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ssl 2020 first half – lessons on the atonement
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Greetings to all our fellow pilgrims. As we are now preparing to cross the antitypical Jordan over into the heavenly home, what more appropriate theme for our contemplation during the following half a year than the one which will occupy the redeemed throughout eternity—the atonement of Christ with us.
“The theme of redemption is one that angels desire to look into; it will be the science and the song of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Is it not worthy of careful thought and study now? . . . The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice, and mediatorial work will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last; and looking to heaven with its unnumbered years, he will exclaim, “Great is the mystery of godliness.”” —My Life Today, p. 360.
“The infinite love and mercy of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, calls for the most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should meditate upon the mission of him who came to save his people from their sins. As we thus contemplate heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger, and our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God, because they will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and a daily, living experience in his power to save to the utmost all that come unto God by him. As we meditate upon the perfections of the Saviour, we shall desire to be wholly transformed, and renewed in the image of his purity. There will be a hungering and thirsting of soul to become like him whom we adore. The more our thoughts are upon Christ, the more we shall speak of him to others, and represent him to the world.” —Christian Education, p. 57.
May God help us as we diligently study these lessons on the atonement in all its ramifications for our personal experience, to cherish the yearning desire to love Him more faithfully and become like the One we behold.
THE subject of the atonement is one sadly understood by few. If asked what the word atonement in the Bible really refers to, a great majority reflect back to the Old Testament to the animal sacrifices of the Hebrew sancturary. While it is known that this Old Testament symbolism is in reference to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and the content of the saving Gospel, the great majority have very limited understanding of the practical engagement of the atonement.
“Some who labour in word and doctrine have not a practical understanding … of the atonement of Christ.” —Testimonies for the Church Vol. 2, p. 512.
Yet the weight of the importance of understanding this Bible activity is seen in the words of Inspiration:
“The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary, and in connection with the wondrous, central truth of the Saviour’s atonement. Those who study the Redeemer’s wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge.” —S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1137.
How fitting then that for the next two quarters we fix our attention on this “great central truth.” May God’s Holy Spirit pour upon us worldwide as the “teacher of righteousness according to righteousness” (Joel 2:23 margin) while we diligently study these lessons week by week together. Our lessons will commence with the opening word of the following quote, and proceed with detailed systematic research through its summarised content.
“Adam, in his innocence, had enjoyed open communion with his Maker; but sin brought separation between God and man and the atonement of Christ alone could span the abyss and make possible the communication of blessing or salvation from heaven to earth. Man was still cut off from direct approach to his Creator, but God would commuicate with him through Christ and angels..” —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67.
Please study these lessons in a connective manner. Each lesson is connected to the next and to benefit fully from this six month study you will need to frequently revise the impact of the previous weeks’ study. With the help of the Holy Spirit you will gain an integrated picture of God’s amazing re-creative science of salvation. By full participation in it our salvation will be certain in these closing moments of our probation.