1. GOD’S CHARACTER REVEALED
a. What is one of the main attributes of God’s character? 1 John 4:8. What are the conditions that must be fulfilled by those who want to be in the kingdom? Luke 10:25–28; Ephesians 5:28. What are the different aspects of genuine love? 1 Corinthians 13:4–8.
“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.
b. What are the two basic principles of the divine law? Romans 13:8–10; Matthew 22:36–40.
“Whatever is contrary to love, humility, and faith, denies Christ. Although the professor of religion may make professions of love for his brethren, still if love is not in his heart, he cannot diffuse it to those who are about him.”—The Youth’s Instructor, December 2, 1897.
2. LOVE TO GOD AND TO OUR NEIGHBOR
a. What does it mean to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul? Deuteronomy 6:5, 6; 5:6–15; Mark 12:29, 30.
“Whosoever will willfully break one command cannot in spirit and in truth keep any of them. He may claim that, with the exception of what he may regard as slight deviations, he keeps them all; yet if he willingly offends in one point he is guilty of all.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 434.
“To love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves is to keep the first four and the last six commandments. God has given to man a large field in which he may work; and in doing the work appointed him of God, man will not lift up himself but will exalt Christ. He will cherish love for God and love for his brethren and for all men. Love will soon die out of the heart if it is left without cultivation; we can only keep divine love in the soul by doing the words of the Master. . . . It is impossible to keep the last six commandments unless we keep the first four.”—The Signs of the Times, September 22, 1890.
b. What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves? Mark 10:17–19; 12:31.
“God is love, and when we love God supremely and love our neighbor as ourselves, we reflect the character of the Father and the Son. But those who truly love God will be obedient to all His commands. Obedience is the test of love.”—Ibid., October 22, 1894.
“The Lord requires at this time just what He required of Adam in Eden—perfect obedience to the law of God. We must have righteousness without a flaw, without a blemish. God gave His Son to die for the world, but He did not die to repeal the law which was holy and just and good. The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is an unanswerable argument showing the immutability of the law. Its penalty was felt by the Son of God in behalf of guilty man, that through His merits the sinner might obtain the virtue of His spotless character by faith in His name.”—Faith and Works, pp. 89, 90.
3. DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD’S LAW
a. What is sin? Romans 7:7; 1 John 3:4. Who originated sin? John 8:44. What has been at the center of the dispute between Christ and Satan from the very beginning? Matthew 5:19, 20.
“In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God's law.”—Amazing Grace, p. 20.
b. How was sin introduced into the world? Genesis 3:4, 5. How did the whole universe react when sin entered into the world?
“It was through the desire for self-exaltation that sin entered into the world.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 17.
“The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 63.
c. How are we to avoid the pitfall of Satan in his self–exalting attitude? 1 Corinthians 10:12.
“No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul. . . .
“All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 159, 160.
4. THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION
a. What desire does God have for every person on this earth? Ezekiel 18:30–32; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9.
“The reason why the Bridegroom delays is because He is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. O the precious longsuffering of our merciful Saviour! O that each of the dear youth would appreciate the value of the soul that has been purchased at infinite cost on Calvary! O that each one would place a proper estimate upon the capabilities that have been given him of God! Through Christ you may climb the ladder of progress, and bring every power under the control of Jesus. . . . In spirit, in thought, in word, and in action, you may make manifest that you are moved by the Spirit of Christ, and your life may wield a power of influence over others.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 118.
b. What is the evidence of a new heart? Deuteronomy 5:29; John 14:15, 21; 15:10.
“The law of God is the foundation of all enduring reformation. We are to present to the world in clear, distinct lines the need of obeying this law.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 199.
“He who is righteous within is not hard-hearted and unsympathetic, but day by day he grows into the image of Christ.”—Messages to Young People, p. 35.
“True sanctification is an entire conformity to the will of God. Rebellious thoughts and feelings are overcome, and the voice of Jesus awakens a new life, which pervades the entire being. Those who are truly sanctified will not set up their own opinion as a standard of right and wrong.”—The Sanctified Life, p. 9.
“Sanctification consists in the cheerful performance of daily duties in perfect obedience to the will of God.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 360.
5. IDENTIFYING THE FAITHFUL
a. Throughout the history of the world, by what mark of identification have God’s remnant people been clearly distinguished? Malachi 4:4; 1 Corinthians 7:19.
“Obedience is the test of discipleship. It is the keeping of the commandments that proves the sincerity of our professions of love. When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, we may know that it is the truth of God. When benevolence, kindness, tenderheartedness, sympathy, are manifest in our lives; when the joy of right doing is in our hearts; when we exalt Christ, and not self, we may know that our faith is of the right order.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 146, 147.
b. How does prophecy identify the faithful right up to the end of time? Isaiah 8:20; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14.
“[Revelation 14:12 quoted.] Since those who keep God’s commandments are thus placed in contrast with those that worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, it follows that the keeping of God’s law, on the one hand, and its violation, on the other, will make the distinction between the worshipers of God and the worshipers of the beast.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 445, 446.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
a. What is the basic attribute of God’s character?
b. What are the two fundamental principles of divine love, and where are these principles specified and exemplified?
c. What is the biblical definition of sin?
d. Describe a person who has received a new heart.
e. By what identifying mark are God’s people distinguished from the world?
THE CHARACTER OF GOD VINDICATED
“The aim of the great rebel has ever been to justify himself and to prove the divine government responsible for the rebellion. To this end he has bent all the power of his giant intellect. He has worked deliberately and systematically, and with marvelous success, leading vast multitudes to accept his version of the great controversy which has been so long in progress. For thousands of years this chief of conspiracy has palmed off falsehood for truth. But the time has now come when the rebellion is to be finally defeated and the history and character of Satan disclosed. In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy His people, and take possession of the City of God, the archdeceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause. Christ’s followers and the loyal angels behold the full extent of his machinations against the government of God. He is the object of universal abhorrence.
“Satan sees that his voluntary rebellion has unfitted him for heaven. He has trained his powers to war against God; the purity, peace, and harmony of heaven would be to him supreme torture. His accusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach which he has endeavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself. And now Satan bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence. . . .
“Before the universe has been clearly presented the great sacrifice made by the Father and the Son in man’s behalf. The hour has come when Christ occupies His rightful position and is glorified above principalities and powers and every name that is named. It was for the joy that was set before Him—that He might bring many sons unto glory—that He endured the cross and despised the shame. And inconceivably great as was the sorrow and the shame, yet greater is the joy and the glory. He looks upon the redeemed, renewed in His own image, every heart bearing the perfect impress of the divine, every face reflecting the likeness of their King. He beholds in them the result of the travail of His soul, and He is satisfied. Then, in a voice that reaches the assembled multitudes of the righteous and the wicked, He declares: ‘Behold the purchase of My blood! For these I suffered, for these I died, that they might dwell in My presence throughout eternal ages.’ And the song of praise ascends from the white-robed ones about the throne: ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing’ (Revelation 5:12).”—The Great Controversy, pp. 670, 671.