SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW)

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Chapter 3

1 (John 3:16; 2 Peter 1:10, 11; see EGW on 1 John 4:7, 8). Welcomed as a Child—The plan of redemption is not merely a way of escape from the penalty of transgression, but through it the sinner is forgiven his sins, and will be finally received into heaven—not as a forgiven culprit pardoned and released from captivity, yet looked upon with suspicion and not admitted to friendship and trust; but welcomed as a child, and taken back into fullest confidence. 7BC 950.6

The sacrifice of our Saviour has made ample provision for every repenting, believing soul. We are saved because God loves the purchase of the blood of Christ; and not only will He pardon the repentant sinner, not only will He permit him to enter heaven, but He, the Father of mercies, will wait at the very gates of heaven to welcome us, to give us an abundant entrance to the mansions of the blest. Oh, what love, what wondrous love the Father has shown in the gift of His beloved Son for this fallen race! And this Sacrifice is a channel for the outflow of His infinite love, that all who believe on Jesus Christ may, like the prodigal son, receive full and free restoration to the favor of Heaven (The Review and Herald, September 21, 1886). 7BC 950.7

3. See EGW on 1 Peter 1:22; Revelation 7:2, 3. 7BC 950.8

3-6 (1 Peter 1:22). Power to Keep Us in Temptation—“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 7BC 950.9

Does this text mean that the human agent can remove one stain of sin from his soul? No. Then what does it mean to purify himself? It means to look upon the Lord's great moral standard of righteousness, the holy law of God, and see that he is a sinner in the light of that law. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” 7BC 950.10

It is through faith in Jesus Christ that the truth is accepted in the heart, and the human agent is purified and cleansed.... He has an abiding principle in the soul, that enables him to overcome temptation. “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.” God has power to keep the soul that is in Christ who is under temptation.... 7BC 951.1

A mere profession of godliness is worthless. It is he that abideth in Christ that is a Christian.... Unless the mind of God becomes the mind of men, every effort to purify himself will be useless; for it is impossible to elevate man except through a knowledge of God. The outward gloss may be put on, and men may be as were the Pharisees whom Jesus describes as “whited sepulchres” full of corruption and dead men's bones. But all the deformity of the soul is open to Him who judgeth righteously, and unless the truth is planted in the heart, it cannot control the life. Cleansing the outside of the cup will never make the vessel pure within. A nominal acceptance of truth is good as far as it goes, and the ability to give a reason for our faith is a good accomplishment, but if the truth does not go deeper than this, the soul will never be saved. The heart must be purified from all moral defilement (Letter 13, 1893). 7BC 951.2

4 (Romans 3:20; see EGW on Galatians 3:24-26; Ephesians 2:14-16). Only Definition of Sin—“Sin is the transgression of the law.” This is the only definition of sin. Without the law there can be no transgression. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” The standard of righteousness is exceeding broad, prohibiting every evil thing (Manuscript 27, 1899). 7BC 951.3

4, 5. What Is the Justice of God?—The transgression of God's law in a single instance, in the smallest particular, is sin. And the nonexecution of the penalty of that sin would be a crime in the divine administration. God is a judge, the avenger of justice, which is the habitation and foundation of His throne. He cannot dispense with His law, He cannot do away with its smallest item in order to meet and pardon sin. The rectitude and justice and moral excellence of the law must be maintained and vindicated before the heavenly universe and the worlds unfallen. 7BC 951.4

What is the justice of God? It is the holiness of God in relation to sin. Christ bore the sins of the world in man's behalf that the sinner might have another trial, with all the divine opportunities and advantages which God has provided in man's behalf (Manuscript 145, 1897). 7BC 951.5

8 (see EGW on Genesis 6:3). Simple Godliness Not Shallowness—John bears testimony of Christ, the giver of the Word, saying, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” In the simplest language John sets before us true practical godliness. This simplicity does not show shallowness, but depth. John is speaking to real men and women, and the Holy Spirit directed him to write in such a way that they would be brought in contact with a real, living God. He shows us what God is doing, and what man must do to meet God's requirements. John does not present the truth hesitatingly, but in a decided manner. He speaks positively [1 John 1:1-7 quoted] (The Signs of the Times, January 11, 1899). 7BC 951.6