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Insights #4 October 25, 2014
Fourth Quarter 2014 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Being and Doing
For the week of October 25, 2014
The following is an excerpt from A.T. Jones’ Kansas Camp Meeting Sermons, May 13, 1889:
This morning we will study some texts that speak to us of faith, what we are to do with it and what it will do for us. [Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).] To be justified is to be accounted righteous and this by faith. [But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5)]; [Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference (Romans 3:22).] This righteousness is to take the place of all our sins, remember. Now see what the Lord will do with our sins, [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 (Isa. 1:18).] The latter condition is just the opposite of the first--the sins no matter how deep the color will be made white as snow. We are to be clothed with white raiment, our scarlet sins to be changed, our filthy stained garments to be changed like wool, white as snow. When we ask to have our sins taken away it is asking to be cleansed. What does it mean to be made white as snow? [And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. Mark 9:3]. That is the garment that is to be put upon us--whiter than any fuller can make them. This is the blessed promise. Faith says that this is so, [I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee (Isa. 44:22).] The Lord has paid the ransom by the death of Christ, now he says return unto me, I have redeemed thee. All the thick, black clouds have gone--blotted out. [Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18, 19).] passed by the transgression of what? The remnant? Those who keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus. That is a promise to us. He is fixing them up for Himself. He is taking their sins from them. He delights in treating them better than they deserve. He delights in us when we believe in Him. All our sins are to go into the depths of the sea, the deepest depth we can conceive of. Is not that a blessed promise? Psalm 103:11, 12. Who can conceive the distance of heaven from us, so great is God's goodness and mercy towards us. Don't we want to worship such a Lord as that? Do we want to offend such a God as that? No, we want to be like Him. Now how far is the east from the west? Suppose we walk out looking for the west, how long shall we seek it? Eternally. Then so far are sins to be from us, as long as we believe it. Have faith then and keep them eternally away from you. Why should we not have peace? Faith then gives us peace. God gives us the Holy Spirit as a seal of his righteousness. We must ask for the Holy Spirit to receive it. [And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him (Luke 11:9-13)?] How must we ask? [But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed (James 1:6), Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal. 3:13, 14)], the blessing of Abraham was righteousness through faith, [And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (Rom. 4:21-25)].
What does God promise us in reference to our sins? They shall be white as snow. Then we are righteous. He says he will blot out the thick clouds of our sins. If we believe it then, we are righteous. By Micah he says our sins shall go into the sea. Do we believe it? Then we are righteous. Our sins are to go from us an eternal distance. Do we believe God can do this? Then we are righteous. Now the promises were not written out for Abraham's sake alone, but for our sakes to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. [For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10]. Then how are we to have righteousness? By faith. Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God--now read Galatians 3, again. We receive the seal of it by faith. Another step we want to take when we receive the promise by faith. Romans 5:1-5, we get into the grace of God by faith (whatsoever is not of faith is sin), and we must rejoice. Why should we not? What have we to complain of? What have we to do but rejoice? The Lord is good. Rejoice anyhow. Rejoice in tribulations also, because the Holy Ghost sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts. Don't get a wrong turn here. It is not love for God (though that will be there), but the Holy Spirit puts God's love in our hearts. God gave his Son when man was enmity toward him, because he loved them, and when his love is in our hearts they will go out towards mankind in love as his great heart has done. The evidence we want is to have the love of God in our heart.
Now Gal. 5:22. [But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (Gal. 5:22).] How shall we be good? Have the spirit of God in our hearts. Do we want the other virtues? These are all the fruit of the spirit of God. We can't have the fruit unless we have the tree--for it is God that works within us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. John 14:21-28. The Lord went away but promised to send the Holy Spirit to manifest him. Is that not what we learned yesterday? Where do we abide? At our homes. We are sojourning here. "We will come unto him and abide with him." Eph. 3:14-21. We begin, then, at the 16th verse, which speaks of the family of God, not two, but only one, some in heaven, the balance on earth--this is a prayer for us--that we be strengthened by the spirit, that Christ may dwell with us by our faith. How can we know that which passeth knowledge? Why, only by faith and then we know it. Now verse 20. Paul could not find words to tell what he wanted to, and failed to express it all. The Lord says he will do all we ask or think. Do we believe it? Then we can get from him all we ask or think, further exceedingly abundantly beyond what we can ask for or think, according to what power? The power working within us. And what is this? Our faith. Well, then, that is all the limit put upon God--the power of God being limited only according to the measure of our faith. Then, brethren, let us have faith. God is able to do all he promises. [For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:16-17).] Many do not know what this expression "from faith to faith" means. We begin with faith, and the exercise of that faith will develop the capacity to exercise faith tomorrow--so that we grow from faith to faith, from today's to tomorrow's --therefore we grow in faith, and from grace, favor, power with God, to grace, and in knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us exercise our faith then, and it will develop power--the power of God unto eternal salvation. Why, then, should we not rejoice? Now faith works, [For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love (Galatians 5:6).] Here is where the work comes in, and is the only work acceptable to God, for it is of God, but works without faith are our own. [Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works (James 2:18).] Well let it do this for it is true, the man who has the most faith will do the most acceptable work to God. Work is of no value except it have faith, and faith without works is valueless. Works will tell the amount of faith we possess, [Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (1 Thess. 1:3); Therefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: (2 Thess. 1:11).] Now comes obedience. Where? [Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: (Romans 16:25-26)], all made manifest for the obedience of faith--then all short of this faith is sin, that is, "comes short" of the perfection of the law of God, according to the view of God--not intentional sin, perhaps, but short of the glory of God, and is not obedience--for without faith it is impossible to please God. So, then, our obedience comes in after we have faith, and God's spirit is dwelling within us. Do you not see now that we have to be made good before we can do good? If then you want to do better get more of Jesus Christ in your heart. It is all well enough to want to do better, but go first to Jesus to be made better. Romans 1:5, margin, also 1 Timothy 6:12
-Excerpt from May 13, 1889, A. T. Jones, Kansas Camp Meeting Sermons, 3.3, compiled by Mark Duncan