Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Marriage: A Gift From Eden"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
Lesson 9: "Marriage: A Gift From Eden"

A Personal Story--The Joy of Faith
On January 13, 1999, Robert J. Wieland wrote to his readers of Dial Daily Bread, "Nothing personal should get intoDial Daily Bread, but perhaps you will forgive me today. I should take the day off, this being my 57th wedding anniversary. My dear Grace deserves to have me out of the office, all day!
"But I can't refrain from saying out loud, 'Thank You, dear Lord, for giving her to me! And thank You for keeping us all this time!' On the day of our marriage, January 11, 1942, this nation already had a president whose marriage had fallen apart (but we didn't know it then), and since then we have watched many marriages break up, high and low. So much so that only a minority of children now grow up in stable, happy homes.
"Why has ours survived for 57 happy years? Not because we are any better than anybody else! Not because we are more capable of 'good works.' No! It's not because of some little 'secret' of nice things to do (I for one have been very deficient in doing nice things). It's not because of some unique 'wisdom' we inherited from our own parents. No, our 57 years of happiness is not from any superior wisdom or righteousness. It's because we have believed something. We have believed that God brought us together.
"Oh, yes, add one thing to that: we have also believed that God is love. In times of trial, that simple little bit of confidence in (1) His leading and (2) in His goodness, has held us tight. If you're interested in marital happiness and fidelity, read that fascinating story in Genesis 24; note those seven steps of faith that Isaac took, and remember the last one, 'he loved Rebekah' (vs. 67), yes--forever" (Jan. 13, 1999).
Four years later, January 2003, Dial Daily Bread echoed the same sentiment, only more so. "The two of us (Grace and Robert) who try to share a morsel of 'bread' in this daily mini-message pause a moment to celebrate our 61st happy wedding anniversary. It's no achievement of our own; we deserve no congratulations as though we have accomplished anything. No, it's just a word of thanks to the One who invented marriage. And a prayer that somehow we might say one little word that could encourage some struggling married couple somewhere who fear the fate of roughly half of all Christian marriages.
"We have not an iota of superior wisdom. Both of us came from dysfunctional families. Neither was an expert, or properly 'educated.' We haven't 'done' anything to deserve what we've been given. It's all 'much more abounding grace,' which of course means undeserved favor. But was there nothing special that may have proved an avenue of blessing?
"(1) Long before we met each other, as youths we had given our hearts to Jesus. To us our baptism was very serious. (2) We did not rush into each other's arms; we took time. We wanted to be sure that the Holy Spirit was directing us. (3) We came to our wedding day believing that as surely as the Lord brought Rebekah to Isaac (Genesis 24), so surely had He brought the two of us together. (4) When if ever there were temptations along our way, this confidence anchored us. We cherished it. (5) When a call to missionary service came, we thought of what Jesus gave up for us, and we responded. We couldn't say anything but 'Yes.' (There's not an iota of merit in all this; it's all thanks to Him.) (6) And no, it's not a talisman, not a magic trick--we have simply wanted to kneel on our knees every day in what old-fashioned people called "a family altar." It started the very night we were united in marriage; we love it still today. No, it's not 'righteousness by works,' not the least; it's the joy of faith."

