Thursday, January 27, 2011



There are two "guilts." The "original sin" of Adam's guilt is cancelled out by the cross. The corporate guilt of our sin of unbelief in murdering Christ can be healed by corporate repentance.
"God's act of grace" in the cross of Christ has cancelled the guilt of Adam's sin for the entire human race. In other words, the cross "is out of all proportion to Adam's wrongdoing" (Rom. 5:15, The Revised English Bible).

"The effect with that one man's sin" was devastating for his posterity, "for the judicial action, following on the one offence, resulted in a verdict of condemnation" (vs. 16). "The result of one misdeed was condemnation for all people" (vs. 18). Even though there was no written law of ten commandments, the natural consequence of sin was a lethal, self-condemnation which would eliminate the race. God's moral principles were written in the brain cells of Adam, and the guilt following his rebellion would have been catastrophic.

The guilt of Adam's sin ("original sin"), was imputed to Christ. The cross which is "the act of grace," "resulted in a verdict of acquittal" (vs. 16). "... The result of one righteous act is acquittal and life for all" (vs. 18). Thus the "one righteous act" eliminated the condemnation of Adam's sin and gave "acquittal and life for all" his children.

The 1888 view is that the cross has stamped "original sin" "void." The temporal life all enjoy is free from the lethal guilt of Adam's sin by virtue of the cross. The gift of life and acquittal far exceed a probationary life. It is a probationary life without ancestral guilt. It is a temporary life in which the gift of life eternal has been placed in the hands of every probationer for them to "receive" with a grateful heart, otherwise known as faith (John 1:12).

But at what cost was this freedom purchased? It was purchased by the precious blood of Christ. And it is just here that we need to understand our corporate guilt for our unknown sin of crucifying Him. It is imperative that "the earth" be "lightened with His glory" (Rev. 18:1). For this to occur "every mouth" must "be stopped," and "all the world" must "become guilty before God" (Rom. 3:19).

The cross was God's condemnation of sin. Referring to His cross, Jesus said, "now is the judgment of this world" (John 12:31). Jesus bore the devastating weight of the world's sin. "It pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin" (Isa. 53:10). "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13).

We put Him in that position. Our corporate sin and consequent guilt filled Jesus' soul with self-condemnation. "Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father's wrath upon Him as man's substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God" (The Desire of Ages [DA], p. 753).

It is now in our day, at this momentous hour of earth's history, that Christ is to "be lifted up from the earth" in order to "draw all men unto Me" (John 12:32). Heretofore, the cross has not been rightly perceived as the judgment of the world. Unknown to us all is the guilt for perpetrating the death of the Son of God who bore our just, lethal condemnation for sin.

Our guilt for the crucifixion of Christ must be distinguished from our bearing the condemnation for this sin of all sins. "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world" (John 3:17). This is exactly what Paul writes in Romans 5, where our corporate guilt with Adam's sin was cancelled out by "the act of grace" (Rom. 5:16).

However, it is absolutely essential for our hitherto unknown participation in the crucifixion of Christ to be revealed to our consciousness so that we may be healed of our guilt. The Holy Spirit "will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me" (John 16:8, 9). The greatest sin is unbelief. The great sin is personal denial of responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ.

The crucifixion of Christ was not "their" sin, that of the Jews and the Romans,--it is "our" sin (The Desire of Ages745; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 38). The sin that took place in 1888 is not "their" sin, it is "our" sin; we partake of a common humanity.
Paul understood how we all share the guilt of "all the world," how "all have sinned." "Death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12). "No one of us is innately better than anyone else. As all lions are by nature man-eaters, so all humans are by nature at 'enmity with God,' and since 'whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer' automatically, we are all 'alike' by nature guilty of the crucifixion of the Son of God" (Robert J. Wieland, Grace on Trial, pp. 69, 70; 2001 ed.).
For this reason we must not condemn or criticize the brethren of 1888; and we must never in self-righteousness withdraw ourselves from this one true remnant church. To do so is to fall for the snare of Satan; and may you have the good sense to get yourself out of that snare, or you will indeed lose your soul.

This truth of corporate guilt and corporate repentance is implicit in the message of Christ's righteousness, whether it's the 1888 model or Paul's of long ago. "In me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. 7:18). Unrighteousness dwells in the flesh. That's why Paul says we are to put no "confidence" in it.

How much unrighteousness? Charles Wesley answers, "I am all unrighteousness" (maybe he saw a glimmer of corporate guilt when he wrote "Jesus, Lover of My Soul").

And E. J. Waggoner must have seen it, at least embryonically, in the "vision" he had in 1882 that became the taproot of the entire 1888 message. He saw Christ crucified for him, and in consequence realized, that he was the whole world and its sin (The Everlasting Covenant, p. 9; 2002 ed.).

