Lesson 11 | Sabbath, 14 September 2019
“It is peace that you need–Heaven’s forgiveness and peace and love in the soul. Money cannot buy it, intellect cannot procure it, wisdom cannot attain to it; you can never hope, by your own efforts, to secure it. But God offers it to you as a gift, ‘without money and without price.’ Isaiah 55:1. It is yours if you will but reach out your hand and grasp it. The Lord says, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ Isaiah 1:18. ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.’ Ezekiel 36:26.” –A Call to Stand Apart, p. 29.
As dirty rags
1. What is clearly visible in human nature? To what do the Holy Scriptures compare man’s human nature?
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
“The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden…. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed…. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence…. Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul,… This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. ‘All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God ‘was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.’ 1 John 3:5….” –Maranatha, p. 78.
2. How possible is it for us, being unclean by nature, to change that nature by ourselves? Furthermore, how capable are we of giving birth to righteous children?
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
Job 25:4; 14:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?… 14:4Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
“If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts?… There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing for ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are.
“Yield yourself to Christ without delay; He alone, by the power of His grace, can redeem you from ruin. He alone can bring your moral and mental powers into a state of health.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 133.
Deep longing of the repentant soul
3. What is the deep wish and prayer of the sincere soul who recognizes his sinful nature and is sorry for his unseemly behavior?
Psalm 51:2, 7, 10 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…. 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow…. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
“ Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better, until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of the Saviour, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own: ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.’ Psalm 51:7.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 320.
“The hyssop used in sprinkling the blood was the symbol of purification, being thus employed in the cleansing of the leper and of those defiled by contact with the dead. In the psalmist’s prayer also its significance is seen: ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.’ Psalm 51:7.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 277.
4. On the other hand, what does the Lord feel for fallen man? What does He want to do with man’s transgression?
Isaiah 43:25; 41:14 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins…. 41:14Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
“There is forgiveness with God; there is acceptance full and free through the merits of Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord. Isaiah heard the Lord declaring to His chosen ones: ‘I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.’ ‘Thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.’ Isaiah 43:25, 26; 60:16.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 723.
“The moment you grasp God’s promises by faith and say, I am the lost sheep that Jesus came to save, a new life will take possession of you, and you will receive strength to resist the tempter. But faith to grasp the promises does not come by feeling. ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ Romans 10:17. You must not look for some great change to take place; you must not expect to feel some wonderful emotion….” –In Heavenly Places, p. 116.
5. For the very reason that He is fully aware of man’s situation, what does the Lord invite everyone to do? What hope of forgiveness is there if one’s sins are “red like crimson”?
Isaiah 1:18; 43:4 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool…. 43:4Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
“Christ was manifested as the Saviour of men. The people were not to trust in their own works, in their own righteousness, or in themselves in any way, but in the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. In Him the Advocate with the Father was revealed. Through Him the invitation was given, ‘Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ Isaiah 1:18. This invitation comes sounding down along the lines to us today. Let not pride, or self-esteem, or self-righteousness keep any one from confessing his sins, that he may claim the promise: ‘He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.’ Proverbs 28:13. Keep nothing back from God, and neglect not the confession of your faults to the brethren when they have a connection with them.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 239.
Not redeemed with corruptible things
6. What made it possible for the Saviour to bring about man’s rescue? What immense suffering and sacrifice did He go through to forgive man’s transgression and heal his wounds?
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
1 Peter 1:18, 19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
“What a theme for meditation is the sacrifice that Jesus made for lost sinners! ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.’ Isaiah 53:5. How shall we estimate the blessings thus brought within our reach? Could Jesus have suffered more? Could He have purchased for us richer blessings? Should it not melt the hardest heart when we remember that for our sakes He left the happiness and glory of heaven and suffered poverty and shame, cruel affliction and a terrible death? Had He not by His death and resurrection opened for us the door of hope, we should have known nothing but the horrors of darkness and the miseries of despair. In our present state, favored and blessed as we are, we cannot realize from what depths we have been rescued. We cannot measure how much deeper our afflictions would have been, how much greater our woes, had not Jesus encircled us with His human arm of sympathy and love, and lifted us up.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 316.
7. Having blotted out all of man’s transgressions in Jesus Christ, what does the Lord offer to all who wish to follow Him?
Isaiah 44:22; 46:13; 51:5 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee…. 46:13I bring near my righteousness: it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory…. 51:5My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.
“Christ dying upon the cross of Calvary is drawing his attention. Why did Christ die? Because it was the only means for man to be saved,… He took upon Himself our sins that He might impute His righteousness to all who believe in Him…. The goodness and the love of God lead the sinner to repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The awakened sinner … is pointed to the law he has transgressed. It calls to him to repent, yet there is no saving quality in law to pardon the transgression of law, and his case seems hopeless. But the law draws him to Christ. However deep are his sins of transgression, the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse him from all sin….” –Our High Calling, p. 141.
For additional study
“The Christian’s godly life and holy conversation are a daily testimony against sin and sinners. But he must present Christ, not self. Christ is the great remedy for sin. Our compassionate Redeemer has provided for us the help we need. He is waiting to impute His righteousness to the sincere penitent, and to kindle in his heart such divine love as only our gracious Redeemer can inspire. Then let us who profess to be His witnesses on earth, His ambassadors from the court of heaven, glorify Him whom we represent, by being faithful to our trust as light bearers to the world.” –Our Father Cares, p. 314.