Further Study: Old Testament Faith
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“Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father’s mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.

“Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 753.

Discussion Questions:

 1  Even today in our own church, some still have a hard time accepting salvation by faith alone, that God’s grace, through Christ, saves us, apart from our works. What’s behind the hesitancy of some to accept this crucial truth?

2 Paul spoke very strongly about the theological error of salvation by works. What does that tell us about the importance of good theology? Why should we, as a church, stand up, forcefully if need be, when error is being taught among us?

Summary:

From start to finish in the Christian life, the basis of our salvation is faith in Christ alone. It was because of Abraham’s faith in God’s promises that he was counted as righteous, and that same gift of righteousness is available for anyone today who shares Abraham’s faith. The only reason we are not condemned for our mistakes is that Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying in our place.

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Further Study: Old Testament Faith — 4 Comments

  1. What amazes me so much about the death of Jesus is that even though He had all the power to stop short of death He went through the whole ordeal anyway, for our sakes. When Ellen White says, “The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb” she was telling us that Jesus died thinking that it was possible that He would never be resurrected, ever, that His death was to be eternal. What Jesus consciously did then was to trade His eternal life for our eternal death.

    To die for someone else when you know that you will be resurrected is one thing, but to die sacrificially on a permanent basis is just mind boggling. Furthermore, He didn’t do it for His friends but for His enemies for, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8 NKJV).

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  2. "......... ...All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father’s mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.

    “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 753.

    Those who question Ellen White's gift of prophecy; and as well, those who use her writings inappropriately, should learn from the above quotation. Only one with this prophetic gift could have so clearly presented, what to the cursory observer, looks presumptous.

    Ellen White's commentary supports Jesus' actions in the following ways:

    Jesus does not know when he would return...Only His father knew.Matt.24:36

    He thought His Father had forsaken him...Matt.27:46

    If it was possible; he would try another option...meaning he was totally at the will of his Father..Matt.26:39...And his father did not give him any other option.

    Putting the above together means, Jesus also did not know; as Ellen White points out, 'whether his death would satisfy his Father's penalty for sin; and as as a result, ressurrect him from the dead'.

    "Discussion Questions:
    Even today in our own church, some still have a hard time accepting salvation by faith alone, that God’s grace, through Christ, saves us, apart from our works. What’s behind the hesitancy of some to accept this crucial truth?" The Author

    The "hesitancy" stems from a mis-understanding of Ellen White's writings. Those who stress the keeping of the ten commandments, use, invariably the writings of Ellen White to support their belief in the keeping of the commandments as meritorious re salvation. They need to read her writings in the right context and they would have come to a different conclusion. She couldn't have been more true to the teaching of justification by faith than in her :"The danger has been preented to me again and again of entertaining, as a people, false ideas of justification by faith. I have been shown for years that Satan would work in a special manner[ie in the remnant church] to confuse the mind on this point. The law of God has been largely dwelt upon and has been presented to congregations, almost as desitute of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and his relation to the law as was the offering of Cain. I have been shown that many have been kept from the faith because of the mixed, confused ideas of salvation, because the ministers[Adventist]have worked in a wrong manner to reach hearts. The point that has been urged upon my mind[by God] for years is the imputed righteousness of Christ."

    " Paul spoke very strongly about the theological error of salvation by works. What does that tell us about the importance of good theology? Why should we, as a church, stand up, forcefully if need be, when error is being taught among us?" The Author

    Begin in our schools and colleges and universities. Have more sabbath school lessons with subject matter as these lessons.

    Challenge those who misquote Ellen White; no matter how unpopular you will appear to the perpetrator of mis-information; be the perpetrator the pastor or other important person/leader.

    In our seminars and evangelistic meetings, stress less the keeping of the commandments as being the difference between the remnant church and false Christianity. And stress more the faith of Jesus as practiced by those who are true Christians. This will give false Christianity time to look inward to see if they truly have faith in Jesus...[ Christians who have the faith of Jesus, do keep all of God's commamds]...Rev. 14:12] and so says Jesus himself to John, his disciple....Jesus should know; it is His faith he is talking about... and all his commands does mean every and any command from God, including his ten commandments.

    Courtney

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  3. 1 Even today in our own church, some still have a hard time accepting salvation by faith alone, that God’s grace, through Christ, saves us, apart from our works. What’s behind the hesitancy of some to accept this crucial truth?

    To me the answer is that we do not believe in the word of God or we really have not read it for our selves. I hear comments in church this quarter saying; "Their are things God cannot do. Number one, God cannot save an unrepentant sinner."
    If people will just pray for the Holy Spirit to guide them in their reading of His holy word, He will give them understanding.
    They believe God suffers from amelia - congenital absence of an arm or leg.
    The Bible tells us that His arms aren't too short that He cannot save us.
    Isaiah 59:1
    Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save;
    Every parent can be reassured that their child has not wondered out of the reach of the Savior.
    Everyone who is wondering if he or she has just gone too far this time and that God could not possibly want to save them can be reassured with understanding of righteousness by faith.
    Romans 5:8
    But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    God is not waiting for us to repent of our sins or to get ourselves together and start doing right before He saves us.
    He wants us to know that He loved us before we even knew He existed.
    He gave His life for us while we considered Him as our enemy.
    All we need to do is accept His gift by the measure of faith that He bestowed in us and then we can begin to truly live.
    2 Corinthians 5:17
    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    1 John 4:19
    We love him, because he first loved us.

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  4. I look at the question of why it is so hard for many to accept salvation as a free gift from yet another perspective.

    All of us were born into a world where you must do something to get something. We were raised up with that concept being jammed into our brains to the point that it has become part of us. We simply are unable to view things any differently. It is like trying to view an optical illusion. At first you just can’t see it then after a while you reorient yourself and you begin to see what you couldn’t see before.

    A similar situation exists in the creation vs evolution issue where we were taught from birth to see our world from one particular point of view. When a contradictory point of view is presented we have trouble accepting it because of our previous fixed orientation.

    The only way we can change is to be completely overwhelmed with proof to the contrary. After a while it will begin to sink in and eventually accepted.

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