Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

April 11, 1900

Victory Over Temptation

[In Two Articles—This Is the Second]

Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Satan's expulsion from heaven had not reformed him. In this last temptation he touched on the subject of his fall from heaven. He had then become dissatisfied because Christ was preferred before him, and he now declared that if Christ would acknowledge him as supreme, he would relinquish his claim to the world.

Christ had heard Satan's taunting words of scorn regarding His claim to be the Son of God: “Thou the Son of God—born in a stable, hurried off to Egypt for fear of being destroyed by Herod, working as a carpenter in an obscure town of Galilee! If at Thy baptism a voice from heaven said, `This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,’ why art Thou now helpless and starving in this wilderness? Why is the illustrious Son of God wandering, unhonored and unattended, among the wild beasts? Where is Thy retinue of angels? Where are Thy glory and honor?”

Satan now presented to Christ the kingdoms of the world in all their glory. The view was the most extensive upon which the eye could rest, and as they looked upon it, Satan said: “All this power ... is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”

In the first temptation Satan had said, “If Thou art the Son of God.” Evidence was now given him that Jesus was indeed all that He claimed to be. Divinity flashed through humanity as the Saviour said, “Get thee behind Me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” With such power were these words spoken that Satan left the battle-field a conquered foe.

Christ had gained the victory. Passing over the ground where Adam stumbled and fell, He had not yielded in a single point. The conflict was ended, and He was a conqueror. But the strain had been great, and He lay as one dying. “And, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.” Not only was food supplied to Him; supernatural restoration came. God sent His approval and commendation to revive His Son. How much the Saviour enjoyed the comfort brought to Him! His time of victory had come. He could accept the companionship and service of the angels, since they came unbidden by Himself, sent direct from the Father, whom He had honored by enduring the test under circumstances such as no human being will ever pass through. He had been given opportunity to take sides with the apostate foe of God, but He repulsed every temptation with the words, “It is written.” Well might a voice from heaven declare, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The lesson taught by these temptations is for us all. The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering. Today the Lord tries men to see what characters they will develop. He tried the Israelites, that it might be seen what was in their hearts. Paul's character was perfected by trial. God is today trying the faith of every soul who claims to be in His service. When passing through trials, we may know that thus God is striving to lead us to know Him and place our trust in Him.

When we choose our own way, our own will, our own pleasure, when we follow our own impulses, we do not live as sons and daughters of God. We do not love God supremely or our neighbor as ourselves. We are robbing God. Our time, our service, our affection, our property, all belong to Him. When God's people bring to Him the willing offering of a faithful tithe, their faithfulness will be rewarded. But many who profess to give God all, make a reservation of themselves or of their property. God will accept nothing less than a spiritual priesthood who can bring Him an offering in righteousness. No selfishness is of Christ. Selfishness lies at the foundation of all sin. The time has come when it is for our present and eternal good to know the will of God for ourselves. The path traveled by Christ is the only safe path for us to follow. The Saviour says, “He that will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

The prayer Christ offered to His Father, just before leaving His disciples, to be betrayed, rejected and condemned, is for His disciples in all time. In this prayer He said: “Father, the hour is come: glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee; as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”

It is not enough to have a theory of the truth. The mind must receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit regarding the will of God. Then by his service man must bear witness to the light, according to his knowledge of God and of Christ. The Lord must be honored. His followers must trust in Him, believing that He is working in their behalf to bring them through trying places. In this God consults His own glory and their highest good. He seeks to give them an experience that will be of the greatest value to them.

Our knowledge of God and of Christ is altogether too meager. True knowledge of God is genuine and practical. Those who have this knowledge will not keep silent. They will communicate to others what they have received. They will make an entire surrender of the will to God, realizing that they are to reach higher and still higher, that they may give others the benefit of their experience as those who have been tried and proved through prayer and patience. We have been given to Christ by the Father, and no man can pluck us out of His hand. By Christ we are to be purified, made white, and tried. Our knowledge of God is to steadily increase. Christ says, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” The leaven of righteousness in the life of believers is revealed by the words, the spirit, the deportment. True virtue is manifested in the daily life.

Mrs. E. G. White

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