The Wisdom of His Teachings
This lesson opens with a quotation from Ellen White: Jesus “would not spare a moment from teaching the knowledge of the science of salvation. His time, His knowledge, His faculties, His life itself, were appreciated only as the means of working out the salvation of the souls of men.”
“And the Father demonstrates His infinite love for Christ, who paid our ransom by His blood, by receiving and welcoming Christ's friends as His friends. He is satisfied with the atonement made. He is glorified by the incarnation, the life, death and mediation of His Son.
“This is the science of salvation, ... which the student can take with him into the higher grade—the courts above” (Australian Union Conference Record, July 12, 1899).
We must “not spare a moment” of our lives from living and teaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The study of science is the study of many small details. As we study and teach the growing number of the small details of the Gospel, we will grow in grace and hasten the coming of Jesus our Lord and Savior.
It has been taught that “blessed” means “happy.” Good! I suggest going back to Genesis 1 and 2 to look at the first uses of this word in the Bible. Man was “blessed” in that he was empowered to fulfill what he was created to do; he sensed that God had equipped him to do what he longed to be able to do.
That concept is in the “Sermon on the Mount” as well. It is in keeping with God’s New Covenant promises empowering us to fulfill His will. In Matthew 5, Jesus empowers us to recognize our poverty of spirit; He empowers us to be meek, merciful, etc. When we allow Jesus to make all the provisions of the Beatitudes real and operative in our lives, we will be happy.
He Taught About God
God is continually looking for the helpless. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chron. 16:9). The Father is the Good Shepherd looking the world over for poor, helpless lost sheep. He is not looking to condemn and punish them; He has already saved (justified) them. He is looking to get the message to them and to empower them to fulfill their divine function (see John 8:36; Rom. 2:4, 3:21, 4:5; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:4; Titus 2:11, etc.).
In the entire universe of God, this little fallen world is the most pathetic and helpless. It was the place where He chose to focus His divine attention, and save to the uttermost. How blessed we are to have this picture of God the Father in the life and teaching of Jesus.
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). That prayer of Christ for His enemies embraced the world, taking in every sinner who should live, until the end of time” (The Story of Redemption, p. 222; emphasis mine. If you have access to this book, please read the entire quotation.)
That prayer includes me, and when I truly appreciate and accept God’s forgiveness, how can I be unforgiving of others?
“After Christ had taken the necessary steps in repentance, conversion, and faith in behalf of the human race, He went to John to be baptized of him in Jordan” (1901 General Conference Bulletin, April 4).
“As we see souls out of Christ, we are to put ourselves in their place, and in their behalf feel repentance before God, resting not until we bring them to repentance. ... showing them how to repent, and trying to lead them step by step to Jesus Christ” (MS 92, 1901; SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 960 ).
Forgiveness is an integral part of witnessing, or what some call “soul winning.”
As I try to picture the God of the universe becoming “one of us,” I am overwhelmed and speechless.
Grace and Faith
The gospel is defined as the birth (incarnation), life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He came to this world to be the gospel, and He became or embodied the gospel. “Christ makes no apology when he declares, ‘I am the Light of the world.’ He was, in life and teaching, the gospel, the foundation of all pure doctrine” (The Youth’s Instructor, Sept. 16, 1897).
Paul was chosen by God to preach and write (expound) the Gospel. The two go hand-in-hand.
Revelation 10 and chapter 14:6 are two texts that give us our “marching orders.” We are to preach the Everlasting Gospel. Ellen White said, “Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel’s message in verity’” (Review and Herald, April 1, 1890; Evangelism, p. 190).
This is present truth for us living today, and it is the light that will yet lighten the whole world! We cannot let anything sidetrack us from living and preaching it.
—J. B. Jablonski