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Drowning in Sin — 22 Comments

  1. What is contained in today's lesson is very powerful and saturated for our study of salvation. Loving others in this world has proven to be quite tough even for those who profess to be Christians. What makes it a problem is that we do not reflect Christ as we ought to. Again for those who do adhere to the great commandment, they should not boast because it was not them who willed to do that which is good but it was God in them. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. Therefore let the same over-flowing love at the cross be over-flowing in us. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...

  2. May God continue to work thru you. Your message is so timely. I have to speak before a group of young people within whom my nephew and friend will be there who has become hopeless. I asked God to give me a word to say to these young people who don't know him and need help. Before I began my ss study I decided to read your blog bc of the title and illustration which drew me. God answered as He always does. Thank you Jesus!!! For the lives that will be saved to Your name Honor and Glory. My eyes are over flowing and my heart is full for the love that the Master has for us all. thank you.

      • Update. Time did not permit me to fully explain your points to the body of the young members I addressed for my role was the offering appeal. However I managed to inform them of the importance of repentance and a relationship with Christ in order for their offering to have meaning and value in their life. I was able to read your blog w my nephew and his friend. I believe the Holy Spirit had His way with them for she committed to having regular prayer sessions w my nephew for God to give them the desire to know Him more and for wisdom. I will keep the points learned from everyone's comments and incorporate them in my witness plan. Thanks to everyone for their Godly wisdom.

  3. Super, duper discussion! A lifeguard will try to save someone even if they don't call out and God does the same. He saved everyone before the foundation of the world. Does every person end up in heaven? No, only those who choose to be there. Some people are saved from death but don't appreciate it. Only those who appreciate being saved from death will experience heaven and the new earth. Thanks Terry for a great post!

  4. Stephen, I really appreciate your emphasis on love being the only solution to sin. After all, the beloved Apostle John wrote, "God is love," thus summarizing His character. And God's Law is a reflection of His character. I like the way Ellen white summarizes it: "In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven." (Desire of Ages, p. 19 The whole chapter is a wonderful read.) This is the one-principle summation of God's Law. And you recognize this when you conclude that "a failure to love is the very essence of sin."

    The two-principle summation is the one to which you referred in Mark 12:28-34. It was a familiar summary of the Law of God for the Jewish people. It is but an expansion of the one great Law of Love, expressed in two principles.

    We rightly see the Ten Commandments divided into two parts - with the first describing in more detail what love to God looks like and the second describing in more detail what love to man looks like. However,without the understanding that the principle of love is the essence of the Ten Commandments, I can see how they might be viewed as "lesser commandments." But in spite of the Pharisees' many legalistic rules, they still must have had some sense of the love foundation of God's Law, as evidenced by the young lawyer's reply. The Decalogue is an expression of God's great eternal Law of Love expressed in a way to be understood by fallen humanity. Before Adam and Even sinned, they didn't need these details, but we don't have to look too far today to see that the Ten Commandments are very much needed as a moral compass in our times.

    The Ten Commandment law can be understood in positive terms if we don't separate them from God's first words in Ex. 20:2, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." God first redeems and frees us from slavery, then He tells us what the principles of His Kingdom look like in practice. As His people, we will not have any other gods before Him, we will not make idols for ourselves, we will not take His name in vain, and we will delight to spend time with Him on His Sabbath day. This relationship with our Redeemer will spill out into our relationship with our "neighbors," and we will honor our parents, we will not murder, commit adultery or steal. Neither will we testify falsely against our neighbor or covet anything He possesses, because we are complete in Him. There's a reason God first introduced Himself as Redeemer and Savior before pronouncing His Law. When we leave God's introduction off His Law, we distort it into a method of saving ourselves, when, in actuality, only an already redeemed person can keep His Law in any sense.

