SDA Sabbath School Lessons

Wednesday July 17, 1996

Christ's ministry of forgiveness
(Hebrews 9:11-14)

On the basis of what three acts can our sins be forgiven today? (1) I John 1:9; (2) 1 Peter 2:24; (3) 1 John 2:1; Heb. 8:11-14; 1 Tim. 2:5.

For God to forgive our sins today, the same three steps are necessary as those followed in the ancient sanctuary: (1) We confess our sins; (2) Christ sacrificed Himself for us; (3) our heavenly High Priest mediates for us, and we are forgiven.

There is no forgiveness without confession. "Those who humble their hearts and confess their sins will be pardoned."-Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 266. "There needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a constant, earnest confession of sin and humbling of tile soul before Him." -The Ministry of Healing, p. 455. Our sins were not forgiven at the cross; we were not there. Our sins are forgiven today when we confess them by virtue of Christ's provision on the cross.

Christ's sacrifice was perfect for all, for all time. The sacrificial aspect of the "atonement" was provided once for all at the cross (Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 10:12). But, in the Old Testament sense, "atonement" is not complete until our heavenly Mediator has applied the merits of His blood on our behalf. As the priest's sprinkling of blood was necessary in the earthly sanctuary, so Christ's heavenly mediation by virtue of His shed blood is essential for our sins to be forgiven.

"The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, 'whither the forerunner is for us entered. Hebrews 6:20. . . . Jesus has opened the way to the Father's throne, and through His mediation the sincere desire of all who come to Him in faith may be presented before God."-The Great Controversy, p. 489.

What are the counterparts in the Christian era of (1) the shewbread, (2) the seven-branched candlestick, and (3) the altar of incense? (1) John 6:32-40, 48-51, 63; (2) John 8:12; Matt. 5:14; Rev. 1:20; (3) Rev. 8:2-4.

Christ the bread of life, Christ the light of the world, Christ our heavenly high priest and mediator, is the source of our spiritual life, light, and salvation.