(Wilfred) Because of the pressure of time towards the close of the presentation of the foregoing series of the studies of righteousness of Christ by faith imputed and the imparted, we did not succeed in bringing together the various aspects of the subject as effectively as we had intended to do. And it may be profitable for us at this time to review some of those features and tie them together and possibly expand a few that were not thoroughly presented. Furthermore there was a portion of the series which was not recorded in connection with a question period. We did not think that it would be necessary to record this section especially in view of the fact that questions from the group and interaction with the group did not record too effectively. However it turned out that this question period did develop into a more pertinent type of presentation and we regret that at least some of it was not recorded. So possibly we can refer to some things that were mentioned during that period also.
The theme of the series was centered in the righteousness of Christ which is to be established in his people. We noted that Christ cannot come to claim his people as his own until that character has been perfectly reproduced in them and this is what accounts for the delay in the second coming of Jesus. It is pertinent then for us in this crucial hour of the earth's history to understand what is meant by the righteousness of Christ and how it is to be attributed to us. We pointed out that there are two aspects to the reception of the righteousness of Christ. 1. We receive the imputed righteousness of Christ by faith; this is our ticket to Heaven. The perfect commandment keeping of Christ, his perfect righteousness is accounted to us in the record books of heaven and God looks upon us and sees in us the righteousness of his son and He loves us as He does his own son. This is a transaction which is accomplished by faith. 2. The second aspect of the reception of the righteousness of Christ is the imparted righteousness. This righteousness is received through the agency of love which is a gift also, a gift that comes to us through the agency of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit comes to us the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts and it is on the basis of this motivating power of self-denying love which is the love of God that we will be impelled or constrained to obey his commandments. We will also be empowered to obey his commandments by this motivating force of his Love. It is the power of love that constrains us to obey. There is no power in all the universe that is greater than the power of self-denying love. And this is the essence of the life and the power of God. This love He offers to impart to us to empower us to obey his commandments. And He sent to us Jesus to show us the way to make the pattern and we are invited to take up our cross and follow Him in his steps all the way who did no sin neither was guile found in his mouth.
In Revelation Chapter 14, verse 4-5, the Revelator describes to the people, the one hundred and forty four thousand, who will follow the lamb wheresoever he goeth and they will be without fault before the throne of God and in their mouth will be no guile.
In the early years of the Advent movement this aspect of righteousness was stressed, the aspect of commandment keeping. After the 1888 conference at which the message of righteousness by faith imputed was stressed by the two messengers of the Lord and verified by the prophet to the remnant church, the emphasis was placed upon imputed righteousness and some went perhaps a little to the extreme view on the subject. But Sister White in her comments on the righteousness question has definitely given us a balance between these two aspects.
For it is the imparted righteousness of Christ that enables us to completely fulfill these commandments which gives to us the image of his character so that his character becomes ours. It is this aspect of the righteousness which gives us our fitness for living in the eternal kingdom. As long as we are immature children in the family of God Christ must bear the deficiencies that are ours and make up for them with his own divine merit. Not until we have obtained to the measure of the fullness of his stature will He be able to lay down his priestly robe and step out from his position as mediator, and we will be able to stand without fault before God without a mediator. This is the goal of the plan of salvation. Jesus came to save his people from their sins not just in their sins and He is to make unto Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle. Here is the goal of the plan of salvation and imputed righteousness, righteousness by faith accounted to the sinner by substitution, this is the means to the end. This is not the be all and the end all of the message it is the means to the end of perfection.
Now in view of the fact that Christ has delayed his coming because his character has not been perfectly reproduced in his people. It should be obvious that here lies the crux of the matter of the preparation of the coming of Christ. Our church today is facing an emergency. The time of trouble is fast approaching. The four angels are holding back the winds of strife but they will not hold them forever. They will hold them until God's people have been sealed. But God is not going to delay indefinitely the coming of Christ. There is a day and an hour when He will arrive and God is going to initiate events that will bring about the preparation of his people. The Bible is clear on this message for this emergency hour.
We pointed out from the prophet Joel that the Lord is going to utter his voice in Zion. And He is going to have a strong people who will be able to stand during this great and dreadful day of the Lord. We pointed out that there is to be a message under the symbol of Elijah which is to be proclaimed before the coming of Jesus. And that He is to come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord to proclaim this message. It is a message of preparation. He is to call the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to bring men back to allegiance to the commandments of God. When God utters his voice and speaks to his people He does so through the prophets. When God's people face an emergency He has a message available for them and He calls the messenger or messengers to give it.
Let me read from The Great Controversy page 609; “Different periods in the history of the church have been marked by the development of some special truth adapted to the necessities of God's people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency.”
No one can deny that God's people have a need at this time nor that the final crisis through which they must pass is an emergency. And it should be obvious that if the thing that is lacking in God's people today is the reproduction of the character of Christ that the message will be related to that subject. And this is indeed the message of righteousness imparted, the righteousness of Christ imparted to his people. This is the emergency message for this hour.
Let me read also from Christ’s Object Lessons page 127; “In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it.”
Now no one can deny that the generation of Sister White's day has passed. We are today a new generation and we can expect a new development of truth.
Again from Christ’s Object Lesson page 78. “For his church in every generation God has a special truth and a special work .... At the outset its advocates are few. By the great men of the world and by a world conforming church, they are opposed and despised.”
God is indeed leading out and purifying a people during this day in which the Third Angel's message is being proclaimed.
Let me read it to you from Testimonies for the Churches Volume 1 page 207. “The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly.” Who is leading out and purifying the people? The third angel is. “Some run ahead of the angels that are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angel's lead. I saw that the angels of God would lead his people no faster than that they could receive and act upon the important truths that are communicated to them.”
There are some people in our midst from time to time who bring forward light more clearly, new light, and new slants on old truths. They are so energetic and enthusiastic that they move far ahead of the people including some of our leaders who are not able to follow their thinking. Rather than to retrace their steps and cooperate with the brethren, these people move on independently and carry forward their message and in some ways they do despite to the cause of God. A little later on this tape I will read from comments by our prophet on this topic.
The test of discipleship today is a test of brotherly love and cooperation and unity. And yet in the face of this test there will come upon God's people a great shaking. The shaking will be caused by the fact that some will bear the testimony called forth by the counsel of the true witness to the Laodiceans and others will not. This is just another of the paradoxes of which there are many in the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy. We must take in all aspects of a paradox before we can understand it and get the balanced truth. As individuals, we must be willing to submit our judgment to the judgment to our brethren. We must be willing to esteem others better than ourselves. Yet there are times when God calls a messenger to come forth with new truth to present it to his people and to state it clearly and forcefully in spite of the opposition that may arise against it even by those who are leading his people. But no man has a right to stand up in defiance of those whom God has chosen to lead his people in this generation, unless he has obtained a very definite and special commission from God to do so. History has shown that there are times in emergencies when God has called someone to take such a position, but let that someone be very, very, sure that he has received that commission.
Perhaps I ought at this point to read some comments from our prophet. Testimonies for the Churches Volume 3 page 414, “The first step that such a one would take independently of the church should be regarded as a device of the enemy to deceive and destroy. God has made his church a channel of light, and through it He communicates his purpose and his will. He does not give an experience independent of the church. He does not give one man the knowledge of his will for the entire church, while the church, Christ's body, is left in darkness.”
Testimonies for the Churches Volume 3 page 417 she goes on to say, "Independence is a poor thing when it leads you to have too much confidence in yourself and to trust to your own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly estimate the judgment of your brethren, especially of those in the offices which God has appointed for the saving of his people. God has invested his church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for in so doing he despises the voice of God.”
