1. OUR ONLY HOPE
a. What should we learn from Paul’s focus, especially when sharing unpopular truth with others? 2 Corinthians 4:5; Galatians 3:19–22.
“To the Gentiles, [Paul] preached Christ as their only hope of salvation but did not at first have anything definite to say upon the law. But after their hearts were warmed with the presentation of Christ as the gift of God to our world, and what was comprehended in the work of the Redeemer in the costly sacrifice to manifest the love of God to man, in the most eloquent simplicity he showed that love for all mankind—Jew and Gentile—that they might be saved by surrendering their hearts to Him. Thus when, melted and subdued, they gave themselves to the Lord, he presented the law of God as the test of their obedience. This was the manner of working—adapting his methods to win souls. Had he been abrupt and unskillful in handling the Word, he would not have reached either Jew or Gentile.
“He led the Gentiles along to view the stupendous truths of the love of God. . . . The question was asked why such an immense sacrifice was required, and then he went back to the types, and down through the Old Testament Scripture, revealing Christ in the law, and they were converted to Christ and to the law.”—The Southern Work, p. 77.
2. BEING BROUGHT TO CHRIST
a. To what is the law compared in relation to Christ and our great need of Him? Galatians 3:23–26; John 15:5.
“As the sinner looks into the great moral looking glass, he sees his defects of character. He sees himself just as he is, spotted, defiled, and condemned. But he knows that the law cannot in any way remove the guilt or pardon the transgressor. He must go farther than this. The law is but the schoolmaster to bring him to Christ. He must look to his sin-bearing Saviour. And as Christ is revealed to him upon the cross of Calvary, dying beneath the weight of the sins of the whole world, the Holy Spirit shows him the attitude of God to all who repent of their transgressions. [John 3:16 quoted.]”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 213.
“I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments.”—Ibid., p. 233.
“Through Christ, and Christ alone, the springs of life can vitalize man’s nature, transform his tastes, and set his affections flowing toward heaven.”—Ibid., p. 341.
“[Galatians 3:24 quoted.] In this scripture, the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking especially of the moral law. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ, and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .
“The law of ten commandments is not to be looked upon as much from the prohibitory side as from the mercy side. Its prohibitions are the sure guarantee of happiness in obedience. As received in Christ, it works in us the purity of character that will bring joy to us through eternal ages. To the obedient it is a wall of protection. We behold in it the goodness of God, who by revealing to men the immutable principles of righteousness seeks to shield them from the evils that result from transgression. . . .
“The law is an expression of God’s idea. When we receive it in Christ, it becomes our idea. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1110.
b. How is our pledge to Christ through baptism designed to confirm a transformation in our lives? Galatians 3:27; Romans 13:14.
3. BLENDING IN HARMONY
a. Name one key aspect of Christ’s true followers. Galatians 3:28.
“Whoever of the human family give themselves to Christ, whoever hear the truth and obey it, become children of one family. The ignorant and the wise, the rich and the poor, the heathen and the slave, white or black—Jesus paid the purchase money for their souls. If they believe on Him, His cleansing blood is applied to them. The black man’s name is written in the book of life beside the white man’s. All are one in Christ. Birth, station, nationality, or color cannot elevate or degrade men. The character makes the man. If a red man [American Indian], a Chinese, or an African gives his heart to God, in obedience and faith, Jesus loves him none the less for his color. He calls him His well-beloved brother.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 342.
“As the children of God are one in Christ, how does Jesus look upon caste, upon society distinctions, upon the division of man from his fellow man, because of color, race, position, wealth, birth, or attainments? The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ.”—Ibid., bk. 1, p. 259.
b. Explain our Christian duty as disparities exist in society. Ephesians 6:5–9.
“Christ and His mission have been misrepresented and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 403.
“There is no person, no nation, that is perfect in every habit and thought. One must learn of another. Therefore God wants the different nationalities to mingle together, to be one in judgment, one in purpose. Then the union that there is in Christ will be exemplified. . . .
“Look to Jesus, brethren; copy His manners and spirit, and you will have no trouble in reaching these different classes.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 180, 181.
“Christianity makes a strong bond of union between master and slave, king and subject, the gospel minister and the degraded sinner who has found in Christ cleansing from sin. They have been washed in the same blood, quickened by the same Spirit; and they are made one in Christ Jesus.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 460.
4. PURITY OF FAITH IN HIS SACRIFICE
a. Explain the privilege of adoption into God’s family. Galatians 3:29; 4:1–7. How does this happen? John 1:12, 13.
“Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.”—Steps to Christ, p. 52.
“How wonderful is the plan of redemption in its simplicity and fullness. It not only provides for the full pardon of the sinner but also for the restoration of the transgressor, making a way whereby he may be accepted as a son of God. Through obedience he may be the possessor of love and peace and joy. His faith may unite him in his weakness to Christ, the source of divine strength, and through the merits of Christ he may find the approval of God, because Christ has satisfied the demands of the law, and He imputes His righteousness to the penitent, believing soul.”—That I May Know Him, p. 96.
b. Due to the evil of pride in our human nature, what new ordinance did Christ give His church—yet how did the Galatians instead show a failure even to appreciate His crucifixion? John 13:14; Galatians 4:8–10.
“This ordinance [of humility] does not speak so largely to man’s intellectual capacity as to his heart. His moral and spiritual nature needs it. If His disciples had not needed this, it would not have been left for them as Christ’s last established ordinance in connection with, and including, the last supper. It was Christ’s desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed—that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, pp. 1139, 1140.
“In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the faith of the gospel. Christ, the true foundation, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism.” —Sketches From the Life of Paul, p. 190.
5. A LABOR OF LOVE
a. What can we all learn from Paul’s tender appeals? Galatians 4:11–18.
“To deal wisely with different classes of minds, under varied circumstances and conditions, is a work requiring wisdom and judgment, enlightened and sanctified by the Spirit of God. The minister of Christ should learn the importance of adapting his labors to the condition of those whom he seeks to benefit. Tenderness, patience, decision, and firmness are alike needful; but they are to be exercised with proper discrimination. It is only by maintaining a close connection with God that his servants can hope to meet judiciously the trials and difficulties that still arise in the churches.
“Paul had presented to the Galatians the gospel of Christ in its purity. His teachings were in harmony with the Scriptures; and the Holy Spirit had witnessed to his labors. Hence he warned his brethren to listen to nothing that should contradict the truth which they had been taught. ”—Sketches From the Life of Paul, p. 190.
b. How do the law and the gospel merged give hope? Galatians 4:19–21.
“No one who believes in Jesus Christ is under bondage to the law of God; for His law is a law of life, not of death, to those who obey its precepts. All who comprehend the spirituality of the law, all who realize its power as a detector of sin, are in just as helpless a condition as is Satan himself, unless they accept the atonement provided for them in the remedial sacrifice of Jesus Christ. . . . Through faith in Christ obedience to every principle of the law is made possible.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, p. 98.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why is it vital to share Christ when talking about God’s moral law?
2. How do those who reject either Christ or the law hurt their own selves?
3. How can I better promote the oneness of Christ with those unlike me?
4. What is wrong when Christians perpetuate the Jewish rituals today?
5. How can I be more like Paul in my approach to soul-winning?