The Greatest Marriage--Yet to Come
Elder Wieland also wrote prolifically about the greatest marriage in the Universe--yet to come. The "marriage of the Lamb," as described in Revelation 19, the climax of Scripture when the Bride of Christ makes herself "ready" for the wedding
The story has been in the Bible from the beginning. When Adam was in desperate loneliness in Eden, the Lord brought Eve to him; He also foresaw the time when He would comfort His own loneliness with the "marriage" of a "bride" taken from His beloved world. Jesus is a lone, lonely Man in heaven; He wants to be with His people. The "woman" with whom He is in such desperate love is a "corporate" woman--a "body" of humans composed of redeemed sinners from "every nation, tribe, tongue, and people" (Rev. 14:6, 7, NKJV). "She" has grown up from her infancy "in Christ" through all the stages from childhood in which a woman grows up; she has come at last to a place of maturity where she will be ready to stand by His side as His "help-meet."
Throughout Bible history we read of His many disappointments. Like a surrealist painting, these vivid scenes portray the whole of human history and especially that of God's people, as a divine-human love affair, a husband wooing a wife. There must be something about that "body" of believers that Revelation designates as "the remnant" which "keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ," that has called forth or has released the conjugal love of Christ. He wants to marry "her"; and that desire is a burning one, not to be turned aside.
We could say that the little group who went through the Great Disappointment of 1844 were deeply beloved of Christ. The "remnant" refused to give up their faith, confident that the true Holy Spirit was working in the Midnight Cry. They were especially dear to His heart. On down through the early history of this people, a special heavenly love affair was developing. Not since Pentecost has Jesus found such a group of believers loyal to Him.
Then comes our sad history of "1888." The disappointment of that love in "1888" was to Him "beyond description." [1] However, increasingly, thoughtful people are coming to see the story of "our" disdaining the Lord Jesus in the most precious message of the beginning of the latter rain. In rejecting it, says the Lord's servant, we disdained Christ, just as "the woman" did her Lover in Song of Solomon 5:3. [2]
Christ's pathetic appeal in His message to "the angel of the church of the Laodiceans" ("be zealous therefore, and repent," Rev. 3:19) is connected with the Song of Solomon, for His parting appeal is a direct quotation from it, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If a certain one [tis, Greek] hears My voice and opens the door," … then comes the intimacy.
The Son of God is a yearning Bridegroom longing for the marriage to come. He is a competent Marriage Counselor. Have a good visit with Him.
--From the writings of Robert J. Wieland
(Compiled by Carol A. Kawamoto)
[1] See Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1904, her statement describing how Jesus felt after the 1888 failure of the church leadership to receive and pass on the message, and the loss of the consequent reconciliation with Him: "The disappointment of Christ is beyond description."
[2] See Robert J. Wieland, "The Song of Solomon and the Laodicean Message," which is available on the Web:
For Further Reading:
"Seven Memorable Marriages in the Bible," by Robert J. Wieland.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Seminar Invitation

Now on Internet Radio (24/7)

Appreciating the
Through the 1888 Message Perspective (part 5)
(Chapter 4:17, continued)

FEBRUARY 23, 2013
Sabbath afternoon (beginning 2:15 p.m. CT, USA)
An 1888 message oriented sermon will be delivered during
the regular church service.

(Off Interstate 40 westbound from Nashville, exit 192–turn right, then left on
Hwy 70, 1-1/2 miles to Cave Springs Road, two rights and follow the signs.)

Speaker & Bible Study Leader
Chaplain Craig Barnes

Sabbath Dinner and Light Supper
Plant-based meals will be served at Cave Springs Home
on a donation basis. Please E-mail or call (leave a message)
to reserve a meal ticket.

BOOK SALE (After Sunset)

• Available on site
• Commercial lodging available in the nearby town of Belleview

FOR RESERVATIONS: Phone: (615) 646-6962  E-mail: cjmb1888@gmail.com

Note: Internet radio live coverage starts between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m. every Sabbath; at 2:15 p.m. on seminar days (central time, USA).
Stay tuned all day for additional sermons and programming.