Testimonies for the Churches Volume 5 page 293 she says, “There are a thousand temptations in disguise prepared for those who have the light of truth, and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer, and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment, for in the multitude of counselors there is safety.'”
Selected Messages Book 1 page 37 she says, “Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.”
And in Testimonies to Ministers page 27 she says, “Let none entertain the thought that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study and many prayers for wisdom, that we may know God has answered, to erect his structure”“Then let everyone be exceedingly careful not to unsettle minds in regards to those things that God has ordained for the prosperity and success in advancing his cause”... “Those who have the unction from on high will in all their efforts encourage order, discipline, and union of action, and then the angels of God can cooperate with them.”
Testimonies for the Churches Volume 3 page 431, she says, “The Son of God identified Himself with the office and authority of his organized church. His blessings were to come through the agencies that He has ordained, thus connecting man with the channel through which his blessings come.“
The Acts of the Apostles page 163 she says, “To neglect or despise those, whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of his people. For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by” - That is, the leadership - ”And to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy and overthrown.”
Now in contrast to that statement, we must bear in mind others that she makes which I will read in just a few minutes.
Testimonies for the Churches Volume 3 page 433 she says, “The church is the channel of communication. Those who boast of the personal independence need to be brought into closer relation to Christ by connection with his church upon the earth.”
And Acts of the Apostles page 162 she says, “The circumstances connected with the separation of Paul and Barnabas by the Holy Spirit to a definite line of service show clearly that the Lord works through appointed agencies in his organized church.”
And again in Selected Messages Book 2 page 390, “We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization, for this would be apostasy from the truth.”
Testimonies for the Churches Volume 3 page 428, “The Word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in the opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge an opinion against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body.”
Then this crowning statement from The Review and Herald September 20, 1892, she says, “There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that and to work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port.”
Now in contrast to those statements, I wish to read a few that refer to the matter of new truth coming to God's people and special messengers being called to deliver it. You will remember that in the 2nd Chapter of Joel, we pointed out that it is by the latter rain that God will speak. Through the agency of the Latter Rain, He will bring about the closing up of his work and the perfecting of his people. We refer also to Testimonies to Ministers on that question. It is at the time of the Latter Rain when the Spirit is poured out that Joel says, “Your old man shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions. On the hand maidens, the spirit will be poured out and they shall prophesy.” These things tie together.
Now let me read these statements.
“Review and Herald, December 20, 1892”, “There is no excuse for anyone in taking a position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all of our expositions of scripture are without any error. The fact that certain doctrine has been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible'… “No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.” - But certainly a false one will.
Education page 171, “It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust even one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point.”
This statement makes it very clear that if one person has a certain view of a passage of scripture or truth or promise this does not mean that there is no other interpretation, no further light to come from that passage or that truth or from that promise. No one can say this because we see a thing in a certain way we cannot say that some other man who sees it in a different way is wrong. He may be, but he may not be. We must not take too narrow a view on the interpretation of scripture for scripture is like an ever-flowing fountain it unfolds and unfurls and continues to flow with new sources of truth and only as each passage is capable of unfolding new truth could this be true.
Let me read again from Christ's Object Lessons page 110, “Christ is the truth. His Words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though these may be buried treasures.”
Did you notice that the words of Christ have a deeper significance than appears on the surface? All of his sayings have a value that is beyond their unpretending appearance. We must look deeper. There is something more to come out of these words of Christ than we see on the surface.
Let me read another one from The Review and Herald October 21, 1890. This is a very pertinent statement. “To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God.”
Should I rephrase that? If we say that a passage means just this and nothing more. This is what we have seen in the passage in the past and we may not attach any broader meaning to these words, it means this and nothing more. To say that, she says, is saying something that the Spirit of God did not actuate. It is not the Spirit of God that makes a man talk like that. That is what this passage says. Have you ever heard anyone speak like that at any time? Think about it in the light of this passage.
Gospel Workers page 301. We find here a statement that tells us why the Lord sends light to his people. Why does he send new light to his people? “We should never permit the spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that He disturbed the people and they wished He would let them alone; for He caused perplexity and dissension. Now listen. The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of.”
Did you get that? The reason that God sends light to his people is to try them and to prove them to see what manner of spirit they are of. Will they be open-minded, humble and teachable or will they rise up against it and not bear it? This is what will cause the shaking as we pointed out from Early Writings.
Now Review and Herald April 1, 1890. “To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean message is applicable to you.”
Do you recall the Laodicean message which says that you think you are rich and increased of goods and need of nothing? He says that you should anoint your eyes with eye salve so that you may see.
Counsels to Sabbath School Workers page 32. “When new light is presented to the church it is perilous to shut yourselves away from it. Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger, will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth is folly and madness.”
We need to be careful how we regard the messenger that comes to us with truth.
Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing page 33. “God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber.”
Review and Herald August 27, 1889. “We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come” That’s unqualified, whatever the source, we should be willing to accept it. “Instead of rejecting it because it does not come through the channel from which we expect it.” .... Did you note that? Now that doesn’t mean that we are to accept false doctrine and spurious theories. We should be ready to accept light from God from whatever source it may come and he has given us the tests whereby we may test it. Now there are dangers in rejecting light. I read some on that. Here is another statement on that order.
Review and Herald October 21, 1890 she says this, ”May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of his messages should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warning and admonitions, the same result will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel.”
What a denunciation? What a warning? What happened to the children of Israel in those days? Their house was left unto them desolate. The history of this experience could be repeated, she says. This will depend upon the choices of God's people today as to whether it will be repeated.
Now, I wish to make a statement here and I trust that it will not be taken as offensive. I think we need to face up to the truth. Let us be humble before God and be willing to look at truth and to look at ourselves and to recognize our position.
Let me make this statement. If one who receives new light from the Lord must not be permitted to reveal that light because his brethren cannot comprehend it or because they regard it as false light. If you must deny his personal conviction, any expression because he comes under the discipline of the leading brethren. If you must subdue his knowledge of truth and wait for God to deal with the halting and leading brethren then should not those who are in leading positions also accept their responsibility to permit an open and unbiased investigation of that light by each and every one who desires to do this. And should such a one not be permitted to do this without risk of coming under censure and the threat of being disfellowshipped. Should one endowed with new light be expected to wait indefinitely for the brethren to wake up to their responsibility?
What is the meaning of the following words from Gospel Workers page 303? “We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people - The rebuke of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way that clearer light should not come to the people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designed shall be done.”
Testimonies to Ministers pages 106-107. “Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing the evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions that they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to his people, if these leading brethren do not accept them - Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time.”
So we see that God is not tied to the dictates of the leaders of his church in spite of what Sister White has said about having confidence in these brethren as God's chosen leaders and in spite of his warning that we ought to be submissive and cooperative and harmonious and work together and not go ahead of the angel who is leading the people. In spite of all this, this counter balancing statement makes it very clear that God is not going to tolerate the rejection of the truth even by the leaders of his people indefinitely, but He will call up his messengers to bring forth the truth to his people in spite of those who endeavor to withhold it.
I want to read another one from Testimonies to Ministers pages 69-70. She says, “We see here that men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be teachers of Bible doctrine - But we see that the God of Heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrine.”
This does happen.
“But the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has the right to say, you shall not give publicity to your opinions, because I do not believe them.”
Testimonies to Ministers page 106, “The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing his power through instruments of his own choice, while he passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merit - because it is truth.”
So you see, God sometimes surprises us. He passes by those we expect that the light will come through and He chooses his own instruments to bring it to us.
Testimonies to Ministers page 105 she says, “We are not to think, as did the Jews, that our ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said.”
