Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lesson 5: Christ and the Sabbath

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Christ and His Law
Lesson 5: Christ and the Sabbath
The Sabbath is a revelation of Christ and a sign by which those who hallow it know that the Lord is the One who makes them righteous and sanctifies them.
Only those who believe with the faith of Jesus can enter into His Sabbath. Israel could not enter because they did not believe: "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" but "we who have believed do enter that rest" (Heb. 3:8, 9; 4:3).
The Sabbath contains within it the creative power of God, the rest of God, the blessing of God, the presence of God which makes holy, and the continuing, indwelling presence of God, which sanctifies. Therefore:
The Sabbath is a reminder of Christ as Creator: It is the reminder of His creative power manifested. It is a sign between Him and His people forever, "for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed" (Ex. 31:17).
The Sabbath contains Christ'rest: "For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works'" (Heb. 4:4). We have seen that only those who believe can enter His rest.
The Sabbath holds Christ's blessing: "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Gen. 2:3).
In the Sabbath is Christ's holiness: Only the presence of God can make anything holy. Moses, attracted by the sight of the bush burning yet not being consumed, turned aside "to see this great sight." "So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here am I.' Then He said, 'Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground'" (Ex. 3:4, 5). That place was made holy ground solely by the presence of Him in the bush. Just so the presence of the Lord made holy the seventh day, the Sabbath, when He rested on it and in it from all His works.
The Sabbath has in it Christ'sanctification: He not only blessed the seventh day, but sanctified it that His presence might dwell in it. Christ's presence makes holy, but His continuing presence is what sanctifies.
And all the above is what is found "in Christ" by the believer; for the Sabbath rest is the culmination of the Everlasting Covenant--of the Gospel which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." [Note: Being "in Christ" is only half the gospel--"Christ in you" is the completion of the gospel. All men have been "in Christ" from the beginning. "Christ in you" completes the gospel and God willed to make this known (see Col. 1:26, 27).]
The believer finds in Christ the creative power of God: Creative power is the same as redemptive power, therefore redemption is creation--they are one and the same. The first thing that Jesus is to the sinner in this world is Creator (Redeemer), making him a new creation. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me"(Psalm 51:10). So the work of God in salvation is creation. It is Christ who makes us into new creations.
The believer finds in Christ God's rest: "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His" (Heb. 4:10). Rest is a gift, as it is written: "Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). It is Christ who gives us His rest.
The believer finds in Christ God'blessing: "God, having raised up his Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities" (Acts 3:26). And "God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... has blessed us with every spiritualblessings in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). It is God who blesses us and turns us from our sins--for His sake.
The believer finds in Jesus the presence of God to make himholy: It is written: "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (John 14:20). And "God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). It is the presence of God which makes holy, but His continuing presence sanctifies.
Elder Robert J. Wieland was often asked about the difference between "holy" and "righteous." He explained that: "Righteousness is the result of Christ's holiness meeting and conquering sin in our flesh." So we see that it is Christ in us, which makes us righteous, and His righteousness is only received by faith.
"The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isa. 32:17, 18). Herein is the Sabbath!
Ellen G. White wrote that the Sabbath points to Christ "as both the creator and the sanctifier "Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them" (Ezek. 20:12). "Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ's power to make us holy" (The Desire of Ages, p. 288).
The believer finds in Jesus God'abiding, indwelling presencewhich sanctifies him: for it is written: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23); and "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" (1 John 4:15); "For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (2 Cor. 6:16).
E. J. Waggoner, one of the 1888 messengers, said that justification is the highest state man can have on earth, and that sanctification is nothing more than this same justification moving forward over time. Sanctification is the uninterrupted obedience of Christ over time.
We know that Christ's presence makes holy--which is to make righteous, but His continual indwelling is what sanctifies us. Or we can say it this way: His presence makes holy and His continuing presence makes continually holy, or sanctified.
The Sabbath stands as God's sign of a completed work at creation and a sign of the completed work of His cross.
Now, to be made just or righteous means that self must die. We cannot kill self, but there is good news here too: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Waggoner wrote: "The power it took to create the world and all things that are in it, the power that keeps all things in existence, is the power that saves those who trust in it. This is the power of the cross" (The Glad Tidings, p. 140).
Sanctification is the complete work of Christ finished in the individual. The image of Christ is completely formed in the believer; so that when Christ looks upon the believer He sees Himself.
Now when man is completely sanctified, and all of self is gone, and none but Christ there, even then, in the depths of eternity when he comes to the Sabbath day, it will reveal to him still more of the wonderful knowledge and the sanctifying, growing power there is in Jesus Christ to the man who believes.
"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength" (Isa. 30:15).
Christ is our Sabbath--He is the Sabbath and all that it means. With Christ in us, we will begin to better comprehend the Sabbath.
--Daniel H. Peters
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