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Richard Myers

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Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« on: May 20, 2017, 04:43:27 AM »
Lesson 9 May 20-26




Be Who You Are








Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon






Sabbath Afternoon



Read for This Week’s Study: 2 Pet. 1:1-15, Eph. 2:8, Rom. 5:3-5, Heb. 10:38, Rom. 6:11, 1 Cor. 15:12-57.

Memory Text: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”  2 Peter 1:5-7

One of the astonishing things about the New Testament is how much truth can be “crammed” into a very limited amount of space. Take this week’s lesson, which covers 2 Peter 1:1-14.

1:1   Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 
 1:2   Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 
 1:3   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 
 1:4   Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 
 1:5   And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 
 1:6   And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 
 1:7   And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 
 1:8   For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
 1:9   But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 
 1:10   Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 
 1:11   For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
 1:12   Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth. 
 1:13   Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance; 
 1:14   Knowing that shortly I must put off [this] my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. 


In these 14 verses, Peter teaches us about righteousness by faith. He then gets into what God’s power can do in the lives of those who have given themselves to Jesus. He talks about the amazing truth that we can become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4) and that we can be free from the corruption and lust of the world.

In fact, we get not only a kind of catalog of Christian virtues, but Peter presents them in a specific order. One follows another, which follows another, and so forth until they climax into the most important one of all.

One follows another, but they all come when one is converted. These verses are used in an attempt to undo what it means to be abiding in Christ, converted.


He also writes about the reality of what it means to be in Christ and to be “purged” (2 Pet. 1:9,) from our old sins, and then even brings in the idea of assurance of salvation, the promise of eternal life in “the everlasting kingdom” (2 Pet. 1:11) of the Lord.

And finally, we even get a little discourse on the crucial topic of the state of the dead. What a lot of rich and deep truth in just 14 verses!

Amen! The Bible is full of wisdom and grace. One verse can convey the gospel of grace.


Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, May 27.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2017, 04:44:12 AM »
Sunday May 21
A Precious Faith


Read 2 Peter 1:1-4.

 1:1   Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 
 1:2   Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 
 1:3   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 
 1:4   Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 


What does Peter say that we have been given in Jesus Christ? That is, how is the reality of grace seen here?

When we receive Christ as our Savior, when we give Him the whole heart, then we receive many precious promises including a new nature. It is true we retain our fallen nature, but when we become partakers of His divine nature, the law of God is written on the heart. What does it mean to have God's law written on your heart?


Peter begins this letter by saying that it is addressed to those who “have obtained like precious faith with us” (2 Pet. 1:1, KJV); or “a faith of equal standing with ours” (RSV). The word translated as “precious” means “of equal value,” or “of equal privilege.” He says that they have “obtained” this precious faith; not that they earned it or deserved it, but that they have received it, a gift from God. Or, as Paul has written: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8, NKJV). It’s precious because “without faith it is impossible to please” God (Heb. 11:6). It’s precious because by this faith we lay hold of many wonderful promises.

Peter emphasizes that the “divine power” of Jesus has given to us everything that concerns life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). Only through the power of God do we even exist, and only through His power can we attain holiness. And this divine power is given us “through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3; see also John 17:3).

Amen! And many will not receive "this divine power" because they have not availed themselves of "the knowledge of Him" who called to them. They refuse to come to Jesus just as they are because it takes time and requires a sacrifice, a sacrifice they are unwilling to give. God wants the whole heart, not part of it. We must make a full surrender of self. But, self does not want to die. It is the greatest battle we shall ever have to fight. Through a knowledge of Christ we may win the battle of life.


We are called to love God, but how can we love a God we don’t know? We come to know God through Jesus, through the Written Word, through the created world, and through the experience of living a life of faith and obedience. We know God and the reality of God as we experience what He does in our lives, a knowledge that will change us. And we come to know Him through the reality of the grace that He bestows upon us.

Amen!!  It would  be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ. Not only must we learn of Him, we must continually drink His blood and eat His flesh if we want to be converted and remain converted. We only are partakers of His divine nature when we remain connected with Christ.


Peter then says something even more incredible: that we have also been given “great and precious promises,” which include becoming partakers of the “divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). Humanity was originally created in the image of God; that image has been greatly defaced and degraded. When we become born again, we have a new life in Jesus, who works to restore His divine image in us. But we must flee the world’s corruption and lusts if we want this change to occur.

