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Sunday: Reflections of Calvary — 42 Comments

  1. Today's lesson states:

    "Only those who do not understand the seriousness of sin could believe that God was under some obligation to save us. On the contrary, if anything, there was only one obligation, and that was what we owed to the violated law. We, of course, could not meet that obligation; fortunately, Jesus met it for us."

    This reflects a widely held view that, essentially, death as the wages of sin is required by the violated law in order to fulfill justice. And that either we must pay our death-debt to the violated law or we must have a substitute pay that death-debt for us.

    And this is the paradigm that the English translations of scripture have been translated through - so a superficial reading of scripture will seem to confirm this paradigm.

    This notion that death is a debt that is owed is based on the concept of it being something that needs to be 'paid' at some point in the future. Under this view, sin itself is not the primary problem - it is the owed debt that is the focus.

    Paul gives insight into a different picture of the significance of sin when he states, for example, that until God actually re-made us alive in Christ, we were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-6). This view of sin reveals that sin itself has already made us dead because it is sin itself that produces death (Galatians 6:8; James 1:14,15) - not that sin requires a death penalty to subsequently be applied.

    This means that the primary problem with sin is that it is presently producing and maintaining a terminal state (dead) within each person. And therefore sin itself needs to be 'cured' - placed into remission. Cure the sin and you cure the associated death state. Keep in mind that sin, functionally, is 'living' in accordance with the principle of self-seeking - a principle that is out or harmony with what is necessary for life and therefore. As such, sin is a principle that puts a person in a death-state as per what Adam and Eve unfortunately discovered in Genesis 3. Being out of harmony with what is needed for life (ie the 'laws' that support and sustain life) is 'lawless'. And lawlessness leads to chaos - a death-state. Thus sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) which functionally puts a person out of harmony with life and therefore into death. This is why Paul functionally describes sin as "the law of sin and death" - something that is already at work and therefore something we need to be freed from (Romans 8:2).

    This is what the 2nd Adam came to do. While I have outlined what I have learned on this matter previously, this time I will draw upon what Ty Gibson has written to illustrate that it is not just me that has come to this awareness. (I would invite you to read the chapter and ideally the entire book to get the full context to see for yourself whether what I have quoted is true to context).

    "In Paul's thinking, God became human so that He might achieve something specific in our flesh. The incarnation was the necessary prerequisite to the cross. He submitted Himself to the limitations of human nature precisely for the purpose of becoming "obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8).


    What does obedience have to do with it?

    Well, again, the truth of Scripture belongs only to those who take in the whole narrative. Only when we take into account the backstory to Paul' thinking can we possibly know how the cross constituted the climactic act of obedience necessary for our salvation.

    Whereas every human son of God before Christ succumbed to Satan's temptations under lesser pressures... Christ followed through to remain faithful as the Son of God, even to the point of death. No degree of pressure could push Him to choose self-preservation over obedience to the "covenant" (of beneficence) He came to "confirm" (Daniel 9:26-27).

    Faithful love to God and to humanity (the covenant of beneficence) was maintained in Christ, even in the face of total self-annihilation.

    ... It was exactly on the premise of Christ's obedience to the point of death that He was rightfully and legitimately "exalted", and "given" a "name which is above every name". (Philippians 2:9).

    Well, when Paul says that Christ was "exalted" as "Lord", he is simply following through with the biblical narrative by placing a human being, as the Son of God, upon the throne. The life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God in the Adamic, Abrahamic, Davidic sense. By stepping down from His position of equality with God, becoming a member of the human race, voluntarily emptying himself of His divine powers, and living in obedience to the covenant of love to the point of death, the position of rightful Lordship over the world that was lost by Adam was regained in Christ. Through him, we are made sons of God once more, and this world is brought back under human stewardship.

    ... Jesus lived and died as our new representative head, as our new Adam." (The Sonship of Christ: Exploring the Covenant Identity of God and Man. From the chapter: Cutting Deep into God)

    This is the core of Atonement, Redemption, Ransom, etc. It is actual repair of the sin problem - not payment of a debt/penalty.

    When what Ty is outlining is understood, the the lesson's quoted passage from Ellen White truely comes alive:

    "When men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great sacrifice which was made by the Majesty of heaven in dying in man’s stead, then will the plan of salvation be magnified..."