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Jesus, Provider and Sustainer"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
Lesson 8: "Jesus, Provider and Sustainer"
What is the Creator's relationship to His creation? Is there a conflict between science and the Bible's portrayal of the divine providential care of creation? Are the things of nature self-sustaining in that they act according to set laws observable by scientific discovery?
How are we to understand the extraordinary miraculous events of nature and the common or ordinary events of nature? What is the purpose of divine providence in the common and the extraordinary "miraculous" in nature? Is there a "dynamic" providential revelation to be seen in nature and God's movements among mankind that reveal His Divine love?
There is false science and there is true science. With false science there is conflict with the Bible. In true science there is perfect harmony with the Scriptures.
The laws of nature comprise what men have been able to discover with regard to the laws that govern the physical world; but how limited is their knowledge, and how vast the field in which the Creator can work, in harmony with His own laws, and yet wholly beyond the comprehension of finite beings.
Many teach that matter possesses vital power, that certain properties are imparted to matter, and it is then left to act through its own inherent energy, and that the operations of nature are conducted in harmony with fixed laws, with which God Himself cannot interfere. This is false science, and is not sustained by the word of God. Nature is the servant of her Creator. God does not annul His laws, or work contrary to them; but He is continually using them as His instruments. [1]
There is in nature the continual working of the Father and the Son. Christ says, "the Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). The Levites, in their hymn recorded by Nehemiah, sung, "Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, ... and Thou preservest them all" (Neh. 9:6).
A belief in miracles is a necessary consequence of a belief in God. He who does not believe in miracles does not believe in God. Miracles are simply God's natural actions. His smallest acts must be miraculous in the eyes of men, simply because He is God.
The life of Jesus on earth, from His birth to His ascension was a miracle, because it was the life of God. All the Son's acts were the acts of the Father, who dwelt in Him. "He [the Father] doeth the works" (John 14:10). Thousands of people who never heard of Jesus, had tried to live sinless lives, but not one had been able to do so. But Christ lived a sinless life, in the face of such temptations as all the world together had never known. It was because He lived the life of the infinite God.
These miracles were wrought for a definite purpose, "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, ... and that believing ye might have life through His name" (John 20:30, 31). Christ did not perform the miracles simply for the purpose of calling attention to Himself, but to show the love and the power of God toward man. The healing of the bodies of men were aids to faith, to enable men to grasp unseen realities; to show them the power of Christ to heal the disease of the sin-sick soul.
Just as surely as Christ created the world and sustains all that is therein, just so will He bring about through Divine providence the completion of the gospel work of a ripened harvest at His second coming. [2] Christ used God's providences in nature to illustrate how His providence will produce a mature harvest for His second coming. Jesus likens His church to a garden crop to be harvested (Mark 4:26-29).
In telling this parable, Jesus obviously intended to comment on the time of His return, because the same symbol appears in the picture of His coming in Revelation: "On the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having ... a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe'" (Rev. 14:14, 15, NKJV).