To what kind of people will God reveal his truth?
I find in Acts of the Apostles page 283 this statement, “If the followers of Christ were but earnest seekers after wisdom, they would be led into rich fields of truth as yet wholly unknown to them. He who will give himself fully to God will be guided by the divine hand.”
Earnest seekers give themselves fully to God, He will give them wisdom, lead them into rich fields of truth as yet wholly unknown to them and he will guide them by his own divine hand.
Christ's Object Lessons page 35. “He will make plain his Word to all who seek Him in sincerity of heart”…. “All that come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of the truth will receive it. He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and these mysteries will be understood by the heart that longs to know the truth.”
That is the qualification.
Christ's Object Lessons page 129, “If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak his mysteries to us personally.”
So we do not have to be a conference minister. We do not have to be a Bible teacher. We do not have to be a prophet. We can be a humble, sincere, dedicated surrendered Christian and God will honor us by revealing to us his mysteries personally. And then if he should give us a commission to bring a truth or truths to his people let us be willing to do it but let us follow the counsel, let us not run ahead of the angel. Let us work together in harmony with our brethren and pass the test of brotherly love and fellowship and God can honor us and if need be He may require us to stand on our own feet and declare his Word to his people in spite of opposition from those areas where we would least expect it to come. We know according to the Word of God that opposition will come even from some of God's leading people and from those in our own household of faith and from those in our own family household. There will be opposition rise up as the light expands in the minds of the faithful ones. Few there will be that will follow the truth at first that will champion it. This is what she says. But God will cause his message to triumph and the message for this hour, this emergency hour is the message of righteousness imparted to his people. The message of the coming of the messenger of the covenant suddenly to his living temple to purify and cleanse it. This is the message. God is going to utter his voice. He is going to speak to his people not in loud thunderous tones as he did on Mount Sinai with Moses when the Old Covenant was delivered but as he spoke to Elijah the prophet on that same mount in that cleft of the rock in the cave not in the great manifestations in the fire, earthquakes, and the wind but in a still small voice. The voice of the Spirit of truth which will come to God's people to dwell with Him forever in the marriage union of the Lamb with his saints. The union of divinity and humanity is symbolized by the marriage Sister White says in Christ’s Object Lessons. And Christ will come to his temple to dwell. He promises this in the Laodicean message. In other parts of the scripture. In John, He says we will come to Him and make our abode with Him and we will abide with Him forever. And He says it will be through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. This all ties together.
Here is the true communion of the body and blood of Christ that great body and that living blood which was his before He came to this world as a little seed in Mary's womb. He relinquished that body. He gave up that Ghost that Ghost of everlasting life, but before He did He made his last will and testament. Paul tells us this in Hebrews. A last will and testament is only made by one who is about to die. One who expects to die and one who has a heritage, who has possessions. And Christ had all possessions. He had eternal life and He had an eternal body. He had the possessions of the universe. These were all his. He was about to die. How would He dispose of his treasures and possessions? In the Everlasting Covenant in which He appointed the Father to be the executor and administrator, He made the decision to bequeath his heritage upon his people. We brought this out in our studies. He came in the form of humanity to be the first born of every creature, the first begotten from the dead to become the head of the new body of Christ and his people were to become the members in particular. I quoted from the Scriptures. Christ did not die the everlasting death of the sinner from which there is no hope of a resurrection, I quoted from Sister White, and then take back his eternal life in the same way that He had it before. He gave his life to his people. Did you get the point? In the heavenly sanctuary before He ever came to this world He laid down his great eternal body and blood. He shed his lifeblood and He gave up the ghost, the Holy Ghost. There was no Holy Ghost before that, only the Spirit of God. He gave up the Spirit of life, the eternal Spirit that was his eternal life. This is in the Spirit of Prophecy. He gave it up and He died a voluntary death in the court of the heavenly sanctuary.
There were two witnesses who saw this, two witnesses who had been called up from earth, Moses and Elijah. This was the first death of Christ from which there was a resurrection. At any time during his sojourn here on earth in the person of Jesus He could by a thought have returned to his former glory, received all his heritage again and left man to die an eternal death. He could have done this. He died the first death, the death of sleep. He could have been restored.
In Gethsemane, He made the irrevocable decision to die the second death from which there is no hope of a resurrection. He took the death that was ours said Sister White that we might have the life to which is his. That is plain. In Gethsemane He relinquished his eternal life. He relinquished his body and blood that former body and blood that represented his great and eternal heritage his Word and his Spirit, all things that had been written into his creation and the Spirit of eternal life. He relinquished them and He cried; “My God my God why has thou forsaken me”.
And He said to his disciples at the last supper I will not again partake of this emblem until I partake of it anew with you in the kingdom. And in the kingdom He will partake of it anew through the marriage ceremony when He becomes united with the rest of his body. His body you see is now divided, it is broken and given to his saints to eat, to assimilate, and in the marriage union of the Lamb with his saints the new body of Christ is restored, is structured, and now Jesus is the head of that body but his people are the members.
Anybody knows that the head would have a difficult time functioning without the body. Christ needs his new temple of saints to function through them. This was the sacrifice He made. This was the gift He gave, that his heritage should be in them that they were to be his body through whom He would operate on a voluntary basis. No more could anyone challenge the integrity of Christ, never could anyone say that He was the autocrat, the dictatorial ruler. He is now the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace. And if the hand refuses to do the bidding of the head it is not done. Only by means of the hand can it be done. So when the head requires the hand or requests the hand to do a task, the hand must voluntarily do it if it is to be done. The kingdom of Heaven will be based on voluntary allegiance. There will be no force except for the drawing and constraining power of love for Jesus. When his enormous sacrifice is seen in all its glory God's people will loathe themselves for their iniquities. They cannot ever again bring themselves to sin against their redeemer. They know that He has declared them righteous forever and that He has declared Himself their high priest forever. And if ever again they should sin they do not jeopardize eternal life they jeopardize the peace and the freedom from suffering of their Savior. For He is the one who must bear the consequences of such a sin. Victory over sin, refusal to sin, is a voluntary thing. If it were made a condition of eternal life then sinlessness would be motivated by selfishness and that is a contradiction. For sin, basic sin, is selfishness and sin cannot be eradicated until selfishness is eradicated and selflessness rules. And that can only be done as Christ took the sinner's penalty forever and the saint voluntarily refuses to sin because he knows that if he does sin Christ will be the sufferer not he himself. It is placed on an entirely voluntary basis. I hope I have made my point.
When Jesus came forth from the tomb, He came forth as the one who had been born in Bethlehem and who had grown up in Nazareth. And He will not again partake of the eternal heritage of his former body and blood until He partakes of it through the marriage union with his saints and the kingdom is restored. This occurs before the close of probation, Early Writings. The marriage union is consummated and the new body of Christ is established and the kingdom is restored. The allegiance of his people voluntarily to their Counselor, the head of the new body is restored. And Jesus again partakes of his former heritage through his saints. What a picture of humility? What a picture of self-sacrifice? There is no equal to it.
It should be recognized that Christ did die the death of the sinner. The death of the sinner is the second death which is an everlasting death from which there can be no resurrection. Christ died the first death in the heavenly sanctuary before He came to this world in the form of Jesus. This was the death of sleep from which He awakened and from which He had the privilege of going back into his former heritage. On the cross He died the second death and this was a different death. There was no returning from this death in the sense that He would never again be able to return to the position and status in exactly the same way that He had it before.