    • In all the words you've written Phil, I'm not sure I understand what you are actually saying concerning the price/penalty of sin.

      The wages of sin is death, yet, by Jesus taking our penalty upon Himself, we may be forgiven and empowered to live a sanctified life, and then be restored to living in God's presence again. Yes, the sin problem must be repaired, but if not, the wages of sin still exist for the impenitent soul, yet even though Jesus took those wages upon Himself for sinners, God "will by no means clear the guilty"(Ex 34:7). We have 2 options only, and are left to choose.

      While Jesus was not the first to sacrifice His life(Dan 3,6, etc), He is the ONLY One who can be the substitute death for sinners, being equal to God, and the ONLY one born of Adam who never sinned.

      Yes, God is perfect love, but still cannot clear the guilty, even after providing the means to do so. Sin comes with a price in God's government, but also the offer from God to escape it. Jesus' life/death/resurrection is not only about penalty/wages, but includes this or we could not be free from the wages we have earned unless God makes void the Law.

      • Thank you Robert for your request for clarification.

        From a "whole narrative" biblical perspective, death is not something that is 'demanded/required' by the violated law and must therefore be carried out in order for 'justice' to be served, nor it is required to be 'applied' as a penalty by God at some point in the future (eg, 'judgment').

        Rather, death is the present-tense, inherent outcome of sin that has been in existence every moment since Genesis 3:6. Sin produces death in-the-moment. Or, putting it another way, sin is inherently self-punishing/self-destroying. Thus, sin is a right-here, right-now 'death-state'. Paul understood this when he referred to it as "the law of sin and death" (ie, the principle of sin producing a present-tense death-state). Sin and death are inseparable. Death is not an additional element that must be/is applied at some point down-the-track.

        Thus, removal of a 'death penalty' itself is not what is needed and therefore is not what God/Jesus has been about. Neither is it reality. Rather, 'removal'/displacement of the underpinning sin as the driving principle in a person's life has been and is the core need and therefore focus. The displacement of the sin/self-seeking principle via re-creation of a new heart and right Spirit is what actually cures the primary issue/problem. Death is only the symptomatic outcome of the underlying cause - sin/self-seeking.

        It has been said that sin is not a 'thing'. However, in a significant way, it is. Each person operates at the deepest core of their being on either the principle/law of "sin and death" or "the Spirit of Life". The former is our default inheritance under the first Adam (Romans 5:12-14) and is therefore our default state from birth (Psalm 51:5). This is why Paul was/is able to say that all of us were already dead (present-ongoing tense) in trespasses and sins until we were made alive/re-born in Christ via a new heart and right Spirit actually re-created within us (Ephesians 1:1-5; John 3:3-6; Psalm 51:10).

        I hope this makes things a bit clearer, yet also biblically substantiated.

        • I have heard it explained this way. "Sin is anything that separates us from the perfect love of Christ. His perfect love is life, and separation from His love causes spiritual death." By our sins, we turn our back on the One who gives us life, therefore causing our own spiritual death even while we are physically alive. We will all one day die physically, unless Jesus returns for His people before then, but those who repent of their sin and live in harmony with God's law will one day be reunited with God eternally through Christ's loving sacrifice on our behalf; while the unrepentant face eternal death by complete and final separation from God and His love.

          • Karen, the only definition of sin found in scripture is 1John 3:4. The law of God expresses His will(Ps 40:8), which means I have placed myself before God in my preference.

            The harmony of heaven/creation is broken when self becomes first.

            • Robert, there are other definitions of sin. One of them is found in Rom. 14:23b which reads, "Whatever is not of faith is sin." In other words, any thought, motive, action that does not arise from perfect trust in God is sin. Doubt of God's word broke our first parents' relationship with the Creator and caused their expulsion from Eden.

              Karen's definition focuses on relationship, and I believe she is right when she suggests that anything that we allow to come between us and Christ (anything that is not born of faith) is sin, and sin causes death.

            • Inge, but this unbelief will always be in transgression of God's will won't it? Otherwise, it wouldn't be a matter of faith/unbelief. (Also, I could give you a "quote" on this if you wish, which is how I came to realize it for myself. I believe John's statement concerning sin is absolute.)

        • Phil, you claim that "death is the present-tense, inherent outcome of sin", but if that was the case, why Gen 3:22-24? Why Rev 20?

