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Sabbath School Lessons on The Atonement and the Cross of Christ
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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 4: Atonement and the Divine Initiative *
Introduction: The last two weeks we studied how sin entered the
universe and our world. This week we turn our attention to the first
chapter of our escape from sin and eternal death. Why would God
decide to redeem us? What began our way out of sin? We learned
something in the last two weeks about how to avoid sin based on how
sin entered the universe and the world. What can we learn about
righteousness based on how God gave us a way out of sin? Let's dive
into our study of the Bible and learn more about the thoughts of God!
- Our Present Position
- Read Romans 3:10-12. What is our condition? Are we able to
do better than Adam and Eve and stay out of trouble? (No!
No one is righteous. All sin.)
- Read Romans 3:19-20. If you asked most people, they would
think that they lived a pretty good life. On what basis
would they make that claim? (Most people base their claim
on some sort of standard. They are "good people" because
they have not been arrested, or they treat others
- Is that what you think about your life?
- What does this text say about thinking we are good
based on the standard of the Ten Commandments?
- There are only Ten Commandments, how difficult can it
be to keep them?
- When we read Romans 3:20, what do we learn is God's
purpose in having the Ten Commandments? (We are told
that no one will be saved by keeping the Ten
Commandments, no one is "good enough" through their
own actions. At least one purpose of the Ten
Commandments is to show the true (sinful) nature of
our hearts. When we really understand what it means
to keep the law (see Matthew 5:21-22 and Matthew
5:27-28), we will simply learn how unrighteous we
- Hope of Glory
- If we cannot come up to God's standard by our efforts to
keep His law, what hope is there for us?
- Read Romans 5:1-2. What is "the hope of the glory of God?"
(Hint: it gives us joy!)
- Does it have something to do with faith and grace?
(The glory of God must mean to be in God's presence.
Grace and faith are keys to this access.)
- What role does Jesus play in this hope of the glory
of God? ( Romans 5:1 tells us "through our Lord Jesus
Christ" we are able to "stand" in grace. Having
grace from God gives us hope that we will be with Him
in glory. This is a promise of heaven. We take hold
of this promise by faith in Jesus.)
- What does this hope in Jesus give us? (It gives us
(v.1) "peace with God" and (v.2) a cause for
- Read Romans 5:3-4. Notice this list of bad things. Do bad
things end up in hope? Why does this string of things end
up in hope?
- Why even talk about these bad things when the subject
is rejoicing in God's presence? (The reality of life
is that we face difficult problems from time to
- Do you find it to be true in your life - that
suffering causes you to hope? (It seems to say that
the good thing about bad things is that they sharpen
our hope if we remain faithful. Realizing how we fall
short of God's standards brings us to the point of
realizing that we must trust the grace and peace
offered to us through Jesus.)
- The Rescue Plan
- Read Romans 5:6. Given out condition, when and why did God
decide that Jesus should rescue us? (The Bible says "at
just the right time. The "why" is that we were "powerless"
- we desperately needed the help.)
- Read Ephesians 1:4-6. When did God decide on this
plan? Was it after He saw what a mess Satan and
humans had made of things? (This tells us that God
had this plan in mind before the world was created!)
- Does this mean that God created us knowing that we
would make a mess of things (we were powerless)and He
would have to clean it up? (It is hard to reach any
- Read Romans 5:7-8. What motivated God to engage in this
kind of extraordinary conduct for humans who had turned
away from Him?(Love. God did something none of us would
do. He did it because He has a love that is superior to
anything we can imagine. God did not wait until we became
good or righteous or worthy.)
- Do you know someone who stays away from church
because they are not "good enough?" What does this
text say to them?
- Read Romans 8:32. Romans 5:7-8 told us God's sacrifice for
us is remarkable. What does Romans 8:32 add to that
thought? (Not only is Jesus' sacrifice for us remarkable,
but it shows that He loves us more than anything! This
means God will not withhold any good thing from us. The
"why" of the rescue plan is that God loves us. Amazing!)
- Read Romans 8:33-34. What else does Jesus do for us?
(Jesus is in heaven interceding for us. Just as in the
time of ancient Israel, when the High Priest on the Day of
Atonement interceded for the people, so Jesus now
intercedes for us in the heavenly sanctuary.
- So we have a full understanding of the cast of
players: Who is it that brings charges against us?
Who condemns us? ( Revelation 12:10 tells us our
accuser has been "hurled down." Two weeks ago we
studied Revelation 12:9 and determined that the party
hurled down was Satan. The one who brought us into
sin has been defeated, but he still brings charges
- What happens to your hope when people condemn you and
bring charges against you?
- Who wins in the controversy between Jesus and Satan?
(The "hurled down" text tells us that Satan is on the
canvas. Satan is on the ground and Jesus is the
winner. The charges and accusations against us go the
same way as the accuser.)
- Look at Romans 8:34 again. Why does Jesus win for us?
(This verse tells us our Intercessor has the ear of God.
He is at the right hand of the Father. Jesus followed the
loving heavenly plan and lived, died, was resurrected for
us. He now has a special place by the Father where He puts
in a good word for us. A good word to the Father who
already loves us. I like this plan!)
- Read Romans 8:35. It asks "Who shall separate us from the
love of God?" What can cause us to lose out on God's plan
and God's fulfillment of His part of the plan?
- This text gives several possible causes for
separating us from God's love. What do all of these
causes have in common? (They are all bad. But, more
than that, they all have an external source. They
come from outside us.)
- As you consider the various possible causes for
separation, what does that suggest about the answer
to the question in verse 35? (That nothing external
can separate us from God's love. This suggests that
we are the only one who can separate our self from
- Read Romans 8:37. Who gives us the victory over all of
these external problems? (Jesus makes us "more than
- Do you feel like a conqueror?
- Conquerors sometimes find that with time they lose their
ability to win over their opponents. Read Romans 8:38-39.
What gives us hope and confidence that will not happen to
us? (It tells us nothing in all creation will be powerful
enough to separate us from God. Praise God!)
- Friend, do you see why God intervened to save you? His
love is beyond our imagination. Although day to day live
may cause you to face trouble, if you decide to accept
Jesus' sacrifice and His victory for you, there is nothing
in all creation that can separate you from His love. Why
not decide to accept Him right now?
- Next week: Atonement Announced.
* Copr. 2008, 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.