1. THE LAW
a. How is the law on marriage defined? Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:1–3.
b. What is the difference between genuine ignorance of God’s will vs. scoffing at revealed light from Heaven? Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:3–6, 11, 14.
“ ‘If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.’ ”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 116.
“He who refuses to seek for life, who will not search the Scriptures to see what is truth, lest he should be condemned in his practices, will be left to blindness of mind and to the deceptions of Satan.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 313.
c. Why is willful ignorance so dangerous? John 15:22; 5:40.
“Those who deliberately place themselves where they will not have an opportunity of hearing the truth, will be reckoned among those who have heard the truth, and persistently resisted its evidences.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1145.
“Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth, and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear, they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected.”—The Review and Herald, April 25, 1893.
a. In a literal marriage, why is the woman to remain in a marriage even with an unbelieving husband (or vice versa, and as long as it is not a dangerously abusive relationship)? 1 Corinthians 7:13, 14; 1 Peter 3:1.
“If the wife is an unbeliever and an opposer, the husband cannot, in view of the law of God, put her away on this ground alone. In order to be in harmony with the law of Jehovah, he must abide with her unless she chooses of herself to depart. He may suffer opposition and be oppressed and annoyed in many ways; he will find his comfort and his strength and support from God, who is able to give grace for every emergency. He should be a man of pure mind, of truly decided, firm principles, and God will give him wisdom in regard to the course which he should pursue. Impulse will not control his reason, but reason will hold the lines of control in her firm hand, that lust shall be held under bit and bridle.”—The Adventist Home, pp. 344, 345.
b. How does the apostle Paul move from a literal to a spiritual representation—and whom does the wife symbolize? Romans 7:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 11:2.
“They [church members] must not put on their citizen’s dress, but the wedding garment. They have been married to Christ, and the robe of His righteousness is to clothe them. The church is the bride of Christ, and her members are to yoke up with their Leader. God warns us not to defile our garments.”—The Gospel Herald, May 28, 1902.
“Our affections are to flow in but one direction, in order that our obligations as servants of Christ be not violated. The badge of the world will never designate us as the children of God, loyal subjects of His kingdom. When Jesus came, He found sins, worldliness, and dissension in the church; but it was His work to reverse this order of things. He would have His church in the world, but not of it. He said, ‘Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.’ The church was to be a divine inclosure in the world. It was to be as a vineyard planted by the divine Husbandman, and brought under cultivation by Him. It was to be as a nursery planted with trees of righteousness, and although surrounded by evil trees of the world, which brought forth fruit unto death, yet all within the inclosure was designed to be the planting of the Lord, bearing fruit unto righteousness. The followers of Christ were to reveal the power of the transforming grace of Christ to change the corrupt hearts of men.”—The Review and Herald, December 19, 1893.
3. LIFE WITH THE FIRST HUSBAND
a. Using the spiritual symbols of Romans chapter 7, describe life under the first marriage, and why is sin so hard to overcome? Romans 6:12–16; 7:5, 14, 15; Jeremiah 17:9.
“The old man is not dead in you. You have a form of godliness, but not the cleansing power of God. You can and do talk and write smoothly, and as far as your words go, they may possibly be correct; but the true language of the heart is not spoken.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 323.
“In order for you to do good you must live a new life that is in harmony with God. Your perverse nature has not been transformed. You are not at peace with God or with yourself. You are in bondage to the great adversary of souls, in subjection to the old man of sin. You are not a free man in Christ. There is needed a spiritual change in you before God can work with you.”—Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, pp. 170, 171.
b. Again using the spiritual symbols, what will we receive if we continue in our first marriage, and how are we freed from that relationship? Romans 6:23 (first part); 6:6, 7, 11, 12, 18; John 8:31, 32.
“If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin. ‘No man can serve two masters’ (Matthew 6:24). If we serve sin, we cannot serve Christ. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; but the Spirit striveth against the flesh, keeping up a constant warfare. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 516.
“You now have to learn the great lessons of self-control which ought to have been mastered in earlier days. God brought you where your surroundings would be changed and where you could be disciplined by His Holy Spirit, that you might acquire moral power and self-control to make you a conqueror. It will require the strongest effort, the most persevering and unfaltering determination, and the strongest energy to control self.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 92.
“You should begin to seek God where you are. You must be born again. There must be a renovation, a new life created within you, that you may not serve sin, or the lusts of the flesh. Your children must be converted. You have a solemn work to do.”—The Signs of the Times, July 22, 1889.
a. What is the truth? Psalm 119:142; John 14:6.
“When a soul has been brought to Christ through this personal labor, leave the surrendered, humbled heart for God to work with; let God urge upon him just such service as He sees fit. God has promised that His grace shall be sufficient for everyone who will come unto Him. Those who surrender to Jesus, who open the door of the heart and invite Him in, will be in safekeeping. He says, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ John 14:6. Possessing Jesus, they will possess truth. They will be complete in Him.”—Colporteur Ministry, p. 50.
“Christ is the complete system of truth. He says, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ All true believers center in Christ, their character is irradiated by Christ; all meet in Christ, and circulate about Christ. Truth comes from Heaven to purify and cleanse the human agent from every moral defilement. It leads to benevolent action, to kind, tender, thoughtful love toward the needy, the distressed, the suffering. This is practical obedience to the words of Christ.”—Selected Messages, bk. 3, pp. 198, 199.
b. How do we become free in knowing the truth and what is the core of our message to the world? John 12:32; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Galatians 6:14.
“The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, ‘Our Father.’
“It will be seen that He who is infinite in wisdom could devise no plan for our salvation except the sacrifice of His Son. The compensation for this sacrifice is the joy of peopling the earth with ransomed beings, holy, happy, and immortal.”—The Great Controversy, p. 652.
“As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 163.
“Whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, ‘the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star.’ ”— Testimonies to Ministers, p. 118.
5. OLD HABITS
a. After the old man is dead, does that mean we never sin again? What goal is necessary for us to reach? 1 John 2:1; Matthew 5:48.
“Christ as high priest within the veil so immortalized Calvary that though He liveth unto God, He dies continually to sin, and thus if any man sin, he has an advocate with the Father.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 343.
b. How can the influence of a relationship affect us either negatively or positively? 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 1:1, 14.
“Every association we form, however limited, exerts some influence upon us. The extent to which we yield to that influence will be determined by the degree of intimacy, the constancy of the intercourse, and our love and veneration for the one with whom we associate. Thus by acquaintance and association with Christ we may become like Him, the one faultless Example.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 222, 223.
c. How do we keep from falling? 1 Corinthians 15:31; Galatians 2:20.
“By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His hungering, thirsting people. They will find that Christ is a personal Saviour. As they feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 391.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Contrast actual ignorance God winks at vs. refusal to know and understand.
2. Why does the first husband have such a strong hold on the human nature?
3. Explain the contrast between a literal unbelieving husband vs. the spiritual first husband.
4. How is the truth simply a manifestation of Jesus Christ?
5. How do our habits affect us even in a new relationship with our Saviour?