          The wages of sin is not met when someone dies of cancer, an auto accident, or from old age after living over 900 years. The wages of sin is the 2nd death that will destroy sin, sinners, the beast, the dragon, death, the grave, and will purify the earth from all traces that sin existed. From this death the rebellious soul will never rise again. Those who refuse to be purged of sin by the appointed means we are studying this quarter, must be purged from God's eternal kingdom.

          If you could share some valid scripture support for the many ideas you present, that would help.

          Your opening paragraph does not match the teaching I find in scripture, therefore, you will need to support those ideas from scripture if you expect to find agreement. As I've said before, your ideas are not new to me, but I have yet to find some of them to be supported by the Word of God after 40+ years. My mind is not closed, but my Bible remains open.

          • Hi Robert

            Unfortunately you are asking too many points for me to be able to respond in a single post. I can only address one point at a time.

            God stated in Genesis 2:17 that if Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would die on the day they ate of it. Why did God say "on the day" if it was not the truth? Why not just say, if you eat from the tree, you will die?

            I do note that God did not say, if you eat from the tree, I will be required to put you to death.

            • Phil, put Gen 2:17 together with Gen 3:22-24, and what is the obvious conclusion? Perhaps John 3:18; 5:24 will help?

            • Sorry Robert, you are going to need to spell out what is the obvious conclusion you see - because it is not yet obvious to me.


            • If the fruit of the forbidden tree caused death, why would man need to be banned from the Tree of Life that would allow them to live forever, after eating of the forbidden fruit? So if they were to die that day, it would need to be by some other means. The Bible teaches in very plain language that God will destroy sin, and those who will not repent. Only He is able to "destroy" the soul He created. We don't know exactly how God will accomplish this, except that it involves "fire from God" whatever than means.(there are many references to this cleansing fire throughout scripture)

              Also, the soul that is guilty of sin today is on the "dead" list, destined to eternal death unless they come to Christ by faith and act on the promises of God, at which time they pass from death to life as Jesus taught(John 5:24). God reckons those guilty of sin as dead, even while they are still alive. Perhaps this is the meaning of Gen 2:17? There was death that day, but not theirs. Concerning this, what can we learn from Gen 22?

            • Robert, this is the first time I have read that "the fruit of the forbidden tree" caused death. I always understood that it was doubting God's word and agreeing with the deceiver was the sin that caused the death that God said it would. They chose independence from the Creator and LifeGiver, and the natural result of being independent from the LifeGiver is death.

              As someone else has pointed out, on that very day, Adam and Eve began to die physically, and their natural state from then on was sin and slavery to Satan. It was only Christ's intervention that kept them from reaping the full result that very day. They were granted a period of probation during which they could choose to trust God rather than the deceiver. All who choose to trust God fully and allow Him to give them a new heart enter into eternal life now. Those who choose to operate on the sin principle of self-centeredness will perish. (John 3:16)

            • That is my point Inge, the death would be due to God's execution for their rebellion. It must be done or the whole creation can never be restored to it's perfect state. It would have been a justified and deserving death IF we agree with the "perfect" law of the LORD. Fortunately for ALL of us, God is "merciful, gracious...".

              Adam and Eve began to die when cut off from the Tree of Life, or they would still be alive today, according to God Himself. If in Heaven, one does not partake of the Tree of Life, they will eventually die if we believe the Bible(Rev 22:2, Gen 3:22-24). It took Adam 930 years.

            • Robert, did God say that "in the day you eat thereof, I will have to execute you"? (That's not what God said, according to any of the bibles I own, and that's many versions.)

              I used to think that certain teachers were setting up a straw man when they spoke of the distortions of the Atonement in a way that makes God look arbitrary and dictatorial. I am shocked to discover that it's not a mere straw man that has caused an opposite reaction that may go too far in another direction. May God help us!

              For starters, think of what went wrong when sin entered the world? What needs to be changed? Will executing all sinners restore the perfection that was in Eden? If not, what will? Your answer to that is the key to the central message of the Atonement and, incidentally, the original meaning of the word "Atonement."

        • Hi Phil,
          This concept that you are trying to convey to us is the same concept that God showed us, through the prophet, Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 37: 1-14. You are saying the same thing that God told Ezekiel to say to those dry bones. I whole-heartedly agree with you, even though this may be a very “heavy” theological topic for a open blog as this.

