Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

December 12, 1895

Character of the Law Revealed in Christ's Life

By Mrs. E. G. White

In the prayer of Christ for his disciples, he said concerning them: “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one [in spiritual union]; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

The glory of Christ is his character, and his character is an expression of the law of God. He fulfilled the law in its every specification, and gave to the world in his life a perfect pattern of what it is possible for humanity to attain unto by cooperation with divinity. In his humanity Christ was dependent upon the Father, even as humanity is now dependent upon God for divine power in attaining unto perfection of character. God's law is an exponent of his character, an expression of his holiness; but, viewed by him who has fallen through sin, it is a voice of condemnation, a ministration of death. It is not in the province of law to pardon the transgressor; for “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” “By the law shall no flesh be justified.” No ray of hope shines forth from the law to the sinner, and its transgressor can find no answer from the law to his anxious inquiry, “What shall I do to be saved?” “How shall I be just with God?”

But through Christ a way of escape has been provided. Our Redeemer came in the flesh to condemn sin in the flesh, to lay hold of the repenting soul with an unyielding grasp, and at the same time to grasp the throne of God, becoming the connecting link between humanity and divinity, between earth and heaven. He is the only refuge for the guilty soul. In searching to know God, man is directed to Christ, who lived out the law of God, and manifested to the world the attributes of the Father. In the Son of God the inexpressible goodness of God is revealed; for in him mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ in the flesh, condemning sin in the flesh, was a perfect revelation of God to the world. Christ declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

In answer to the request of Philip, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” Jesus said: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” The Lord Jesus is the embodiment of the glory of the Godhead. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. God has revealed himself to men; he stooped to take upon him our nature, and in his Son we see the glory of the divine attributes. Those who see not in Christ the divine character are in the shadow of Satan's misrepresentation of divinity. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.”

In Christ Jesus is a revelation of the glory of the Godhead. All that the human agent can know of God to the saving of the soul, is the measure of the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, to which he can attain; for Christ is he who represents the Father. The most wonderful truth to be grasped by men is the truth, “Immanuel, God with us.” Christ is the wisdom of God. He is the great “I AM” to the world. As we contemplate the glory of the divine character as revealed in Christ, we are led to exclaim, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” This wisdom is displayed in the love that reaches out for the recovery of lost and ruined man.

The work of God in the creation of man needed no undoing. There was nothing imperfect, nothing incomplete. He spake and it was done. The very dust of the ground from which man was formed was pure, and the breath of life which God breathed into his nostrils was holy. He was placed in Eden, the garden of God, and its atmosphere was undefiled, and from the beams of the sun in the heavens which blessed and cheered the earth, to the fountains and streams that watered the garden, all was holy, all was clothed with spotless purity and unexcelled loveliness, and was in harmony with the character of the Father and the Son, by whom the worlds were made, and in whom was life, and the life is the light of men.

But in the transgression of man both the Father and the Son were dishonored. Man committed sin, and sin is the transgression of the law, which is holy, just, and good. Through sin the temple of God which he had builded for his own indwelling and glory, was reduced to ruin, was fallen and in decay. Satan beguiled the holy pair to their own destruction, and introduced an element of character that was antagonistic to God and to their fellow-creatures. Before the entrance of sin, the hearts of God's children had been filled with love toward their Creator, and they were in harmony with his will; but upon yielding to the tempter a warring element began to work in the human agent. Even the earth itself shows the curse of transgression, and signs of enmity appear. Darkness covers the earth like the pall of death, and will continue to shroud the glory of God until death is swallowed up in victory.

In the creation of God before the entrance of sin, every part of nature was in perfection; God had nothing to take down as unnecessary to his plan. He needed to set into operation no power by which to dispossess; he needed to inaugurate no opposing force. But through the calamity of sin, the work of disintegration was begun, and the beautiful temple of God's building was defiled and laid in ruins. God no longer was a dweller in the heart of man. To oppose and bring to naught the work of the enemy, the promise was given, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

In the councils of heaven, hope was furnished for the fallen race. Jesus Christ offered his life as a ransom for the lost, as the price by which he might purchase the right to re-create the sinner, and form again the image of God in the soul. Fallen man was to be renewed in the divine likeness. He was to be uplifted, to be pardoned and redeemed, not by the law, but by Jesus Christ, our Righteousness. Angels fly through the midst of heaven, proclaiming the glad tidings that a ransom has been found, and that the treasures that have been hidden from ages and generations in Christ, are to be displayed before a wondering universe.

In Christ is found a resource that has never before been called out. Clothing his divinity with humanity, with the wealth of the treasures of heaven at his command, he was to come to our world to counteract the ruin that Satan has wrought. What a scene was that when angels, cherubim, and a seraphim rejoiced as they hastened through the heavenly courts, proclaiming that a ransom had been found, and that God could be just, and yet be the justifier of him who believes in the ransom that had been provided! The law could be magnified and made honorable, and yet fallen man could be restored to more than his former dignity and glory, and exalted as an overcomer of the Satanic hosts. Every one who should believe in Jesus, should be recreated to walk in newness of life, and from the ruins that Satan had wrought through sin, should arise in purity and holiness the fallen temple of the Lord. Man was to be reconstructed, to be formed after the image of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God. “Unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

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