Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

May 14, 1902

“The Unsearchable Riches of Christ”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Such are the words in which “Paul the aged,” “the prisoner of Jesus Christ,” writing from his prison-house at Rome, endeavored to set before his brethren in Ephesus that which he found language inadequate to express in its fulness,—“the unsearchable riches of Christ,”—the treasure of grace freely offered to the fallen sons of men. The plan of redemption was laid by a sacrifice, a gift. Says the apostle: “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, tho He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.”

The first chapter of the Ephesian letter is full of rich encouragement. This scripture sets before us the privileges and the opportunities, the hope and the confidence, given us by and through our Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous. By Paul's words Christ is uplifted. The apostle desired all to behold the world's Redeemer, “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.”

His Purpose

God has a purpose for each one. “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” These words show us what we may become by striving to fulfill God's purpose.

When Adam fell, God's attributes of holiness, justice, and truth could not be changed. And yet He desired to reconcile man with heaven's immutable law. Yearning to save fallen humanity, He sought to devise a plan whereby the sinner need not perish, but might gain everlasting life. Christ, the Eternal Truth, the Light, the Life, the Sovereign of heaven, offered to clothe His divinity with humanity, and give His life as a ransom for the fallen race. God in His wisdom accepted the plan proposed by Christ for the accomplishment of His purpose.

A love that passeth all understanding was revealed to save fallen man. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son [wonderful, wonderful condescension!], that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God spared not His only-begotten Son, but delivered Him up as a ransom for us, and for a world lying in sin and ignorance.

The Saviour and Teacher

Christ came to give moral power to man; to elevate, ennoble, and strengthen him. He came to prove the falsity of Satan's charge that God had made a law which man could not keep. While possessing man's nature, Christ kept the Ten Commandments. Thus He proved to the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds and to human beings that it is possible for man perfectly to obey the law. He vindicated God's justice in demanding obedience to His law. Those who accept Christ as their Saviour, becoming partakers of the divine nature, are enabled to follow His example of obedience to every divine precept.

Christ came as the Expositor of the prophecies that He Himself had given to His people through holy men of old. He separated the precepts of Jehovah from the maxims and traditions of men. He taught the people that the Ten Commandments are an expression of the truth in all its purity. Of the leaders and teachers of the people He declared: “In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” And to these teachers He said: “Ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”

For thirty-three years the Only Begotten of God dwelt among the children of men. He represented the Father, the One full of goodness, mercy, and truth, the One touched ever by human woe. During these years Christ finished the great work that He came to accomplish. He became the propitiation for the sins of every one who believes on Him.

Reconciling Man to God

Justice and mercy were reconciled by Christ's sacrifice. At the cross, Mercy and Truth met together; Righteousness and Peace embraced each other. Through the sacrifice of Christ, Mercy is reaching out, offering to cleanse man from his unrighteousness. Thus is fulfilled the everlasting purpose of God. Man may accept the great gift of redemption, and co-operate with God, his own will being conformed to God's will.

Between unholy man, and God, the embodiment of holiness, there can be no companionship. The prophet Habakkuk declares that God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and can not look on iniquity.” But Christ “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity,” and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Christ is the Sin-Bearer. He bears the iniquity of all who repent and believe, all who accept His robe of righteousness. For our sake the Innocent is pronounced guilty, while through His merits the guilty are pronounced innocent. Repentant sinners may be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,” that they may “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.”

The great heart of infinite Love is drawn toward the sinner with boundless compassion. “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Yes, only believe that God is your helper. He wants to restore His moral image in man. As you draw near to Him with confession and repentance, He will draw near to you with mercy and forgiveness. We owe the Lord everything. He is the author of our salvation. As you work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

The Boundlessness of God's Love

All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean, when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue can not utter it; pen can not portray it. You may meditate upon it every day of your life; you may search the Scriptures diligently in order to understand it; you may summon every power and capability that God has given you, in the endeavor to comprehend the love and compassion of the Heavenly Father; and yet there is an infinity beyond. You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it. Yet as we study the Bible, and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption, these great themes will open to our understanding more and more. And it will be ours to realize the blessing which Paul desired for the Ephesian church, when He prayed “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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