          However, what God was trying to show Ezekiel and us, that until, verse 14, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live”, then you are still dry bones; the transformation starts when God told Ezekiel to speak His words to the breathless bodies, in verse 9, then the bones came back to life. This is why He shows Ezekiel the vision in two-phased; the first phase in verses 4-8, and the second phase in verses 9-10, and then finally the Lord explained the meaning of the vision to Ezekiel in verses 11-14. The Lord was trying to tell Ezekiel that the problems that exist among the children of God (I don’t think the children of Israel got the message), or The sin problem in general, can not be removed until “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live”.

          God is trying to tell us, the same message that he told the “whole house of Israel”, that you can not rid yourself of the sin problem on your own, through your own works. The sin problem can only be removed from our lives when we have accepted the Lord’s invitation and His promises (remember, we are talking about The Promise, God’s Everlasting Covenant, this quarterly title), then the Lord will put His Spirit within our hearts, which is an ongoing process as summed up by Paul in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”.

          Maybe we are saying the same thing. All I am saying, that you can not leave out of the discussion about the sin problem, and/or the removal of sin from our lives, a discussion of how it is a process, the sanctification process, that can only be performed by God; all three Persons of the Godhead is working with us, and through us, to reconcile us back to the original love relationship that He had with Adam. This is what the New Covenant is all about, our desires to have a true love relationship , or communion, with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

          God’s blessings to All of you.

          • Hi Toni

            Yes you are correct. The redress of the sin problem is not something we can do without God's empowering Spirit.

            Unfortunately there is a limit as to how much of a topic I can cover in a single post. Each point is typically complex and multifaceted - and I try to unpack one aspect in sufficient detail at a time. Otherwise I would be writing even longer than is already the case!


    • Well said. Simply put, sin is separation from God. Separated from God mankind is dead. As the song says, without God, “I was a dead man walking”.

  2. There’s no way we can understand the perfect sacrifice we have in Christ. The love motivating such an eternal gift will not be comprehended by flesh. We can only trust and accept God’s gift of life in Jesus by faith in Him.

    That means that I must not rely on my own perception of good behavior or my feelings concerning righteousness. Leaning wholly on God, Christ must be my only hope of salvation.

  3. I am so glad that our community of faith have provided for our guidance our fundamental beliefs in summary so we need not be led astray by some who would preach another gospel as we have been warned they would. 2Tim 4:3-4

    Fundamental Belief 10: Experience of Salvation:
    In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal. 1:4; 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23, 24; Eph. 2:5-10; Rom. 3:21-26; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 8:7-12; Eze. 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rom. 8:1-4; 5:6-10.)

    • Shirley, I understand we'll be investigating this subject for eternity. Thus it is fitting we explore the subject in the here and now, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. We all bring our pre-suppositions, formed by our background, to Scripture, and sometimes we need to open ourselves up to a breath of fresh air brought to us by someone else who has explored a facet we may not have explored.

      I would really like to recommend Ty Gibson's book, The Sonship of Christ: Exploring the Covenant Identity of God and Man. It is highly relevant to this quarter's study, and it addresses several issues that have been causes of tension in our church. He wrote at the beginning of the book that "Once you see it, you can't unsee it." And I found that to be true. After more than 60 years of study and experience, it is not often I find a book that turns on new lights for me. Ty's book did, and I believe it will do that for you too. I highly recommend it.

  4. It is always good for us to take time to reflect on the Cross. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not merely a key doctrine to our faith. Rather, it is absolutely central and of primary importance. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:

    If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is vain. … If in Christ, we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    Christianity without the death and resurrection is empty, vain and futile. It would have nothing to offer. But Christ HAS died, and he HAS been raised! For me this gives me all the Jubilation and hope that we are truly serving a living God🙏

  5. My greatest concern on the topic of Calvary is communicating its significance to others. As much as we explain it to one another and sing songs about it that are deep and meaningful to ourselves, how do we get the message out that salvation is important? The secular world regards what we say to one another as incomprehensible. Those who have heard of Jesus think of him as a historical figure that has somehow been incorporated into the Christian mythology. They regard the resurrection as impossible and the notion that he is God as fanciful.

    Taking the Gospel to all the world is not about convincing ourselves that Calvary is important (I assume we have already done that); it is about communicating to others that it is important and meaningful.