But does prophecy indicate that the corporate SDA church which rejected the tender appeal of her Divine Lover in 1888, as presented at a General Conference Session of the organized, corporate, denominated church, will at last reject the truth after her detour and disillusionment has been completed? If the character of the denominated Body, to become some day the Bride, is basically dishonest, would not God have cast her off after 1888?

On the other hand, if her sin is one of foolishness and misapprehension as prefigured in the prophecy of Song of Solomon 5, and not basic dishonesty, does it not follow that given a complete disillusionment she will reassert her honesty of character which led her in the beginning to accept the doctrinal forms of the three angel's messages, and humble her heart in repentance and contrition.
--Paul E. Penno

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Thursday, January 20, 2011


Lesson 4: "Relationships"

Dear Readers of "Sabbath School Today,"

This week we're sharing with you an article by Ellet J. Waggoner, one of the 1888 "messengers," that presents the beautiful truth about "fellowship" with our Lord and Savior, and with one another. One writer has said that the word "relationship" "so often used today to define a Christian's connection with God, is not adequate to express a person's functional Christian experience." We feel that Waggoner's deep understanding of this idea is worthy of our thought and study.


The "Sabbath School Today" Staff

"Fellowship with God"

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). The last clause of the text shows what the fellowship is, which the apostle desires us to have. He wishes us to have the same fellowship with the Father and the Son that he and his fellow-apostles had.

The association of Jesus and His disciples was very intimate. They brought all their troubles to Him, receiving His sympathy and help; and He also shared their joys. He ate with them, directed and assisted them in their work, and healed their diseases. He was their companion at feasts and also in the solitude of the desert. He rejoiced with them at the wedding, and wept with them at the grave. No human companion could ever be more close, and on terms of greater intimacy than was the companionship of the disciples and the Son of God on earth.

But while they were thus associating with the Son, they were also having fellowship with the Father, as well. "God was in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:19). Jesus said, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me" (John 14:9, 11). Those who fail to recognize the fact that God the Father is in every respect just what Jesus was when here on earth, lose the whole object of the ministry of Christ.

Jesus was the genial companion of His disciples. But while they associated together as fellows, His lowly position did not obscure His greatness, nor lead them to lightly esteem Him. When He washed His disciples' feet, it was with the full knowledge that He was their Master and Lord, and that the Father had given all things into His hand, and that He came from God and went to God (see John 13:3-5).

Thus they had fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And the companionship which they had--which the beloved disciple had when he reclined on the bosom of Jesus,--is the same companionship which we are privileged to have. It was for the purpose of letting us know this, that John wrote his epistle.

Who may have this companionship? Is it only the wealthy, and those whom the world calls "noble"? Listen: "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15).
In the world there are "classes," and so there will be till the end of time. No device nor organization of men, no vows nor pledges will break down the barriers between the "classes" and the "masses." Socialism is powerless, even though it bear the prefix "Christian." In Christ Jesus, "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3:11). In the true Church of Christ there is but one standard,--love to God and love to man,--and nothing can bring men to this but the love of God shed abroad in the heart, by His Holy Spirit.

The life of Christ on earth shows that in His church there can be none of the false standards that exist in society. He came as a servant, showing that none who follow Him must think themselves above serving. "By love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13) is the exhortation of the apostle, and the Master says, "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Matt. 20:27, 28). He was a carpenter on earth, in order that none of His followers might think it beneath their dignity to work. "The servant is not greater than his Lord" (John 15:20).

Companionship with God involves humility, for Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt. 11:29). "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to humble thyself to walk with thy God" (Micah 6:8, margin). "Before honor is humility," for "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." And what greater exaltation could created beings have, than to associate on terms of loving familiarity with the Creator of the universe? to be esteemed by Him as a friend, and to have God reveal His secrets to him? (See John 15:15; Psalm 25:14). Let us then give good heed to the message of the beloved disciple, which he has written unto us that our joy may be full.

--E. J. WaggonerThe Present Truth, Oct. 26, 1893, pp. 466, 467

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Thursday, January 13, 2011


Sabbath School TodayWith the 1888 Message Dynamic
Jesus Wept: The Bible and Human EmotionsLesson 3: "Stress"

"No matter what I do; no matter how hard I try; nothing seems to be working for me! I seem to be continually stressed and worried about whether my efforts will be enough so I can be saved! Being a Christian is so hard!" I want to be an overcomer, but I see no progress. Christianity sounds real good, but I have no power at all.