According to these passages, the actual time of Christ's second coming depends on the "harvest" getting ripe; that is, on God's people being ready for His coming. The factor that makes the difference is what the Bible speaks of as "the latter rain" outpouring of the Holy Spirit. All of earth's thousands of years of history have been the growing season preparatory to this moment of "harvest" when He personally returns. Out of earth's billions of inhabitants of all ages there comes at last a remnant of precious souls who gladly receive the showers of the latter rain. Their mature faith has at last produced in a community of believers a reflection of the beauty of Christ's character. Without fail, "the great, grand work of bringing out a people who will have Christlike characters, and who will be able to stand in the day of the Lord, is to be accomplished." [3]
No one prepares himself or herself for "the harvest." The latter rain causes the grain to ripen. Robert J. Wieland has perceptively pointed out: "There is in Seventh-day Adventist history a grand and profound design of Providence that will lead this people to a heart-felt reconciliation with the Lord such as no previous community of God's people have ever experienced." [4] Our part is to welcome that blessing, and not to fight it off and resist it.
That picture of the harvest getting ripe so that Christ can thrust in His sickle to reap is a beautifully expressive symbol. The One who went to the cross for us, who poured out His soul unto death, who suffered unspeakable agonies for our redemption, looks upon that ripened "grain" as the hard-won fruitage of all His sacrifice and atoning work in the sanctuary above. He deserves a reward!
--Paul E. Penno
[1] "In dwelling upon the laws of matter and the laws of nature, many lose sight of, if they do not deny, the continual and direct agency of God. They convey the idea that nature acts independently of God, having in and of itself its own limits and its own powers wherewith to work. In their minds there is a marked distinction between the natural and the supernatural. The natural is ascribed to ordinary causes, unconnected with the power of God. Vital power is attributed to matter, and nature is made a deity. It is supposed that matter is placed in certain relations and left to act from fixed laws with which God Himself cannot interfere; that nature is endowed with certain properties and placed subject to laws, and is then left to itself to obey these laws and perform the work originally commanded.
"This is false science; there is nothing in the word of God to sustain it. God does not annul His laws, but He is continually working through them, using them as His instruments. They are not self-working. God is perpetually at work in nature" (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 259-260).
[2] "As they learn to labor effectively, they will proclaim the truth with power. Through most wonderful workings of divine providence, mountains of difficulty will be removed, and cast into the sea. The message that means so much to the dwellers upon the earth, will be heard and understood. Men will know what is truth. Onward and still onward the work will advance until the whole earth shall have been warned, and then shall the end come" (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 96).
"The Lord will raise up men to bear the message of truth to the world and to his people. If those in responsible positions do not move onward in the opening providences of God, bearing an appropriate message for this time, the words of warning will be given to others who will be faithful to their trust. Even youthful Christians will be chosen to 'cry aloud and spare not'" (Ellen G. White, "Heart Work in Sabbath-School Teacher and Scholar," Sabbath-School Worker, April 1, 1892).
[3] Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 129.
[4] Robert J. Wieland, "An Answer to 'Further Appraisal of the Manuscript 1888 Re-examined'" (October, 1958), p. 68.

