INSIGHT #13 MARCH 26, 2016
First Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
March 26, 2016
For 6,000 years God has been unfairly blamed for the origin of sin, pain, and death because He created Lucifer. For 6,000 years His character has been maligned. Satan has portrayed God as being one like himself, selfish and self-exalting. For thousands of years, people have wondered: How can I love a God like that?"
But for those whose eyes have been open, even if they had never seen a Bible, they would have discerned "His invisible attributes," "being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead," so that they would be without excuse (Rom. 1:20). Nature itself reveals the kind of God who made us -- a God who has loved us with an everlasting love and drawn us with lovingkindness. Where do we see such a God portrayed?
I saw it today on the internet: the story of a Siberian husky whose owner was killed in an auto accident two years ago. The dog refuses to leave the scene of the accident. A photo showed the heart-broken animal sitting beside the road awaiting his master's return. Villagers bring him food and built him a small house, but no one has been able to draw him away from the place where he hopes to one day see his owner again. In this story we see a faint -- but real -- reflection of the pain that sin has brought to the heart of God from its inception. We see typified in this creature a glimpse of heaven's divine love weeps with unutterable sadness the eternal loss of one soul.
Over and over the animal kingdom reveals glimpses of heaven's love and caring. Inanimate nature also reveals the self-giving quality of God's love. Everything exists to bless others. Nothing lives for itself in all creation save the selfish heart of man. What the world needs to see is a demonstration of God's agape love, not just in the natural world but in people!
In these closing hours of earth's history it is the sacred calling and privilege of Seventh-day Adventists to proclaim the everlasting gospel in its fullness, pointing to Jesus as the Creator and Savior of all men. Heaven will be phenomenal, but never again will we have the privilege of sharing the gospel with the chance of winning souls for Christ. So there is something very special about probationary time. We can make a difference for eternity by revealing the love of Christ in our lives and by sharing the most precious message of Jesus to our dying world.
The 1888 message was given to prepare us for translation. A crisis is just before us, and in that day we cannot afford to have false ideas of the gospel or to be depending partly upon self for salvation. We must be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ to survive.
Recently it had rained a lot in our part of the country. The rain came down in such torrents that the soil covering the trees' shallow root systems alongside the river washed away. With nothing left to cling to, giant trees have fallen into the river and washed into the lake near our home.
Paul prayed that "Christ [would] dwell in our hearts through faith; that [we], being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:17-19).
Eventually the whole world will know this love. At the end of the millennium the story of the human family will be portrayed in a vast panoramic display: the story of the fall, the plan of redemption, and Christ being lifted up on the cross. Each individual will recognize the loving voice of Him whom they despised. The vast multitude of people outside the city who have rejected Christ will sway in horror as they realize the truth of who God is compared to the lie of who they thought Him to be. The realization that their fate is sealed will bring unspeakable anguish to their hearts. And at that time, no one will be accusing God of creating evil or being the cause of suffering and pain. At that time it will be clear: Jesus was the Savior of all men; Jesus' gift was so complete that hearing the good news made it hard to be lost; Jesus identified so fully with each individual that His story was there's. His tender voice was the one they despised. They will understand that the price was paid so that none need have perished. Christ had prepared a home for them, but they rejected the gift and insulted the Giver.
"It is now evident to all that the wages of sin is not noble independence and eternal life, but slavery, ruin, and death. The wicked see what they have forfeited by their life of rebellion. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory was despised when offered them; but how desirable it now appears. 'All this,' cries the lost soul, 'I might have had, but I chose to put these things far from me. . . I have exchanged peace, happiness, and honor for wretchedness, infamy, and despair.' All see that their exclusion from heaven is just. In their lives they declared, We will not have this Jesus to reign over us.
"As if entranced, the wicked have looked upon the coronation of the Son of God. They see in His hands the tables of the divine law, the statutes which they have despised and transgressed. They witness the outburst of wonder, rapture, and adoration from the saved; and as the wave of melody sweeps over the multitudes without the city, all with one voice exclaim, 'Marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints' (Rev. 15:3), and falling prostrate, they worship the Prince of life." SR pp. 425, 426.
This scene brings resolution to the onlooking universe, lost and saved alike. Jesus does not take His kingdom by force, even in the end. The wicked acknowledge Him as Supreme Ruler. Satan's attempt to stir them up ends in futility. The blame they have placed on Christ for earth's misery they now redirect to the true author of sin and suffering, Satan. In mercy, they are all consumed -- root and branch -- in the fire that cleanses the earth and the universe from sin.
While God has no sympathy for sin, the Bible reveals that the saved will weep and mourn the loss of those who refused salvation in Christ. The wicked were objects of His supreme love and much-more abounding grace. The saved will mourn their loss, for "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).
What makes today so incredibly special is that there is still hope for earth's billions. Christ has given us a mandate to share this Good News with earth's multitudes before it is too late. Do we share His hunger for souls? Please join me in praying that God will raise up laborers to share the incredible good news of Jesus and His love.