Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 9, Qtr 1-06

Special Insights No. 9

First Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Families in the Family of God”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“Homes of Peace and Healing”


Our memory verse (John 14:27) is in itself a sermon of healing for wounded hearts:


(1) “Peace I leave with you,” says Jesus. The joy of this rare blessing of peace is His dying bequest to every one who believes in Him. He said these words on the eve of His own terrible, crushing experience of crucifixion; how could He as the Son of God, yet still “the Son of man” incarnate in our fallen human nature, experience “peace” in such an awful hour?


(2) “My peace I give you.” He didn’t say “I’d like to give it to you IF, IF,....” leaving it all to us, when we know that peace is the very thing we don’t have of ourselves! It’s the present active tense of the verb. If we don’t have the “peace,” what’s the reason? He goes on to tell us.....


(3) “Do not let your hearts be troubled....” Your heart cannot be “troubled,” according to Jesus, unless you give your permission for Satan to trouble it!


How could Jesus be at peace at the most critical hour of His life? The salvation of a world lay in the balance—yes, as we learned last Sabbath, of the universe itself. But He was calm. The only possible answer is that He had “poured out His soul unto death,” the second (Isa. 53:12), in a total commitment of Himself in the love which is agape. John says that “agape casts out fear” (1 John 4:18); it is sinful fear which always robs us of our peace.


Does the “most precious message” of 1888 which was the beginning of the latter rain make any contribution to our “peace” of soul? Yes! It transfers our thought from our own egocentric concern for our personal salvation to a different motivation of concern for the honor and reward of Christ. It makes it possible for us to receive the peace that Christ is already trying to give us, not merely to offer to us. The prevailing motivation that has engrossed the church ever since the 1888 rejection of truth has been “what must I do so as to be sure I get through the pearly gates?” Our prayer has been, “Lord, please be sure that I and my loved ones are saved!” The greater love which is agape is a love that dares to relinquish personal salvation as Moses pleaded with God to blot his name out of the book of life if his love for Israel could not save them (Ex. 32:31, 32). That was agape!


Granted, such love is unnatural for us self-centered humans and it is impossible for us to achieve—of ourselves. Therefore the secret of receiving the peace of Christ is to “comprehend” the grand dimensions of the love of Christ revealed at His cross and thus to be “rooted and grounded in agape” and to be “filled with all the fullness of God” which is a preparation for translation at the second coming of Jesus.


We can be sure that at the present time the Lord Jesus feels agony in behalf of those who suffer torment from “abusers” in their homes. We have two goals of soul-winning here—first in behalf of the abusers themselves that they find deliverance from their horrible captivity of hatred which makes them (even against their will!) torture their so-called “loved ones.” The case of such “abusers” is totally hopeless unless they “fall on the Rock and are broken” in genuine crucifixion of self “with Christ” (Gal. 2:20; 6:14).


But our second goal is to save the abused, the meek and gentle souls who are crushed by constantly being trampled on. As our Lesson says, “home” can become a hell on earth when the sweetness of “love” sours. Often this is the result of fornication indulged before marriage; it’s a direct violation of God’s seventh commandment. Repentance is possible and yes, is already given in Christ [1]; but it cannot be received until we repent of breaking all the commandments which are broken in the breaking of the seventh. In other words, we can’t repent of breaking the seventh commandment until we repent of breaking the first six which have preceded. Babylon’s false “gospel” of “justification” locks multitudes in the concrete of impenitence. Let the abused repent of resentment against the abusers, and let’s all repent together at the cross in the crucifixion of self! Jesus must bear the burden.


One of the Board members of the 1888 Message Study Committee has coined a new phrase: “the repentance of the ages.” That is the repentance of the seventh church known as “Laodicea” (Rev. 3:17-19). It is the same experience as “the wife” of “the Lamb” making “herself ready” for His “marriage” (Rev. 19:7, 8). A grand experience!


Our Lesson makes clear that anger per se is not sin; incapacity for anger at injustice makes us a floppy wimp. The problem is selfish, uncontrolled anger. In Ellen White’s The Great Controversy she tells how it will not be God’s arbitrary decision that slams the gates of the New Jerusalem against “saints” who have never overcome such explosive anger; rather, it will be their own incapacity to enjoy the peace of heaven. They will be shut out by their own unfitness for it’s companionship (cf. pp. 28, 36, 627, 628, etc.).


Usually the problem of angry hatred cannot be understood except in the light of the cross. It is that precisely which crucified the Son of God! All such anger is participation in His murder, and it is also the murder of our fellow men (1 John 3:15).


Thank God from the bottom of our hearts today that the final probation has not yet ended! The heavenly High Priest has not yet closed the door of the second apartment of His heavenly sanctuary!


May “peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2).

Robert J. Wieland


[1] Thursday’s Lesson differentiates between forgiveness already legally given in Christ and that which is received by faith, as is justification legally given, and that received by faith.


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