1. CHANGED BY THE SPIRIT
a. What part does the Holy Spirit play in making us like Christ? 2 Corinthians 3:18.
“Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. When we take Him as our personal Saviour, this gives us boldness to approach the throne of grace. By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character. By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1098.
b. What does Jesus do for us by the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 6:11.
“The absence of devotion, piety, and sanctification of the outer man comes through denying Jesus Christ our righteousness. The love of God needs to be constantly cultivated.”—The Faith and Works, p. 15.
2. CONVICTING THE SOUL OF SIN
a. In what ways does the Holy Spirit convict the soul? John 16:8–10.
“The heart is touched and made contrite. The penitential confession clears the moral atmosphere of the soul, and awakens holy principles. The subduing grace of Christ comes into the heart. . . . Sins are seen in the light in which God views them. They are confessed, they are forgiven.”—The Review and Herald, June 28, 1898.
b. What is the godly response to reproof? Acts 2:37; Proverbs 9:8.
“Those who are reproved by the Spirit of God should not rise up against the humble instrument. It is God, and not an erring mortal, who has spoken to save them from ruin.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 257.
“It is not pleasing to human nature to receive reproof, nor is it possible for the heart of man, unenlightened by the Spirit of God, to realize the necessity of reproof or the blessing it is designed to bring. As man yields to temptation, and indulges in sin, his mind becomes darkened. The moral sense is perverted. The warnings of conscience are disregarded, and its voice is less clearly heard. He gradually loses the power to distinguish between right and wrong, until he has no true sense of his standing before God. . . . God has given sufficient evidence, so that all who desire to do so may satisfy themselves as to the character of the Testimonies; and, having acknowledged them to be from God, it is their duty to accept reproof, even though they do not themselves see the sinfulness of their course. If they fully realized their condition, what would be the need of reproof? Because they know it not, God mercifully sets it before them, so that they may repent and reform before it shall be too late.”—Ibid., vol.5, p. 682.
c. As we are reproved of sin in our life and desire to change, what should we remember? Isaiah 55:7; Hosea 6:1; 1 John 1:9.
“Whoever under the reproof of God will humble the soul with confession and repentance, as did David, may be sure that there is hope for him. Whoever will in faith accept God’s promises, will find pardon. The Lord will never cast away one truly repentant soul.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 726.
3. CREATING THE NEW HEART
a. What creative work is the Holy Spirit doing in every person? John 16:8, 9; 12:32.
“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.”—Steps to Christ, p. 28.
b. What is the spiritual condition of the natural heart? Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23.
“No man can of himself understand his errors. . . . In one way only can a true knowledge of self be obtained. We must behold Christ. It is ignorance of Him that makes men so uplifted in their own righteousness. When we contemplate His purity and excellence, we shall see our own weakness and poverty and defects as they really are. We shall see ourselves lost and hopeless, clad in garments of self-righteousness, like every other sinner. We shall see that if we are ever saved, it will not be through our own goodness, but through God’s infinite grace.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 159.
c. What does God desire to do for us as we see the true condition of our heart? Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26.
“Will you let Him reason with you? Will you commit to Him the keeping of your soul as unto a faithful Creator? Come then, and let us live in the light of His countenance, and pray, as did David, ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow’ (Psalm 51:7). By faith apply the blood of Christ to your heart, for that alone can make you whiter than snow. But you say, ‘This surrender of all my idols will break my heart.’ This giving up of all for God is represented by your falling upon the Rock and being broken. Then give up all for Him; for unless you are broken, you are worthless.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 330.
4. WALKING AFTER THE SPIRIT
a. How is it possible to live a victorious life? Romans 8:1–4; Galatians 5:16.
“Our future eternal happiness depends upon having our humanity, with all its capabilities and powers, brought into obedience to God and placed under the control of Divinity. . . .
“Through the moral power Christ has brought to man, we may give thanks unto God who hath made us meet for the inheritance with the saints in light. Through Jesus Christ every man may overcome in his own behalf and on his own account, standing in his own individuality of character.”—That I May Know Him, p. 291.
b. How will the Christian live while under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Galatians 2:20.
“He who loves Christ the most will do the greatest amount of good. There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God. If men will endure the necessary discipline, without complaining or fainting by the way, God will teach them hour by hour, and day by day. He longs to reveal His grace. If His people will remove the obstructions, He will pour forth the waters of salvation in abundant streams through the human channels.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 250, 251.
c. What is the essential agent the Spirit uses to purify our life? 1 Peter 1:22, 23.
“The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character. Christ prayed, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.’ John 17:17. If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in body, soul, and spirit to His own image. Then God can use us to do His will. The power given us works from within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the truth that has been communicated to us.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 100.
5. CHANGED HEARTS, CHANGED LIVES
a. What change will be evident in the life of the converted person? How does the Holy Spirit influence the actions? Romans 8:13, 14; Ezekiel 36:27.
“Though we cannot see the Spirit of God, we know that men who have been dead in trespasses and sins, become convicted and converted under its operations. The thoughtless and wayward become serious. The hardened repent of their sins, and the faithless believe. The gambler, the drunkard, the licentious, become steady, sober, and pure. The rebellious and obstinate become meek and Christlike. When we see these changes in the character, we may be assured that the converting power of God has transformed the entire man. We saw not the Holy Spirit, but we saw the evidence of its work on the changed character of those who were hardened and obdurate sinners.”—Evangelism, p. 288.
b. What step does God desire us to take to show that we have accepted the new heart He has offered to us? Acts 2:38; 22:16.
“Man was brought again into favor with God by the washing of regeneration. The washing was the burial with Christ in the water in the likeness of His death, representing that all who repent of the transgression of the law of God receive purification, cleansing, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Baptism represents true conversion by the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 143.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When only can we give a true representation of God to others?
2. Why do we need reproof? If our heart is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, how will we react toward reproof?
3. What will happen to us as we behold Christ, in His purity and excellence?
4. What happens to us when our mind is renewed by the Holy Spirit?
5. How do we know that the Holy Spirit has been at work in someone’s life?