1. DIVINE TRIBUNAL
a. Who will be judged at the divine tribunal? 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:12; Daniel 7:9, 10.
“Thus was presented to the prophet’s vision the great and solemn day when the characters and the lives of men should pass in review before the Judge of all the earth, and to every man should be rendered ‘according to his works.’ The Ancient of Days is God the Father. Says the psalmist: ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.’ Psalm 90:2. It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment.”—The Great Controversy, p. 479.
“[Paul] declared that there would surely come a day of judgment when all would be rewarded according to the deeds done in the body, and when it would be plainly revealed that wealth, position, or titles are powerless to gain for man the favor of God or to deliver him from the results of sin. He showed that this life is man’s time of preparation for the future life. Should he neglect present privileges and opportunities he would suffer an eternal loss; no new probation would be given him.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 424.
2. ACQUITTED IN THE JUDGMENT
a. Who will be judged first? 1 Peter 4:17, 18.
b. How can we be acquitted in the judgment? John 3:16, 17; 5:24; Romans 8:1.
“All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life. The Lord declares, by the prophet Isaiah: ‘I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.’ Isaiah 43:25. Said Jesus: ‘He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels’ [Revelation 3:5].”—The Great Controversy, p. 483.
c. What are the main conditions for someone to be acquitted? Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9; Acts 3:19.
“It is true that there must be repentance before there is pardon; but the sinner must come to Christ before he can find repentance. It is the virtue of Christ that strengthens and enlightens the soul, so, that repentance may be godly and acceptable. Peter has made this matter clear where he says of Christ, ‘Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’ Repentance is as certainly a gift of Jesus Christ as is forgiveness of sins. Repentance cannot be experienced without Christ; for it is the repentance of which He is the author that is the ground upon which we may apply for pardon. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that men are led to repentance. It is from Christ that the grace of contrition comes, as well as the gift of pardon, and repentance as well as forgiveness of sins is procured only through the atoning blood of Christ. Those whom God pardons He first makes penitent.”—The Youth’s Instructor, December 6, 1894.
3. NEW BIRTH
a. What message did Jesus address to a religious leader? John 3:3–5. When and how is the sinner born again? John 1:12, 13.
“When truth becomes an abiding principle in the life, the soul is ‘born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.’ This new birth is the result of receiving Christ as the Word of God. When by the Holy Spirit divine truths are impressed upon the heart, new conceptions are awakened, and the energies hitherto dormant are aroused to cooperate with God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 520.
b. When should the experience of new birth and death to sin occur? 1 Corinthians 15:31.
“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. I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels.”—Early Writings, p. 67.
c. What happens when a person is born again? 2 Corinthians 5:14–17.
“The ransom paid by Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all men; but it will avail for only those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, loyal subjects of God’s everlasting kingdom. His suffering will not shield from punishment the unrepenting, disloyal sinner.
“Christ’s work was to restore man to his original state, to heal him, through divine power, from the wounds and bruises made by sin. Man’s part is to lay hold by faith of the merits of Christ, and cooperate with the divine agencies in forming a righteous character; so that God may save the sinner, and yet be just and His righteous law vindicated.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 430.
4. MINISTERS OF RECONCILIATION
a. How can we be reconciled to God? Ephesians 2:11–13, 16; Hebrews 2:17, 18.
“Step away from Satan’s voice and from acting his will, and stand by the side of Jesus, possessing his attributes, the possessor of keen and tender sensibilities, who can make the cause of afflicted, suffering ones his own. The man who has had much forgiven will love much. Jesus is a compassionate intercessor, a merciful and faithful high priest. He, the Majesty of heaven—the King of glory—can look upon finite man, subject to the temptations of Satan, knowing that he has felt the power of Satan’s wiles.”—Christian Education, p. 160.
b. Being born again and reconciled with God, what we do become? 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19.
“Both ministers and laymen should be Bible students, and understand how to act in regard to the erring.”—The Review and Herald, January 3, 1893.
“The merciful are ‘partakers of the divine nature,’ and in them the compassionate love of God finds expression. All whose hearts are in sympathy with the heart of Infinite Love will seek to reclaim and not to condemn. Christ dwelling in the soul is a spring that never runs dry. Where He abides, there will be an overflowing of beneficence.
“To the appeal of the erring, the tempted, the wretched victims of want and sin, the Christian does not ask, Are they worthy? but, How can I benefit them? In the most wretched, the most debased, he sees souls whom Christ died to save and for whom God has given to His children the ministry of reconciliation.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 22.
“By their indifference many church members have grieved the Holy Spirit of God. In Christ’s stead they are to beseech others to become reconciled to God. Heavenly agencies stand ready to cooperate with those who engage in the work of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is waiting to unite in sympathy with every true believer, and to make him a laborer together with God. Let no means be neglected that will advance the work to be done. There must be no self-exaltation, and far more prayer.”—The Paulson Collection, p. 118.
a. Being made ministers of reconciliation, what mission do we receive from the Lord? 2 Corinthians 5:20.
“The Lord sends forth His ambassadors with a message of salvation, and those who hear He will hold responsible for the way in which they treat the words of His servants.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 232.
“Since His ascension Christ has carried forward His work on the earth by chosen ambassadors, through whom He speaks to the children of men and ministers to their needs. The great Head of the church superintends His work through the instrumentality of men ordained by God to act as His representatives.
“The position of those who have been called of God to labor in word and doctrine for the upbuilding of His church, is one of grave responsibility. In Christ’s stead they are to beseech men and women to be reconciled to God, and they can fulfill their mission only as they receive wisdom and power from above.”—Ibid., p. 360.
b. How can Christ’s ambassadors be successful in their mission? Acts 1:8.
“Since this is the means by which we are to receive power, why do we not hunger and thirst for the gift of the Spirit? Why do we not talk of it, pray for it, and preach concerning it? The Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who serve Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. For the daily baptism of the Spirit every worker should offer his petition to God. Companies of Christian workers should gather to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely. . . . The presence of the Spirit with God’s workers will give the proclamation of truth a power that not all the honor or glory of the world could give.”—Ibid., pp. 50, 51.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What do I need to keep in mind about the thoughts and actions I choose?
2. How, when, and why should I seriously seek God’s acceptance?
3. What happens to the thinking process of the born-again believer?
4. Upon reconciliation with God, what is my calling?
5. As Christ’s ambassadors, for what should each of us earnestly pray?