Tuesday: Vindication at the Cross
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From the very beginning, God left no doubt that He would invalidate Satan’s accusations and demonstrate His ultimate love and justice. His justice demands that there be payment of the penalty for mankind’s sin. His love seeks to restore humanity into fellowship with Him. How could God manifest both?

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

How did God demonstrate both His love and justice? 1 John 4:10, Rom. 3:21–26.

God’s character of love and justice has been revealed in its fullest manifestation at the death of Christ. God loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10, John 3:16). By paying in Himself the penalty for violating the law, God showed His justice: the demands of the law had to be met, and they were at the cross, but in the person of Jesus.

At the same time, by this act of justice, God was also able to reveal His grace and love, because Jesus’ death was substitutionary. He died for us, in our stead, so that we don’t have to face that death ourselves. This is the amazing provision of the gospel, that God Himself would bear in Himself the punishment that His own justice demanded, the punishment that legitimately belonged to us.

Romans 3:21–26 is a biblical jewel on the theme of God’s righteousness and the Redemption in Jesus Christ. Christ’s sacrificial death is a demonstration of God’s righteousness so “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26, NASB).

Again, sanctuary imagery provides the framework for Christ’s death. In previous weeks, we have seen that His death is a perfect, substitutionary sacrifice and that Christ is the “atonement cover” (Rom. 3:25). In short, both Testaments reveal that Christ’s mission was typified by the earthly sanctuary service.

“With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. . . . But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. . . . At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 37. What does this quote tell you about the character of God?

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Tuesday: Vindication at the Cross — 13 Comments

  1. More than two thousand years ago the savior of the world die to save man king utter ruin, in revelation 12 the dragon (Satan) came arm with with seven heads (the Churches) Jewish, Pagan etc. 7 = all churches and 10 horn ( the civil authorities) the symbolism show's that Satan had full control over this world, yes, he even offered the kingdom of the world to the savior if he bow down and worship him. the world was his to give seeing Adam had forfeit his dominion.

    So the savior was right on time to save the world by his death on the cross. the righteousness of the law must be carried out Rom_6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. another period of grace was extended to mankind for eternal life
    but if we neglect the grace of God we will pay the price for our own sin and for crucifying the savior afresh, atonement means at one with Christ , having the mind of Christ, His blood is to cleans us from sin. NOT TO SAVE US IN SIN.
    The Sabbath (the law) is to keep us from sinning and the sanctuary truth is the remedy if we accidentally sin. for after we received this truth
    Heb_10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, the righteousness of the law will be fulfill

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  2. That is a beautiful quote about the character of God. At the same time the following contrasting image came to my mind... The flood, the destruction of all humans but eight. The whole flooding event seems to counteract the imagery of our God portrayed in EGW quote.

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  3. While I agree that the Cross and the Flood can seem contrasting, I think that a deeper examination of them reveals that they are remarkably similar-- and that both reveal God's grace and desire to save erring humans.

    At the Cross, God sent Jesus to save the world. If we accept it, our salvation is assured because of what Jesus has done. God does not force us, though, and if we do not accept Jesus' sacrifice then we face eternal loss.

    Similarly at the Flood, God sent Noah to warn and save those willing to be saved. For over a hundred years God pleaded (through Noah) with erring humans. All they had to do was accept and board the ark and they would be saved from the wrath to come. If they chose not to, then they faced death when the waters rose.

    I am sure that Noah would have built as many arks as were required, if many people had accepted his warning and chosen the way of escape God had provided.

    I also believe, based on Jonah's message to Nineveh and the people's response there, that if Noah's message had been widely accepted, then God would not have brought the flood on mankind.

    God is not willing that any should perish; He always makes a way of salvation possible. We see that in the ark and the Cross. At the same time, God honours our choices. If we choose not to accept the way of salvation He provides, then he allows us our decision.

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    • Kenneth, I think you have a good way of looking at the choice man has to make whether it be the flood or the cross.

      Where I have a problem is in the statement, “if Noah's message had been widely accepted, then God would not have brought the flood on mankind.” I am not just in disagreement with you concerning that statement but with the general thinking among Christians concerning the flood.

      I fully realize that the Bible says that God destroyed life by a flood but that statement is like so many others that attribute destruction and evil to God when He only allows it. I am also very uneasy about our understanding that because God allows something he is therefore responsible for it. If a parent allows their son to drive the family car and the son ends up wreaking it is the parent automatically responsible for the accident? I don’t think so!

      Under a government of freedom a person takes the responsibility for his/her own choices. In the situation we are in there are things that happen because of free choice. For reasons that are beyond my understanding God therefore allows Satan freedom to do what he wants with some limitations.

      What I believe about the flood is that God allowed Satan to do his thing which got out of control. I do not believe that God directly caused the flood and I do not believe Satan really wanted the amount of destruction that happened, he wanted a living curse that argued against God’s government. What I do believe is that Satan was putting pressure on Noah and his family to capitulate to the world’s belief in God and through it demonstrate that faith in God could not be maintained and therefore the law could not be kept. However, that is not what happened. The same was also demonstrated by Job and again by Christ and will again be demonstrated by the 144000 who will be brought under the same pressure that Christ endured on the cross.

      That is what the great controversy is about and why God needs to be vindicated. In all of God’s dealing with His creation God will be found completely innocent and will be fully vindicated through the judgment.

      Like(2)
      • Tyler,
        Permit me comment of a few things in your post. In certain Western civil law the parent is actually liable for some things which the child is allowed to engage in. This arises from certain obligations which arise from the custodial or supervisory role. There is criminal negligence and other charges.

