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Hebrews 6:18

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That by two immutable things - The promise and oath of God: the promise pledged his faithfulness and justice; the oath, all the infinite perfections of his Godhead, for he sware by himself. There is a good saying in Beracoth on Exodus 32:13, fol. 32: Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self. "What is the meaning of by thine own self? Rab. Eleazar answered, Thus said Moses to the holy blessed God, Lord of all the world. If thou hadst sworn to them by the heavens and the earth, then I should have said, As the heavens and the earth shall pass away, so may thy oath pass away. But now thou hast sworn unto them by thy great name, which liveth, and which endureth for ever, and for ever and ever; therefore thy oath shall endure for ever, and for ever and ever."

This is a good thought; if God had sworn by any thing finite, that thing might fail, and then the obligation would be at an end, but he has sworn by what is infinite, and cannot fail; therefore his oath is of eternal obligation.

We might have a strong consolation - There appears to be an allusion here to the cities of refuge, and to the persons who fled to them for safety. As the person who killed his neighbor unawares was sure if he gained the city of refuge he should be safe, and had strong consolation in the hope that he should reach it, this hope animated him in his race to the city; he ran, he fled, knowing that, though in danger the most imminent of losing his life, yet, as he was now acting according to an ordinance of God, he was certain of safety provided he got to the place.

It is easy to apply this to the case of a truly penitent sinner. Thou hast sinned against God and against thy own life! The avenger of blood is at thy heels! Jesus hath shed his blood for thee, he is thy intercessor before the throne; flee to him! Lay hold on the hope of eternal life which is offered unto thee in the Gospel! Delay not one moment! Thou art never safe till thou hast redemption in his blood! God invites thee! Jesus spreads his hands to receive thee! God hath sworn that he willeth not the death of a sinner; then he cannot will thy death: take God's oath, take his promise; credit what he bath spoken and sworn! Take encouragement! Believe on the Son of God, and thou shalt not perish, but have everlasting life!

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

That by two immutable things - What the “two immutable things” here referred to are, has been made a matter of question among commentators. Most expositors, as Doddridge, Whitby, Rosenmuller, Koppe, and Calvin, suppose that the reference is to the promise and the oath of God, each of which would be a firm ground of the assurance of salvation, and in each of which it would be impossible for God to lie. Prof. Stuart supposes that the reference is to “two oaths” - the oath made to Abraham, and that by which the Messiah was made High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6, Hebrews 5:10. He supposes that thus the salvation of believers would be amply secured, by the promise that Abraham should have a Son, the Messiah, in whom all the families of the earth would be blessed, and in the oath that this Son should be High Priest forever. But to this interpretation it may be objected that the apostle seems to refer to two things distinct from each other in their nature, and not to two acts of the same kind. There are two kinds of security referred to, whereas the security furnished according to this interpretation would be the same - that arising from an oath. However numerous the oaths might be, still it would be security of the same kind, and if one of them were broken no certainty could be derived from the other. On the supposition, however, that he refers to the “promise” and the “oath,” there would be two kinds of assurance of different kinds. On the supposition that the “promise” was disregarded - if such a supposition may be made still there would be the security of the “oath” - and thus the assurance of salvation was two-fold. It seems to me, therefore, that the apostle refers to the “promise” and to the “oath” of God, as constituting the two grounds of security for the salvation of his people. Those things were both unchangeable, and when his word and oath are once passed, what he promises is secure.

In which it was impossible for God to lie - That is, it would be contrary to his nature; it is not for a moment to be supposed; compare Titus 1:2, “God - that cannot lie.” The impossibility is a “moral” impossibility, and the use of the word here explains the sense in which the words “impossible, cannot,” etc., are often used in the Scriptures. The meaning here is, that such was the love of God for truth; such his holiness of character, that he “could” not speak falsely.

We might have a strong consolation - The strongest of which the mind can conceive. The consolation of a Christian is not in his own strength; his hope of heaven is not in any reliance on his own powers. His comfort is, that God has “promised” eternal life to his people, and that He cannot prove false to his word; Titus 1:2.

Who have fled for refuge - Referring to the fact that one charged with murder fled to the city of refuge, or laid hold on an altar for security. So we guilty and deserving of death have fled to the hopes of the gospel in the Redeemer.

