Sabbath School Lesson Review 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 11
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 11 Friday
In lesson review, He, Jesus went on with the Beatitudes, commented on their being the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. He had to pause, sensing that their reaction was unfavorable to what he was saying. He said, “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Why would he need to say that in the middle of this presentation? Is it that what he had already said would not seem to be in harmony with the Old Testament?
Now, we need to pause on the meaning of “the Law and the Prophets.” As you know, the Jews divided the Old Testament into three canons: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, or the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. So that’s the long name for the Old Testament—the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. Sometimes that was shortened to the Law and the Prophets. Sometimes it was shortened to just the Law,
For example when they said, “You should not call yourself the Son of God; that’s blasphemy,” Jesus said, “Does it not say in your law, we are all gods?” (little g). You know where that quote is? In the Psalms. So he called the Psalms “the Law.” They knew what he was saying when he did this. Jesus said, “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” They knew he was referring to the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament.
So this isn’t “Think not that I have come to abolish the Ten Commandments.” Sometimes we use it as a key text like that. No. “Think not that I have come to abolish the whole Old Testament. I haven’t. I’ve not come to abolish the Old Testament. I’ve come to fulfill it.” Well, we think of fulfillment as fulfilling predictions. That’s too limited. He had come to fulfill it in every appropriate way, like explaining, telling them what it was all about; but they did not like his explanations.
Now talking about fulfilled prophecies reminds me of a question from one of our Sabbath School Quarterly lesson additional commentary followers. He says, “What answer might I give my neighbor who believes that Israel will once again become a great nation? And there are many unfilled promises to Israel. He believes that these promises have yet to be fulfilled, and he bases his beliefs on Jeremiah 31:35, 36; Isaiah 2:2-5; Romans 11, and so forth, Isaiah 31.”
He says, “God will keep his promises to Abraham.” Now, here’s someone who thinks that the things that are happening to the country of Israel must be tied in with the events that have to take place. Well, what I like is his selection of verses. They are all excellent verses. And if one were to lay those side by side, all of them express some qualifications.
For example, in Romans Paul says, “Not all the physical descendants of Abraham are real Israelites; only the children of the promise.” And Isaiah says that though the children be “as the sand of the sea for multitude, only a remnant will be saved,” because only a remnant will respond. And Jeremiah says, “Only those in whose hearts my law has been written will be my loyal children.” Every one of those writers suggests that many of Abraham’s physical children will not be among God’s loyal people.
Then Paul goes on to say, “But those whose hearts are circumcised,” they will be regarded as true Israelites. So I think if one were to take the passages listed there, one would have the answer. I would not look to what’s happening in Israel today as an indication. God is looking at the people in Palestine today as he looks at all the other people in the world; if they trust him, all will be well.
I will treat them as though they had always been my loyal children. That’s all God has ever wanted. But he’s had to add a lot of things, hasn’t he? And that’s Galatians 3. The law was added because of transgression, to be our guardian, our custodian, to bring us to Christ, to bring us back to the place where we say, “You be our God; and we’ll be your people. We’re willing to listen. We trust you.” And God can save and heal all who trust him.
If only we could understand that, we wouldn’t need so many other aids. But God’s a good Teacher. If we don’t trust him, he’ll lay hands on us; he’ll discipline us; he’ll raise his voice; he’ll give us a thousand rules to protect us in our ignorance and immaturity. But all he wants in the end is that we trust him. The whole plan of salvation, the cross, everything, if it does not lead us back to trust him, it will do us no good whatsoever. God can only save those who trust him. The only people who are safe to save are those whom he can trust, and who will behave as described earlier in Jeremiah and all the other prophets.
There’s nothing legalistic about that. It isn’t even a legal problem. It’s a problem of trust, of honesty, integrity, humility, willingness to listen. And God, the Infinite One, has all the power needed to heal the damage done. He’s not so concerned with forgiveness as with healing the damage done and restoring us to the condition we were in before sin ever came into the universe, when there was no need to mention law. It was written on the hearts of the angels. There’s a magnificent description here of what God really wants. Are we emphasizing this at this present time? Are we known for this? Well, here’s a way to test it. Look at Jeremiah 9:23 in the light of all this.
Here at the Sabbath School Quarterly lesson additional commentary we believe that the essence of legalism is preoccupation with our legal standing with a legal, legalistic God. And so many Christians are preoccupied with their legal standing, because they don’t really know God. They don’t realize that he is a gracious God who is not preoccupied with our legal standing.
He is exactly the opposite, just like the father of the prodigal son, he’s very preoccupied with our welfare and whether or not we will come home. That’s what God is preoccupied with.
It is most significant to know that the word salvation means, essentially, healing. To be saved is to be healed. In one very legal understanding of the plan of salvation, to be saved is more to be forgiven; almost to have your fire insurance paid up, so you can be admitted. In the trust-healing model, salvation means healing the damage done. This is made plain in many places in Scripture. Look at the next two examples on the list, of Luke 18:42, in two different versions. Jesus said to the blind man: “Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.” That’s the King James Version. But the New International Version, right underneath: “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
An Inexhaustible Storehouse, November 28
To the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2, 3. TMK 338.1
Said Christ, “All things that the Father hath are mine.” “I and my Father are one” (John 16:15; 10:30). “I appoint unto you a kingdom” (Luke 22:29). The Lord Jesus lays His hand upon the eternal throne of God with all the ease and assurance of one who rules and reigns, putting on His head the crown of deity. He sits at the right hand of God and receives supreme honor as God, the glory He had before the world was. He distributes His gifts to all who by faith shall claim them…. TMK 338.2
We have an inexhaustible storehouse, an ocean of love in the God of our salvation. He has placed in the hands of Christ all the treasures of the heavenly resources and says, “All these are for man, in order to convince fallen, sinful man of My love, … and that for his happiness I am working and will work.” The happiness of man is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. It was to make this vast treasure house of all good available that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He sprinkled every gift with His own blood…. The gift to our world in sending Jesus is an exhibition of His grace which God Himself cannot surpass…. But one thing is impossible with God—the power of eclipsing the greatness of His gift in showing His love for fallen man…. TMK 338.3
Had God the Father come to our world and dwelt among us, humbling Himself, veiling His glory, that humanity might look upon Him, the history that we have of thelife of Christ would not have been changed…. In every act of Jesus, in every lesson of His instruction, we are to see and hear and recognize God. In sight, in hearing, in effect, it is the voice and movements of the Father. TMK 338.4
But language seems to be so feeble! I refrain, and with John exclaim, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1)
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