    One of my goals is to step outside my comfort zone and interact with my local community more. Suddenly I find that I am involved in ways that I had not previously considered. I hope that my interaction portrays the living risen Christ. These folk may not read the Bible, but they read me like a book. That is a serious challenge.

    By this shall all men know ... You know the rest.

    • The work of conviction belongs to the Holy Spirit upon the sinner as God's people exhibit the goodness of God by their love for Him and their fellow man. We have no power to convict, only to witness(Acts 1:8).

  6. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17.

    Reflections of Calvary

    Bro Maurice I like how you explain it.
    The dying world out there is not interesting how much I know the bible, it does not impress them about my fundamental truths. Jesus method alone can save this dying world. Jesus mingled with the people by doing good for them (works), then he bid them come to him so he can tell them about his and my Father. (faith).
    I always say faith without works is dead. I can be talking, singing, preaching, praying (faith) until the 'cows come home' while there is a world dying all around me in sin and refused to do anything (works). My faith will be counted dead and condemn by Jesus. Many look at Calvary as a separate event. But if Christ life was not lived in perfection (without sin) he could not have fulfilled the life of that perfect sacrifice. Before he went to the cross he comforted his disciples with many times.
    And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. He said he finished the work he was sent to do, Jesus never said I finish the faith.
    If Jesus only had faith and did not do the works he was sent to do, his death would have been rejected and we, humans would have been lost forever. Now while we have faith, our faith alone cant suffice, we too are sent to do a work of telling and living like we knew Jesus as our Lord.
    Salvation was given to all as a gift, we cant work to gain it. But we must accept salvation by faith. As we accept it, its not the end of our life. We go about our master business.

    • Bravo again Maurice and Lyn,
      Last week, the Sabbath school lesson supplied us with the following scriptures, maybe our Sabbath school author had a premonition that we needed to be reminded of the writings of Paul:

      “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.

      Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross.

      Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:3-11 TLB”

      Last week while at work, I served the needs of a client, a young woman, who after I help her with all her tax questions, she said, “Miss Toni, I have another question, not about taxes, but because you seem to have Christian wisdom.” She told me her problems, asked me what she should do. How did she know to come to me? I never talked to her directly about any Christian topics in particular; and as for my Christian wisdom, in my own opinion, that’s debatable from day to day. So, without giving you any details of her problem, the Holy Spirit led her to me, because 1)she needed someone to listen to her (be willing to listen), and 2)she need a better answer than the one she had in her own mind. I hope I give her some good advice that day. The bottom line, she didn’t see me, she doesn’t know me personally outside the professional tax services I provide to her. Jesus said, John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth”. The Holy Spirit led that young lady to me, because He wanted her to hear a “word from the Lord”, not from Miss Toni. I’m not living this Christian life to impress anyone; my prayer is always that God lead me to His lost sheep, those that are trying to find their way back home.

      God’s blessings to you all!

  7. When we read or say “salvation is by faith alone”, what does this mean? To me it states that it is vital to know what faith really is and to ask, how does it manifest itself? Feelings and emotions are not faith, which must be exercised regardless of one's feelings. If we are going to be quoting Ellen to establish truth, we should include her writings on the relation of faith vs feelings, along with faith and works. I feel this is important due to the manner in which too many interpret our memory verse for this week, using this to prove that works have nothing to do with being saved, yet Ellen does say that our sanctification has everything to do with our salvation, due to the sanctified life is the very proof of faith. Claiming to “believe” while continuing to be overcome by temptation and sin goes against the teaching of Jesus. The works earn nothing, but demonstrate the genuine experience of faith in God's promises. We are saved “by grace through faith”, but judged by our resulting works of faith or unbelief. Do our words and actions match our profession?

    I would only reply to the question of how one can glory in the cross by citing what Jesus teaches in Matt 5:16.

    • The lesson says that our "salvation is by faith alone." Is that what the Bible says? (Hint: It's a matter of focus. I confess I'm disappointed by this week's lesson.)

      • Looks like I have to reply to my own question.

        The Bible does not say that salvation is "by faith alone," as the lesson does. (Please be like the Bereans! Acts 17:10-11)

        Paul write in Eph. 2:8, "For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." (NET) Notice that the focus is on what God does, not what humanity does. (The way some people talk about having "enough faith," it just becomes another human work.) Our faith aka trust in God connects us to Him so He can work in our lives to change us into His image, to the perfection in which He created humanity in Eden.

