|As we welcome this new year, we
are not only embarking on a new quarter, a new year, or even a new
century but on a brand-new millennium! This occurred only once before
since the time of Christ. How fitting it is, then, to launch this new
millennium with this crucial message and mission subject of our
assurance of salvation in Christ.
Christians who have experienced the rebirth by the
Holy Spirit often wonder whether they can be sure of salvation. This
question of assurance arises especially when believers realize that
their self-centered nature is still present and their character flaws
have not all disappeared. It is then that the joy of salvation seems to
evaporate. They ask how it is still possible to be sure of salvation
and of acceptance by God. This concern continues as long as we live in
this natural body and in this broken world; and it can arise suddenly
when adversity strikes or a serious illness crushes our plans for the
future or when believers succumb to temptation and fall into sin.
Such a question can seriously affect not only our
relationship to God and others but also our Christian witness. Can we
be effective in our testimony about Jesus when we are unsure of our own
salvation? James Montgomery Boice reminds us: "When Martin Luther was
wrestling through these questions, prior to the Reformation, he was a
monk shut up in a monastery. Afterward, when he knew that he had been
saved by Christ's death and that God had justified him, he left the
monastery to launch the Reformation. How can we launch out for God if
we are shut up in a monastery of doubts?"-James Montgomery Boice, Foundations
of the Christian Faith (Downer's Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 1989), pp. 431, 432.
How can believers in Christ regain personal assurance
of salvation for the present and for the future? How can they cultivate
that blessed assurance in order to be a joyful and effective witness
for Christ and His cause? This quarter's Bible Study Guide seeks to
answer these questions. We plan to study the correlations of faith and
the major revelations of God. We will touch on areas such as faith in:
(1) the trustworthiness of the Scriptures; (2) Christ and His work on
our behalf; (3) the plan of redemption; (4) the end-time assurances of
God's accept-ing love; (5) His judgments at the end of time; and (6)
His last promises in the book of Revelation. In the process we will
learn about the saving and sanctifying knowledge and power of Jesus.
Some examples from biblical and church history will illuminate our
journey of discovery and clarify the issues of a blessed assurance and
a false certainty. As our basic motto we adopt the admonition of Peter:
"Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard
so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and
fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 3:17, 18, NIV).
the Principal Contributor to This Quarter's Lessons
LaRondelle is professor emeritus of theology at the Theological
Seminary of Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. He has
served in the Netherlands as a pastor-evangelist and teacher for
fourteen years and at Andrews University as a professor of theology for
twenty-five years. He received part of his theological education from
the distinguished Dutch theologian G.C. Berkouwer, at the Reformed Free
University in Amsterdam. There he received his doctoral degree in
systematic theology in 1971.
Born and reared as a Roman Catholic, he later
belonged to an evangelical group of independent Christians. He became a
Seventh-day Adventist at the age of 19 by reading Ellen G. White's The
Great Controversy. He then gave up his law studies at the
Leyden University and devoted himself completely to becoming a pastor,
evangelist, and teacher in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His field
of expertise within biblical theology is that of salvation,
eschatology, and apocalyptic studies.
Dr. LaRondelle is the author of a number of books,
some of which were translated in several languages, such as Christ
Our Salvation, Deliverance in the Psalms, Chariots of Salvation,
and The Israel of God in Prophecy. He also
coauthored books, such as Symposium on Revelation, Book II
and The Sabbath in Scripture and History. He
continues to serve as speaker at Bible conferences, seminars for
pastors, and Bible-study groups around the world.
Dr. LaRondelle and his wife, Barbara, have a son and
a daughter (twins).
Giardina Sabbath School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife,
Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School
lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations.
These are provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect; Microsoft Word; RFT for our MAC friends;
and HTML (Web
Last updated on January 17,
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Principal Contributor: Hans K. LaRondelle
Editor: Philip G. Samaan.
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti.
Editorial Assistant: Soraya Homayouni Parish.
Art and Design: Lars Justinen.
Pacific Press Coordinator: Paul A. Hey.
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