? Romans 3:23; Romans 8:7.

“It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God.”—Steps to Christ, p. 62.

c. In order to be counted righteous, what is written about those who think to rely upon their own works rather than on the merits of Christ? Galatians 3:10; Romans 9:31–33.

“He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. . . . The effort that man makes in his own strength to obtain salvation is represented by the offering of Cain. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin.”—Faith and Works, p. 94.

“The rabbis counted their righteousness a passport to heaven; but Jesus declared it to be insufficient and unworthy. External ceremonies and a theoretical knowledge of truth constituted Pharisaical righteousness. The rabbis claimed to be holy through their own efforts in keeping the law; but their works had divorced righteousness from religion. While they were punctilious in ritual observances, their lives were immoral and debased. Their so-called righteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 309.

Wednesday May 18


a. As humanity forfeited their right to eternal life, what did the Father decide to do? Galatians 4:4, 5. What position did Christ as the second Adam occupy when He became a man? 1 Corinthians 15:47.

“After the fall, Christ became Adam’s instructor. . . . In the fullness of time He was to be revealed in human form. He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.”—The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1901.

b. What did Christ have to do to secure eternal life for us? Matthew 5:17, 18. How did Jesus fulfill the law? 1 Peter 2:22.

“The law requires righteousness—a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God’s holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 762.

“In His life on earth, Christ developed a perfect character, He rendered perfect obedience to His Father’s commandments. In coming to the world in human form, in becoming subject to the law, in revealing to men that He bore their sickness, their sorrow, their guilt, He did not become a sinner. . . . Not one stain of sin was found upon Him. He stood before the world the spotless Lamb of God.”—The Youth’s Instructor, December 29, 1898.

c. After complying with the condition of eternal life in behalf of humanity, what gift from the Father does Christ offer to each person? Romans 6:23; 1 John 5:11.

“The Saviour of the world offers to the erring the gift of eternal life. He watches for a response to His offers of love and forgiveness with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, repenting, suffering son.”—The Signs of the Times, April 20, 1876.

Thursday May 19


a. As Adam’s disobedience made us sinners, by whose obedience shall we be made righteous? Romans 5:17–19. When by faith we take hold of Christ’s righteousness, how do we appear in God’s eyes? Romans 3:28.

“We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”—Steps to Christ, p. 62.

b. When a penitent believer is accounted righteous, what hope does he or she have, even upon death? John 3:16 (last part); Titus 3:7; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.

“By faith [the sinner] can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 367.

Friday May 20


1. What was the condition of eternal life before and after the Fall?

2. Because of sin, what change took place in the nature of humans?

3. Why will those who seek to be righteous through law-keeping be cursed?

4. What do you understand by the expression “Christ our righteousness”?

5. If a person who is accounted righteous through faith in the righteousness of Christ happens to die, what is his or her hope?

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