To lay hold upon - To seize and hold fast - as one does an altar when he is pursued by the avenger of blood.

The hope set before us - The hope of eternal life offered in the gospel. This is set before us as our refuge, and to this we flee when we feel that we are in danger of death. On the nature of hope, see the notes on Ephesians 2:12.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The hope here meant, is a sure looking for good things promised, through those promises, with love, desire, and valuing of them. Hope has its degrees, as faith also. The promise of blessedness God has made to believers, is from God's eternal purpose, settled between the eternal Father, Son, and Spirit. These promises of God may safely be depended upon; for here we have two things which cannot change, the counsel and the oath of God, in which it is not possible for God to lie; it would be contrary to his nature as well as to his will. And as He cannot lie; the destruction of the unbeliever, and the salvation of the believer, are alike certain. Here observe, those to whom God has given full security of happiness, have a title to the promises by inheritance. The consolations of God are strong enough to support his people under their heaviest trials. Here is a refuge for all sinners who flee to the mercy of God, through the redemption of Christ, according to the covenant of grace, laying aside all other confidences. We are in this world as a ship at sea, tossed up and down, and in danger of being cast away. We need an anchor to keep us sure and steady. Gospel hope is our anchor in the storms of this world. It is sure and stedfast, or it could not keep us so. The free grace of God, the merits and mediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit, are the grounds of this hope, and so it is a stedfast hope. Christ is the object and ground of the believer's hope. Let us therefore set our affections on things above, and wait patiently for his appearance, when we shall certainly appear with him in glory.
Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 350

Saith the Lord: “My people shall never be ashamed.” Joel 2:26. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5. When on His resurrection day these disciples met the Saviour, and their hearts burned within them as they listened to His words; when they looked upon the head and hands and feet that had been bruised for them; when, before His ascension, Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands in blessing, bade them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel,” adding, “Lo, I am with you alway” (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:20); when on the Day of Pentecost the promised Comforter descended and the power from on high was given and the souls of the believers thrilled with the conscious presence of their ascended Lord—then, even though, like His, their pathway led through sacrifice and martyrdom, would they have exchanged the ministry of the gospel of His grace, with the “crown of righteousness” to be received at His coming, for the glory of an earthly throne, which had been the hope of their earlier discipleship? He who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” had granted them, with the fellowship of His sufferings, the communion of His joy—the joy of “bringing many sons unto glory,” joy unspeakable, an “eternal weight of glory,” to which, says Paul, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment,” is “not worthy to be compared.” GC 350.1

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 353.5

We want to be prepared to meet these dear friends as they come forth in the resurrection morning.... Shall we lay hold upon the hope set before us in the gospel that we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is? HP 353.5

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 362.3

The heavenly gate closes, the invitation of salvation ceases. In heaven it is said, “It is done.” Such a time is not far distant. I plead with you to make sure work for eternity, to lay hold on the hope set before you in the gospel. Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for if you merely seek, you will not be able. HP 362.3

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 451.3

Then turn your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, and lay hold upon the hope set before you. God accepts your broken, contrite heart. He offers you free pardon. He offers to adopt you into His family, with His grace to help your weakness, and the dear Jesus will lead you on step by step if you will only put your hand in His and let Him guide you.—Letter 38, 1887. 2MCP 451.3

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 9.5

Amid all his affliction, the Christian has strong consolation. And if God permits him to suffer a lingering, distressing sickness before he closes his eyes in death, he can with cheerfulness bear it all.... He contemplates the future with heavenly satisfaction. A short rest in the grave, and then the Life-giver will break the fetters of the tomb, release the captive, and bring him from his dusty bed immortal, never more to know pain, sorrow, or death. Oh, what a hope is the Christian's! Let this hope of the Christian be mine. Let it be yours. OHC 9.5

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 75.3

We must keep the eye directed upward to God above the ladder. The question with men and women gazing heavenward is, How can I obtain the mansions for the blessed? It is by being a partaker of the divine nature. It is by escaping the “corruption that is in the world through lust.” It is by entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, laying hold of the hope set before you in the gospel. It is by fastening yourself to Christ and straining every nerve to leave the world behind.... It is by being in Christ and yet led by Christ; by believing and working, ... holding onto Christ and constantly mounting upward toward God.... OHC 75.3

