Who gave himself for us - Who gave his own life as a ransom price to redeem ours. This is evidently what is meant, as the words λυτρωσηται and λαον περιουσιον imply. The verb λυτροω signifies to redeem or ransom by paying a price, as I have often had occasion to observe; and περιουσιος signifies such a peculiar property as a man has in what he has purchased with his own money. Jesus gave his life for the world, and thus has purchased men unto himself; and, having purchased the slaves from their thraldom, he is represented as stripping them of their sordid vestments, cleansing and purifying them unto himself that they may become his own servants, and bringing them out of their dishonorable and oppressive servitude, in which they had no proper motive to diligence and could have no affection for the despot under whose authority they were employed. Thus redeemed, they now become his willing servants, and are zealous of good works - affectionately attached to that noble employment which is assigned to them by that Master whom it is an inexpressible honor to serve. This seems to be the allusion in the above verse.
Who gave himself for us - See the notes at Ephesians 5:2.
That he might redeem us from all iniquity - The word here rendered “redeem” - λυτρόω lutroōoccurs only here and in Luke 24:21; 1 Peter 1:18. The noun, however - λύτρον lutronoccurs in Matthew 20:28; and Mark 10:45; where it is rendered “ransom;” see it explained in the notes at Matthew 20:28. It is here said that the object of his giving himself was to save his people from all iniquity; see this explained in the notes at Matthew 1:21. And purify unto himself - (1) Purify them, or make them holy. This is the first and leading object; see the notes at Hebrews 9:14 (2) “Unto himself;” that is, they are no longer to be regarded as their own, but as redeemed for his own service, and for the promotion of his glory; - Notes, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. A peculiar people - 1 Peter 2:9. The word here used ( περιούσιος periousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, having abundance; and then one‘s own, what is special, or peculiar (Robinson, Lexicon), and here means that they were to be regarded as belonging to the Lord Jesus. It does not mean, as the word would seem to imply - and as is undoubtedly true - that they are to be a unique people in the sense that they are to be unlike others, or to have views and principles unique to themselves; but that they belong to the Saviour in contradistinction from belonging to themselves - “peculiar” or his own in the sense that a man‘s property is his own, and does not belong to others. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove that Christians should be unlike others in their manner of living, but that they belong to Christ as his redeemed people. From that it may indeed be inferred that they should be unlike others, but that is not the direct teaching of the passage. Zealous of good works - As the result of their redemption; that is, this is one object of their having been redeemed; Notes, Ephesians 2:10.
And purify unto himself -
(1) Purify them, or make them holy. This is the first and leading object; see the notes at Hebrews 9:14
(2) “Unto himself;” that is, they are no longer to be regarded as their own, but as redeemed for his own service, and for the promotion of his glory; - Notes, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
A peculiar people - 1 Peter 2:9. The word here used ( περιούσιος periousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, having abundance; and then one‘s own, what is special, or peculiar (Robinson, Lexicon), and here means that they were to be regarded as belonging to the Lord Jesus. It does not mean, as the word would seem to imply - and as is undoubtedly true - that they are to be a unique people in the sense that they are to be unlike others, or to have views and principles unique to themselves; but that they belong to the Saviour in contradistinction from belonging to themselves - “peculiar” or his own in the sense that a man‘s property is his own, and does not belong to others. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove that Christians should be unlike others in their manner of living, but that they belong to Christ as his redeemed people. From that it may indeed be inferred that they should be unlike others, but that is not the direct teaching of the passage.
Zealous of good works - As the result of their redemption; that is, this is one object of their having been redeemed; Notes, Ephesians 2:10.
