Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

November 15, 1899

The Law Revealed in Christ

God Manifest in Christ—Christ the Only Way of Salvation—A Great and Blessed Truth—Love and Justice—An Unchangeable Law

God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible God. He is the manifestation of the Father, and is called the Word of God. God sent His Son into the world, His divinity clothed with humanity, to make known in His life and character the attributes of the Father, that men might bear the image of the invisible God. He was the embodiment of the law of God, which is the transcript of His character.

The world saw God imaged in the purity and benevolence of Christ; but because of its depravity and darkness, it did not recognize Him as the Son of God. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” He was “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” In spite of overwhelming evidence, men manifested unbelief which only Satan could inspire.

Christ secured probation for man at an infinite cost. He must suffer for the sins of the world, that the purposes of God might not be defeated. He must destroy the apostate; for the death of Satan meant life to all who believe, and death to all who are disobedient. Nothing less than the life of Christ would atone for man's transgression. He must restore man by placing on vantage ground every one who would believe in Him as a personal Saviour. When there was no heart to pity, His arm brought salvation. God laid help on One that was mighty, saying, “Save man from destruction.” The Son of God accepted the work joyfully, becoming man's substitute and surety, that He might save him from his sin, and call him from transgression to obedience. He pledged Himself to take man's nature, and stand at the head of the human race, to satisfy every claim made against them as a people bound in the slavery of sin. Through this gift of God to the world man has been given every opportunity of knowing God and the laws of His government.

The truth could come to man only through Christ, for He was the image of the invisible God. He represented the power and glory of the Father, and the divine signature was upon all His words and works. “I can of mine own self do nothing,” He declared; “I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” It is a Great and Blessed Truth that God is love. The superhuman efforts which the Father has put forth for the good of humanity, reveal that His love is without a parallel. Through Christ this love is constantly expended for men. The heavenly universe is in constant activity in behalf of the sons of men. They work that sinners may be convicted of sin. But man is not to deceive himself with the idea that because God is a God of love, He has not a perfect standard of righteousness. The revelation of His love, in giving His Son to die the shameful death of the cross, shows that God has a standard of character. Only by a life of ignominy and suffering and humiliation and the death of the cross could Christ pay the penalty of the broken law. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

In the grave Christ was the captive of divine justice. To the Judge of the universe He had made Himself responsible for the transgression of the law. It was necessary that there be given to the world a stern manifestation of the wrath of God against all who reject light and evidence and stubbornly remain in unbelief. In the crucifixion of His Son is revealed God's Hatred for Sin. This penalty Christ bore for the sins of the transgressor. He has borne the punishment for every man, and for this reason He can ransom every soul, however fallen his condition, if he will accept the law of God as his standard of righteousness. The cry of despair from the soul calls forth the tenderest love of God, and this is salvation to every one that believes. He who sees the guilt of his transgression, and understands the infinite sacrifice made in his behalf, will not continue in sin. But if men continue to resist light and evidence, they will cut themselves off from God's mercy, and then will come the ministry of wrath. God can not save the sinner in his sin. The love of God is immeasurable to those who repent, but His justice is firm and uncompromising to those who abuse his long-suffering love.

God destroyed the inhabitants of the old world by a flood, because they refused to obey His commandments. The record states: “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” Had man not eaten of the tree of knowledge and every kind of wickedness, God would not have destroyed him. And God “looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

It is thought strange by some that our salvation should demand our entire submission to the law of God. But The Lord Could Not Do a More Cruel Thing than to save man in his rebellion. No man can be saved unless he comes under the rule of Christ. Salvation means to us complete surrender of soul, body, and spirit. Because of the unruly elements in our nature, our passions often gain the mastery. The only hope of the sinner is to cease from sin. Then his will is in harmony with the will of Christ. His soul is brought into fellowship with God. Those who enlist in the army of Christ must in all things submit to His authority and consult His will. Implicit obedience is the condition of salvation. God's law must be obeyed in every particular. It is our salvation to make His law our rule, His life our pattern, His glory our chief aim. To keep ourselves in the love of God, to be bound to obedience by His requirements, this is to be free in Christ.

Hurrying them from one temptation to another, Satan Gives Men No Time to Consider These Things. Man may repulse the enemy on one point, and think himself secure, but the wily foe has always another scheme in readiness. He follows us at every step, using every circumstance of life to cause us to regard him with favor; for he is playing the game of life for the soul. He institutes every amusement he can devise to absorb time and keep God out of the thoughts. He has sought to deceive men into the belief that Christ died in order to abrogate the law of God. But Christ did not die to immortalize transgression.

Every Man May Keep the Law of God, for Christ in His human nature kept the law; and He says to every soul, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” Christ is “the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him; and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” The first chapter of Colossians will wonderfully enlighten the mind as to the truth as it is in Jesus. If we will study it, we shall understand how Christ has made it possible for man, fallen through disobedience and transgression, to keep all the commandments of God.

Every blessing that Heaven could bestow was given to man in Christ. The Son of God clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity lay hold of the throne of the Infinite. He desired to demonstrate to man that humanity connected with divinity, by faith in Christ, might partake of the divine nature. The death of Christ reveals that not one jot or tittle of the law of God can be altered to meet man in his fallen condition.

The Saviour assures us that as long as the heavens and the earth remain, not one tittle of the law shall fail. Christ's death upon the cross did not destroy the heavens or the earth; both still remain; therefore God's law remains unchanged. Far from lessening its claims, the death of Christ testifies through all generations to the immutability of the law of Jehovah. Its claims upon man are eternal.

Mrs. E. G. White

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