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 85.3

Do not for a moment acknowledge Satan's temptations as being in harmony with your own mind. Turn from them as you would from the adversary himself. Satan's work is to discourage the soul. Christ's work is to inspire the heart with faith and hope. Satan seeks to unsettle our confidence. He tells us that our hopes are built upon false premises, rather than upon the sure, immutable word of Him who cannot lie. OHC 85.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 371

Another compact—called in Scripture the “old” covenant—was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified by the blood of a sacrifice. The Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the “second,” or “new,” covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant. That the new covenant was valid in the days of Abraham is evident from the fact that it was then confirmed both by the promise and by the oath of God—the “two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie.” Hebrews 6:18. PP 371.1

But if the Abrahamic covenant contained the promise of redemption, why was another covenant formed at Sinai? In their bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. In delivering them from Egypt, God sought to reveal to them His power and His mercy, that they might be led to love and trust Him. He brought them down to the Red Sea—where, pursued by the Egyptians, escape seemed impossible—that they might realize their utter helplessness, their need of divine aid; and then He wrought deliverance for them. Thus they were filled with love and gratitude to God and with confidence in His power to help them. He had bound them to Himself as their deliverer from temporal bondage. PP 371.2

But there was a still greater truth to be impressed upon their minds. Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God's law, and their need of a Saviour. All this they must be taught. PP 371.3

God brought them to Sinai; He manifested His glory; He gave them His law, with the promise of great blessings on condition of obedience: “If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ... ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” Exodus 19:5, 6. The people did not realize the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God's law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” Exodus 24:7. They had witnessed the proclamation of the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the mount; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant which they had broken; and now, seeing their sinfulness and their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic covenant and shadowed forth in the sacrificial offerings. Now by faith and love they were bound to God as their deliverer from the bondage of sin. Now they were prepared to appreciate the blessings of the new covenant. PP 371.4

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 517

He who fled to the city of refuge could make no delay. Family and employment were left behind. There was no time to say farewell to loved ones. His life was at stake, and every other interest must be sacrificed to the one purpose—to reach the place of safety. Weariness was forgotten, difficulties were unheeded. The fugitive dared not for one moment slacken his pace until he was within the wall of the city. PP 517.1

The sinner is exposed to eternal death, until he finds a hiding place in Christ; and as loitering and carelessness might rob the fugitive of his only chance for life, so delays and indifference may prove the ruin of the soul. Satan, the great adversary, is on the track of every transgressor of God's holy law, and he who is not sensible of his danger, and does not earnestly seek shelter in the eternal refuge, will fall a prey to the destroyer. PP 517.2

The prisoner who at any time went outside the city of refuge was abandoned to the avenger of blood. Thus the people were taught to adhere to the methods which infinite wisdom appointed for their security. Even so, it is not enough that the sinner believe in Christ for the pardon of sin; he must, by faith and obedience, abide in Him. “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26, 27. PP 517.3

Two of the tribes of Israel, Gad and Reuben, with half the tribe of Manasseh, had received their inheritance before crossing the Jordan. To a pastoral people, the wide upland plains and rich forests of Gilead and Bashan, offering extensive grazing land for their flocks and herds, had attractions which were not to be found in Canaan itself, and the two and a half tribes, desiring to settle here, had pledged themselves to furnish their proportion of armed men to accompany their brethren across the Jordan and to share their battles till they also should enter upon their inheritance. The obligation had been faithfully discharged. When the ten tribes entered Canaan forty thousand of “the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh ... prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.” Joshua 4:12, 13. For years they had fought bravely by the side of their brethren. Now the time had come for them to get unto the land of their possession. As they had united with their brethren in the conflicts, so they had shared the spoils; and they returned “with much riches ... and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment,” all of which they were to share with those who had remained with the families and flocks. PP 517.4

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Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 103

Many think that it is impossible to love our neighbor as ourselves; but it is the only genuine fruit of Christianity. Love to others is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ; it is walking and working with the invisible world in view. We are thus to keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. RC 103.2