Amen! But we will not be able to do any good thing for the right reason until we are born again of the Spirit of God. It is by beholding His loveliness that we are transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18).


What would your life be like if you were devoid of faith? How does this answer help us to understand why the gift of faith is indeed precious?

Yes, faith is a gift. But, like salvation, we must do something to obtain the precious faith being spoken of by Peter. What must we do in order to obtain "saving faith"?  Asking is not enough. God leaves something for us to do, and He tells us how we may obtain this precious faith.




Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 04:45:06 AM »
Monday May 22
Love, the Goal of Christian Virtue


Read 2 Peter 1:5-7; Romans 5:3-5; James 1:3, 4; and Galatians 5:22, 23.

1:5   And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 
 1:6   And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 
 1:7   And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 

 5:3   And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 
 5:4   And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 
 5:5   And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 

 1:3   Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 
 1:4   But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 

 5:22   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 
 5:23   Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

What similar theme appears in these texts?

It was common among philosophers in the ancient world to list virtues. Such lists are often called a “catalogue of virtues,” and there are several examples in the New Testament (Rom. 5:3-5; James 1:3, 4; Gal. 5:22, 23). It was highly likely that Peter’s readers were familiar with such lists, although there are interesting differences between what a philosopher might list and what Peter lists. Note that Peter has arranged these deliberately in a sequence, so that each virtue builds on the previous virtue, until it reaches a climax in love!

Amen! And that love first appears at the moment of full surrender of the heart to Christ. It is not a progressive work after conversion wherein love is reached. No, we love those who despitefully use us when we are converted. To teach otherwise to allow unconverted to believe they have salvation. The fruits of the Spirit come into the life the moment the Holy Spirit is given free range in the heart. Not one of the fruits is missing when one is fully surrendered to Christ.


Each of the virtues Peter uses has significant meaning:

    Faith: In this context, faith is nothing less than a saving belief in Jesus (see Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38).
    Virtue: Virtue (Greek arête), a good quality of any kind, was heralded even among pagan philosophers. Yes, faith is crucial, but it must lead to a changed life, one in which virtue is expressed.
    Knowledge: Peter surely isn’t talking of knowledge in general, but rather the knowledge that comes from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
    Temperance/Self-control: Mature Christians are able to control their impulses, particularly those impulses that lead to excesses.

"Mature Christians"?  Was the thief on the cross a "mature Christian"?  He was able to control his impulses, so he must have been a mature Christian. On the other hand, the term could be used more appropriately to define a truly converted Christian who has moved beyond where the thief was when he died. The thief had all of the fruits of the Spirit, all of the virtues Peter described. Then what is the character of a "mature Christian"?  One who has been growing in grace over time, who suffers for Christ over time, will benefit as is revealed in Romans 5 verse 3-5. He will be more patient, and have a greater "experience" in the things of God. In other words, while the thief on the cross had all of the fruits of the Spirit, the "mature Christian" has been feeding upon "meat" and has a greater abundance of the fruits of the Spirit. He is more able to withstand greater temptations. He is able to be more patient that the thief, even though the thief was not impatient when in a converted state.

How can this be? Re-read Romans 5:3-5. Consider these verses in the light of 2 Cor. 10:12. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]."


    Patience/Steadfastness: Steadfastness is endurance, especially in the face of trials and persecution.
    Godliness: In the pagan world, the word translated here as “godliness” means ethical behavior that results from a belief in a god. Within the New Testament it also carries the concept of ethical behavior that results from belief in the one true God (1 Tim. 2:2).
    Brotherly kindness: Christians are like a family, and godliness will lead to a community in which people are kind to one another.
    Love: Peter brings the list to a climax with love. He sounds like Paul, too: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.” 1 Cor. 13:13.

Before Peter begins the list of virtues, he says that we should (be)“giving all diligence” (2 Pet. 1:5) to attain these virtues. What does he mean by that? What part does human effort play in our desire to live godly, faithful lives?

