1. THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION REVEALED
a. What promise of redemption did God give to Adam and Eve? Genesis 3:15; Galatians 3:16.
“Adam and his companion were assured that notwithstanding their great sin, they were not to be abandoned to the control of Satan. The Son of God had offered to atone, with His own life, for their transgression. A period of probation would be granted them, and through repentance and faith in Christ they might again become the children of God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 66.
a. What converting grace does the promise of redemption include and why is it necessary? Galatians 3:14; John 3:5.
“It is the grace that Christ implants in the soul which creates in man enmity against Satan. Without this converting grace and renewing power, man would continue the captive of Satan, a servant ever ready to do his bidding. But the new principle in the soul creates conflict where hitherto had been peace. The power which Christ imparts enables man to resist the tyrant and usurper. Whoever is seen to abhor sin instead of loving it, whoever resists and conquers those passions that have held sway within, displays the operation of a principle wholly from above.”—The Great Controversy, p. 506.
2. ONLY ONE APPROVED PLAN
a. What is the essential element in the plan of redemption and what does it signify? Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 17:11.
“Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 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. But the great truth that was to be kept before men, and imprinted upon mind and heart, was this, ‘Without shedding of blood is no remission.’ Hebrews 9:22. 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.
b. What shows that Cain did not whole-heartedly accept the divine plan? Genesis 4:3–5.
“[Cain and Abel] knew that in these [sacrificial] offerings they were to express faith in the Saviour whom the offerings typified, and at the same time to acknowledge their total dependence on Him for pardon; and they knew that by thus conforming to the divine plan for their redemption, they were giving proof of their obedience to the will of God. Without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin; and they were to show their faith in the blood of Christ as the promised atonement by offering the firstlings of the flock in sacrifice. Besides this, the first fruits of the earth were to be presented before the Lord as a thank offering.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 71.
c. What did God tell Cain about the divine plan, and what did Cain’s response reveal about himself? Genesis 4:6–8.
“[Cain] thought that his own plans were best, and that the Lord would come to his terms. Cain in his offering did not acknowledge his dependence upon Christ. He thought that his father Adam had been treated harshly in being expelled from Eden. The idea of keeping that sin ever before the mind, and offering the blood of the slain lamb as a confession of entire dependence upon a power outside of himself, was torture to the high spirit of Cain.”—Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 77, 78.
3. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS FRUSTRATES GOD’S PLAN
a. What parable of Jesus illustrates the error of trusting in yourself for righteousness? Luke 18:9–14.
“The Pharisee goes up to the temple to worship, not because he feels that he is a sinner in need of pardon, but because he thinks himself righteous and hopes to win commendation. His worship he regards as an act of merit that will recommend him to God.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 150.
b. How does this attitude frustrate God’s grace and why? Galatians 2:21.
“The Pharisee and the publican represent two great classes into which those who come to worship God are divided. Their first two representatives are found in the first two children that were born into the world. Cain thought himself righteous, and he came to God with a thank offering only. He made no confession of sin, and acknowledged no need of mercy. But Abel came with the blood that pointed to the Lamb of God. He came as a sinner, confessing himself lost; his only hope was the unmerited love of God. The sense of need, the recognition of our poverty and sin, is the very first condition of acceptance with God.”—Ibid., p. 152.
c. How is this general attitude displayed in nearly every false religion? Romans 10:2, 3.
“The class of worshipers who follow the example of Cain includes by far the greater portion of the world; for nearly every false religion has been based on the same principle—that man can depend upon his own efforts for salvation. It is claimed by some that the human race is in need, not of redemption, but of development—that it can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. As Cain thought to secure the divine favor by an offering that lacked the blood of a sacrifice, so do these expect to exalt humanity to the divine standard, independent of the atonement. The history of Cain shows what must be the results. It shows what man will become apart from Christ. Humanity has no power to regenerate itself. It does not tend upward, toward the divine, but downward, toward the satanic.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 73.
4. THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF THE PLAN
a. What shows that the plan of redemption originated with God and not with man? 1 John 4:19.
b. In what simple terms does the apostle Paul describe the gift of redemption? Ephesians 2:8.
“The Lord saw our fallen condition; He saw our need of grace, and because He loved our souls, He has given us grace and peace. Grace means favor to one who is undeserving, to one who is lost. The fact that we are sinners, instead of shutting us away from the mercy and love of God, makes the exercise of His love to us a positive necessity in order that we may be saved.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 347.
c. What do the coats of skins provided by God to our first parents teach us about the promise of redemption? Genesis 3:21; Isaiah 61:10.
“It is God’s glory to encircle sinful, repentant human beings in the arms of His love, to bind up their wounds, to cleanse them from sin, and to clothe them with the garments of salvation.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 668.
“No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 311.
“Desponding soul, take courage, even though you have done wickedly. Do not think that perhaps God will pardon your transgressions and permit you to come into His presence. God has made the first advance. While you were in rebellion against Him, He went forth to seek you. With the tender heart of the shepherd He left the ninety and nine and went out into the wilderness to find that which was lost. The soul, bruised and wounded and ready to perish, He encircles in His arms of love and joyfully bears it to the fold of safety.”—Ibid., pp. 188, 189.
5. THE EXTENT OF GOD’S LOVE
a. How far does the reconciliation promised by God through Christ extend? John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
“Only as we contemplate the great plan of redemption can we have a just appreciation of the character of God. The work of creation was a manifestation of His love; but the gift of God to save the guilty and ruined race, alone reveals the infinite depths of divine tenderness and compassion. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ While the law of God is maintained, and its justice vindicated, the sinner can be pardoned. The dearest gift that heaven itself had to bestow has been poured out that God ‘might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’ By that gift men are uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin to become children of God. Says Paul: ‘Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 739.
b. How did Jesus impressively illustrate the love and concern of God for every single person? Matthew 18:11–14.
“Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep.
“Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died. The distress of every one touches His heart.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 479.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What would have happened if there was no promise of redemption?
2. How was the plan of redemption illustrated in the offering of sacrifices?
3. How does self-righteousness frustrate the plan of redemption?
4. How does God make the first advance in restoring us to His favour?
5. How intimately does God know each of us?