        Similar texts:
        Acts 15:11 "we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are.” NET

        Eph. 2:5 "even though we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!" NET

        2 Timothy 1:9 "He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began" NET

        If anyone can find a Bible passage that indicates that salvation is by faith alone, please share in a comment.

        • Inge, you are right, the Word is clear that we are saved by grace, Jesus died for our sins to blot them out and He writes our names in the Book of Life that we may have eternal life and not only that, He transforms our hearts and minds on a daily basis to abound in lovingkindness like Himself.

          We have the choice - do we believe in Jesus Christ, that He loves us and can and will save us if we surrender our hearts and minds to Him and trust Him. That is the meaning of faith - trusting Him to do what He promises.

          Unfortunately some people, as you say, focus on the accusation by some, that our doctrines tend to emphasis what we must do, so they use the shorthand "saved by faith" when it would be better to say as Paul does - "saved by grace through faith".

  8. Yes, as Phil pointed out with his comments and his quote from Ty Gibson, we who believe and live the Gospel of Christ have accepted the Love of God which redeemed and continues to redeem us from our iniquities in this body of death as we live by the living Word of God – the Father’s Will.
    Our living soul is being spiritually transformed to live the true life – the life according to the 'Spirit of the Creator'.

    Rom.8:1-2KJV - ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

    Our spirit within us is that which is being transformed – the new life-force, Christ's Spirit within us, directs our heart and mind to live now according to God’s righteousness – our being-born-again nature.
    The believer and follower of Christ’s Faith has been given the Holy Spirit, sent on our behalf to guide us into all Truth, directing our path to live rightly according to the Spirit of Christ, which is the Will of the Father.

    Yes, I also have become aware of the importance to understand spiritual Truth rightly. Inspired writings, like those of Ellen White, receive a refreshing, invigorating, affirming or refining breeze from our so loving and helpful Spirit of Truth should someone share their, by the Spirit guided, insights.

    As our spirit within us is being renewed by the Word of God - Christ's Spirit -, our hearts and minds are inspired, motivated to understand that we *live our true lives* through faith according to His *Spirit of Life*.
    Yes, as Ellen White's comments share, "Then men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great Sacrifice which was made which was made by the Majesty of Heaven in dying in man's stead, then will the Plan of Salvation be magnified."

    And at and as its source, we experience the loving, selfless Spirit of Christ transforming our lives in accordance with the Will of God.

  9. The sin of Adam that was then passed unto humanity as "sinful nature," has caused humans to be under a "Priceless Burden" that the law automatically places the transgressor under. It is not a debt to the law at all. A debt is a debt only if it can be payed back by the debtor. Sin places us under a "Pricesless Burden" to the law that only the creator can by His own "Priceless gift" and by His Precious spilled blood can then make atonement to that broken and transgressed "Holy Law of His."

    • Actually, the sinner may pay this "burden" of their transgression, and all the unrepentant will, by their 2nd death. This is why Jesus is "good news" for those wishing to be saved from this 2nd death, and from sin in their life. The covenant is all about saving people from their sins, through Christ(Matt 1:21, John 1:29). Wasn't this demonstrated by the Passover(Ex 12)? Every sinner has a choice.

  10. Robert & Phil - Just a biological addition to your on going discussion. When
    Adam & Eve sinned, they would have started having cell death, which I'm pretty sure didn't exist prior to their sinning. So, in a sense they began dying as soon as they sinned.

    • Hi Leilani

      Yes, you are absolutely correct. Thanks for that contribution.

      As humans in general, we are used to ‘believing’ we are alive when we are actually both dead and dying. Biblically, the concept of dead is broader than just the point at which the breath of life has finally departed.

    • Leilani(and Phil), what evidence is there that confirms this "cell death" taking place because they ate a forbidden fruit? The Bible seems to tell us otherwise doesn't it, if you consider Gen 3:22-24? Nowhere are we told that the forbidden tree was deadly to life, only the disobedience of God's command. (Sabbath breaking or adultery are not deadly to one's health, but the disregard of God's Sovereignty brought the sentence of death for these offences in Israel. Many Sabbath breakers outlive Sabbath keepers.)