That is a very good question in light of the false teachings so prevalent within professing Christianity and even in God's church. Does man have a part to play in his own salvation? Or does God do it all as some very influential Seventh-day Adventist pastors have taught? God does not do it all, else all would be saved. No, man has an important "work" to do if he would obtain eternal life (salvation). It is grace that saves, but that grace must be allowed into the heart. Grace surrounds us as thick as the air we breathe. But, it is not beneficial if we do not see it, nor bring it into the heart.

We are saved by grace "through" faith. If we have not faith to believe fully in Christ, then we have not enough faith to be saved. How can we obtain this precious gift of faith? "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word." We must feed upon Jesus. We must drink His blood and eat His flesh. He is the Manna which came down from heaven. If we want Spiritual life, we must be beholding the character of our God. By beholding we become changed. It is an intellectual and a spiritual truth that by beholding we are changed. If we want to be like Jesus, we can. It is when we spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating His life that we are transformed in nature. We become partakers of His divine nature.  Study prayerfully 2 Peter 1:4 and 2 Cor. 3:18. Don't be led astray by false teachers. Let you mind be filled with the Spirit of God and His Word.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 04:45:41 AM »
Tuesday May 23
Be Who You Are



After giving us the list of what we should diligently seek for as Christians, Peter then declares what the result will be.

Read 2 Peter 1:8-11.

 1:8   For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
 1:9   But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 
 1:10   Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 
 1:11   For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 


What is the link between what has already been done for a Christian and how a Christian should be living?

He who is in a converted state, and has eternal life will manifest all of the fruits of the Spirit, for it is the Spirit that has possession of the mind and heart. What does it mean if these virtues are not seen in the life? "He that lacketh these things is blind."


Peter urges his readers to live according to the new reality that is true for them in Jesus. The characteristics of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love “be in you, and abound” (2 Pet. 1:8 ).

The problem is that not all Christians live according to this new reality. Some are ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:8 ). Such people have forgotten that they were cleansed from “old sins” (2 Pet. 1:9, NKJV). So, says Peter, Christians should live out the new reality that is true for them in Jesus. In Christ, they have received forgiveness, cleansing, and the right to partake in the divine nature.

No, it is not a "right to partake in the divine nature." This is misleading. When the professing Christian allows Christ to take possession of the whole heart, then he becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Why? Because it is a living reality that Christ is in the heart. Well...He cannot be everywhere at one time since He is constrained by His human body. True. But, the Holy Spirit is His representative and He lives in the heart of all who are truly converted. Thus, the repentant sinner does not have a "right to partake", no he does partake of the divine nature. It is important to understand that when converted, we are partakers of God's divine nature because we have been reconciled to Him though our connection with the Holy Spirit. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4.


Therefore they must “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:10). There’s no excuse for living as they had done before, no excuse for being “barren” or “unfruitful” Christians.

“We hear a great deal about faith, but we need to hear a great deal more about works. Many are deceiving their own souls by living an easy-going, accommodating, crossless religion.” - Ellen G. White, Faith and Works, p. 50.

Read Romans 6:11.

6:11   Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

What does Paul say here that reflects what Peter wrote in the texts for today?

In order to understand what Paul meant, let's read what Paul said in Romans 8.

 8:2   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 
 8:3   For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 
 8:4   That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
 8:5   For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 
 8:6   For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 
 8:7   Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 
 8:8   So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 
 8:9   But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 
 8:10   And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 


In a sense, both Peter and Paul say, “Be what you are.” And we are new creatures in Christ, cleansed from sin, and partakers of the divine nature. That’s why we can live the kind of life that we are called to. We are supposed to be “like Christ,” which is what “Christian” means.

How “like Christ” are you? In what areas can you do better?

It greatly matters what we mean by "do better." In Christ we are walking in all of the light we have. If we do not cling to Christ, then have no protection from temptation. If we sin, then we must be reconverted. On the other hand, if we understand being perfect in doing what we know to do leaves room for a greater understanding of what we are to be like, and it also allows for us to be more patient, then we can do better in all areas of life. But, if we are not perfect in walking in the light we have, then we need to flee to Christ, for without Him we can do no good thing. When we abide in Christ, we will manifest all of the fruits of the Spirit. This is what it means to be a converted Christian.  "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Romans 8:11-14.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 04:46:32 AM »
Wednesday May 24
Shedding the Tent



“Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance; 
Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.” 2 Pet. 1:13, 14.