There is an adage that fits right here: "The definition of true insanity is that you keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results!" If this is going on, the best that can be hoped for is to be only a professed Christian. Worried and under constant stress as to your acceptance with God and your salvation, you plod forward wondering if it is all worth it. This kind of believing is the root of stress and worry and makes being a Christian impossible. Here is why:

Satan's doctrine of justification by faith is "simply the natural mind depending upon itself, working through itself, exalting itself; and then covering it all up with a profession of belief in this, that, and the other, but having no power of God" (A. T. Jones, 1893 General Conference Bulletin, "The Third Angel's Message," No. 12, p. 265).

Is there an antidote to stress and worry? Yes! There most surely is. The antidote is peace as a result of faith doing its work of righteousness within us. This peace comes directly from the cross; for on this cross the Word of God fulfilled itself and we are to take it as it is and it will fulfill itself within us--bringing peace.

Peace does not come separate from His righteousness: "The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever" (Isa. 32:17).
"Perhaps we are in darkness, feeling weak and discouraged and that God does not love us. If so, we are not to give way to feelings; feeling has nothing whatever to do with the matter. We are to take the Word of God as it reads, the words of Christ as He has spoken them" (E. G. White, Lift Him Up, p. 265, emphasis added).

God will not just give you a little bit of peace--like a break before going back to it--but gives us perfect peace! "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You" (Isa. 26:3). Take this as it reads and say "Thank you!"

"Christ exhorts us not to be anxious in regard to what we shall eat, drink, and wear, significantly adding, 'For your heavenly Father knows that he had need of these things.' So long as he remembers it, what need have we to fear? Then the Lord says: 'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you' (Matt. 6:30-33). In the face of this promise, whoever spends time worrying or fretting shows his disbelief in God" (E. J. Waggoner, "The Honor Due to God No. 6," Signs of the Times, Sept. 6, 1883; emphasis added).

Disbelief in God is sin, and does not spring from faith. "For whatever is not from faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). Does this mean we need to repent when worrying and entertaining stress? Yes, absolutely. Faith has nothing in common with either of them.

"'Well,' says one, 'I am sure that anybody would be impatient if he had as much to trouble him as I have.' Question: Would Christ become impatient if He had the things to endure that you have? Did He not have as much to endure, and more? You must admit that He did. Was He impatient? 'He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth' (Isa. 53:7). Then if He were in your place, He would be patient. Why, then, do you not let Him be in your place? ... 'Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved' (Psalm 55:22)." (Waggoner on Romans, p. 5.94).

The Apostle Paul himself reassures us that "God is not the author of confusion but of peace" (1 Cor. 14:33). So, who is the author of confusion?

Jesus Himself said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). So, with the peace of Jesus given to us, under what principle do we stress and worry?

A faith which works produces victory in the life and brings peace. "[This] is a faith that works, thank the Lord,--not a faith that believes something away off, that keeps the truth of God in the outer court, and then seeks by his own efforts to make up the lack. Not that. No, but faith that works. It itself is working; it has a divine power in it to manifest God's will in man before the world" (Jones, op. cit.).

Christ is the Savior of the whole world. He died for all; all are to live by faith; all are to receive His peace: "For the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died" (2 Cor. 5:14).

Our death with Christ changes everything: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20, emphasis added).

"To worry is to doubt; but we would impress upon all the necessity of going to God for help, whatever may be your afflictions and troubles" (E. G. White, Signs of the Times, Aug. 28, 1893). And we are warned to "refuse to worry about what you cannot help" (the Upward Look, p. 142). Doubt and worry do not come from faith and whatever is not of faith is sin.

Question: "Is there ever a time when it is OK for us to be stressed or worried?

Answer: Only if a command of God telling us to do so can be found.

Can it be this simple? "Therefore do not worry … do not worry … do not worry … do not worry" (Matt. 6:25-34). Never would God give us a command and then withhold the power to do it! It is this simple. Is it OK if Christianity is simple? Of course it is!

Do not resist Jesus who wants to give you His peace wrapped within "a character which He Himself wove from infancy to the grave" (Jones, 1893 General Conference Bulletin No. 6, p. 127). The Bible never even hints at the idea that the just shall live by worrying, doubting, disbelieving, or even by stressing--all it does say is: "The just shall live by His faith" (Hab. 2:4). Worry and stress are not gifts from above and they are not of faith.

Jesus says, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God'" (Luke 4:4, emphasis added). Not under stress, or by worry, but by the word of God--this is living by faith.

We are "to take the Word of God as it reads, and then to appreciate it as it is, and to bring it into the life and to weave it into the character. There is everything plainly revealed in God's Word, which concerns the salvation of men" (E. G. White, Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 919).

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word;
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who to Jesus for refuge have fled
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake."
John Rippon, 1787
--Daniel H. Peters

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Divine Provision for Anxiety"

 "Divine Provision for Anxiety"

Whenever the word "provision" is connected with spiritual things, the context in which it is used should be analyzed. If the meaning is that of an established fact accomplished in the past in order to provide for the future, it can be appropriately applied to spiritual things.