I recognize that we are dealing with a difficult problem here that Christ died an eternal death from which there is no resurrection and from which there can be no hope of a resurrection. At the same time he lives but Christ is eternal, so we are dealing with a mystery. At the same time He does not return to the identical conditions under which He existed prior to his incarnation. In the Old Testament, Christ was the great God and the God of his people. It was Christ who created the world. It was Christ who spoke to Moses on the Mount and who Moses saw. It was Christ who walked with Abraham. He was God and yet God the Father was operating through Christ. Here again we are dealing with a mystery.
It is not my purpose at this point to move into this mystery. I am not able to solve it. There are thoughts that could be expressed but we will leave them at this particular stage. I simply want to point out that when Jesus came out of the tomb He was the man who had walked the streets of Galilee, the dusty roads of Galilee. And He would not again partake of his former heritage, his former body and blood except as there would be men who would respond to his call to follow him. Only as his new body could be built up from the saints and the incarnation of the Holy Ghost could take place, only through this experience could the body of Christ be reproduced.
The temple that He said would be destroyed; He said in three days I will raise it up. There is a deeper meaning in this statement. He spoke of the temple of his body. Yes, He spoke of the temple of his human body. Yes, But He also spoke of the great temple of his heavenly body. Each day is for a thousand years with God, and a thousand years as one day. It was in the third thousand years that the new temple was to be restored in his people and the incarnation of Christ through the Holy Ghost in his people known as the marriage of the lamb through his bride is to take place.
It is through the saints that Christ returns. He is to live in his saints. His inheritance is in his saints says Paul. And here again is the law of the universe, the law of heaven and earth exemplified. He gave all that He might receive all again. There is no way to receiving but by giving. If a man would have eternal life, he must lose his life for Christ's sake. Christ gave his life for the sake of his people and it is through his people that his life is restored. I am not here talking about his human life, his life in humanity and the resurrection of his human body. I am speaking of his great eternal and spiritual body which He exemplified or typified through the communion service. This is what I am speaking of and He himself said that He broke his body and that that bread represented his body that it might be divided among the disciples for them to eat and assimilate. He was not talking about his physical human body. He still lives in that, nor was He talking about the life of his physical human body, He was talking about the Holy Spirit, the eternal Spirit of life, the eternal Spirit of God which is the source of all life that had been his in his great eternal body as the God of the Old Testament and the God of eternity. This is what He was talking about. It is in this blood and this is the blood of his body where is the life of it. He gave up the Spirit of life. He gave up the Ghost and that great ghost of his former body, the Holy Ghost. That great body with all its characteristics and qualities was divided for his disciples to eat and for them to drink. And it was in this Spirit of life that the New Testament or New Covenant resided. He said this is the New Covenant in my blood, the New Testament in my blood. Drink ye all of it, all of it.
The abundant outpouring of the Holy Ghost is to come to the one hundred and forty four thousand, through them will be restored the body temple of Christ. In them will God and Christ come to dwell through the agency of the Holy Ghost. Now I wonder if you get the implication of this?
The promise to the Laodicean people who overcome is fantastic. It says in Revelation Chapter 3 verse 21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame” - The same way - “And am set down with my Father in his throne.” Now get it. As Christ will set down with his Father in his throne, and the Bible says that all things were given into the hands of the Son, all power. This is how Christ sat down with his Father in his throne. He was one with Him from eternity and through Him was everything made that was made. This is the great God of the Old Testament, the great Christ, and the great Son of God. That is how He is set down with his Father in his throne. He says even as I am sat down with my Father in his throne, even so, will I grant that him that overcometh in the Laodicean period of the church's history, as I overcame will I grant to sit down with me in my throne in that same way. What a tremendous picture? Here is the new governing body of the universe, Christ the head and his saints the body and as a unit they function and replace the great God of the Old Testament who is now in them, who is married to them, and they twain, says Paul, shall become one flesh but this is a great mystery He says, but I speak concerning Christ and his church. Is this not plain? He also says that the saints are built up an habitation of God through the Spirit. It could not be made any plainer for anyone to see. Let us get the scales off our eyes. Let us anoint our eyes with eye salve and take a look and see.
How can anyone who sees this picture refuse the call of Christ, to take up his cross and follow me? How can anyone refuse? It is not the reward. It is a responsibility. It is not the reward, it is a need on the part of Christ who has given all and He can regain his life only through his saints. I speak of the former life and there is a difference; else He did not die the eternal death. The eternal life of Christ did not die He relinquished it. He gave it up. He gave up the Ghost and the Spirit returned to God who gave it. And He prays to the Father that the Father would send the Spirit upon his children. That is the Everlasting Covenant that is the agreement that the heritage that had been his was to be bestowed upon his people. That is his last will and testament. And the Father is fulfilling the part of the administrator and executor of the will of Christ. And He delivers the heritage even as Christ had requested in his will. That’s how you get eternal life my friend. No other way. Your life is his life. I should say, your eternal life is not yours it is his. He gives it to you. You would have it in no other way. He took the death which was yours, says our prophet, that you might have the life which was his.
I know I am dealing with a very deep mystery and some will not see it. If you cannot see it, just leave it. Do not let it bother you. Take the Word of God by faith; accept what it says and God will take care of the rest. But He is looking for a people. He is calling for individuals who are willing to stand up and be counted and through whom He can perform his work of purification and complete salvation from sin. That is what He is looking for. That is what He is calling for. That is what He is inviting you to do. Are you willing? Are you willing? In order to do it, you must enter the fire, the fiery furnace of purification and He will come suddenly to you as a member of his temple to purify and cleanse you. What is the nature of that fire? What is the nature of that cup? What is the nature of that Baptism? It is the sufferings which He endured because of your sins. He is going to let you taste it. He is going to let you partake of it so that you will know what it cost Him to prepare the way for you to be saved.
He did not have to bear your affliction. He did not have to learn the obedience through suffering for his own sake. He did it for your sake that He might be your example. That He might lead the way and you would follow his steps who did no sin. That is why He did it. And He is going to let you find out what it was like. He is going to give you a little taste of it. You will feel it. You will wonder in amazement how He did it. You will only get a taste of it. He took it for a long, long time. When you have that experience you will loathe yourself for continuing in sin.
Desire of Ages page 466. “The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself.” You have to make the decision to stop and you will after you have suffered awhile, said Peter. He will make you perfect, strengthen and establish you. Are you willing to do it? Do you really want to be purified?
There is no way to purify gold except by
heat. I counsel thee to buy of
me gold tried in the fire and the gold is faith and love. You get your
imputed righteousness, salvation from eternal death by faith in the
substitutionery merits of Christ, through his sacrifice. You will need
to be tried, that faith will, it will be tried and it must stand the
test. He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able to
bear but will make a way of escape so you can bear it but He will
gradually increase the dose until slowly but steadily your faith will
be strengthened until it attains to the faith of Jesus because that’s
what the remnant will have, the Faith of Jesus.
And they will have the second part; they will keep the commandments of God. This is the second part of the gold that is tried in the fire, faith and love. You will be imbued with love through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the self-denying love of Christ and it will be tested, that love will be tested. “If you love me, ... He says, ... keep my commandments.” And according to the love so will be your commandment keeping. Until you have perfect love that will cast out fear, you will not be able to keep the commandments perfectly but the promise is sure and it can be done and it will be done. But you have the choice as to whether you will be one through whom God will do it. He is calling you if you are willing to surrender to Him. Tell Him that you will do it. You will strive with all your might to go along with Him. He will perform it. He’s waiting for one hundred and forty four thousand people to do it. The message that you are hearing on these tapes is the message for this hour. It is the call of the disobedient to the disobedient to turn to the wisdom of the just and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord to come first to his temple and secondly in glory. He will not come in glory until He has come to his people in the marriage union and the Kingdom has been restored. The sudden coming of the Spirit to his temple, the messenger of the covenant who writes the Law on the tables of the heart, He is to come.