      God's warning was clear, that they would "surely die". Not begin to die, or experience some early stages of deterioration. Remember, there WAS real death that day, but from a substitute sacrifice that pointed to the death of Christ in the sinner's stead, or it would have been them.

      Consider also was how Israel was to execute those who sinned in a manner that called for being stoned by the congregation. It was not put off for later, but was to take place the same day as the conviction, as in the case of Achan(Josh 7). The principle here is that God cannot tolerate sin once it is manifested, but in mercy to a fallen world, He has appointed a day for this to take place after all have made a final choice. The stay of execution was also for the whole creation, since sin must be seen for what it really is before God could destroy it, which had never been seen before, and Satan is a crafty deceiver.

  11. Robert: I didn't say it was because they ate the fruit, I said "after they sinned".
    We don't know that there was anything actually wrong with the fruit. We only know that they disobeyed.

  12. Let me add an illustration Graham Maxwell gave during one of our sabbath school lessons years ago. I hope this helps.
    "Suppose you had to keep rat poison. So you had to keep rat poison in your house, and you have a young son. And if he touches it and then eats it, he could be very sick, even die. So you say, “Son, don’t touch that rat poison.” I’m going to put it on the highest shelf, the high and locked cupboard. A little later you hear a crash in the garage, and you run out, and there’s your son lying on the floor. He’s taken the rat poison and he’s dying. Would it do any good to say, “Son, I forgive you, I forgive you!” He would just die
    forgiven, that’s all. It wouldn’t keep him from dying. Nor would it do any good to say, “Son, I don’t want you to die, so let me drink the rat poison.” And you both die. The boy doesn’t need forgiveness. He needs an antidote. He needs healing.
    But God didn’t wait for that. God has said, “You really don’t take me seriously, do you, that sin is like a poison and will lead to your death. Let me take the poison.” And Jesus dies. And we, like the son, say, “Dad, it’s real, isn’t it! And nobody’s killing you. Sin is really a poison, and you are dying. I will take you seriously from here on.”
    The beauty is that God then was able to take his life back and come out living. I’ve made my point. There’s still no legal requirement in that. There’s an awesome truth to be revealed.
    There’s nothing arbitrary in this thing. God does not want us to poison ourselves. We need
    healing. Better heed the warning. The results of sin is death, and don’t do this thing. {Graham Maxwell)

  13. In the work I have done as an engineer, I have found that many focus on the symptom of the cause and mistake it for the cause itself. There is a cost to this line of thinking. A $240,000 piece of equipment in the “boneyard” at the plant I worked at was a testament to this thinking.

    However, when the cause of sin is considered, the cost of wrong thinking is much higher. Adam and Eve’s sin did not happen when they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It happened in their minds before that: first with Eve when she fell for the lies of the Great Deceiver, then in Adam when he let the pressure of circumstance overrule principle.

    The root cause of sin is that their love relationship with God was broken when they stopped trusting in his love, and instead believed God was something other than what he truly is. The moment Adam and Eve’s perception of God was distorted by the lies of the Deceiver, the seed of sin and death was planted in their hearts and began to germinate – they became the walking dead and had no concept of the destructive path they were now on. The actions that followed were simply the fruit of their new belief about the character of God.

    God’s law is the application of his fundamental character: love. Sin is not the transgression of the Law. Instead it is ἀνομία (Strong’s G458), that is, lawlessness. This is because sin is devoid of love. (See 1 John 3:4; 4:16-19.) Contrary to the assertion of the author, Love personified could do no less than work to save fallen mankind to the utmost. The author of Sunday’s lesson appears to have missed this point completely. Fortunately, the quotation he cited did not.

    • Hi Richard

      I really appreciated your post - including particularly the part about causal misattribution. What you have addressed is well laid out. You appear to have a good understanding of how reality operates from a Biblical perspective. I am guessing that an engineering background may help a person do that because it potentially fosters an attitude of "how does that actually work" and what the interconnecting elements might be - including the relationship between those interconnecting elements.

      • Hello Phil,

        In life (not just the practice of engineering), I have seen the folly of linking two coincidental but unrelated events in a causal relationship. This is the basis of superstition. When confirmational bias collects superstitions together they become conspiracy theories (cunningly devised fables). I do not view the biblical faith of Christianity as superstitious or conspiratorial.

        The thoughtful comments made by you and others on SSNet are appreciated.



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