        In Bible study one useful approach is to let the Bible interpret itself and as far as possible accept the straight testimony. The more we have to explain the less we might have confidence in our ultimate interpretation. Where there are apparent contradictions it is advisable to look for the weight of evidence. As well although intellectual rigor will get us some answers spiritual things are spiritually discerned and it is the Holy Spirit which leads us into all truth.

        With the preceding as a guide it appears there is more than enough reason to believe God actively destroys and/or take responsibility for what He allows. Otherwise many of the authors are guilty or irresponsible statements or literary negligence. The wrath of God is used often times when sin is being punished. In the case of the Flood the reason is given for the act and a promise made not to repeat it. It is actually a type of the final destruction. Neither the Bible nor Spirit of Prophecy support the idea that Satan initiated the Flood. The opposite is true.

        God destroyed, sometimes directly, by instructions to angels, through ancient Israel, and heathen nations. Noble is the intent to make God look better than is presented in scripture, but this may be more damaging than we realize. The issue of authoriy is a key one in the end time. We do well to recognize God has authority to create and to destroy, to reward and to punish, whether actively or passively. The question of submission is another closely related theme which we struggle with.

        If there is a feeling that God is not capable of acting to destroy warnings will be taken lightly, and understandably so. God means it when He warns. Justice is actually a subset of love, and not something opposed it as the impression is sometimes given.

        Like(5)
        • Hugh,
          Great comment and very logical. Jesus said that his kingdom (the way he runs his government) is not of this world. I have a hard time with this statement and picturing an actual court room in heaven. Maybe I need to study a little bit more on the subject of natural law and imposed law...

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        • Hugh, thank you for raising good solid questions concerning what I have said. I think most of the readers would like to ask the same questions so they are important.

          It is true that in most industrialized countries the parent or guardian is liable for certain things the child does. For instance, if the child damages someone else's property the parent usually is the one who has to pay for it. That is the way it is in minor offenses obviously because the child can't pay for the damage but let the charge be murder then it is whole new ball game. Unless it can be proven that there was neglect or that the parent actually contributed to the delinquency of the minor the child is normally held in full responsibility. Even in the minor cases of damage when the parent has to pay the cost of the damage the court still considers the child a delinquent and sometimes will be put on probation or even imprisoned in a juvenile detention facility depending on the severity of the charges. Only in this last century in the US has the tables been turned so that everyone else is responsible except the one who actually committed the crime.

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    • Thank you, Kenneth, for drawing our mind to compare the Cross and the Flood and pointing out the grace and offer of salvation in connection with the Flood.

      We usually associate the Flood with judgment, and rightly so, since Peter makes an explicit connection between judgment by water and the final judgment by fire. See 2 Pe 3:5-7 NASB:

      by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

      But there are parallels to the cross in this aspect as well. In each instance, people were/are presented with an offer of mercy and a choice. Acceptance means salvation and rejection results in destruction in both instances. And Jesus said,

      He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18 NASB)

      Like(2)
  4. Tyler you have raised some thoughts that are interesting and challenging.
    What I don't understand is the 144,000. Who are those in this group and what makes them special?

    Like(0)
    • Jane, William Earnhardt has a pertinent comment on the subject under last week's lesson on Tuesday. I think for the purposes of our discussion here the main point of his comment is this, "Therefore the 144,000 would be those who are alive when Jesus returns and will take them to heaven without them ever experiencing death."

      Therefore, what makes those people special is time and circumstance, not character. I think there have been people in the past that could easily have been among the 144000 but as Paul says of himself, "one born out of due time" (1 Cor. 15:8 NKJV).

      To me the question we should be asking is why God would have his people on earth during the seven last plagues when all the decisions in the pre-advent judgment have already been made. In other words what point is there to having his people go through the tortures of those last days when everyone has made up his own mind as to which side of the controversy they will be on? Wouldn't it be more sensible for Christ to simply come and end the whole thing?

      Christ settled one of the main questions of the great controversy on the cross by demonstrating that Adam did not have to sin, that he could have kept the law under those circumstances. The problem is that Christ took Adam's place and didn't have a propensity to sin but what about those that do? Can a sinner who has a propensity to sin keep the law? That is the question the 144000 get to answer and in doing so it vindicates God in requiring His creatures to abide by the laws of His government under all circumstances.

      They will be subject to the same basic stresses that Christ endured on the cross that were so great that as Ellen White said, "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" (Desire of Ages, p 753.2). Like Christ they will come through only on their strength of faith in God's promises.

      Like(1)
  5. I think that Vindication at cross give evidence for God and also for man. Man Jesus was vindicated. God Jesus was vindicated. So why will 144000 have to give proof that sinner can keep Law?
    No sinner can keep law but God is cause him to obey (lesson for thursday in Ezk.). If 144,000 must repeat Christ victory than thay give proof to be able to stand without intermediate. So they are special in that matter. I thing that we still dont have valid explanation for 144,000.

    Like(1)
  6. Does that mean there are 144,000 that have never sinned, or who will endure the last plagues without a question of doubt in their minds? Is it possible that these people are being tested for the last time? I don't know how I will stand through that time- I pray that I will be sure of my faith and hope I have the courage to not falter.

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  7. Jane, The 144000 are also sinners like us. They are no different from other saints who already died. Both groups have gone through the process of sanctification and because they are sanctified, they have already gained the power over sin that they can endure whatever trials that will come.

    What ONLY makes the 144000 special and different is that they are alive when Jesus comes and will never experience death. THAT IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE.

    But above all I believe, like Job, it is their GENUINE LOVE to God that makes them not deny the Savior in the midst great plagues.

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