And the message will go forth before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, Malachi Chapter 4, the last verses of the Old Testament which is the last message that Christ ever gave to his people before He died the first death, the death of sleep in the heavenly sanctuary. It is an important message and it is reaching your ears right now. God is uttering his voice and He utters his voice through his servants who are willing to do his bidding. The message that He gives them, they will speak. And I am speaking to you now, the message that He has given to me to deliver to you. Not until you have a revelation of the love of God for you will you be imbued with the power, the motivating force of self-denying love to implement your decision to cease from sin. This is the power of the Gospel whereby a man is saved from sinning.
The knowledge of God comes through his Word. The revelation of God comes through his Word. But his Word is a three-fold book, the written Word that He gave to his prophets, who wrote it, which has been preserved for us to study. This is where the major portion of the revelation of God is given. The second book is the book of nature, the book of his created works. God wrote his truth, God wrote his character, into his created works. They are a labyrinth of truth, a tremendous storehouse of knowledge is buried in the created works of God waiting only to be studied and unfolded.
And then there is the third book, the one that we generally miss, the book of experience in God's dealing with human life. This is the book, the book of experience through which we will gain a experimental knowledge by means of which Sister White says we will gain the mastery of ourselves, become sons of God, and joint heirs with Christ. It is only as we share the experience of the sufferings of Christ that we will learn experimentally the cost of our salvation to Jesus. And this will reveal to us by experience the tremendous nature of his love for us that He would be willing to endure such suffering for so long that He might save the world. He did it and He is still doing it. And He will continue to stand between the guilty sinner and the just God until that sinner ceases to sin. Then He can lay down his priestly robes and demonstrate that his people have indeed been saved from their sins and what a marvelous demonstration it will be. Yet He will always be there in the background always ready to step in for He is a priest not until the close of probation, but forever.
The saint will always be secure in his eternal surety. He need never fear that he will lose his eternal life that he will be relegated to hellfire, never, Jesus paid the price. The declaration has gone forth at the close of probation that the sinner has been accepted for eternity and the holiness of Christ is accounted to his record forever. The message of righteousness by faith and the changing of the robe of Joshua the high priest applies with peculiar force said Sister White in the great closing up of the great Day of Atonement. This is the time when the final declaration is made and there will be no reversing it.
The saints will be forever secure, eternally secure. Should they ever again sin, Jesus will bear the penalty and they cannot stand to think of ever doing that to Him and God is going to make sure they never will because He is going to put them through the mill after probation closes. There will be a tremendous demonstration where in they stand before a Holy God without an intercessor and Satan will have full reign of this earth. The only thing he can’t touch is their lives. They will have the experience of Job. They will refuse to sin. They will have nothing to do with Satan. They have experienced the suffering of their Lord. They know what it cost Him to keep them from eternal death and they are not going to cause Him any further suffering. They refuse of their own choice. They make their own decision to cease from sin and He provides the motive power, the power of self-denying love, which comes to them through the great revelation of the love of God which comes to them through his three-fold word including the sharing of his suffering. That’s how the final revelation of the love of God comes to his saints. Are you willing to do it? Are you willing to accept the challenge? How much longer do you want Jesus to continue to bear your burdens? How much longer must He delay? Our prophet tells us that we may hasten or delay the coming of Jesus and I have just explained how. Do you see it?
So the call goes forth, surrender yourself to God right now. Tell Him you are willing to do it and stand by Him and He will bring it to pass. He has guaranteed it and He will save you, but it will be a hot fire. You will have been chosen in the furnace of affliction when you make that choice and He will purify unto Himself his people. They will be without spot or wrinkle. Will it be worth it?
Let me just recapitulate a little here. When we are dealing with children, we throw out to them enticements in order to encourage them to do the things that we want them to do. And we want them to do these things for their sakes. The Bible says that parents sometimes do things with their children and discipline them for their own sake, that is for the parent's sake, but God does it for our sakes. This is the primary purpose of the discipline of God. We get the reward. It is true that God needs us now, but He has chosen to need us, He has placed Himself in a position where He does need us but He did this voluntarily because of love, his desire to share what He has. This is the basic character of God, self-denial, so He needs us. So He puts out to us enticements. He says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved from the penalty of sin which is eternal death. You will gain eternal life. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, acknowledge Him as the King of kings, the Lord of Glory and you will be saved and He will accept you as you are and make up for your deficiency with his own divine merit as the thief on the cross.
But God expects children to grow and as they grow, He requires more of them. He expects more of them. He doesn’t want them to remain infants and have to be cared for as infants forever. How long are we going to make Him take care of us as infants? What are we expecting of Him as our parent that He should continue to treat us as tiny babies and little children? God wants us to grow up into the fullness of maturity into the measure of the stature of Christ. This is where the process of sanctification comes in and the imparted righteousness of Christ occurs. This is the primary slant to the message of righteousness that must be understood by those who would become members of the one hundred and forty four thousand saints who live through the seven last plagues to be translated. This is the crux of the message for those people. Only as they accept fully the message of imputed righteousness only as they can believe without a shadow of doubt that God has accepted them as they are will they be able to go through the second stage. For the second stage involves a voluntary submission to the will of God, a voluntary keeping of the commandments of God, not with the motive of gaining eternal life. That would be a selfish motive. It must be a completely selfless motive and therefore the message of righteousness imputed must be thoroughly understood and accepted so that the saints know that without a shadow of doubt that they already have eternal life. That they are already saved from eternal death, that the second stage is now a voluntary stage designed to relieve the sin-bearer of his need to remain in the position of mediator and high priest for them. That He should be released from the responsibility of bearing the brunt of their burdens as they blunder along in their immaturity. Only when they attain to full maturity to the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ and can stand on their own feet before God without the intercessor will Jesus be relieved from that burden and that necessity. Is this not clear?
Parents expect their children to grow up and mature and only when they have attained to that maturity can they fend for themselves and interact with their parents on a mature level and God can then trust those people with responsibility. He can trust them to take care of the myriad of things that have to be looked after in his universe. He doesn’t need to spy on them to keep an eye on them to check up on them at every turn of the road. He trusts them. They have learned to take responsibility. They have been educated in the school of Christ. They have gone through the mill they have followed their leader all the way. They have followed the Lamb whithersoever He goeth and in their mouth is no guile and they are without fault. Am I laboring the point? The message must get across. It must get across. There is much more to it. There are some implications in it, I have not touched on some of those. One of the strongest implications is the matter of the nature of Christ in his humanity and this is a ticklish point. There have been misunderstandings, serious misunderstandings concerning this among the minds of many of our people, including many of our leaders, but this matter will be cleared. The truth of God will be made clear. It is coming Brothers and Sisters it is coming. The explanation is available and there will be those who will see it and there will be those who will not. And those who rise up against the truth of God as it expands and unfolds coming out of the counsel of the true witnesses to the Laodiceans. Those that rise up against it will be shaken out.
Let me refer again to another facet here and tie it together. The Word of God is likened to a sword, like a two-edged sword. A two-edged sword is a sword that has two edges and both edges of the sword are not on one side. One edge is on one side and the other edge is on the other side. They cut in opposite directions and that is how God’s Word is. There are many aspects of God’s Word that apply in one way and in another and they also apply in another way in a different situation but it is the same Word. There are passages in the Scriptures and in the Spirit of Prophecy that contradict one another. They do not seem to appear to belong to the same Word through the same Sword but they do. It is simply that one is on one side of the sword and the other one is on the other side of the sword. One reflects light in one direction and the other reflects light in the other direction. We must take all of the facets; all of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle must be put together before the picture can be seen.
