Further Study: Read Ellen G. White, Preaching the Distinctive Truths, p. 231, 232, in Evangelism; The Faith That Works and How Faith Is Made Perfect, p. 88, 89 in The Faith I Live By. “Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit. Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned as wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.”-Ellen G. White, Faith and Works, p. 19, 20.
- Dwell on the Ellen G. White statement in Friday’s study. Think through the wonderful and hopeful truths found in these words for even the worst of sinners. How can we learn to claim these promises for ourselves and live as if we really believe them?
- Although God gave His law to Israel through Moses, the Bible suggests that He uses other methods to reveal His will to people who may not have access to His written revelation (for example, Rom. 1:20; Rom 2:14; Acts 17:26-27). If God does indeed speak to all people, what is the purpose of missionaries and evangelists?
- John 1:17 states that grace and truth originated with Jesus Christ. Using that text, many people place the law in opposition to the grace and truth. Why is this a false dichotomy? In what ways do the law and grace and truth all work together to reveal to us the character of God as seen in the plan of salvation?
- Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky created a character who wanted to study why more people didn’t kill themselves. As an atheist, he couldn’t understand why people would want to live meaningless lives that were often so full of pain. Discuss the logic of this thinking.