Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

April 17, 1893

Overcome As Christ Overcame

By Mrs. E. G. White


Since the fall of our first parents, obedience has not been deemed an absolute necessity. Men have followed the imagination of their own hearts, which the Lord has said is “evil, and that continually.” The Lord Jesus declares, “I have kept my Father's commandments.” How? as a man? “Lo I come to do thy will, O God.” To the accusations of the Jews he stood forth in his pure, virtuous, holy character, and challenged them to point out a defect in his life. He said, “Who of you convinceth me of sin?” The world's Redeemer came not only to be a sacrifice for sin, but to be an example to man in all things. He was a teacher, such an educator as the world never saw or heard before. He spake as one having authority, and yet he invites the confidence of all. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The only-begotten Son of the infinite God has, by his words and in his practical example, left us a plain pattern which we are to copy. By his words he has educated us to obey God, and by his own practice he has showed us how we can obey God. This is the very work he wants every man to do, to obey God intelligently, and by precept and example teach others what they must do in order to be obedient children of God. Jesus has helped the whole world to an intelligent knowledge of his divine mission and work. He came to represent the character of the Father to our world; and as we study the life, the words, and works of Christ, we are helped in every way in the education of obedience to God; and as we copy the example he has given us, we are living epistles known and read of all men. We are the living human agencies to represent to the world the character of Christ. Not only did Christ show us how we may become obedient children, but he showed us in his own life and character just how to do those things which are right and acceptable with God, so there is no reason why we should not do those things which are pleasing in his sight.

We are ever to be thankful that Jesus has proved to us by actual life that man can keep the commandments of God, contradicting Satan's falsehood that man cannot keep them. The great Teacher came to our world to stand at the head of humanity, to thus elevate and sanctify humanity by his holy obedience to all the requirements of God, showing it is possible to obey all the commandments of God. He has demonstrated that a lifelong obedience is possible. Thus he gives men to the world, as the Father gave the Son, to exemplify in their life the life of Christ.

Christ redeemed Adam's disgraceful failure and fall, and was conqueror, thus testifying to all the unfallen worlds and to fallen humanity that through the divine power granted to him of heaven man can keep the commandments of God. Jesus, the Son of God, humbled himself for us, endured temptation for us, overcame in our behalf, to show us how we may overcome; by the closest ties he bound up his interest with humanity, and gave positive assurance that we shall not be tempted above that we are able; for with the temptation he will make a way of escape.

The Holy Spirit was promised to be with those who were wrestling for victory, demonstrating the power of might by endowing the human agent with supernatural strength, and instructing the ignorant in the mysteries of the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is to be our helper. Of what avail would it have been to us that the only-begotten Son of God had humbled himself, endured the temptations of the wily foe, and wrestled with him during his entire life on earth, and died, the just for the unjust, that humanity night [might] not perish, if the Spirit had not been given as a constant working, regenerating agent to make effectual in our cases what had been wrought by the world's Redeemer?

The Holy Spirit implanted in the disciples, enabled them to stand firmly against idolatry, and to exalt the Lord alone. The Holy Spirit guided the pens of the sacred historians that the record of the precious words and works of Christ might be presented to the world. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work seeking to draw the attention of men to the great sacrifice made upon the cross of Calvary, to unfold to the world the love of God to man, and to open to the convicted soul the precious promises in the Scriptures. It is the Holy Spirit that brings to the darkened minds the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. It is the Holy Spirit that makes men's hearts burn within them with an awakened intelligence of the truths of eternity. It is the Holy Spirit that presents before the mind the moral standard of righteousness and convinces of sin. It is the Holy Spirit that produces godly sorrow which worketh repentance that needeth not to be repented of, and inspires faith in Him who alone can save from all sin. It is the Holy Spirit that works to transform character by withdrawing the affections of men from those things which are temporal and perishable, and fixing them upon the immortal inheritance, the eternal substance which is imperishable. The Holy Spirit recreates, refines, and sanctifies the human agents, that they may become members of the royal family, children of the Heavenly King.

Jesus says: “Follow me.” “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Consider it not a hard duty. The commandments of God are his expressed character flowing out of a heart of love in thoughtful plans that man may be preserved from every evil. They are not to exercise an arbitrary authority over man, but the Lord would have men act as his obedient children, members of his own family. Obedience is the outgrowth and fruit of oneness with Christ and the Father. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

When we unmistakably hear his voice and obey, every murmuring thought will be repressed; and we will leave all consequences with Him who gave the commandment. If, as we see the footprints of Jesus, we step in them and follow him, we shall have love and power.

The question is often asked, “What difference does it make which day we keep for the Sabbath?” But it does make a difference; for the same principle is involved as was involved in Adam's case. He was put to the same test. For he was to prove by obedience his loyalty to God or by disobedience to forfeit the right to the tree of life. Satan presented this same specious question. What difference does it make whether you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or of any other tree of the garden? Adam's sin consisted in doing the thing the Lord had forbidden him to do, and this opened the flood gates of woe on our world. We should carefully meditate upon the life of Christ, and desire to understand the reason why he came at all. We should search the Scriptures as Christ has enjoined upon us to do, that we may know those things that are testified of him. By searching we may find the virtues of obedience in contrast with the sinfulness of disobedience. “As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

The Lord Jesus has bridged the gulf that sin has made. He has connected earth with heaven, and finite man with the infinite God. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, as our example, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The glory mentioned is character, and by faith we become changed from character to character. “And be renewed in the Spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” “Ye are the light of the world.... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

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