In 1956, Oscar Cullmann wrote a short study called Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?: The Witness of the New Testament. He argued that the concept of the resurrection is quite incompatible with the concept of the immortal soul. Furthermore, he said that the New Testament lies squarely on the side of the resurrection of the dead.

“No other publication of mine,” he later wrote, “has provoked such enthusiasm or such violent hostility.”

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-57.

 15:12   Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 
 15:13   But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 
 15:14   And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain. 
 15:15   Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 
 15:16   For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 
 15:17   And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. 
 15:18   Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 
 15:19   If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 
 15:20   But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. 
 15:21   For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. 
 15:22   For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 
 15:23   But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 
 15:24   Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 
 15:25   For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 
 15:26   The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death. 
 15:27   For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 
 15:28   And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 
 15:29   Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? 
 15:30   And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 
 15:31   I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 
 15:32   If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 
 15:33   Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 
 15:34   Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame. 
 15:35   But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 
 15:36   [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 
 15:37   And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: 
 15:38   But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 
 15:39   All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds. 
 15:40   [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another. 
 15:41   [There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory. 
 15:42   So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 
 15:43   It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 
 15:44   It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 
 15:45   And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. 
 15:46   Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 
 15:47   The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. 
 15:48   As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. 
 15:49   And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 
 15:50   Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 
 15:51   Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 
 15:52   In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 
 15:53   For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 
 15:54   So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 
 15:55   O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 
 15:56   The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 
 15:57   But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 


What does Paul imply happens in death?

 "We shall not all sleep...."  The vile corrupt body is buried and the person sleeps. But, when Christ returns to take His faithful ones home, they shall come forth in new bodies that are not corrupt. "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption." Is having a corrupt vile body an excuse for sin? If not, why not?


A study of what the New Testament says about death and resurrection has convinced most New Testament scholars that Cullman was correct. The New Testament indeed assumes the concept of resurrection, not the concept of an immortal soul that survives the death of the body. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, Paul urges those who have lost loved ones to death to be comforted with the knowledge that when Jesus returns again, He will raise the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:12-57, Paul gives an extended description of resurrection. He begins by pointing out that Christian faith is based on the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus was not raised, then any faith in Him is futile. But, says Paul, Christ has indeed risen from the dead, as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. And Christ’s resurrection from the dead makes it possible for all those in Him to rise from the dead, as well.

Paul talks about the resurrection body in 1 Corinthians 15:35-50. He contrasts the new bodies we will receive in the resurrection with our present bodies. What we have now will die; what we will have in the resurrection never will.

In summary, when the New Testament talks about death, it does so in terms of resurrection, not immortality of the soul. This is important to know as a background to reading 2 Peter 1:12-14.

Yes, it is good to know. Most Seventh-day Adventists have been well instructed in the state of the dead an the resurrection. But, we have not been very well instructed in what it means to be converted. Therefore we as a people remain in a "blind" Laodicean state, which is a lost condition. Therefore, let us look at these two verses Peter has shared in their context. It is not a study on the state of the dead, but a tearful plea that after Peter dies, we remember what he is teaching. As I go back and look at what he said in the verses just prior to his plea, I find this statement which is most important for us today.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 
Why do I bring this up again? Because Peter has just told us to "remember". “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance."

When we give the whole heart to Christ, then we will have supernatural power to overcome any temptation that God allows to come to us. Even though we live in fallen flesh, we have a dual nature. In Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, we are partakers of Christ's divine nature. When we are truly converted and filled with the Spirit, we have a precious promise that many fail to claim. "   There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Cor. 10:13.

We may ask an important question after being reminded of this promise. Does the promise ever fail you? Do God's promises ever fail? No, they do not. Then why would we ever be tempted beyond what we can bear? If the promise does not fail, then what is the problem? The promise has conditions. What conditions? We must be in a converted state, we must be fully surrendered. Self must be dead, and we must be partakers of God's divine nature in order to resist the smallest temptation to sin. If we are not truly converted, then the promise is not ours to claim.