However, the word "provision" can also mean something that is not yet possessed, but merely available, requiring effort to obtain it. When this meaning is applied to spiritual ideas, it generates anxiety.

Salvation is a "provision" in the sense that God provides it, actually gives it, to all before they seek it. Salvation is not "provisional," that is, conditional upon an adequate response. However, a gift given is different from a gift received. The reception of the gift of eternal life is faith, which appreciates what the gift cost.

Many people believe God's entire plan to reconcile the human race is essentially "potential" and inert until the individual hears, understands, and decides to respond positively to the Gospel good news. Then he must attract the attention of an indifferent God with sufficient humility, confession, and repentance so God is persuaded to feel kindly toward him. Only then can there be some confidence regarding spiritual things, assuming the process is repeated often enough. Even then one is not sure whether he or she has done enough to impress God. It is easy to see that this view of God forms the basis of virtually all human anxiety.

Much of how we interact with others is rooted in a need to see ourselves as "good people," which not only has supposed benefits here and now, but also attracts God's attention for the future judgment. There are hundreds who are willing to engage in even the most disagreeable work, provided it is earning them some favor with others or the Lord. God cannot reward such self-aggrandizing motivation, and our need for reassurance becomes an ever-receding horizon of frustration and anxiety. Until our view of God is changed, religion has little value except to perpetuate this anxiety and fear. Instead, we should look to the cross of Christ. The love (agape) demonstrated there before we did anything to ingratiate ourselves to God should assure us that we can rest in His love and promises. Our only solution is to accept the promises God makes as true, even if we don't feel worthy of them.

Anxious people are always asking the "what if" questions. What they really fear is death and they want absolute assurance from God that they will not die. David says, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. … In God I have put my trust" (Psalm 56:3, 4). Note that he says, "I will trust …" You can't help being tempted to be afraid; it is not a sin to be tempted, but you can exercise your will, you can choose not to be afraid because you choose to trust in the Lord who loved you so much that He died for you.

For those who trust Him, God prepares a table in the presence of their enemies (Psalm 23:5), where they can quietly sit down and eat while the enemy rages and spends its strength in vain; but people mostly become frightened at the roaring of the adversary, and fly from their place of protection. By fearing to trust the Lord, and thinking that in this case we must use our own skill to help us out of the difficulty, we show that we regard ourselves as gods, greater than the God of heaven.

But isn't there something I am to do? This question is asked twice in the Scriptures: once by the rich young ruler and then by Paul's jailer. "What must I do to be saved?" Neither the ruler nor the jailer was inspired, and neither was the question they asked. The answer to this question is "No"! There is nothing to do. Paul's answer was: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:30, 31). In other words, God's "rest," the gospel, has been given. Let the heart be changed by faith in God's gospel "rest." Receive the gift with a thankful heart.
Some may say, "that's too easy," but it is not easy. Our self-centered nature continues to prompt us to think we need to add to what the Lord is doing. When we do this, we are worshipping ourselves, and choosing to disbelieve Philippians 1:6 where God promises that He (not me) will finish the work He started in you.

He is waiting for us! He bends down to earth, anxiously waiting to hear some cry. So intently does He listen that not only does He hear the faintest whisper, but the first impulse to call upon Him reaches His heart. He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, and responds to them. He is not like the unjust judge, who must be importuned and besieged before he would grant the righteous request (see Luke 18:1-8)

A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner (the Lord's 1888 "messengers") taught that Christ legally and objectively saved the world. He died every man's second death, bearing the iniquity of all sinners, legally justifying "all men." Jones put it this way:

"Take the man who does not believe in Jesus at all tonight. … If this man wants to have Christ for his Saviour, if he wants provision made for all his sins, and salvation from all of them, does Christ have to do anything now, in order to provide for this man's sins, or to save him from them?--No; that is all done; He made all that provision for every man when he was in the flesh, and every man who believes in Him receives this without there being any need of any part of it being done over again. He 'made one sacrifice for sins for ever'" (General Conference Bulletin, 1895, p. 268).

The antidote for fear, anxiety, and insecurity is to review the promises of God. He has promised to give you a heart (Psalm 51:10; Jer. 24:7) to understand that Jesus indeed is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe (1 Tim. 4:10). By taking our human nature in Him to the cross, He obtained a verdict of acquittal for all. He will not force eternal life on all, but those who believe His promises will allow Him to finish the work He wants to complete in all.

Maybe you could begin a list of your favorite promises, so when doubts assail, you can quickly seek God and say, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
--Arlene Hill

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