SST # 8 "Jesus, Provider and Sustainer" Pastor Paul Penno

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Through a Glass, Darkly" Pastor Paul Penno

"Through a Glass, Darkly"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Lesson 7: "Through a Glass, Darkly"
When John F. Kennedy, Jr., died in an airplane accident, the media conjectured the family was under a fated "curse." Are we earth-bound sinners under a "curse" along with our planet home? Why must nature be cruel and deadly? What does the Bible say about the "good" in creation and its manifest evil? Is there any hope for a world of losers in the clarity of the everlasting gospel?
The psalmist declares, "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all" (Psalm 104:24). How could a God who "saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31) have created poisonous plants, diseased microbes, the scorpion, and carnivorous wild animals? Can the Christian possibly harmonize such obvious anomalies in nature?
Nature faintly reflects the original edenic beauty blighted and married as it is by sin, but the flowers and trees are a testimony of "the skillful Master Artist." The briers, thistles, thorns, and tares are reminders that the earth suffers under a "curse," "the law of condemnation." But the beauty of nature witnesses that "God still loves us, that His mercy is not wholly withdrawn from the earth." [1]
The first clue to a nature infested with death, ugliness, and tooth and claw competition occurs in the Bible statement. "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you" (Gen. 3:17, 18, NIV). The ground was cursed because of Adam's sin. The inevitable consequences of permitting Satan control over the forces of nature and human beings was a curse.
After Cain killed his brother Abel, God said "now art thou cursed from the earth" because of "thy brother's blood from thy hand" (Gen. 4:11). Now "a double curse rested upon" the earth. [2]
Two thousand years later the earth passed through a crisis brought on by man's actions. God said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man" (Gen. 6:3). Men rejected the Spirit of God. The "violence through them" was so heinous that God told Noah, "I will destroy them with the earth" (vs. 13). The flood of Noah's time was a global geological catastrophe which upset the whole balance of nature.
Christ, in His parable comparing the impact of the gospel on people's minds, explained the existence of the unconverted in the church through the symbolism of the tares or weeds among the wheat. When asked where the tares came from, He said: "An enemy hath done this" (Matt. 13:28). His answer is also symbolic of the origin of thorns, thistles, poisonous plants and animals, and the carnage and evil one sees throughout nature. Satan and men are systematically destroying God's creation on earth.
The earth is caught up in the midst of a conflict between two opposing forces--good and evil--a fact which few would deny. The battle began with the spiritual fall of one human being, Adam. Adam doomed mankind to eventual destruction.
Our concern is to understand this problem of a "curse." Often sincere people for whom many things go wrong wonder if they are under some kind of curse imposed by Fate because of the foibles of an ancestor. Yes, the Bible often speaks of the reality of a curse--about 200 times. The first one recorded is not against any human beings, but against Satan: "The Lord God said unto the serpent, … Thou artcursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field ..." And the Lord told him that the coming Savior of the world would stamp on his head (Gen 3:14, 15). No human being has ever been under a curse from heaven unless he/she has sided with the devil and chosen to share his curse.
An example of this is the Jews who cried out for Jesus to be crucified, "His blood be on us, and on our children"? (Matt. 27:25). Is it fair for God to hold innocent children accountable for the sin of their parents? No, it would not be fair; and God does not do that. What happened in the case of those who crucified Christ is that they, not God, separated themselves from His presence. "Your house is left unto you desolate," Jesus told them when they had rejected Him finally (Matt. 23:38). The Spirit of God simply withdrew His holy presence; and then, without His special favor and protection, the people were left to themselves. Anyone left to himself comes to grief! Thenceforth, parents reared their children without benefit of the special blessing of the Lord; they taught them to share in their rebellion against God. But at any moment, any such child is free to believe the gospel, to repent, and to receive the blessing of God. "In Christ" every curse is canceled, because He was "made … to be sin [a curse] for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).
There are people in primitive societies and some in highly developed ones, who lie down and die when there is no physical illness or cause to die. They think they are under a "curse" imposed by some enemy. This belief in Fate is related to the belief in karma. These dear people are among those Paul speaks of who "through fear of death [are] all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:15).
You can live a dare-devil "so-what" life. People live recklessly, who decide to "enjoy" life while they can until the "curse" hits them. This is the philosophy popular in Paul's day, "Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die" (1 Cor. 15:32). This was the attitude of gladiators who fought with wild beasts in the Coliseum; their human life was cheap.
You can be delivered from the unhappy fatalism that shadows your soul beneath the constant smile you put on. The truth of God's good news sets you free (John 8:32). Christ has conquered Satan, canceled all his curses, taken upon Himself your sin as well as the sins of your ancestors. We need not suffer under any "curse" unless we choose it. The dynamic clarity of the 1888 message has helped us to see something in this text: "Christ hath redeemed us from thecurse of the law [the second death], being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). How? Because He died on a tree. His cross was the lightning-rod that attracted the ultimate curse, the total that Satan could invent. Live, then, in the light of that cross!
--Paul E. Penno
Endnotes (Ellen G. White):
[1] Selected Messages, book 1, p. 291.
[2] "The curse upon the ground at first had been felt but lightly; but now a double curse rested upon it" (The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 57).However, notice God's mercy toward Cain. "Notwithstanding that Cain had by his crimes merited the sentence of death, a merciful Creator still spared his life, and granted him opportunity for repentance" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 78).
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Friday, February 8, 2013

