Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

January 2, 1896

Christ Revealing the Character of the Law

By Mrs. E. G. White

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” The Son of God clothed divinity with humanity. Isaiah describes him, saying: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.” God in human nature is the mystery of godliness. Christ, the only-begotten of the Father, was the express image of his Father's person, the brightness of his glory, and he came to the world not to condemn the world, but to save it. God was in Christ in human form, and endured all the temptations wherewith man was beset; in our behalf he participated in the suffering and trials of sorrowful human nature. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But 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 his human nature he was “tempted in all points like as we are,” he “suffered being tempted,” but there was no taint of sin upon him.

The condescension on the part of the Son of God was included in the plan of God for the unfolding of divine wisdom to fallen men. Divinity united with humanity could alone reach humanity, and impart spiritual life to those who were “dead in trespasses and sins.” In order to work the restoration of the fallen, it was necessary that man's will should come into harmony with the divine will. God purposed that men should conform to the divine Model. The glory of the wisdom of God continually shines forth to humanity in the Son of God. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Every step that Christ advanced from the manger to Calvary established his character as the One who could say without any qualification, “I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” What exalted ideas of the law of God do we obtain as we behold Jesus fulfilling every precept, and representing the character of God before the world! It was by fulfilling the law that Christ made known the Father to the world.

The plan of redemption is perfect in all its parts. It does not lessen the claims of the law of God in one jot or one tittle, in saving the sinner from the just penalty of the law. Through the provision of the death of God's only-begotten Son in sinners’ behalf, the immutability of the law of God is demonstrated for time and eternity. Justice honors the law of God in providing a substitute for the transgressor; for Christ gave his own life a ransom in order that God might be just and yet be the justifier of him who believes in Jesus. The work of saving the lost through the merit of Christ magnifies the law, and harmonizes with every perfection of Jehovah. In the plan of salvation the highest honor is paid to the law of heaven's government, and yet mercy is freely dispensed to the fallen sons of Adam. Every believing soul, cooperating with the Great Restorer, is blessed with heavenly grace and endowed with the richest treasures of the glory of God. The imagination can not picture anything more glorious than that which is attained through the plan of redemption. Well may we exclaim, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”

Through the obedience of the Son of God, through his submission to bear the death penalty for human transgression, the law is magnified and made honorable before the universe. Angels, cherubim, seraphim, and worlds unfallen behold the law vindicated and exalted. Through the unfolding of the perfection of the divine nature they see the image of God restored to man, and the honor of the divine government maintained. The wisdom of God has abounded towards all the sons and daughters of Adam. Christ laid down his life, shed his blood, suffered the death penalty for the sinner, and became the sin bearer for every repenting, believing soul. We see sin fully punished in the Substitute, and the sinner fully saved through His merit. We see the law of God highly exalted, with no jot or tittle of its authority laid aside, while the transgressor, relying upon the merit of the Substitute, is justified by the law. Through the plan of salvation we see mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace embracing each other. There is no vacillation in the principles of God's commandments; but they are pronounced by the angels of heaven, by the inhabitants, of our fallen world, and by souls justified, as “holy, and just, and good.”

Christ, the highly exalted of God, God dwelling in humanity, is to be loved and obeyed. His life is a pattern for the whole world to copy. Every one of us may know God in Christ, one with every believer. Every one may exclaim with Paul, “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” In the cross of Christ is the sure evidence that there is pardon for sin. Christ crucified is the source of all wisdom and virtue for man.

We may say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” But, though we rely upon God, we shall not be exempt from trial and temptation. Oftentimes we will have to suffer severe disappointment and endure heaviness of heart because of the world's misunderstanding and misinterpretation of our motives and purposes. But, while cast down, we shall not be forsaken of God, unless we shall sever the golden link of the chain which binds us through Christ to God. Jesus is our Pattern. The Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, was tempted in all points like as sinful man is tempted. But through Christ we may be placed upon vantage ground, and become partakers of the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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