    Even the wording of Mark 12:29 supports this understanding of the Ten being an expansion of the One and Two. In the KJV, Jesus said, "The first of all the commandments .." The word translated "first" is "proteros" from which we get the word "prototype." Now a prototype car is only "greater" than the cars created after the pattern insofar as there would be no other cars like it, if it hadn't first been constructed. So all other commandments proceed from the "great" or "first" commandment - supreme love to God, because only as we open our hearts to Him in loving obedience can He change us into loving people.

    Thank you stimulating us to think about God's character of love reflected in His law of love.

    • Perhaps, Inge, the Decalogue has no meaning for the person who is able to love through the power of God indwelling. Perhaps such a person would never look to the law to determine what is right but rather be guided by the love of God. Such a person might fulfill all that the law requires and more without ever seeking to. Instead the love of God within might "will" and "do" according to God's "good pleasure" (KJV) or "good purpose" (NIV) which can be only love. Philippians 2:13

      • Stephen, my point was that, rightly understood, love is what the Decalogue is all about. It defines the love that comes from God.

        So many things in this world are done out of "love" that are incompatible with God's law and thus not genuine love. You have probably seen it yourself: People commit adultery out of "love," and they break every other commandment out of "love." In fact I personally know at least one person with a generally loving and charming personality who claimed that God told her to commit adultery--all out of love, of course. A quick look into the mirror of God's law could have told her that it wasn't love. But I expect she was at the point in her life where the "law of love" was good enough, and she didn't need the Decalogue any more.

        In fact, the major portion of the Christian world sees "no meaning" in the Decalogue. They find it no longer relevant, because they now live according to the "law of love," and, of course, that makes the Sabbath irrelevant.

        Yet the Sabbath is part of God's law of love. It sets aside necessary time to nurture our love relationship with Him, and to be infused with His Spirit that enables us to live out that law of love in our lives. And more than that, it helps us acknowledge that God is God - because it is an otherwise "arbitrary" commandment carving out a particular space in time just because God said so. By heeding this commandment, we demonstrate our faith that only He is the One who can sanctify us.

        If we believe that the law of love supersedes the Decalogue, we are left to define "love" according to our own impulses, and it becomes denigrated to a mere human emotion, varying with time and circumstances.

        The heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked," (Jer 17:9), and that makes self-deception the order of the day for humanity. How are we to judge whether our "loving" impulses are really from God or from our own selfish hearts? How are we to judge that we are really "guided by the love of God"? The Bible has the answer.

        David, a man after God's own heart, sang,

        Oh how I love your law!
        It is my meditation all the day.
        98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
        for it is ever with me. (Ps 119:97-98 ESV
        The whole 119th Psalm focuses on the beauty of God's Law,
        which is an expression of His character.)

        Of course, I understand that there's more to the "Law" than the Decalogue. The way I understand it, there's the One Law of self-renouncing love that is "the law of life for earth and heaven." It is the eternal law of which all others are but a faint expression. Then there are the Two great Laws of love to God and love to one's neighbour, which are a two-fold expression of the same One Law. And there is the Decalogue, which is a ten-fold expression of the same One Law. Then there are also the many laws or expressions of God's will scattered throughout the Bible - in both the Old Testament and the New - which, being an expression of God's will - are also a part of God's law, which is an expression of His character.

        I believe that, because of the deceitfulness of the human heart, we are never, in this life, safe to regard any expression of God's law as having "no meaning."

        The One, the Ten and the many expressions of "God's law" are all meant to help us "walk about in freedom" (Ps 119:45 NIV) within the boundaries of His will.

      • I am confused by this comment. I learned that the first four commandments summarize our duty to God and the last six our duty to our fellowmen. The two great commandments I have learnt are a summary of the first four and the last six respectively. If God's love indwells me, I am going to need guidelines on how to love God and how to love my fellowmen. I see Inge's comment dispels my confusion.

  5. The cross stands as reminder of the salvage from the great controversy that God did to save me from this world. Thank you Jesus for the salvation!! happy Sabbath long yupla olgeta (Happy Sabbath to you all) from Hohola SDA church Port Moresby PNG.

