Sabbath: From Slaves to Heirs
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Read for This Week’s Study:

Gal. 3:26–4:20Rom. 6:1–11Heb. 2:14–184:14, 15Rom. 9:4, 5.

Memory Text:

“So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:7, ESV).

Paul tells the Galatians that they should not live and act as slaves but as the sons and daughters of God, with all the rights and privileges thereof. Their situation was similar to the story of a discouraged new convert who came to talk with Chinese Christian Watchman Nee.

“ ‘No matter how much I pray, no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my Lord. I think I’m losing my salvation.’ Nee said, ‘Do you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house-trained; he never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me. Out in the kitchen I have a son, a baby son. He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he fouls his clothes, he is a total mess. But who is going to inherit my kingdom? Not my dog; my son is my heir. You are Jesus Christ’s heir because it is for you that He died.’ ”—Lou Nicholes,Hebrews: Patterns for Living (Longwood, Fla.: Xulon Press, 2004), p. 31.

We, too, are God’s heirs, not because of our own merit but because of His grace. In Christ we have much more than we even had before Adam’s sin; this is one of the points that Paul was trying desperately to teach the Galatian believers, who were fast losing their way.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, November 19.

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Sabbath: From Slaves to Heirs — 5 Comments

  1. I would like some one to expand on the second sentence in Sabbath afternoon introduction to the Adult Lesson third paragraph, and the particular sentence to i Have some problem with is, "In Christ we have much more than we even had before Adam's sin."

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    • Samuel, I don’t think any of us can know precisely what the lesson author was thinking when he wrote that paragraph. That being the case I can only offer my personal opinion on what it means.

      I believe the answer lies in the great controversy. Before sin entered the universe everything was tranquil. Every created creature was naturally following the rules and guidelines of Heaven. They worshipped God because He was their creator. At that point they understood very little of the depth of love that God had.

      When Satan rebelled the social and political environment drastically changed. Eventually Satan and his angels were kicked out of Heaven.

      “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them1 in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev 12:7-9 NKJV).

      That is where Adam enters the picture. With him we have the first inkling of a plan to save those that fall due to Satan’s rebellion. Four thousand years later we have the cross where we see the love that God has for the least in the kingdom. This revelation changed the relationship of all intelligent creators in the universe from acceptance of God to a deep endearing love for their creator. The relationship between creator and creature became much stronger because of what happened here on earth. So, in a very real sense, “In Christ we have much more than we even had before Adam’s sin.”

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  2. “In Christ we have much more than we even had before Adam’s sin.” I think this means that before Adam's sin us the human race we were never called sons and daughters of God/heirs but through the price Christ payed for us we are now in a better situation ,we are now sons and daughters of God not just created beings but his children, we are even now better than angels who are messengers. We can now identify ourselves with Christ because through incarnation he become human just like us.

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  3. I can appreciate that the author likes Watchman Nee's gospel, but it is not the gospel of Christ. I did a little study since I object to Watchman Nee's story. It is not the truth. Obedience is a revelation of justification. The professing Christian that is a mess and disobedient is not an heir to the kingdom. I wanted to know more about this expert being cited in Sabbath's lesson. I might have misunderstood his object lesson. I like to give the benefit of the doubt to the teacher until I know what he is teaching. Well...Watchman is not teaching, he has passed on.

    What I found was that his gospel is in fact what he represented in his quote. He taught that the man in
    Romans 7 is converted. He allowed one to sin and retain his justification. In other words, he would leave the professing Christian a slave to sin and tell him that he is going to inherit heaven because Christ died for him. His teaching was not "From Slaves to Heirs", but it was "Slaves and Heirs".

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    • Richard, I have questions about Watchman Nee’s gospel also. While I see problems with some of his beliefs I can see a problem with your understanding of Rom 7. The problem is that in Rom 7:15 Paul speaks in the present tense which for the Greek seems to indicate an ongoing process. I do not know Greek; I only know some things about it so I will default to an expert on the subject via a quote from his book “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics.”

      “Throughout this section of Romans, Paul speaks in the first person singular in the present tense. For example, in Rom 7:15 he declares, “For that which I am doing I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (in this space the text in the Greek is in the book which doesn't show in a comment). Some would see the presents here as dramatic or historical presents. But since Paul is speaking in the first person, this label is not at all likely. In other words, one cannot appeal to the idiom of the historical present for support of the view that Paul is referring to his past, non-Christian life in this text. If one wants to hold the view that Paul is either not describing himself in this text, or else he is speaking corporately (so as to include himself only in a general way), syntax is not the route to get there.” (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Daniel B. Wallace, p 531, BibleWorks version copyrighted (c) 2003 by BibleWorks)

      In other words Paul is speaking of his experience at the time of writing, not before his conversion. Furthermore, In the epistle to the Philippians Paul states that he was still growing in Christ, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Phil 3:12-13 NKJV). Sanctification is a work of a lifetime and during that process we fall, we fail, and we sin but we also get right back up and “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12 NKJV) in our walk with Christ. As John says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (1 John 1:9-10 NKJV). And again, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1 NKJV) which means we get justified again.
      Christianity is an attachment to Christ and warfare against sin and the origin of it. People who do not have to fight off temptation are of no worry to the devil for he doesn’t bother to trip them up.

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