Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Jesus in the Writings of Peter"

INSIGHT #8 MAY 20, 2017
Second Quarter 2017 Adult Sabbath School Lesson
"Jesus in the Writings of Peter"
May 20, 2017
Have you ever stopped to consider how much ground we have lost due to the delay in Christ's return?
During a recent prayer meeting service, we pulled out a stack of old Songs of Praise hymn books which I salvaged from the used book table at camp meeting. As we sang old familiar songs that we hadn't sung in years -- decades -- my heart grew wistful, and not just because I'm feeling my age and a bit of nostalgia. More than that, as we sang those early advent hymns, I sensed the fervor of the gospel message in those verses. There was a time when advent believers were selling houses and lands and farms and putting their all into the spreading of the gospel. Reforms were set in place. Jesus was soon to come. Their hearts beat in unison with the love of Jesus and the longing for His soon return. In the intervening years, we have settled back down again. Jesus didn't come in 1844 or 1888 or 1901, and as far as I can tell, much has been lost, including a deeper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it cost Him to save us.
This week's lesson focuses on Jesus. Praise the Lord! In the hope of recovering some more of the Good News, I've searched through the dusty pages of our history and found a gem on this topic by E. J. Waggoner.
Read and be blessed!
--Patti Guthrie
by E. J. Waggoner
Now we come to the representative character of the work of Christ for us, and our personal relation to His experiences.
We have already pointed out that it was as the second head of the human family, taking the place of him who had failed, that He lived and died. Now our acceptance of Him as a personal Saviour from sin involves the acceptance of all His experiences for us, and our union with Him in those experiences. Thus we read in the Scripture: "For the love of Christ constraineth us: because we thus judge, that One died for all, therefore all died." 2 Cor. 5:14, R.V. "I have been crucified with Christ." Gal. 2:20, R.V. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:4-7.
It thus appears that when Christ died, "all died," because in His representative capacity He was the whole human family, and that when God raised Him from the dead, He "raised us up together," for the same reason.
But all these benefits are only temporary, unless they are received through faith. It is by the cross, the death and resurrection of Christ, that all men live, whether saints or sinners, and so all are sharing in the benefits of His work now, and all will come forth from their graves because of the resurrection of Christ; but it is only those who receive these benefits by a personal faith in Jesus as the One through whom they come, who will be able to retain them to all eternity, God has "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ," but we must acknowledge that these blessings are all in Christ and that they are received and retained only as we receive Him, else we shall not be able to keep that which God has given to us.
So it is with the resurrection. The curse, which is death, is upon all, and yet men live, because Christ bore the curse upon the cross, and "being raised from the dead, dieth no more." But this brief period of life is granted simply as a time of probation, a time in which to accept by personal faith in a risen Redeemer the blessings which have been provided "in Him," that so His work may avail for us to all eternity. "We were buried therefore with Him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with the likeness of His death, we shall be also with the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died unto sin once: but the life that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus." Rom. 6:4-11, R.V.
This is simply the experience of receiving Christ as a crucified and risen Saviour. It is a practical statement of what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This is to "know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death." Phil. 3:10. {March 31, 1898 EJW, PTUK 199} 
What then does the resurrection mean to us? It means, first of all, our acceptance of the death of Christ for us and our death in Him; and then it means His resurrection and our participation in His resurrection life, as a daily experience. It means that, our interests have been transferred to the heavenly kingdom, and that we have been made to "sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." And so we are exhorted: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Jesus sitteth on the right hand of God." Col. 3:1. It means a victory over the world through our faith in His resurrection life (1 John v. 4), and a final and complete victory over that last enemy which is death. "The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. . . . Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 15:52-57.
So let the word be on our tongues, and the experience of the life of it in our hearts, "He is risen!"
As in nature, as in art, so in grace; it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their lustre. The more the diamond is cut, the brighter it sparkles; and in what seems hard dealing, there God has no end in view but to perfect His people. {March 31, 1898 EJW, PTUK 200} 
Time for a break.
~Patti Guthrie