Click here for a printable copy of our Sabbath School Lesson for the first half of 2018: ssl 2018 first half – the conflict within
A Word version is also available here.
THE true believer strives for conformity to the will and way of God. When conviction of that will reaches his heart he launches into the effort to put it into practise. However as he does so, he meets a strange unexpected conflict, one that he feels within his very being. The apostle Paul describes this in Romans 7:21-23:
“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
The apostle puts it in another way in Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
This is coined as the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. Another way of putting it can be self versus the will of God. Indeed self and its relation to righteousness and the will of God is a subject that needs to be well understood by the true Christian.
This is the study of this Sabbath School Lesson, even to understand how self is an ingredient that played a role in the fall of Lucifer and also that of Adam and Eve. To appreciate that there is a self in an unfallen being that needs to be subjected to righteousness is important. But for us who have fallen and have sinful flesh the subject becomes even more important.
“So may God draw near to every student as we research this theme under the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy in the following: “What does God require? Perfection; nothing less than perfection. But if we would be perfect, we must put no confidence in self. Daily we must know and understand that self is not to be trusted. We need to grasp God’s promises with firm faith. We need to ask for the Holy Spirit with a full realization of our own helplessness. Then when the Holy Spirit works, we shall not give self the glory. The Holy Spirit will graciously take the heart into His keeping, bringing to it all the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We shall be kept by the power of God through faith.” –The Upward Look, p. 353.
Our study will be within “the truths of the gospel and the teachings of the Holy Spirit,” which “will produce in us brokenness of heart, hatred of sin, and an understanding of self” (The Review and Herald, May 30, 1882).