Further Study: The God of Grace and Judgment

How do grace and judgment work together? Here’s how inspiration reveals it.

“While Jesus is pleading for the subjects of His grace, Satan accuses them before God as transgressors. The great deceiver has sought to lead them into skepticism, to cause them to lose confidence in God, to separate themselves from His love, and to break His law. Now he points to the record of their lives, to the defects of character, the unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer, to all the sins that he has tempted them to commit, and because of these he claims them as his subjects.

“Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying: I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of my hands.”—Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 484.

Discussion Questions:

   How does the above quote help you understand the role of grace in the judgment? How does Ellen White describe God’s faithful people, and why is that important? How clearly do you see yourself described there?  

 Imagine standing before God with everything you have ever done, good and bad, exposed? How well would you fare? Would you be able to stand before God on the basis of your good deeds, even the ones done out of the sincerest and most honest of motives? Do you really think that they would be enough to commend you before your Maker? How does your answer help you understand the need of grace? 

3 What’s the deadly spiritual trap of thinking that because we’re saved by grace, it doesn’t matter what we do? How can you protect yourself against falling into that deception?  

4 People sometimes warn us about “cheap grace.” Yet, there’s no such thing. Grace isn’t cheap—it’s free! What’s cheap is when people, in claiming that grace, try to use it as an excuse to sin. What examples of that deception can be seen in the Christian world? Or even in our own church?   


God is a God of justice, and justice demands judgment. God is also a God of grace. How crucial that we, as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, proclaiming the three angels’ messages, understand both these divine truths and what they reveal to us about our God.



Further Study: The God of Grace and Judgment — 3 Comments

  1. There are a couple of interesting questions I think worth asking about the business of judgment for this week’s lesson.
    Scripture states that God is indeed sovereign and knows the end from the beginning. So, why do you think He chose not to end this nonsense of sin right after the cross and save whomever He wanted to save? What reasons would He have in waiting until 1844 to start the judgment process rather than upon Christ’s ascension?

  2. Your question is a good one, Tyler. That there is an investigative judgment is easy to show from scripture. That it began in 1844 is perhaps not so easy to show from the Bible as it is to demonstrate from the writings of Ellen White and those of the early Adventist church leaders.

    I am not going to weigh in on this. While this may be a crucial issue for our identity as Seventh-day Adventists, it is not a crucial issue for salvation. Unless, of course, one believes that denominational membership is essential for salvation. However, that would be even harder to make a case for as even Ellen White made it clear in her writings that there would be those outside the denomination who would be saved.

    'Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God." Desire of Ages, pg 638

  3. Dear Stephen,

    The way you worded your comment -- that 1844 is only crucial to our denominational identity -- implies to my mind that neither our doctrine nor our identity is of any real or practical importance. Our existence as a people would seem to be merely an end in itself. Even saying that 1844 is not so easy to show from the Bible seems to imply that it may have been an invention of our pioneers.

    As I understand it, the change of Christ's heavenly ministry in 1844 is indeed vital to our salvation, as we are expected to follow Him by faith into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. The importance of this teaching would hardly seem to be lessened by the fact that those who have had no opportunity to know these things may be excused, unless the possiblity of salvation for those who have never heard the name of Jesus also renders the preaching of the gospel needless.


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