Insights #4 July 26, 2014
Third Quarter 2014 Adult Sabbath School LessonsThis week's lesson is about the gift of salvation, God's initiative to save, with Christ's death as the basis for salvation, followed by two results: freedom from sin and the gift of eternal life.
For the week of July 26, 2014
For the week of July 26, 2014
Most certainly God took the initiative to save mankind. He sent Jesus as the Savior of the world as testified by John and by Samaritans (1 John 4:14; John 4:42). After Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, He was urged by the Samaritans from a nearby city to stay with and to teach them.
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world." (John 4:39–42).
Paul, some years later, commanded Timothy to teach that God "is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Tim 4:10-11). Salvation is mankind's birthright, but like Esau many trade it for the world's pot of stew. E. J. Waggoner put it this way:
God has wrought out salvation for every man, and has given it to him; but the majority spurn it, and throw it away. The Judgment will reveal the fact that full and complete salvation was given to every man, and that the lost have deliberately thrown away their birthright possession. Thus every mouth will be stopped. (Glad Tidings, original edition, pp. 22-23)
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost and He was successful (Luke 19:10; 15:3-10). He "gave Himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim 2:6). The ransom was the price made for our redemption, our emancipation. "With His own blood He has signed the emancipation papers of the race" (MH 90). He accomplished something for every human being. He died the equivalency of the second death for "everyone" (Heb 2:9). He saved the world of sinners from that death. "By dying in man's stead, Christ exhausted the penalty and provided a pardon" (6BC 1099). Those who perish in the second death are those who willfully turn from Christ to "do their own thing." They have the freedom to refuse Him and reject Him.
But those who do not reject Jesus, even though they may be the weakest of the weak, "He will hold by a hand that will never let go." Here is the context for this statement:
Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Savior. By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings may live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold them by a hand that will never let go" (MH 182).
Here is another promise: "Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. The greater the sinner's guilt, the more he needs the Savior. His heart of divine love and sympathy is drawn out most of all for the one who is the most hopelessly entangled in the snares of the enemy." (MH 89-90).
Remember that while we were ungodly sinners, even enemies, God demonstrated His love for us in that Jesus died for us, justified us in His blood and reconciled us through His death (Rom 5:6-10). Having done the hardest and most difficult part for our salvation, will He not give us grace to live godly, righteous and reconciled lives?
God's grace is much more powerful than is sin. In the very place where sin abounds, grace super abounds much more (Rom 5:20). Paul follows this concept with questions and answers: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom 6:1–2).
God's salvation-bringing grace has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). It gives us power and "teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" (Titus 2:12, NIV). This is in harmony with the name "Jesus" which means salvation. ("Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew word "Joshua" which means Savior). An angel from heaven told Joseph, regarding the Babe of Bethlehem, "you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from [not in] their sins" (Matt 1:21).
Present salvation means that eternal life begins here and now for the believer. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life." "He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life." "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life" (John 3:26; 5:24; 1 John 5:11-12).
In closing, consider the following promise to which we may cling and be "as safe as though inside the city of God."
The message from God to me for you is "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). If you have nothing else to plead before God but this one promise from your Lord and Savior, you have the assurance that you will never, never be turned away. It may seem to you that you are hanging upon a single promise, but appropriate that one promise, and it will open to you the whole treasure house of the riches of the grace of Christ. Cling to that promise and you are safe. "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." Present this assurance to Jesus, and you are as safe as though inside the city of God. (10MR 175).