1. FORGIVEN BY FAITH
a. What is justification, and why is it essential? Matthew 9:2; Romans 5:1.
“Pardon and justification are one and the same thing. Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption. The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are borne by his Substitute and Surety.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1070.
“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 456.
b. What is the hope of those who are justified by faith? Romans 5:2.
“Abundant grace has been provided that the believing soul may be kept free from sin; for all heaven, with its limitless resources, has been placed at our command. We are to draw from the well of salvation.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 394.
2. THE PURPOSE OF TRIBULATION
a. Why does God allow tribulation to come upon His people? Romans 5:3, 4; 2 Thessalonians 1:4.
“When [God] permits trials and afflictions, it is ‘for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.’ Hebrews 12:10. If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him!
“The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 10.
b. How is God’s law written in our hearts after justification? Romans 5:5 (compare with Hebrews 8:10). What will be seen in our life? Matthew 6:33.
“The acceptance of Christ gives value to the human being. His sacrifice carries life and light to all who take Christ as their personal Saviour. The love of God through Jesus Christ is shed abroad in the heart of every member of His body, carrying with it the vitality of the law of God the Father. Thus God may dwell with man, and man may dwell with God.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 299, 300.
“Christ’s kingdom should be superior to every other interest. The law of God written in our hearts will subordinate our own interests to those that are higher and eternal.”—The Bible Echo, December 9, 1895.
c. How does God demonstrate in fullness His love for us? Romans 5:7, 8.
“Having made us righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ, God pronounces us just, and treats us as just.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 394.
3. RECONCILED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
a. How does Jesus deliver us from the wrath of the law against sinners? Romans 4:15; 5:9.
“God calls for faith in Christ as our atoning sacrifice. His blood is the only remedy for sin.
“It is not God’s will that you should be distrustful, and torture your soul with the fear that God will not accept you because you are sinful and unworthy. . . . You can say: ‘I know I am a sinner, and that is the reason I need a Saviour. . . . I have no merit or goodness whereby I may claim salvation, but I present before God the all-atoning blood of the spotless Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is my only plea.’ ”—The Faith I Live By, p. 102.
“The Lord God through Jesus Christ holds out His hand all the day long in invitation to the sinful and fallen. He will receive all. He welcomes all. It is His glory to pardon the chief of sinners. He will take the prey from the mighty, He will deliver the captive, He will pluck the brand from the burning. He will lower the golden chain of His mercy to the lowest depths of human wretchedness, and lift up the debased soul contaminated with sin.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 161.
“Every revelation of God to the soul increases the capacity to know and to love. The continual cry of the heart is, ‘More of Thee,’ and ever the Spirit’s answer is, ‘Much more.’ ”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 20.
b. How does the Lord make our reconciliation with Him possible? Romans 5:10, 11; Ephesians 2:13, 14, 16.
“As you see the enormity of sin, as you see yourself as you really are, do not give up to despair. It was sinners that Christ came to save. We have not to reconcile God to us, but—O wondrous love!—God in Christ is ‘reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 2 Corinthians 5:19. He is wooing by His tender love the hearts of His erring children. No earthly parent could be as patient with the faults and mistakes of his children, as is God with those He seeks to save. No one could plead more tenderly with the transgressor. No human lips ever poured out more tender entreaties to the wanderer than does He. All His promises, His warnings, are but the breathing of unutterable love.”—Steps to Christ, p. 35.
4. THE TWO ADAMS
a. How does Paul compare the first Adam with the second? Romans 5:12–14; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45–47.
“Satan tempted the first Adam in Eden, and Adam reasoned with the enemy, thus giving him the advantage. Satan exercised his power of hypnotism over Adam and Eve, and this power he strove to exercise over Christ. But after the word of Scripture was quoted, Satan knew that he had no chance of triumphing.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 713.
“Not only man but the earth had by sin come under the power of the wicked one, and was to be restored by the plan of redemption. At his creation Adam was placed in dominion over the earth. But by yielding to temptation, he was brought under the power of Satan. ‘Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.’
2 Peter 2:19. When man became Satan’s captive, the dominion which he held, passed to his conqueror. Thus Satan became ‘the god of this world.’ 2 Corinthians 4:4. He had usurped that dominion over the earth which had been originally given to Adam. But Christ, by His sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited. All that was lost by the first Adam will be restored by the second.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67.
b. Whose righteousness justifies all repentant sinners? Romans 5:15–18.
“After Adam and Eve brought death into the world by their disobedience, a costly sacrifice was provided for the human race. A higher value than that they originally possessed was placed upon them. By giving Christ, His only-begotten Son, as a ransom for the world, God gave all heaven.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 299.
c. What does Paul confirm about our previous condition—and the only way we can be made righteous in God’s sight? Romans 5:19.
“Only the blood of Christ can atone for us; His grace alone can create in us a clean heart, and enable us to obey God’s law. In Him is our only hope.”—The Signs of the Times, February 9, 1891.
5. ABUNDANT GRACE
a. Regardless of how overwhelmed we may feel about the depth of our sins, what hope are we privileged to grasp? Romans 5:20.
“The work of redemption will be complete. In the place where sin abounded, God’s grace much more abounds. The earth itself, the very field that Satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, where the Son of God tabernacled in humanity; where the King of glory lived and suffered and died—here, when He shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men, ‘and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.’ And through endless ages as the redeemed walk in the light of the Lord, they will praise Him for His unspeakable Gift—Immanuel, ‘God with us.’ ”—The Desire of Ages, p. 26.
“Through the love of God the treasures of the grace of Christ have been laid open before the church and the world. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ [John 3:16]. What marvelous, unfathomable love, which led Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners! And what a loss the soul suffers who, understanding the strong claims of the law, fails to acknowledge that where sin abounds, the grace of Christ does much more abound!”—Gospel Workers, p. 157.
b. What will be our final reward of grace? Romans 5:21.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why does justification matter?
2. Why does every one of us need to face custom-tailored tribulations?
3. In a worried, troubled world, how does the gospel of Christ bring hope?
4. Compare and contrast the two Adams.
5. What do I need to remember when plagued with a guilty conscience?