Those at the Health Institute are engaged in a great work. During the life of Christ the sick and afflicted were objects of His special care. When He sent out His disciples He commissioned them to heal the sick as well as to preach the gospel. When He sent forth the seventy He commanded them to heal the sick, and next to preach that the kingdom of God had come nigh unto them. Their physical health was to be first cared for, in order that the way might be prepared for their minds to be reached by those truths which the apostles were to preach. 4T 225.1
The Saviour of the world devoted more time and labor to healing the afflicted of their maladies than to preaching. His last injunction to His apostles, His representatives upon the earth, was to lay hands on the sick that they might recover. When the Master shall come, He will commend those who have visited the sick and relieved the necessities of the afflicted. 4T 225.2
We are slow to learn the mighty influence of trifles and their bearing upon the salvation of souls. At the Health Institute those who desire to be missionaries have a large field in which to work. God does not mean that any of us shall constitute a privileged few, who shall be looked upon with great deference while others are neglected. Jesus was the Majesty of heaven; yet He stooped to minister to the humblest, having no respect to persons or station. 4T 225.3Read in context »
God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. Christ gave Himself to the world that He might “purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” This refining process is designed to purge the church from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention, that they may build up instead of tear down, and concentrate their energies on the great work before them. God designs that His people should all come into the unity of the faith. The prayer of Christ just prior to His crucifixion was that His disciples might be one, even as He was one with the Father, that the world might believe that the Father had sent Him. This most touching and wonderful prayer reaches down the ages, even to our day; for His words were: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” 4T 17.1
How earnestly should the professed followers of Christ seek to answer this prayer in their lives. Many do not realize the sacredness of church relationship and are loath to submit to restraint and discipline. Their course of action shows that they exalt their own judgment above that of the united church, and they are not careful to guard themselves lest they encourage a spirit of opposition to its voice. Those who hold responsible positions in the church may have faults in common with other people and may err in their decisions; but notwithstanding this, the church of Christ on earth has given to them an authority that cannot be lightly esteemed. Christ, after His resurrection, delegated power unto His church, saying: “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” 4T 17.2
Church relationship is not to be lightly canceled; yet when the path of some professed followers of Christ is crossed, or when their voice has not the controlling influence which they think it deserves, they will threaten to leave the church. True, in leaving the church they would themselves be the greatest sufferers; for in withdrawing beyond the pale of its influence, they subject themselves to the full temptations of the world. 4T 17.3Read in context »
Brother and Sister K have not appreciated the light upon health reform. They have not seen a place for it in connection with the third message. Providence has been leading the people of God out from the extravagant habits of the world, away from the indulgence of appetite and passion, to take their stand upon the platform of self-denial and temperance in all things. The people whom God is leading will be peculiar. They will not be like the world. But if they follow the leadings of God they will accomplish His purposes, and will yield their will to His will. Christ will dwell in the heart. The temple of God will be holy. Your body, says the apostle, is the temple of the Holy Ghost. God does not require His children to deny themselves to the injury of physical strength. He requires them to obey natural law, to preserve physical health. Nature's path is the road He marks out, and it is broad enough for any Christian. God has, with a lavish hand, provided us with rich and varied bounties for our sustenance and enjoyment. But in order for us to enjoy the natural appetite, which will preserve health and prolong life, He restricts the appetite. He says: Beware; restrain, deny, unnatural appetite. If we create a perverted appetite, we violate the laws of our being and assume the responsibility of abusing our bodies and of bringing disease upon ourselves. 3T 63.1
The spirit and power of Elijah have been stirring hearts to reform and directing them to the wisdom of the just. Brother and Sister K have not been converted to the health reform, notwithstanding the amount of evidence that God has given upon the subject. Self-denial is essential to genuine religion. Those who have not learned to deny themselves are destitute of vital, practical godliness. We cannot expect anything else than that the claims of religion will come in contact with the natural affections and worldly interests. There is work for everyone in the vineyard of the Lord. None should be idle. Angels of God are all astir, ascending to heaven and descending to earth again with messages of mercy and warning. These heavenly messengers are moving upon minds and hearts. There are men and women everywhere whose hearts are susceptible of being inspired with the truth. If those who have a knowledge of the truth would now work in unison with the Spirit of God, we would see a great work accomplished. 3T 64.1
New fields are open in which all can test their calling by experimental effort in bringing souls out from darkness and error, and establishing them upon the platform of eternal truth. If Brother and Sister K feel that God has called them to engage in His work, they have enough to do to call sinners to repentance; but in order for God to work in and through them, they need a thorough conversion. The work of fitting a people in these last days for the coming of Christ, is a most sacred, solemn work, and calls for devoted, unselfish laborers. Those who have humility, faith, energy, perseverance, and decision will find plenty to do in their Master's vineyard. There are responsible duties to be performed, which require earnestness and the exertion of all their energies. It is willing service that God accepts. If the truth we profess is of such infinite importance as to decide the destiny of souls, how careful should we be in its presentation. 3T 64.2Read in context »
10 (Ephesians 1:6; 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 2:14; 3:5; James 2:22). Good Works No Plea for Salvation—Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God's free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ's sake alone. The troubled soul may find peace through faith in Christ, and his peace will be in proportion to his faith and trust. He cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul. 5BC 1122.1
But are good works of no real value? Is the sinner who commits sin every day with impunity, regarded of God with the same favor as the one who through faith in Christ tries to work in his integrity? The Scripture answers, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” In His divine arrangement, through His unmerited favor, the Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ's merit alone; and the acts of mercy, the deeds of charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith; and they become a blessing to us; for men are to be rewarded according to their works. It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We deserve no thanks from God. We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures. 5BC 1122.2
The Lord has bidden us to draw nigh to Him and He will draw nigh to us; and drawing nigh to Him, we receive the grace by which to do those works which will be rewarded at His hands (The Review and Herald, January 29, 1895). 5BC 1122.3
28-30 (Genesis 19:24, 25). Rocked in Cradle of Carnal Security—As the sun arose for the last time upon the cities of the plain, the people thought to commence another day of godless riot. All were eagerly planning their business or their pleasure, and the messenger of God was derided for his fears and his warnings. Suddenly as the thunder peal from an unclouded sky, fell balls of fire on the doomed capital. “So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The people will be eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, until the wrath of God shall be poured out without mixture of mercy. The world will be rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security.... The multitudes are striving to forget God, and they eagerly accept fables, that they may pursue the path of self-indulgence undisturbed (The Review and Herald, October 26, 1886). 5BC 1122.4Read in context »