Let us not hang our hats on one passage and build a castle around it and ignore the other contradicting passage or passages. We will never arrive at the truth if we do this, this is the situation which has existed among our people on a number of occasions with one or more of our doctrines and this question about the nature of Christ in his humanity is one in which this has occurred. There are people that take certain statements from the Spirit of Prophecy and the Scriptures and they build a castle on those statements and they completely ignore the contradicting statements. And there are others that take the other side and they completely ignore the first side. Brothers and Sisters let’s take both sides. How are we going to see the two-edged nature of the Sword of the Lord if we don’t? We never see the full Sword? We’ll see only one side of it. We need both sides.
Jesus was indeed human. He did indeed accept the great law of heredity. He took upon Himself all of the infirmities and degeneracy of mankind in his human body and in this body He lived without sin. That’s what the Spirit of Prophecy teaches and that’s what the Bible teaches. And He did it to be an example to you and me to prove that it could be done so that we would not get discouraged. And He used in his own behalf no power which He has not made freely available to us. We cannot do it in humanity and neither did Jesus do it in humanity. It was a combination of divinity and humanity which did it and He has made available to us his divine nature. And the divine nature of Christ, my friend, the divine nature of Christ is the nature of self-denying love. This is the characteristic of God that is fundamental and identifies Him. And that characteristic, that phase of righteousness which is inherent, basic righteousness is going to be delivered to his people to enable them to overcome as He overcame. I have proved it to you in the preceding studies. I gave you the references. They are there.
As the Spirit of God is poured out in the latter rain, the perfecting latter rain, the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, and the motive power is provided. And man can make the decision and implement it and follow his master. This is divinity and it was made available only through the sacrifice of Christ. The greater more abundant outpouring of the Holy Ghost was made available through the sacrifice of Christ. Our prophet tells us this. This is the blood of the communion service of which we must drink. It is the New Testament in his blood and the New Covenant is written on the tables of the heart by the Holy Ghost that is given to us. Our prophet tells us this. Am I getting the pieces together? Are you seeing it?
Well you say Brother Johnson there are some hard statements in the Spirit of Prophecy that indicate that the humanity of Christ is different from ours that his was a perfect sinlessness that He had no propensity to evil and certainly we can’t say that about ourselves therefore He was different from us. There are statements which indicate that He had the sinlessness of Adam before the fall. All right, have you read the other statement that she makes that there will be those who through obedience to all of God's commandments will obtain to the sinlessness of Adam before his transgression? I read you that statement back in the studies. This is going to happen.
We too are going to have that sinless nature it will be given to us. This was the nature that enabled Christ to live without sin and He used in his own behalf no power that He has not made freely available to us. He has made it available to us and it will come to those who fulfill the conditions. And I am asking you, are you willing to fulfill the conditions? Are you willing? Stop quibbling about the doctrine, just look at it and accept it. It is true. Jesus was perfect in his humanity. He did not sin but at the same time He had all the inherited tendencies and degeneracy that you and I are born with or He was never tempted like we are if He did not have those and our prophet bears it out. She says it in so many words. He took upon Him the sinful nature of man, but He had in his humanity the sinless nature of God. Both were there at the same time and the saints will experience the very same thing.
Perhaps we should take the time on this tape to read a few of the statements relative to this subject. Just before reading these statements let me point out that it is the Sword of the Lord that comes out of his mouth. It is by means of his Sword that He utters his voice. Ezekiel says the Sword of the Lord is going to be furbished and sharpened to make a great slaughter. It is to come upon his people even the princes of Israel. This is the Sword that He says is coming upon them to try them. Do you not see that the great test that will come upon God's people which will separate the wheat from the chaff is his Word, his Sword, his truth? It is by means of truth that the separation will occur. Some will become settled into the truth as they see the unfolding nature of it and see the picture. Others will rise up against it and this will cause the shaking among God's people. He is going to utter in Zion and bring it upon his people to shake them loose. This is what He is going to do to bring about the culmination of the work. He says to Laodicea because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot I am going to spew you out of my mouth, that is what He says. Well certainly He is going to spew his people with the sword that comes out of his mouth, with his Word. He is going to spew his Word upon his people and this is going to be the sword that will cut both ways and cause the shaking among his people.
We are going to deal right now with a point that will stand as one of the major separating devices to bring about the cleavage, the nature of Christ in his humanity and incarnation. What is your reaction going to be? What is your attitude right now as you are listening to these words? Will you come before God with a humble, teachable, childlike spirit and be willing to look at both sides of the story? If you surrender yourself to God, assume a teachable humble spirit, He will be able to enlighten you.
So I begin by reading this statement from Selected Messages Book 1 page 256. I am taking the statement also from page 658 of Questions on Doctrine. ”We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ - This holy substitute is able to save to the uttermost, for He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in his human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God.”
That is what it means when it says the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. She goes right on to explain what it means. Shall I read it again? Selected Messages Book 1 page 256, “Our faith must be an intelligent faith looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice. This is essential that the soul may not be enshrouded in darkness. This Holy substitute," Talking about Jesus, “is able to save to the uttermost.” Why? ”For He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in his human character and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God.”
The perfect sinlessness then of the human nature of Christ means that in his humanity He demonstrated perfect and complete humility of character perfect obedience to the requirements of God. That was the perfect sinlessness of his human nature.
Again in the Youth’s Instructor June 2, 1898 or page 658 same page as Question on Doctrine, she says, “In his human nature He maintained the purity of his divine character.”
Now look, He had a human character. She spoke about that in the preceding statement, his human character. And He had a divine character. Now let’s get that straight, in his human nature He maintained the same purity as He had in his divine character. He did not have to build a character he already had one and He had a perfect one. This was his divine character. He came to this world in human form but He received from his divine nature, his divine character. And this divine character demonstrated that it was without fault. It demonstrated it to the point where it overshadowed his human character and enabled Him to build a human character. And our prophet said He built one. He wrought it out in his human nature. He wrought out or built up a human character. The divine character enabled Him to build a perfect human character and therefore his human nature was sinless, perfectly. Shall I go on?
Testimonies for the Church volume 2 page 509. “He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities tempted in all points like as we are. Jesus endured agony which required help and support from his Father.”
He did not possess the passions of our human fallen natures because He was perfect. How could he have those passions? We are talking here about his perfect character. He did not have these things. At the same time He is a brother in our infirmities.
I am reading now from Testimonies for the Church volume 2, page 201. “He is a brother in our infirmities but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, his nature recoiled from evil.”
This was the perfect Christ who came to this world to demonstrate the perfectness of God's law and God's character. And He was perfect in his humanity but let us not jump to conclusions here. Let’s not say that therefore He did not have the tendencies to evil of the human inherited nature.
Listen. I am reading from Selected Messages Book 1 page 256, quoted on page 659 Questions in Doctrine. “In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin.”
Now look, sin is a decision of the will and when Christ did not participate the least in its sin He never made a decision to transgress God's law. That is what that means. It does not mean that He did not have the degenerate human flesh of his time.
I am going to read it to you, but first let me read another part of this same statement. I am skipping some.
Selected Messages Book 1 page 256, she says, “We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.” Now she is talking about the decisions that Christ made. He had no tendency toward sin. He recoiled at evil. He never chose once to transgress his Father's commandments. This was his nature in humanity. This was the human nature of Christ. Christ was still Christ, the sinless one in his human nature. Let us get that straight but now let us have a look at what his body was like, his human body.
I turn back now to page 656 of Questions on Doctrine. She’s quoting here from the Desire of Ages page 48. “It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden.”
