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Sabbath School Lessons on The Atonement and the Cross of Christ
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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 9: Metaphors of Salvation *
Introduction: Have you ever gone to a physician and found you don't
understand a lot of what is being told to you? I had one specialist
who would use all sorts of medical terms that I did not understand.
I would stop him and make him explain his terms. In my law practice I
work with employees whose religious beliefs conflict with some work
requirement. The law requires the religious objector to let the
employer (or union) know about the conflict. When these (generally
Christian) employees write about their religious beliefs, I try to be
alert to terms that are not understood by the general public. When I
see these, I suggest to the employee that they substitute a term that
the public understands. The Bible uses all sorts of terms to
describe salvation. We learned the reason for many of them when we
studied the Old Testament sanctuary service. This week we look more
deeply into this subject. Let's dive right into our study of how the
Bible describes our salvation!
- Redeemed FLKs?
- Read 1 Peter 1:1-2. To whom does Peter address his letter?
(To God's elect - that means us!)
- Peter calls us "strangers in the world." Have you
ever had someone say you looked strange? My son
introduced me to the term "FLK." It means "funny
looking kid." Physicians use this term because a
child that does not look quite right often has unseen
medical problems. The child's looks are a clue to
these problems. Are we FLK's in the eyes of the
world? (I hope so. We might not look strange, but
Peter suggests that someone elected by God does not
count this sinful world as home. A changed heart
makes us strangers to this world.)
- Wait a minute, aren't Christians supposed to
look different?(You don't have to be as old as
me to be able to see that lifestyles are
generally reflected in the way a person looks.
However, I don't think Peter is talking about
- How are we elected to be strangers? ( 1 Peter 1:2
gives us two pictures: our sins are removed by Jesus'
blood being sprinkled on us. (Recall our discussion
of the sanctuary on earth.) The Holy Spirit helps us
to move towards obedience to Jesus. This gets us
ready for the next world.)
- Read 1 Peter 1:3-5. Notice all the symbols, all the
metaphors. The last text referred to "sprinkling by His
blood." Among other things, this text refers to "new
birth," and "inheritance." What kind of family are we
being born into? What kind of wealth does this new family
possess? (Christians look forward to a new world. Peter
says our new birth now into the family of God gives us
"living hope" for an inheritance in the next world. That
inheritance, unlike today's stock market, cannot go bad.
He is a bit vague on the details, however.)
- Can we make this transition now? (Yes. We can join
the family of God now when we are born again (through
baptism). Last week we learned that we opt into
Jesus' baptism when we are baptized. See Romans 6:4.)
- Read 1 Peter 1:6-7. We are strangers and we suffer grief
in all kinds of trials. Why is Peter upbeat about this?
(Imagine being hired by a new company into a very
important position. All of these new challenges can be
difficult, but they help you to become better at your
work. You don't mind these challenges because you are
delighted to have your new position. Our joy because of
our new birth and new inheritance help us to shrug off the
immediate challenges. The challenges strengthen our
- Read 1 Peter 1:17. Peter tells us to live our life as
strangers here. What do you think this means, as a
practical matter? How would a stranger live as compared
to a regular citizen?
- Read 1 Peter 1:18-19. We are redeemed strangers. From what
have we been redeemed? ("From the empty way of life handed
down to you from your forefathers."
- What is an empty way of life? What does that mean? (A
life without meaning. A life with no future.)
- The idea of being redeemed means to be "bought back."
Here we are not being redeemed with money, we are
redeemed by the blood of Jesus. What kind of a future
and a meaningful life has Jesus purchased for us?
(Think of two kinds of artwork. My father did some
wood carving that I imagine will be in the family for
generations. On the local beach, artists make some
beautiful creations out of sand. They last for a
week. Jesus allows us to now begin building for
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:16. Has our eyesight also changed
with this new birth? (Yes.)
- What, exactly, do you think it means to "regard
[someone] from a worldly point of view?" (A worldly
point of view would regard a person based on wealth,
looks, and position. We might be a "FLK" in the
world's view - but when we are converted we see these
things in a new light. We understand the eternal view
- Why would we think less of wealth, looks and
position just because we become Christians?
(This goes back to Peter's point in 1 Peter 1:4
- our new heavenly wealth is completely secure.
Wealth, looks, position on earth all fade. We
all become old and die. Our new eyesight helps
us to pick out what is eternally important.)
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. When I say that I am
"reconciled" to someone, that means I previously had a
dispute with them. I do not recall picking any fights with
God! Why is it I need to be reconciled? (Read 2
Corinthians 5:19. When we sin we are in conflict with God!
Jesus gives us a way not to have our sins counted against
us. The source of the dispute between God and humans is
resolved by Jesus.)
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. Paul tells us that he is
speaking for God. He is making a sales pitch on God's
behalf. What is he selling? (Reconciliation. We have two
opposing worlds - the earth here and the earth to come.
Paul, as an ambassador for God and the earth to come,
appeals to us to accept this offer to have our sin placed
on Jesus and His righteousness placed on us.)
- Let's revisit 2 Corinthians 5:16. How does Paul see us?
(Recall that the disciples originally thought that Jesus
would set up a kingdom on earth. They now see Jesus'
kingdom as being in heaven and the new earth. When the
Kingdom of Heaven becomes real to you, you see others not
as rich, powerful or beautiful, but rather as citizens or
non-citizens of the earth to come.)
- Read Romans 3:19-20. As we look at the citizens and non-citizens around us, will those who are "good people" and
good neighbors be considered citizens of the earth to
come? (No. No one is righteous by being a good person.
Even those who read God's word and understand His standard
for living are not righteous - they merely understand more
clearly how sinful they are!)
- Read Romans 3:21-24. How do we become righteous? How do we
become citizens of the eternal world to come? (Faith in
the redemption made for us by Jesus.)
- Does any other factor in our life make a difference?
(No! All who believe are entitled to accept this
redemption. "There is no difference.")
- Read Romans 3:25-26. When we accept Jesus' sacrifice on
our behalf, when we opt into His death as sufficient
punishment for our sins, how do we end up? (Justified! We
are eligible to be citizens of the eternal world to come.)
- Friend, do you understand this? Because of what Jesus did
for you - redemption, reconciliation, justification - you
are eligible to become a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
You can join the family that will live eternally on the
earth to come. Will you accept what Jesus has done for you
and today become a citizen?
- Next week: Atonement At The Cross.
* 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.