1. GOD’S POWER IN JUSTIFICATION
a. What happens when a repentant sinner is justified? Matthew 6:12; John 1:12, 13.
“There is forgiveness for the penitent; for Christ is ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29. God’s promise is: ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ ‘A new heart also will I give you. . . . And I will put My Spirit within you.’ Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 8.
“God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.”—Ibid., p. 114.
“Those who receive Christ as a sin-pardoning Saviour are clothed with His garments of light. He takes away their sin and imparts to them His righteousness. Their joy is full. . . .
“He who is truly converted will be so filled with the love of God that he will long to impart to others the joy that he himself possesses.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, p. 212.
2. DEAD TO SIN, ALIVE TO CHRIST
a. After being justified by faith, are we free to live in sin? Romans 6:1, 2.
“By faithful obedience to the truth they are to make their calling and election sure.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1115.
b. What does baptism actually symbolize? Romans 6:3–5.
“The resurrection of Christ is commemorated by our being buried with Him by baptism, and raised out of the watery grave, in likeness of His resurrection, to live in newness of life.”—Early Writings, p. 217.
“All who are sons or daughters of God will deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. All who take their position on the Lord’s side will, as branches of the True Vine, receive nourishment, and will be stimulated by the vine to bear like fruit. They will be in cooperation with God, according to their ability exercising themselves unto godliness by walking in newness of life, which is daily repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”—The Review and Herald, February 23, 1897.
c. When does the believer die to sin? 2 Corinthians 5:14; Romans 6:6. How can he/she keep this experience? Romans 6:11–13; 1 Corinthians 15:31.
“Paul’s sanctification was the result of a constant conflict with self. He said: ‘I die daily.’ 1 Corinthians 15:31. His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however crucifying to his own nature.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 313.
“As you arose from the watery grave at the time of your baptism, you professed to be dead, and declared that your life was changed—hid with Christ in God. You claimed to be dead to sin, and cleansed from your hereditary and cultivated traits of evil. In going forward in the rite of baptism, you pledged yourselves before God to remain dead to sin. Your mouth was to remain a sanctified mouth, your tongue a converted tongue. You were to speak of God’s goodness, and to praise His holy name. Thus you were to be a great help and blessing to the church.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 908.
3. VICTORY ASSURED
a. What is involved in the death to sin and self? Romans 6:15–18; Colossians 3:1–5; 8–10.
b. Where should our affections be centered? Colossians 3:2; Hebrews 12:2.
“Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering. We must deny self all along the way, die to self daily, let Jesus alone appear, and keep His glory continually in view. ”—Early Writings, p. 67.
“If those who today are teaching the word of God, would uplift the cross of Christ higher and still higher, their ministry would be far more successful. If sinners can be led to give one earnest look at the cross, if they can obtain a full view of the crucified Saviour, they will realize the depth of God’s compassion and the sinfulness of sin.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 209.
c. What assurance is given that we can indeed overcome sin in the strength of Jesus? Romans 6:14; 1 John 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:57.
“In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome. It is not His will that we should be placed at a disadvantage in the conflict with Satan. He would not have us intimidated and discouraged by the assaults of the serpent. ‘Be of good cheer,’ He says; ‘I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33.
“Let him who is struggling against the power of appetite look to the Saviour in the wilderness of temptation. See Him in His agony upon the cross, as He exclaimed, ‘I thirst.’ He has endured all that it is possible for us to bear. His victory is ours.
“Jesus rested upon the wisdom and strength of His heavenly Father. He declares, ‘The Lord God will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded.’ Isaiah 50:7.”— The Desire of Ages, pp. 122, 123.
4. SLAVES OF SIN VS. SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
a. How can we overcome as Christ did? 2 Peter 1:4.
“ ‘The prince of this world cometh,’ said Jesus, ‘and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 123.
“Shall we not accept the enmity which Christ has placed between man and the serpent?”—That I May Know Him, p. 16.
b. How does Paul describe the human condition when separated from God? Ephesians 2:1–3; Romans 6:20, 21. But what happens when we surrender to Christ? Romans 6:19, 22, 23.
“Satan works in the children of disobedience, not merely having access to their minds, but working through their influence, conscious and unconscious, to draw others into the same disobedience.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 94.
“When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not cooperate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 324.
5. THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
a. What is promised to those who persevere in believing in Christ? Colossians 1:21–23; Romans 6:23 (second part).
“When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, working obedience unto righteousness, angels of God work in our hearts unto righteousness.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 94.
b. How did Christ define eternal life in His intercessory prayer—and upon what condition is eternal life possible? John 17:3; 1 John 5:12, 13, 20.
“[John 17:3 quoted.] These words mean much. It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. The Sent of God calls upon all to listen to these words. They are the words of God, and all should give heed to them; for by them they will be judged. To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practice His words. Without this, all else is valueless.”—The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898.
“A knowledge of God will constitute a kind of knowledge that will be as enduring as eternity.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 392.
“While we know Christ in one sense, that He is the Saviour of the world, it means more than this. We must have a personal knowledge and experience in Christ Jesus, an experimental knowledge of Christ, what He is to us, and what we are to Christ. That is the experience that everyone wants. Now, I cannot have it for any of you, nor can you have it for me. The work that is to be done for us, is to be through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God upon human minds and human hearts. The heart must be purified and sanctified.”—This Day With God, p. 213.
“To know God is to love Him.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 22.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. As the Creator creates in me a new heart, what happens to my priorities?
2. With a new heart, what happens to the way I speak?
3. What happens as I continue to set my affections on Christ?
4. Without Christ, what is my human nature like—and what changes when I fully surrender my will to Christ?
5. Why is it so important for me to know Jesus as my Friend and Saviour?