Did you get that? That if Christ had taken man's nature as Adam had it when He was innocence in Eden, if Christ had done this that would have been almost infinite humiliation she says.
But listen now. Desire of Ages, page 48 she says, “But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin.”
In other words, He did not take man's nature as Adam had it in his innocence. He took man's nature after it had been weakened by 4,000 years of sin. She says it in so many words.
Desire of Ages page 48 she says, “Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of his earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations.” How could He possibly be tempted like we are if He did not have the same physical inheritance? Come now be honest.
I am reading again from Desire of Ages, page 48. “He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations and to give us the example of a sinless life.”
I don’t see how anybody can misunderstand that statement.
And here is another one from Review and Herald September 4, 1900. “Wondrous combination of man and God! He might have helped his human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from his divine nature vitality and undecaying vigor to the human. But He humbled Himself to man's nature”…” God became man.”
Isn’t that plain? That He voluntarily accepted what we have even though He could have had better.
Let me read again now from Desire of Ages, page 117. “In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam's failure. But when Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of the perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus.” Did you hear that? “It was not thus with Jesus when he entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; And Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.”
Isn’t that clear?
I read again now from Review and Herald December 15, 1896. These statements are also taken from Questions on Doctrine here long about page 656, 657 and so on. “Clad in the vestments of humanity the Son of God came down to the level of those He wished to save.”
He came down to that level. And I just read you further up that He did not come down and take that level as Adam had it in his innocence. He came down and took that level after four thousand years of degeneracy.
Reading on Review and Herald December 15, 1896. “In him was no guile or sinfulness.“
Now this is talking about sinless nature of his character because sinfulness has to do with the decisions of the will and He had no sinfulness, no guile.
Review and Herald December 15, 1896. “He was ever pure and undefiled”.
Now listen. “Yet He took upon Him our sinful nature.” Now I read that. Those were not my words. I read those words from the pen of the prophet to the remnant church. The one who some of our people quote to say that Jesus was different from us in his humanity. I will read it again.
Review and Herald December 15, 1896. “Yet he took upon Him our sinful nature. Clothing his divinity with humanity, that He might associate with fallen humanity, He sought to regain for man that which by disobedience Adam had lost for himself and for the world. In his own character He displayed to the world the character of God.”
I am thankful that God made these things so clear that none of us need error in them. I must read one or two more here.
Youth’s Instructor October 20, 1886. “He for our sakes laid aside his royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven, and condescended to clothe his divinity with humility and became like one of us except in sin.”
Now He became one of us in all aspects you see, except in this one thing, sin. He did not sin. He did not make any choices to transgress God's law because He was Christ and He had the divine character by inheritance. And He offers to give that same character to us and that’s how we will be able to live without sin. Do you get it? It must be a union of divinity and humanity. I read you that statement in Christ’s Object Lessons in one of the studies further back on the tape.
So we have this statement from Letter 97, 1898. “He was born without a taint of sin, ....”
Why of course He was because He was Christ. He was the sinless One but He came into the world in like manner as the human family. He had all the degeneracy of the human race same as you and I have. Listen. Is a child a sinner when he hasn’t got the ability to make a decision to transgress God's law? Come now. Here’s a little child three months old. Can he make a decision to transgress God's law of his own choice? Sin is transgression of the law. Sin is not accounted to one that is not accountable.
The reason we sin is two-fold, we come into this world with the degeneracy of the human race with all the tendencies toward sin, physically. Secondly, the devil tempts us through these degenerate aspects of our nature and we decide to sin. That’s how we sin. When Jesus came into this world He came in with the same degeneracy, the same tendencies of the flesh that you and I have and the devil came to tempt Him too. But He had the divine nature, the perfect righteous character of God. That’s what He had. And that’s why He didn’t sin. And until we get the same perfect righteous character of God we will not be without sin.
When this character is available to us by virtue of it we can build a perfect human character like He did, and this is the job that He has set for us to do. He paved the way, He showed how it can be done and now through his sacrifice on the cross He made available that divine nature, that divine perfect righteous character of Christ, He made it available - that robe of righteous to be transmitted to us. It will be given to us, we will receive it. But we will not receive it until we have demonstrated that we really want it. Until we have done everything in our power to demonstrate that we want to live without sin, we will not receive the divine nature.
I’m reading again now, “Christ who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This was humiliation greater than finite man can comprehend. That was from the Signs of the Times June 9th 1898.
And again from the Desire of Ages, page 112, “Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal.”
Did you notice what kind of a nature He took upon Himself? Our fallen nature.
I read again, “Though He had no taint of sin upon his character yet He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with his divinity.”
I don’t see how we can misunderstand it. I don’t see how it could be misunderstood.
“By thus taking humanity He honored humanity. Having taken our fallen nature He showed what it might become by accepting the ample provision He has made for it by becoming a partaker of the divine nature.”
That is as plain as human language could state it. This is from Special Instruction relating to the Review and Herald office and the work in Battle Creek, May 26, 1896 page 13. And it is reprinted in Questions of Doctrine page 657.
Well, there are other statements that I could read here but I do not think I should labor this point too much. Maybe one more here I notice,
This one is taken from Medical Ministry page 181, “He took upon his sinless nature,” That is his divine nature, “Our sinful nature,” That is our human nature that He might know how to succor those who are tempted.”
And Signs of the Times August 2, 1905, “He came to this world in human form to live a man amongst men. He assumed the liabilities of human nature” - Did you get that? - “To be proved and tried.” That is He assumed the liabilities of human nature to prove and try his perfect character. To prove that the character of God was a righteous character no matter what the circumstances and to prove that man was capable to live according to the righteous character of God through the help that was provided for him by God. That’s what He came to prove.
I’m reading on, “In his humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature.” - Did you get that? - “He is the partaker of divine nature just as you and I have to become a partaker of the divine nature. It is a parallel. He is our example, He made the way.” We take up our cross and follow. Those are my words. I’m reading again. ”In his incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of “The Son of God.” And that statement could be amplified. -“But our savior took humanity with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.” Desire of Ages 117.
If we have nothing to bear that He has not endured then He must have sensed the same temptations and feelings of the body that we have. That ought to be clear. Christ bore the sins and infirmaries of the race as they existed when He came to the earth to help man. As they existed when He came to the earth He bore the sins and infirmaries of the race in behalf of the race with the weakness’ of fallen men upon Him, with the weakness’ of fallen man upon Him, He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith man would be assailed.
“The human nature of Christ is likened to ours and suffering was more keenly felt by Him, for his spiritual nature was free from every taint of sin.” Now there I think you have it. It is as clear as it can be. In his spiritual nature He was free from every taint of sin. In his physical nature He had the degeneracy of mankind as it was in his day. The same things that we inherit. That should be clear. “Therefore his desire for the removal of suffering was stronger than human beings can experience.... All the accumulated sin of the world was laid upon the sin bearer and yet not a taint of corruption was upon Him.” These are extracts from the Signs of the Times Dec. 9th 1897 quoted on page 653 of Questions on Doctrine.
I think I have said enough. I could read more, there are others here. I think maybe I should read one or two more here just so we are clear. So that no one can say that I was unaware of these statements.
Here’s one from the Signs of the Times May 29 1901, “In the fullness of time He was to be revealed in human form. He was to take his position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.”
Now look, this simply means that He took the sinful nature of man. Because she said so in other statements that I have read to you. In his physical body He took the sinful nature of man. But He did not take the sinfulness of man in the sense of his character. He had a divine and perfect character and He built in his humanity a perfect human character. He did not choose to sin, therefore He did not take upon Him the sinfulness of man in the sense of his character, He never sinned. But He did take the sinfulness of man upon Him in the nature of his inheritance. I think that should be clear.
