Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

August 29, 1900

Resistance to Light—No. 3

(Concluded.)

The Pharisees took offense at the words, “The truth shall make you free.” “We be Abraham's seed,” they said, “and were never in bondage to any man; how sayest Thou, Ye shall be made free?” Jesus answered: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house forever; but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Paul declares: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

“I know that ye are Abraham's seed,” Christ continued; “but ye seek to kill Me, because My word hath no place in you.... If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me, a Man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God; this did not Abraham.”

Christ declares that lineal connection is superseded by spiritual connection. The Jews were indeed Abraham's seed according to the flesh, but they manifested a spirit very different from the spirit of righteous Abraham. By their unbelief and persistent rejection of truth they disinherited themselves. Abraham obeyed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. By their works the Jews showed that they bore no real relationship to Abraham.

On one occasion when Christ was informed that His mother and brethren were without, desiring to speak with Him, He looked upon the men and women who were feasting on His words, and, stretching forth His hands toward them, said: “Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.” Precious, glorious truth, spoken to comfort all believers, who may indeed be encouraged by knowing how Christ regards them!

“Ye do the deeds of your father,” Christ said to the Jews, and they answered scornfully, “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” “If God were your Father,” Christ said, “ye would love Me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye can not hear My word.”

With faithful, unsparing hand Christ unmasked the men who had professed so much and done so little. Behind their pretentious piety there lay concealed deceitful malignity, the controlling principle of their lives. Children of Abraham, children of God, they were not, and neither could they be. By their works they bore evidence that they were the children of the enemy of God.

Christ saw that the time had fully come to rend from the Jewish leaders their covering of pretended piety, and to show that they were but whited sepulchers. “Ye are of your father the devil,” he said plainly, “and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe Me not. Which of you convinceth Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me? He that is of God heareth God's words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto Him, Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honor My Father, and ye do dishonor Me. And I seek not Mine own glory; there is One that seeketh and judgeth.”

“Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” The keen eyes of jealousy had been watching Christ, trying to find something whereby He might be condemned. But nothing could be found. “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me,” the Saviour declared. No envy, no worldly ambition, no pride, no selfishness, could be found in Him. “I know thee who thou art,” the evil spirits cried, “the Holy One of God.”

Standing in the presence of the multitude, Christ uttered words which, if spoken by any one else, would have been blasphemous. “If a man keep My saying, He shall never see death,” He said. “Then said the Jews unto Him, Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and Thou sayest, If a man keep My saying, he shall never taste of death. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead; whom makest Thou Thyself? Jesus answered, If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing; it is My father that honoreth Me; of whom ye say, that He is your God. Yet ye have not known Him; but I know Him; and if I should say, I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you; but I know Him, and keep His saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad.”

The command given to Abraham to slay his son was the most severe test that could be brought upon him. But as he prepared in faith to obey God, there was opened before him the coming of the Just One, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for the sins of the human race. As by faith he grasped the promise, Christ revealed Himself to him. Abraham saw the incarnate Saviour, and rejoiced.

“Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?” “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” Their eyes were blinded that they might not see Him.

“Before Abraham was, I am.” Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God. The message He gave to Moses to give to the children of Israel was, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” The prophet Micah writes of Him, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, tho thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of Thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Through Solomon Christ declared: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.... When He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment; when He appointed the foundations of the earth; then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.”

In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him.

Christ's words were spoken with a quiet dignity and with an assurance and power that sent conviction to the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees. They felt the power of the message sent from heaven. God was knocking at the door of their hearts, entreating entrance. But they refused to listen. By their persistent rejection of warnings and invitations they caused Him to abandon them to their blindness and its results. Satan was working with all his power to secure them in his cause, and under his control they developed a stubbornness which brought upon them their ruin.

Mrs. E. G. White

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