  6. I am often reminded with this understanding of our loving Saviour, when we are drowning in sin and the situations of life, remember our Lifeguard walks on water. May we always unite to Him for the victory we need that He alone can give. Thank you Jesus. Thank you all for sharing.

    • Jay, I appreciate your whole comment, but I particularly like your memorable statement:

      When we are drowning in sin and the situations of life, remember our Lifeguard walks on water."


      Thank you. 🙂

    • You ask a good question, Sagi. Could it be that we are like adopted children? It is not a joyful time when a child must leave its birth family. When a child is adopted, they are very uncertain about their place in their new home. They feel insecure in their relationship with the new family. It is a stressful time with both child and family struggling with the changes in their lives. As the child tries to understand its place, it is faced with new rules and ways of doing things. Sometimes misunderstandings occur and communication breaks down. This may all be normal but challenging. However, as the family continues to pour love into the life of the newly adopted child, over time the child will come to find peace and even joy in the family relationship. Perhaps even when we do not feel joy and wish we did, God, like a loving parent, pursues us continuously with His love, and He does this knowing our hearts will respond to that love and feel joy once again.

  7. Practical and realistic approach in explaining salvation. This is how we ought to present God's gift of salvation to those who are lost and those who profess to be Christians and may have a hard time understanding God's love. It took me a while to understand and experience his love as I hadn't experienced love in my life..

  8. I read all the comments and Jay's comment about our lifeguard walks on water really hit home with me. We have nothing to fear in this life as our lifeguard truly does walk on water. Remember our Lord is our strength no matter what happens.

  9. Of late there appears to be a case of re-baptisms taking place. Does anyone have a biblical stance for this?

    You see you may not LIKE to hear this but SIN is SIN - whether seen or unseen. We seem to be always dealing with the seen but what about the unseen?

    So in this context using the analogies given, the lifeguard's job does not change. We are the ones choosing to go out in uncharted waters and are about to drown. That's when we seem to desperately search for those lifesaving hands.

    • You ask a good question. Perhaps the concept of rebaptism arises out of a belief that baptism is for entry into a church organization. If a person is disfellowshipped and there is no way to re-enter fellowship then they would need to remain disfellowshipped for life which is not biblical. (Galatians 6:1) You may have a valid concern if it is regarding baptism being equal to entry into church fellowship, but if you have no issues with that concept, then perhaps you can see that it is biblical in light of Galatians.

  10. One of the things that identify very quickly a person’s poor spiritual condition is something that is rarely seen with our eyes. A person may for years be able to hide what is really going on in their life. You may only get a glimpse of the condition only rarely when they momentarily lose the ability to hide their real problem.

    Too often, people go through their Christian walk fooling themselves into believing that nothing is wrong with their Heart. They become well trained at controlling their actions well, but their heart on the other hand is something that struggles constantly.

    So often in the church, we wrestle with people’s bad spirits, ill tempers, and pride. We assume that these symptoms are themselves the problem that the person is having. We say, “You need to get ahold of that temper of yours.” What we fail to realize, is the temper is only a symptom of a much bigger and more dangerous problem.

    Huge church problems can arise when key church leaders and church members alike have heart issues that are not healed. Masking the symptom usually causes us to believe that the person has made a change, but soon enough, that symptom re-surfaces or a new symptom appears, which is only a result of the same problem as the original symptom,thus slowly drown to sink more and more unto sin...

    • Josiah, what you bring up here seems to me to be something that we tend to overlook. Can a person be so deceived that he/she won't even know how far from Christ they are? It would seem to me that 2 Thess 2:9-12 says that can certainly happen. Perhaps Rom 12:3 and 1 Cor 10:12 are warnings concerning things like this.

      I think that was the state Paul was in before his Damascus road experience. It also seems to be true whenever a person thinks they are correct when in fact they are not. Certainly times of persecution manifests behavior that supports these ideas (Jn 16:2).


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