The solemn warning that was given to the foolish rich man should be a sufficient warning for all men to the close of time. Lesson upon lesson was given by our Lord to take everyone away from selfishness, and to establish close bonds of fellowship and brotherhood between man and man. He desired that the hearts of believers should be closely knit together in strong bonds of sympathy, so that there might be unity in Himself. They are together to rejoice in hope of the glory of God, looking for eternal life through the virtue of Jesus Christ. If Christ is abiding in the heart, His love will diffuse itself to others through its possessor, and will bind heart to heart. RC 103.3

The grace of Christ must be the sole dependence of the Christian, and when it is, he will love his brethren as Christ loved him. Then he can say, “Come,” and beseech and woo souls, entreating them to be reconciled to God. His influence will be more and more decided, and he will devote his life to Christ, who was crucified for him. RC 103.4

Where love is perfected, the law is kept, and self finds no place. Those who love God supremely, work, suffer, and live for Him who gave His life for them. We can keep the law only through making the righteousness of Christ our own. Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” When we receive the heavenly gift, the righteousness of Christ, we shall find that divine grace has been provided for us, and that human resources are powerless. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit in large measure for great emergencies, to help our infirmities, to give us strong consolation, to illuminate our minds, and purify and ennoble our hearts. Christ becomes unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. RC 103.5

From the first to the last of the Christian life, not one successful step can be taken without Christ. He has sent His Spirit to be with us constantly, and by confiding in Christ to the uttermost, surrendering our will to Him, we may follow Him whithersoever He goeth.—The Review and Herald, June 26, 1894. RC 103.6

The Holy Spirit will work every heart susceptible to its holy influence. Christ's righteousness will go before such an one, and the glory of the Lord will be his rearward.—Letter 192, 1902. RC 103.7

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 175.4

The faithful Nathan had pronounced the judgment of God. The sword was never to leave his [David's] house; that which he had sown he was also to reap. He had often had a gloomy presentiment of the present hour. He had long wondered why the merited judgment was so long delayed. The God he had offended by bringing so great sin upon Israel as their leader, was now showing him that He is not a God that will lie, and that by terrible things in righteousness would He show His hatred of sin. He did indeed realize, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” TSB 175.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 259.2

Then turn your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, to Him and lay hold on the hope set before you. God accepts your broken, contrite heart, and extends to you free pardon. He offers to adopt you into His family, with His grace to help your weakness. And the dear Saviour will lead you on step by step, you placing your hand in His, and letting Him guide you. TSB 259.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 264.2

Welcome for the Repentant—“And of some have compassion, making a difference” [Jude 1:22]. Those who are wise in the wisdom born of God will see souls in need of help, souls who have been overcome, and who, though they have sincerely repented, would scarcely dare, without encouragement, to lay hold of hope. The Lord will put it into the hearts of those who are stewards of His grace to welcome these trembling, repentant souls to their loving fellowship. His true followers will not treat sinners as if they were beyond forgiveness. They will have compassion on those whose circumstances have been unfavorable, and who have allowed Satan to lead them in forbidden paths. TSB 264.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 63.3

God will not occupy a divided heart or reign from a divided throne. Every rival that holds the affections and diverts them from the God of love must be dethroned. The Lord demands all that there is of us, and there must be no reserve. Christ has purchased us, we are His heritage, and we are to be honored by being co-laborers with Jesus Christ. Wear the yoke with Christ, and daily walk with God. How shall we do this? By laying hold upon the help which God has provided. The Lord has said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).33 TMK 63.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 230.2

Faith should be cultivated. If it has become weak it is like a sickly plant that should be placed in the sunshine and carefully watered and tended. The Lord would have every one who has had light and evidence cherish that light and walk in its brightness. God has blessed us with reasoning powers so that we may trace from cause to effect. If we would have light we must come to the light. We must individually lay hold on the hope set before us in the gospel.... How foolish it would be to go into a cellar, and mourn because we were in the dark. If we want light we must come up into a higher room. It is our privilege to come into the light, to come into the presence of God.... TMK 230.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 241.4

Jesus sees the guilt of the past, and speaks pardon, and we must not dishonor Him by doubting His love. This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and of true happiness. Now Jesus says, “Lay it all on Me. I will take your sins; I will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen; your remorse for sin I will remove.” Then turn your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, to Him and lay hold on the hope set before you. God accepts your broken, contrite heart, and extends to you free pardon. He offers to adopt you into His family, with His grace to help your weakness, and the dear Saviour will lead you on step by step, you placing your hand in His and letting Him guide you. TMK 241.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 63.5

