Sabbath School Summary
By ELDER MASIMBA MAVAZA
Memory Text: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11).
About seven centuries before Christ, the poet Homer wrote The Odyssey, the story of Odysseus, the great warrior who—after sacking the city of Troy in the Trojan war—began a 10-year voyage to try to return to his native Ithaca. The voyage took so long because he faced shipwrecks, mutinies, storms, monsters, and other obstacles that kept him from reaching his goal. Finally, after deciding that Odysseus had suffered enough, the gods agreed to allow the weary warrior to return to his home and family. His trials were, they agreed, enough atonement for his mistakes.
In one sense, we are like Odysseus, on a long journey home. The crucial difference, however, is that unlike Odysseus, we can never “suffer enough” to earn our way back. The distance between heaven and earth is too great for us to atone for our mistakes. If we get home, it will have to be only by the grace of God.
The Week at a Glance: Why must salvation be a gift? Why could only Someone equal with God ransom our souls? What makes Abraham such a good representative of faith? What does it mean that righteousness is “imputed,” or “credited,” to us? How can we make the promises and hope found in the Cross our own?
SABBATH: The Odyssey mirrors every man’s journey through life. The poem by Homer was penned about 7 centuries before Christ. It narrates the plight of the king of Ithaca, Odysseus, who wanders for 10 years trying to get home after sacking Troy in the Trojan war. The gods finally had mercy on him for him to return home. Yet for us, we can’t suffer enough to earn our way back. We’re saved only by grace.
SUNDAY: Faith has always been the only means of salvation—whether in the OT or NT, old covenant or new covenant. We can’t obtain it by works. God was not obliged to save us. Instead, we were obliged to pay the penalty of violating God’s law. Yet, Christ paid it for us. We’re to reflect on the scenes of Calvary to know the enormity of sin & how great a sacrifice Christ, excellent & innocent, made for us (2T, p. 213).
MONDAY: Christ cheerfully gave His life as a ransom for the human race (1 Pet. 1:18, 19). Our sins made us slaves to sin & we were to reap its first fruit—death. But Christ at a costly ransom bought us back. His atoning & precious blood on the cross at Calvary gave man hope & sealed His end of the deal in the covenant promises (Rom. 6:23, 1 John 5:11, 13). Only Christ could save us from the penalty of sin.
TUESDAY: Abraham believed the promise of God of a son without a question, even when all physical evidence were against him (Gen. 15:6). God desires all to possess this kind of faith that see its own helplessness & cause us to depend solely on God. Paul reiterates how faith has been the basis for man to be saved since Eden (Rom. 4:16). God conferred righteousness upon Abraham, who was not perfect.
WEDNESDAY: None is righteous, save Christ. His holy life is what is credited to us for us to be saved. Thus, God sees us (like Abraham) to be what we are not (righteous) because of the merit of Christ (Gen. 15:6). “Counted”, “reckoned”, “credited”, or “accounted” are all terms used to convey this idea (see Gen. 31:15, Num. 18:27, 30, & Lev. 7:18, 17:1-4 where the terms are used). In the NT, “imputed” is used.
THURSDAY: On their dying beds, many men cast their mind back & regret how they sought to earn salvation by their own works. The apologist, Cardinal Bellarmine is an example. He fought the idea of justification by faith. He said; “take it away, I think it’s safer to trust in the merits of Christ”, when the crucifix & the merits of the saints were brought to him to give him hope before death (Ps. 34:8, Matt. 11:30, Rom. 5:1, Phil. 2:7, 😎.
FRIDAY: Righteousness is what is demanded by the law. The sinner owes the law but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way to attain this righteousness is through faith in Christ. The righteousness of Christ is imputed on the sinner’s account by faith in Him. This faith is demonstrated in repentance & is followed by forgiveness from God. The repented & saved soul grow from grace to grace thanks to God.
—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 367 & Selected Messages, book 3, p. 191.
2T- Testimonies for the Church, Volume 2
OT- Old Testament
NT- New Testament
SUNDAY- Reflections Of Calvary
MONDAY- The Covenant And The Sacrifice
TUESDAY- The Faith Of Abraham, Part 1
WEDNESDAY- The Faith Of Abraham, Part 2
THURSDAY- Resting On The Promises
📌 What distinction is made between a living and a dead faith (James 2:17, 18)? How does Paul describe a living faith (Rom. 16:26)? What is the key word that helps reveal what faith entails?
📌 How do you respond to the argument (which comes with a certain logical consistency) that if we are saved only by a credited righteousness, not a righteousness that exists within us, then it does not matter what we do or how we act?
📌 “Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sinpardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. . . . He [the believer] cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul.”—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 3, p. 199. Keeping this statement by Ellen G. White in mind, why, then, are good works such a crucial part of the Christian experience?
Entire Lesson Summary
Old covenant, new covenant: Jesus paid the debt owed to the law, so that we can stand righteous in the sight of God.