Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 1 Monday
The lesson focuses on Saul’s conversion when Jesus said to him “it is hard to kick against the goads.”
What does this mean?
- To what is Jesus referring?
- Is Jesus commenting on an inflicted punishment upon Saul, or a natural result?
- What type of law is involved?
- Is there a principle here as to why pain happens when we sin?
- What happens if you touch a hot stove? Why?
- Is the pain bad or good? Why?
- What does the pain lead you to do?
- What if you feel no pain when you touch the stove?
- What disease causes one to lose pain sensation? Leprosy, and what happens in leprosy?
- Do you see why leprosy is a metaphor for sin? Sin deadens our consciences and we are less aware of the damage we are inflicted upon ourselves.
What happens inside the person who cheats, steals, commits adultery? Why?
Is this an inflicted punishment or a consequence of violating God’s design law? And is the pain, turmoil, bad or a healthy response to influence a person to stop their destructive actions?
In the middle of the lesson it asks, “What role did the grace of God have in this experience? In other words, how much did Saul deserve the goodness that the Lord showed toward him?”
What do these questions imply the lesson believes grace is? Might they define grace, as many people have, as: “unmerited favor”?
If this is the true definition of grace, then, when the Bible says that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor (grace—same Greek) with God and man” does that mean Jesus’ favor with God and man was unmerited?
When you say grace before a meal, do you say, “God while you don’t really merit our thanks, we give it anyway”?
Hmmm…. is the traditional definition of grace flawed? Yes—it is very flawed, because it is tainted with the false law construct. People go to the idea with the presumption we are guilty criminals who deserve only to be punished and therefore we don’t merit anything good from God.
The focus of their definition is on us, but the true focus of grace is about God. God is gracious, regardless of whom God is dealing with—because God never changes, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So, God’s grace is not dependent upon us, whether we are good or bad. Was God less gracious in heaven before sin? No, but the full extent of how good and gracious God is was not evident until after sin.
For instance, was God less capable of and willing to healing blindness before sin? No, but His ability to heal blindness was not seen or understood until after sin and there was blindness for Him to heal. But God’s character, methods, grace was no different before and after sin. But our understanding of it has changed.
Further, grace also connotes the idea of God’s work, God’s actions, God’s interventions—and thus God’s grace is God acting, through all time, in all manner, for the good of His creation, providing what is always best for them. This is Grace!
Yes, it is true we do receive blessings, favors, grace from God that we have not earned, it is not wages, or something we created—so grace and blessings from God can be bestowed without our meriting it because of some good action we have taken. However, grace is not restricted to this definition. Grace is from God and is poured out from Him, upon the righteous and unrighteous. Jesus received God’s grace in His life on earth, as do the holy angels.
The lesson states in the third paragraph,
“The only thing Saul deserved was punishment, but God extended grace to this fervent Jew instead. It is important to note, however, that Saul’s conversion did not happen in a vacuum, nor was it forced.”
What level of moral decision-making is being revealed in this statement? Level 1-4, this is the immaturity that Hebrews chapter 5 says “is not acquainted with righteousness.” This means those who are teaching this legal view are not teaching the truth about righteousness, but are obstructing it.
This idea is that Saul’s problem was Saul’s bad behavior and bad behavior, rule breaking, requires the ruling authority to punish. But this is not the reality of our situation.
What is the true situation of every human being since Adam and Eve sinned?
Psalms 51, “we are born in sin conceived in iniquity”—what does this mean? Are we born sinless, or are we born sinful?
Did any of us choose to be sinful, sinners? Did any of us have the choice to be perfect and sinless like Adam and Eve?
Is it our fault we were born this way? No! Do we have a condition we didn’t choose? Yes, and that condition is one of fear and selfishness—and what will that condition result in, without remedy? Acts of fear and selfishness, which the Bible calls what? Sins—so the sins are they the problem or the symptoms of the problem? Symptoms and do patients need to be punished for having symptoms?
What does Paul, who was born in sin, deserve from a God who is love?
Imagine you have a child who rebelled against all you taught them and went into wild living, and used dirty needles and got HIV infected, and then had a child with another person who was also HIV infected, so that your first grandchild was born HIV infected. Now, answer the following questions:
- What did your grandchild do wrong?
- Would you love or hate your grandchild?
- What if you were the doctor who had a cure for HIV, what would you do with that cure?
- What would your grandchild deserve from you? Would your grandchild deserve your love?
- Why? Because of something your grandchild has done, or for who your grandchild is?
- Who are we to God? Are we HIS children, and by the fact we are HIS children do we deserve His love—not because of something we have done, but because of who WE ARE?
- One of Satan’s lies is this idea of unmerited favor, which focuses people on their behaviors and blinds them to realizing who they truly are—Children of God!
- Now, back to your grandchild who is HIV infected and you have a cure, what happens if as your grandchild grows up and you offer the free remedy, but they persistently refuse it?
Thus Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest:
The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man’s sin, but that the nature of sin, namely, my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race through one man. But it also says that another Man took upon Himself the sin of the human race and put it away — an infinitely more profound revelation…
Sin is something I am born with and cannot touch— only God touches sin through redemption. It is through the Cross of Christ that God redeemed the entire human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. God nowhere holds a person responsible for having the heredity of sin, and does not condemn anyone because of it. Condemnation comes when I realize that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from this heredity of sin, and yet I refuse to let Him do so. From that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. “This is the condemnation [and the critical moment], that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light . . . ” (John 3:19)
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