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Sabbath School Lessons on His Wondrous Cross - The Story of Our Redemption
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: The Heart of the Cross *
Introduction: Have you ever wondered about the logic, or the
calculus, of salvation? Sin entered our world because of the sin of
Eve and Adam. If sin brings death, why not just kill them and start
new with us? And, by the way, why is it that sin brings death? After
Adam and Eve, we all sinned - at least I know I have. Why is it that
killing God makes up for all of our sins? Why do the penalties for
sin seem to vary? In the range of sin, what Adam and Eve did brought
a lot more misery to humans than what Cain did to his brother. Why
was Cain punished more severely? We are not going to unravel all of
these mysteries this week, but our study explores the logic of the
cross. Let's dive in and see what we can learn from God's word!
- The Sodom Story
- Abraham's tents are pitched among the great trees of
Mamre. Three visitors come to see him. It turns out that
one of those visitors is Jesus. (See Genesis 18:1-15.)
Read Genesis 18:16-19. What is Jesus' answer to whether He
should keep His plans to Himself? (God seems to say that
Abraham is a true follower who is blessed by God. Bottom
line: God says Abraham is worthy to be taken into the
counsels of God.)
- What does Jesus mean when He says "all nations will
be blessed through [Abraham]?" (Read Galatians
3:8,14. Jesus is telling Abraham that in the future
He (Jesus) will be born from his line of
- Contemplate that for a moment. Jesus tells
Abraham that He will be born to his descendants.
The plan of salvation was not a last minute
- Read Genesis 18:20-21. Who is making the "outcry" to
Jesus? (Read Genesis 4:10. This is a common phrase in the
Bible. God tells us that sin "cries" out to Him. Compare
- Let's continue reading in Genesis 4. Read Genesis
4:10-12. Why does sin "cry" to God? (This teaches us
the important concept that God is the solution to
sin. When sin occurs, God considers it part of His
job to make things right. Sin is "crying" to be
- Why was Cain's penalty more harsh than the penalty
imposed on Adam and Eve? (If you look at this from
the point of view that God seeks to "fix" sin, rather
than just punish sinners, we can see God's logic in
separating Cain from the followers of God. Cain was
not a good influence.)
- Read Genesis 18:22-23. Jesus said nothing about "sweeping"
away the wicked. Why does Abraham say this? (Jesus had
just gotten through saying that He was going to confide in
Abraham because he was a righteous man. Abraham understood
that Jesus executed judgment on unrighteousness. There is
a modern heresy which says that God never executes
judgment on the wicked. Righteous Abraham knew better than
- Notice that the two "men" had already set off toward
Sodom. How do you think Abraham understood their
leaving? (Read Genesis 19:1 and Psalms 106:21-23.
Abraham believed they were destroying angels.)
- Read Genesis 18:24-25. What do you think about Abraham's
argument? What effect can the righteous have on the
- Is this true in your home?
- Read Genesis 18:26-32. Remember that Abraham is talking to
Jesus. Is this necessary? Does God have to be "bargained"
down on the issue of justice and mercy?
- What role is Abraham playing? (Intercessor.)
- Remember the context to this story. Abraham has been
promised that the Intercessor (Jesus) will come
through his line of descendants. Then, Abraham
intercedes with Jesus not to destroy the wicked. How
do you understand all of this? (My understanding of
God does not allow for a man to "bargain" God into
being merciful. At the end of this story Sodom is
destroyed. I think Jesus is teaching Abraham a lesson
about why He destroyed Sodom - its wickedness was
- What lessons do you find in this conversation
between Abraham and Jesus? (1. The righteous can
save the wicked - at least for the interim. God
accepts intercessors. 2. The wicked will be
destroyed by God. 3. The destruction of sin is a
logical "fix" for it. God weighs how best to
respond to sin when it can adversely affect the
- How do these lessons "fit" or foretell the
mission of Jesus? (All of these forecast
the role of Jesus. It shows that Abraham
is a worthy "ancestor" - which is no doubt
the reason why his ancestry is flagged in
the story. It shows that God is will "fix"
sin by judgment. It shows us that
sometimes the righteous (in the future,
Jesus) can suffer as a result of the sins
of others - but God carefully weighs this
problem. It also shows that the
righteousness of one person can spare the
wicked for at least some period of time.)
- How are Abraham and Jesus different in
their intercessory roles? (Read Genesis
18:33. It is like the difference between
steak and eggs. For cows, steak is more
personal than eggs are for chickens.
Abraham went home to rest. He did not have
to lay his life on the line to save
- Let's read Exodus 32:30. What does this suggest about sin?
(Again, it suggests the idea that something can be worked
out to "fix" sin.)
- The Fix for Sin
- We noted that Abraham's intercession did not involve
giving up his life. Why couldn't Jesus intervene for us in
the same way? Why did Jesus have to give up His life for
- Read Ezekiel 18:20. What is the penalty for sin?
- Who is required to die for sin? (The person who
sinned - not someone else.)
- Read Leviticus 17:11. Do you see the logic here? If
so, explain the logic of blood atonement. (If sin
brings death, God says I will use the symbol of life
- blood - to "make up" for your death-bringing sin.)
- The sacrificed animal was of less value than the
human. Jesus, who is fully God, is of more value than
humans. How does the sacrificial system logically
teach us that Jesus must die? (The logic of blood
atonement was not complete in the Old Testament
sacrificial system. The lesson had just begun. God
was teaching the people that sin could be "fixed" by
a relevant substitute. That substitute was blood -
because it gave life.)
- How does this modify the lesson of Ezekiel
18:20? (The punishment for sin is personal, but
God will accept a substitute.)
- Read Matthew 26:28. Why was Jesus' blood required for the
forgiveness of our sins? (We started out learning the
logical link between blood and the sacrifice for deadly
sin. Since Jesus created us ( John 1:1-4, 14), He is the
ultimate source of our life. Thus, the shedding of blood
of the One who gave us life is the ultimate, logical
"blood" that can fix sin.)
- Read Psalms 51:15-17. Were blood sacrifices for sin God's
goal? (God wishes that we would not sin. He wants
obedience, not sacrifice.)
- Read Isaiah 53:5. Even though God wants obedience, what
does sin require? (Sin requires a "fix." Sin brings death.
God was willing to take upon Himself the punishment for
our sins. The amazing news is that God died in our place!
He took our punishment!)
- Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. What is the result of Jesus
dying in our place for our sins? (That we can have eternal
life with Him.)
- Friend, will you accept the salvation bought at such a
terrible price for you?
- Next week: The Cross and Justification.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.