Now, we see the need of Jesus to walk on water. We must be partakers of His divine nature, then we will do all that God asks of us. Then, there is no condemnation for us when we are walking after the Spirit, not after the flesh. If we have not His Spirit, if self remains alive, then we have not eternal life and can do no good thing. This is what Peter wants us to remember, not the state of the dead.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2017, 04:47:26 AM »
Thursday May 25
Faith in the Face of Death



Read 2 Peter 1:12-15.

1:12   Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth. 
 1:13   Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance; 
 1:14   Knowing that shortly I must put off [this] my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. 
 1:15   Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 


What does Peter mean when he suggests that he is soon to put off his tent/body?

Second Peter 1:12-14 reveals the occasion of the letter. Peter thinks he is about to die, and the letter contains his last message or testament.

That Peter expects to die soon is revealed by the phraseology, “as long as I am in this tabernacle. . . . Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle,” which is found in 2 Peter 1:13, 14. He likens the body to a tent (tabernacle), which Peter will put off as he dies. In fact, it is so clear that Peter means his body when he refers to putting off his tent that modern translators tend to translate these phrases as “as long as I am in this body . . . since I know that my death will come soon” (2 Pet. 1:13, 14 NRSV). Nothing in Peter’s language suggests that when Peter “puts off” his tent or body, his soul will survive as a separate entity.

Read 2 Peter 1:12-15 again. How does Peter appear to deal with the reality of his impending death, and what does that attitude teach us about faith?

Peter is not thinking of self, but of others. The message he gives comes from God. It will bring life to the dead. He is more concerned with spiritual life than physical life.


Second Peter 1:12-15 gives added solemnity to Peter’s words. He writes this in the knowledge that his life will soon come to an end. He knows this because, as he said, the “Lord Jesus showed me.” Yet there seems to be no fear, no worry, no foreboding. His emphasis, instead, is on the well-being of those whom he is leaving behind. He wants them to be firm in the “present truth,” and-as long as he is alive-he is going to admonish them to be faithful.

We can see here the reality and depth of Peter’s experience with the Lord. Yes, he’s going to die soon, and it will not be a pleasant death, either (see John 21:18; Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 537, 538), but his unselfish concern is about the benefit of others. Truly, Peter was a man living out the faith that he taught.

How does our faith help us deal with the terrible reality of death?

It is true that God never intended there to be death. But, the Christian has nothing to fear from death. It is only sleep. Why the great concern if one is truly converted? On the other hand, there is the justifiable fear that those who are not abiding in Christ, who are not filled with the Holy Spirit when they die, will face judgment. That is a "terrible reality" that often is overlooked by the Laodicean.


How can we learn to cling to the wonderful hope we have, even in the face of death, because of what Jesus has done for us?

The answer is always the same, we need Jesus. We need to make a full heart surrender. We need to be truly converted where self is laid in the dust and we are living as was Peter, for Christ and those for whom He suffered and died. This we may do if we will spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, for it is by beholding that we become changed into His character, even by the Spirit.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2017, 08:02:38 PM »
Amen! And that love first appears at the moment of full surrender of the heart to Christ. It is not a progressive work after conversion wherein love is reached. No, we love those who despitefully use us when we are converted. To teach otherwise to allow unconverted to believe they have salvation. The fruits of the Spirit come into the life the moment the Holy Spirit is given free range in the heart. Not one of the fruits is missing when one is fully surrendered to Christ.

Richard, I agree with you that the truly converted will have all the fruits of the Spirit which includes love towards those who despitefully use us. However, when we read from Peter about adding one virtue to another it does sound like steps of progression. However, when I was looking at this I found the following counsel. Even here she says that they grow "together" but to use the term ladder in today's society would at first appearance seem like a ladder of progress.  Maybe the progress here is that these virtues are more fully developed. However, why are they listed in a particular order? It appears that you must have one before the next can be obtained since he started the list with "add to your faith..."

If I'm asking the question I'm sure there are others wondering the same.

We are to add to faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. You are not to think that you must wait until you have perfected one grace, before cultivating another. No; they are to grow up together, fed continually from the fountain of charity; every day that you live, you can be perfecting the blessed attributes fully revealed in the character of Christ; and when you do this, you will bring light, love, peace, and joy into your homes.  {RH, July 29, 1890 par. 8} 
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2017, 08:58:06 AM »
Thanks for sharing, Jim. That is a great quote that reveals the truth.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: Sabbath School Lesson 9--2nd Quarter 2017--Be Who You Are
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2017, 09:05:32 AM »
Friday May 26

Further Thought: As we saw, Peter knew that he was soon to die. And he knew (and for a long time, too), how he was going to die. That’s because Jesus Himself had told him. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry [thee] whither thou wouldest not.” John 21:18.