This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and true happiness. Now Jesus says, “Lay it all on Me; I will take your sin, I will give you peace. Destroy no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine, your weakened will I will strengthen; your remorse for sin, I will remove.” Then turn your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, and lay hold upon the hope set before you. God accepts your broken contrite heart. He offers you free pardon. He offers to adopt you into His family with His grace to help your weakness, and the dear Jesus will lead you on step by step, if you will only put your hand in His and let Him guide you. TDG 63.5

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 155.2

Do whatever you can and the way will open before you. Every moment of time is golden. Souls out of Christ are to be persuaded to lay hold of the hope of the gospel.... TDG 155.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 223.3

What is evidence? Is it a flight of feeling? Is it an emotion of the heart that gives you the evidence that you are a child of God? But here is the precious word of eternal life and it gives us the assurance that we may lay hold on the hope set before us in the Gospel by living faith. TDG 223.3

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 212.6

Jesus sees the guilt of the past, but He speaks pardon; and we must not dishonor Him by doubting His love. This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and of true happiness. Now Jesus says, “Lay it all on Me. I will take your sins. I will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen. Your remorse for sin I will remove.” Then turn your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, to Him, and lay hold on the hope set before you.—Letter 49, July 17, 1898, to a dear sister. UL 212.6

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 331

When you begin to feel despondent, look unto Jesus, and commune with Him. When you think your brethren misunderstand you, remember that Jesus, your Elder Brother, never makes a mistake. He will judge righteously. The words of Christ uttered in the great day of the feast have a wonderful meaning and power. He lifted up His voice and said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” We are not to be driven to Christ. It is our part to come—to make our own choice, and come to the fountain of life. Why should we not come to Christ? for in Him our hope of eternal life is centered. The lessons that have come to us through Christ are not oft- repeated maxims; they are full of vital thought. But it is our part to appropriate divine truth. The apostle Paul exhorts us to lay hold on the hope set before us in the gospel. By faith we are to appropriate the promises of God, and to provide ourselves with the abundant blessings which have been secured for us through Christ Jesus. Hope has been set before us, even the hope of eternal life. Nothing short of this blessing for us will satisfy our Redeemer; but it is our part to lay hold upon this hope by faith in Him who has promised. We may expect to suffer; for it is those who are partakers with Him in His sufferings who shall be partakers with Him in His glory. He has purchased forgiveness and immortality for the sinful, perishing souls of men; but it is our part to receive these gifts by faith. Believing in Him, we have this hope as an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast. We are to understand that we may confidently expect God's favor not only in this world, but in the heavenly world, since He paid such a price for our salvation. Faith in the atonement and intercession of Christ will keep us steadfast and immovable amid the temptations that press upon us in the church militant. Let us contemplate the glorious hope that is set before us, and by faith lay hold upon it.... LHU 331.2

We cannot find salvation in our own individual selves; we are to look unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith and as we look, we live.... How hard poor mortals strive to be sin-bearers for themselves and for others! but the only sin-bearer is Jesus Christ. He alone can be my substitute and sin-bearer. The forerunner of Christ exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”.... Then take your eyes off yourself, and encourage hope and confidence in Christ. Let your hope not be centered in yourself, but in Him who has entered within the veil. Talk of the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (The Review and Herald, June 9, 1896). LHU 331.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 79.2

Hope has been set before us, even the hope of eternal life. Nothing short of this blessing for us will satisfy our Redeemer, but it is our part to lay hold upon this hope by faith in Him who has promised. We may expect to suffer, for it is those who are partakers with Him in His sufferings who shall be partakers with Him in His glory. He has purchased forgiveness and immortality for the sinful, perishing souls of men, but it is our part to receive these gifts by faith. Believing in Him, we have this hope as an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast. We are to understand that we may confidently expect God's favor not only in this world but in the heavenly world, since He paid such a price for our salvation. Faith in the atonement and intercession of Christ will keep us steadfast and immovable amid the temptations that press upon us in the church militant. Let us contemplate the glorious hope that is set before us, and by faith lay hold upon it.... TMK 79.2

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