"Creation and the Fall"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
Lesson 6: "Creation and the Fall"
How in the world can anybody find good news in bad news? Are there any "do-overs"? What can be said about the Fall of our first parents that inspires hope of restoration? And how does the message of 1888 give insight to God's response to "our" rebellion?
"Misery loves company." When someone is guilty they like to drag others down with them. Assuming the form of a beautiful creature, Satan led Eve on a pathway of false assumptions regarding the character of God. Implying doubt as to God's word not to eat of the tree ("Yea, hath God said. ...?"), he got Eve to add to the warning "neither shall ye touch it." But Eve "saw" the creature eating the fruit; and so he told her the lie, "Ye shall not surely die." God is withholding "knowing good and evil" by which you may become "god" (Gen. 3:1-5).
His three deceptions were woven together into one strand: (1) There will be no death, for Eve believed the serpent that man's nature is immortal; (2) "knowing good and evil" is essential, for there is a conjunction of opposites; and (3) "ye shall be God," for divinity dwells within every immortal human soul and only awaits self-realization.
The serpent's argument went like this: If God has created all these opposites--if there is darkness and light; if there is earth and water; if male and female are to be one, why not see evil as an acceptable opposite to good? God was holding back something from them, some knowledge that would enhance their happiness and actually enable them to realize that they too were divine, yes, were "God." They could discover Him within themselves. Our mother Eve embraced the deception, and became the first person to believe that evil must always balance good, even for all eternity. She seized the fruit and ate, and her husband joined her in the experiment.
The conjunction of opposites is so fundamental to the thinking of hundreds of millions in Eastern religions--Hinduism and Buddhism. The ability to blend, mingle, and harmonize these two conflicting opposites would bring forth a transformation, the pathway to enlightenment. The end result is oneness of everything with complete understanding. "God" is all--pantheism.
Mankind fell for this notion. "Despite the consequences, from that day to this, humanity appears to have shown an obsession for actually trying to prove that the idea works and of achieving this long-sought-for oneness through the amalgamation of opposites." [1] It is the cornerstone of post-modernism. It is the reconciliation of the eternal principle that good and evil exist in "god" and in man. All thought is "god's" thought.
In the early Christian church by the 5th century, St. Augustine worked out a synthesis between the two opposites Divine-love (agape) and self-love (eros), and gave it the Latin term caritas which has been translated into the King James Bible as "charity." Martin Luther, a thousand years later, was able to partially break through the fog in his rediscovery of agape because he was the only one of the Protestant Reformers who believed in the nature of man and rejected the pagan-papal immortality of the soul. Thus he could begin to comprehend "the breadth, and length, and depth, and height" of "the love of Christ" (Eph. 3:18, 19). Jesus chose the cursed, God-forsaken second death for every poor sinner. Goodbye to life forever. He died penniless, having deposited all His riches into the bank accounts of sinners. His agape, the forgiveness of sins,--justification by faith,--was given to all.
Now through Luther's insight New Testament faith could come into its own. Whereas faith motivated by self-love is always concerned about it's own eternal reward and afraid of going to hell; faith motivated by agapeappreciates what it cost the Saviour to die upon His cross. Unfortunately, Luther's successors--Melancthon, Zwingle, Calvin, and the other Reformers--failed to understand agape because of their adherence to the pagan-papal notion of the immortal soul.
It wasn't until a young woman, barely out of her teens took her pen and began to write some testimonies in the 1840s and '50s, that agape finally came back into its own. Ellen White's writings are permeated with the idea. [2]
The reality is that mother Eve had to disbelieve God's good news in Eden. She chose rather to believe the bad news about God. She chose to believe that God lied when He said "thou shalt not eat of" "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" "for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). She believed that God was withholding some knowledge that would help her achieve the divine enlightenment. Of course, unbelief in God's Word was the basis of Satan's new religion, which necessitated the eventual overthrow of God from His throne. Satan hoped to convince the whole universe of this principle of self-love.
Eve actually believed the serpent's deception (2 Cor. 11:3). Adam did not. He joined her in the evil step only because he loved her. Whatever this mysterious, unknown thing to come might be that God said was "death," he chose to share it with her. But mother Eve's original deception included the idea that there would be no death: "Ye shall not surely die," the wily serpent had assured her. Here is the origin of the idea of the natural immortality of the human soul.
Adam, with his eyes wide open, in full knowledge, knew that eating the forbidden fruit would be sin (James 4:17). In unbelief he stepped out on forbidden ground. His very nature was changed by his willful choice. At that moment he was no longer capable of doing good. "By the offense of one, judgment came upon all men," resulting in condemnation to an eternal grave (Rom. 5: 12, 18). No hope of life, no hope of even one bite of food, or a breath of air, or a glass of cold water. Not one single thing was ours by Adam's one choice. Adam joined Satan's rebellion and turned over the dominion to the "prince [ruler] of this world" (John 14:30).
The 1888 message provides insight into the everlasting covenant originally given to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15). God promised to "put enmity" between the woman and her descendants and Satan. God promised to put hatred in human hearts for evil. God put a desire for good and right in the heart of everyone to some degree. You have been given your "measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3). You have already received the ability to "believe."
When God made the promise to Adam and Eve it was Christ who was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). Christ became surety for the entire human race. He put Himself on the line to bring about all that He promised to Adam and Eve. God did not require from Adam and Eve a promise to obey Him, there is no record of any such transaction.
But thank God that "by the righteousness of One," the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world, who became surety for a lost race, "the result of one righteous act is acquittal and life for all" (Rom. 5:18, REB). Because of Jesus Christ's one righteous act we can eat food today, breath the air, and drink the water. If we do not refuse this gift of life we already enjoy, we will live forever in eternal life. We will be ever thankful that He saved us from the eternal grave that was ours by Adam's disobedience. He did it all by His own promise. He simply says "harden not your hearts" (Heb. 4:7).
--Paul E. Penno
[1] Ernest H. J. Steed, Two Be One, p. 10.
[2] For example see Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 27.