What was his end?

“Peter, as a Jew and a foreigner, was condemned to be scourged and crucified. In prospect of this fearful death, the apostle remembered his great sin in denying Jesus in the hour of His trial. Once so unready to acknowledge the cross, he now counted it a joy to yield up his life for the gospel, feeling only that, for him who had denied his Lord, to die in the same manner as his Master died was too great an honor. Peter had sincerely repented of that sin and had been forgiven by Christ, as is shown by the high commission given him to feed the sheep and lambs of the flock. But he could never forgive himself. Not even the thought of the agonies of the last terrible scene could lessen the bitterness of his sorrow and repentance. As a last favor he entreated his executioners that he might be nailed to the cross with his head downward. The request was granted, and in this manner died the great apostle Peter.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 537, 538.
And yet, even with this prospect before him, Peter’s concern was for the spiritual well-being of the flock.

Discussion Questions:

    In light of all that Peter (and the rest of the Bible writers, too) have written about the need for Christians to live holy lives, why do so many of us fail to “be what we are” in Jesus?

We do not fail to "be what we are in Jesus" if we are not "in Jesus." If we are "in Jesus", then Jesus is in us. It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus abides in all who are truly converted. If self is not dead, then the Holy Spirit is not in us. We reflect who we are, either we serve Satan or we serve God. We cannot serve two masters. At conversion we are made partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). As long as we abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit resides in the heart and we keep the commandments of God. If we sin, it is because we have separated from Christ. John reveals the great deception which has ensnared professing Christianity. How many really believe him when he writes in 1 John:

3:7   Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 
 3:8   He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 
 3:9   Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 
 3:10   In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.


    In class, go over the list given in 2 Peter 1:5-7. Talk about each item and ask yourself: How can we better manifest these virtues ourselves, and how can we help others who seek to do the same?
    Considering what we know about Peter, as revealed in the Gospels, what he writes does show powerfully the great work that Christ did in him, even despite his previous failings. What hope and comfort can we take for ourselves from his example?

Why did Peter fail? Poor Peter thought he could walk on water when he took his eyes off of Jesus. He learned his great need. So must we. Many don't think God can give them power to walk on water, so they will continue in sin. Others think they can walk on water when not clinging to Christ, so they also fall in the water (sin). We need to maintain our connection with Christ, or the "light" will go out.


    In 2 Peter 1:12, Peter wrote about “the present truth.” What was “present truth” in Peter’s time, and what is “present truth” in ours?

Present truth was the Son of God taking on the nature of man. God came to His own and His own knew Him not. Why did they not know Him? Because they had been deceived by false teachers so much that Jesus could not convey to His disciples the fact that He had to die in order for them to be saved. Present truth for Peter was that he could only walk on water when he was filled with the Spirit. Present truth for Peter was that by a full surrender of the heart, he could do all that Jesus asked of him, and when he was thinking of self rather than of Jesus, he could do no good thing. This is present truth for us also. It is called the gospel of grace. There is no other truth as important as this. If we do not get this right, it will be hard to be able to be what we ought to be.


    “How surely are the dead beyond death,” someone wrote. “Death is what the living carry with them.” How should we, as Christians, “carry” death, in the sense of dealing with grief?

God does not ask us to suffer the loss of loved ones without sorrow. But, He does want us to be lifted above the sorrow in this world. If we will give the whole heart to Christ, then we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and thus have every one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is then we can glory in our tribulation and rejoice that we may partake of the sufferings of our Master. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance will be seen in the life of all who love Jesus supremely.

Peter understood, and was given power to be a powerful witness for Christ. When things go will for the converted Christian, he is a witness. But, when things are not going well, and the true Christian suffers, he is a great witness that there is a very real difference between those who love God supremely and those who do not. Which do we want today? Do we want to testify about the character of our God? Then let us glory in our tribulation, then the love of God will be seen in our lives.

"And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:3-5.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.