Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lesson 3 "Enduring Temptation"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
The Book of James
Lesson 3: "Enduring Temptation" 

The "1888 Message" is not another message in addition to all other messages, but is the plain Scripture and nothing more than that. This message presents justification through faith in Jesus; it invites all to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. This "is the third angel's message." [1]
The righteousness of Christ is obedience to all the commandments of God. Only Christ can do this and only Christ can keep us from sin.
Our lesson's title this week is in line with the power of this message and we begin with our lesson's main Scripture: "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." Therefore "receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:12, 21).
The "blessing" of man is defined as follows: "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). So a person who has been turned away from his iniquities, does not sin--or in the words from our lesson's text, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation."
A brief word about enduring temptation: If the "implanted word" is received with meekness, the man endures temptation and is kept from sinning--for this word is Jesus and He is the only One who is able to save our souls. A man who humbly receives this Word is justified by faith, because the Word can only be received by faith."
"Christ is primarily the Word of God, the expression of God's thought; and the Scriptures are the Word of God simply because they reveal Christ." [2]
Before Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). Now, Jesus saving "His people from their sins" is the same as Jesus keeping us from sinning--being "drawn away by [our] own desires and enticed" (James 1:14). He does this action only from within and never from afar. (Notice that the text in Matthew does not say He will "try to save His people," but that He will save them!)
The "implanted word" is Jesus Christ. He is the gospel--the Good News, the Savior of the whole world. Man is only able to endure temptation because of the humanity of Christ and His sacrifice as us and for us. "In seeking us, Christ came to where we are, taking upon Himself "the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." Thus He is a Savior "nigh at hand, not afar off." He "is the Savior of all men," even "the chief of sinners." But sinners have the freedom to refuse Him and reject Him." [3]
From Friday's lesson we read: "'The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and ... the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.'--Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 311."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:1, 14). Dwelling among us is the same as dwelling in us--thus it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" that is this implanted word.
"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same" (Heb. 2:14). Notice the text only says that Jesus was a partaker of the flesh and blood of "the children"--we are the children. "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like" us "for in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Heb. 2:1, 18). Therefore it is only Jesus that "knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations" (2 Peter 2:9).
"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). Christ living "in me" is the gospel in total. It is the mystery of God who sent His Son to save His people from yielding to temptation.
Those who endure temptation are Christ's and "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24). A. T. Jones, one of the two 1888 messengers, wrote: "The Spirit of God is freely given to every believer so that they are led by the Spirit; the flesh, which is ever present, cannot do the things that it would naturally do, because the Spirit holds it in subjection. In a Spirit led life, God rules and causes 'the fruit of the Spirit' to appear instead of 'the works of the flesh'" [4]
"The only thing for which God gives an individual superhuman power, is to resist temptation." [5] "Through the Holy Spirit, Christ has consecrated a way through our flesh so that every soul, in spite of all the passions, lusts, desires, and inclinations of the flesh, can "inherit the kingdom of God." [6]
Our text states that the one who endures temptation, "when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." The approval here is the same approval spoken of in Genesis 1:31 when "God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." The Sabbath sealed up creation and is a sign of God's power to deliver us from sin. Thus the redemption and creation are the same and the Sabbath is the sign of each.
"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). Sanctifying is the removing and the keeping from sin. The Sabbath is the evidence of this.
Now, "in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished" (Rev. 10:7). This mystery is: "Christ in you, the hope of glory"--His cleansing and keeping us from sin. This mystery is finished in the saints who have endured temptation and have been established and approved by God--sealed by God as evidenced by having "the faith of Jesus" and thereby "keeping the commandments of God" (Rev. 14:12).
Jesus "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). "And He gives to us His own faith--"the faith of Jesus"--which is able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy. It has done it; this faith is already the victory that has overcome the world" [7]
"Let us, then, when temptations reveal to us what is in our hearts, not lose courage, and settle down in despair" for "God provides us with power to live even in sinful flesh as free from sin as He Himself." [8]
--Daniel Peters
[1] Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 91. 92.
[2] The first sentence of E. J. Waggoner's, "Personal Experience" (written shortly before his death May 28, 1916). See: http://www.1888mpm.org/blog/personal-experience-written-dr-ej-waggoner

[3] Robert J. Wieland, Ten Great Gospel Truths That Make the 1888 Message Unique, "Gospel Truth #5."
[4] A. T. Jones, "Studies in Galatians. Gal. 5:22-26," Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Oct. 2, 1900.
[5] Jones, "Notes," American Sentinel, May 26, 1898, pp. 321, 322.
[6] Op cit. (Jones, "Studies in Galatians. Gal. 5:22-26").
[7] E. J. Waggoner, "Every Temptation", The Present Truth, April 26, 1894, p. 263.
[8] Waggoner, "Why Does God Permit Temptation," The Present Truth, Oct. 11, 1900, pp. 645, 646.
Raul Diaz