If you don’t accept all of the statements you cannot get the truth. And she says that. Therefore it must be the truth.
In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, in its fallen condition, that’s the nature He took. The physical flesh was fallen. Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. Now that bears out what I said concerning the previous statement. He did not participate in its sin. Sin is a decision of the will my Brother, my Sister, that’s what sin is.
He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed that it might be fulfilled that which is spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying, Himself He took our infirmities and bear our sickness. He was touched with the feelings of our infirmities and was on all points tempted as we are; yet He knew no sin. He was the lamb without blemish and without spot. We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. And I think I have explained that. There is no other way to see it and accept all of the statements that Sister White makes. If you do not accept what I have explained there is no way to reconcile those statements, and we must reconcile them, they must all be accepted, or we will not arrive at the truth. I have done the best I could, I hope that some of us will see it.
There’s one more statement perhaps I ought to read. This one is taken from The SDA Bible Commentary volume 5, page 1128; “Be careful, exceedingly careful as how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin, He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure sinless being without a taint of sin upon him, he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned, He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden.
Now, some will say, See, there she says that He did not have any propensities to sin as man has. I repeat, if you do not accept the other statements in which she speaks of Christ accepting the sinful nature of man, the degenerate nature of man, if you do not accept those statements you will misunderstand this statement. But if you accept those other statements you will not misunderstand this statement. She is speaking here about the propensities of the character; there is a difference between the propensities of the character, the personality, and the propensities of the physical flesh. Satan can tempt through the propensities of the physical flesh. He cannot succeed in causing an individual to sin by those things if the individual refuses to sin. If the individual has no propensities to sin in his personality and character he will refuse to sin. And that is what Christ did because He had the character of God the perfect righteousness of God. We do not have that by nature, by inheritance, we do not have it. We were not born like Jesus was, the son of God, we were born the son of Adam so we have a double dose. We have the physical propensities to sin and with the temptations of Satan coming through those propensities and nothing to stop us, we fall into sin and build a sinful character, which gives us the character or personality for propensities to sin.
Jesus did not have any propensities to sin. He had the divine nature of Christ and of his Father God. His nature was pure like Adam’s was before the fall without a taint of sin upon Him. But Christ took upon Him human nature with all its degeneracy and in his physical human body He had those same tendencies through which the character could be made to fall. If He chose to do it He could have sinned, but He didn’t. Satan could not get through to Him because his character nature, his personality nature recoiled at sin, yet He was tempted, and if his physical nature did not have the degeneracy of our nature then the temptation was not equal to ours. He did have this degeneracy she says it very plainly therefore He was tempted in all points like as we are, but without sin.
I will not repeat it, I will leave it to simmer in your thinking and may God help you to understand it. At least to the extent where we can believe that Jesus overcame sin in physical human flesh by being a partaker of the divine nature of his former self and that He made the way and proved that it could be done so that we who follow after may come up on every point. We too may become partakers of the divine nature which He has made available through his sacrifice that He took nothing to Himself in overcoming sin, took no advantages that we do not have that are not made available to us. This at least we must understand. Whether we understand the details of all these statements which I have read or not. Be that as it may, let us understand this one point that as Christ overcame through partaking of his divine nature, even so, according to the Laodicean message we also may overcome as He overcame by partaking the divine nature which He has made available to us through the Everlasting Covenant and his eternal sacrifice. May God help us to see this and not fall into the trap of thinking we cannot obtain to perfection this side of the second coming.
Oh, Brother, Sister, let’s not fall into that trap. I could say more on that subject.
From the very beginning Satan has said that we cannot keep the law, no one can keep the law of God. That’s Satan’s doctrine. Brethren and Sisters, let not Seventh-Day Adventists fall into the trap that we should say that we cannot keep the law of God. Our Prophet says, that we can keep the law perfectly, even as Christ kept it. Do you not believe the testimony of the Spirit of Prophecy? Oh, I’m sad to say some will not believe it, for it is the testimony of the true witness to the Laodiceans which will cause the shaking. And the testimony of the true witness is the testimony of Jesus for Jesus is the true witness. And the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy and some will not bear the Spirit of Prophecy, they will rise up against it. All the time thinking that they believe it. The deceptions of Satan are very, very, subtle.... (Unbelievably, this short section is unintelligible) ....We must accept the righteousness of Christ by faith completely, unequivocally, and then move on through the process of sanctification to accept the righteousness of Christ by love; and only as we love will we fulfill the commandment, for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, and you cannot love your neighbor as yourself until you love God with all your heart for your neighbor may be your enemy, and you can’t love your enemy without the self-denying love of God in your heart, this is the secret of victory over sin and it comes through the agency of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. Brethren and Sisters let us fulfill the conditions of obtaining the latter rain and praying for it with all earnestness as did Elijah who prayed for the rain. Seven times. Let us pray it will come.
I trust that even now as you listen to these tapes that the Spirit of truth has come to your heart, that you have settled a little deeper into the message of truth that you have understood a little more, that you have come a little closer to your Jesus. And if that has happened the purpose of making these tapes has been fulfilled and we shall give God the glory and the praise for the coming of Jesus will be just one step closer. But remember that when the Spirit of truth comes to his people He will come as the messenger of the covenant to purify and cleanse them. And the prophet says, who shall be able to abide his coming.
When the Spirit of Truth comes and you become settled into the truth that Spirit will also stir you to give the message, the last Loud Cry to the world, and as you give it Satan will inspire those who reject the message to bring to bear persecution upon you, and that persecution will first come through the brethren in your own household of faith. There will be those who rise up against the Spirit of Prophecy, they will not bear it. They will call it a delusion of the evil one. And this is what Christ endured; this is what he suffered for many years. He has been accused falsely by the evil one all down through history. The hour has come when his people are to rise to his witness and bear testimony to the integrity of their savior that is your job. If you are willing to bear testimony to this truth, to that which has been revealed to you through the agency of the Spirit of Prophecy, for you cannot understand any of God’s truth without the agency of the Spirit. If you are willing to bear the testimony, if you are willing to witness for Him, to clear his name there will be those in your own household and in your own household of faith who will rise up against you and call you a deceived and deluded soul and bring to bear persecution, persecution will not be limited to the household of faith it will also come from outside. And this is the nature of the Sword that is to come upon God’s people to try them. It is this two edged Sword, as we have mentioned that will cut in two directions and cause dissension. There will be those who will not see both sides of the picture, they will see only one. And they will denounce the other side as false and heretical. But our prophet has given us consolation she says that not one watching, praying, and trusting soul will be deceived. Let us not be deceived then let us fulfill the conditions, let us make a complete surrender to our savior and let Him lead the way. And above all, let us love our brethren even though they be our enemies. For Jesus on the cross said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Here is the supreme test of discipleship. Are you willing to bear the stigma attached to the bearing of the standard of truth? There is no escape, it is the process whereby the messenger of the covenant will purify God’s people. For it is through this the sharing of Christ’s sufferings that the purification will occur and He says that after ye have suffered awhile make ye perfect. He that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
And one final word of caution let us not move ahead of the angel who is leading God’s people. Let us work together in so far as it is humanly possible in harmony with our brethren. May we go as a unit, may we move together as a united army, even as Joel depicted the Army of the Lord. This is the way it will be for the saints, but there are those who will not join them, and it is through these that the dissension arises.
May God help us to discern the message of truth as He has brought it to us in his Word and amplified it and explained it in the writings of the last day prophet. As soon as God's people hear and are willing to embrace the message, the great and dreadful day of the Lord will come and all things will be completed. May God help us to rightly relate ourselves to Him and to his truth, is my prayer.