Ellen G. White Writings

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The Watchman

September 4, 1906

The Word Made Flesh

Mrs. E. G. White

The union of the divine with the human nature is one of the most precious and most mysterious truths of the plan of redemption. It is this of which Paul speaks when he says, “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh.”

This truth has been to many a cause of doubt and unbelief. When Christ came into the world,— the Son of God and the Son of man,— he was not understood by the people of his time. Christ stooped to take upon himself human nature, that he might reach the fallen race and lift them up. The Son of God came voluntarily to accomplish the work of atonement. There was no obligatory yoke upon him; for he was independent and above all law.

The angels, as God's intelligent messengers, were under the yoke of obligation; no personal sacrifice of theirs could atone for fallen man. Christ alone was free from the claims of the law to undertake the redemption of the sinful race. He had power to lay down his life and to take it up again. “Being in the form of God,” he “thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

Yet this glorious being loved the poor sinner, and took upon himself the form of a servant, that he might suffer and die in man's behalf. Jesus might have remained at the Father's right hand; but he chose to exchange the riches and glory of heaven for the poverty of humanity, and his station of honor and high command for the horrors of Gethsemane and the humiliation and agony of Calvary. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that by his baptism of suffering and blood he might purify and redeem a guilty world. “Lo, I come,” was his joyful assent to the plan of salvation, “to do thy will, O God.”

Christ suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, for Calvary was outside the city walls. This was to show that he died, not for the Hebrews alone, but for all mankind. He proclaims to a fallen world that he is their Redeemer, and urges them to accept the salvation he offers.

But when Christ came, the minds of men had become darkened by sin, their faculties were benumbed, and their perceptions dulled, so that they could not discern his divine character beneath the garb of humanity. This lack of appreciation on their part was an obstacle to the work which he desired to accomplish for them; and in order to give force to his teaching he was often under the necessity of defining and defending his position. By referring to his mysterious and divine character, he sought to lead their minds into a train of thought which would be favorable to the transforming power of truth.

Again, he used the things of nature, with which they were familiar, to illustrate divine truths. The soil of the heart was thus prepared to receive the good seed. He made his hearers feel that his interests were identified with theirs, that his heart beat in sympathy with them in their joys and griefs. At the same time they saw in him the manifestation of power and excellence far above that possessed by their most honored rabbis.

The teachings of Christ were marked with a simplicity, dignity, and power heretofore unknown to the people, and their involuntary exclamation was, “Never man spake like this Man.” The people listened to him gladly; but the priests and rulers — themselves false to their trust as guardians of the truth — hated him for the very grace revealed, which had drawn the multitudes away from them, to follow the Light of life. Through their influence the Jewish nation, failing to discern his divine character, rejected the Redeemer.

The union of the divine and the human, manifest in Christ, exists also in the Bible. The truths revealed are all “given by inspiration of God;” yet they are expressed in the words of men, and are adapted to human needs. Thus it may be said of the Book of God, as it was of Christ, that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” And this fact, so far from being an argument against the Bible, should strengthen faith in it as the word of God. Those who pronounce upon the inspiration of the Scriptures, accepting some portions as divine, while they reject other parts as human, overlook the fact that Christ, the divine, partook of our human nature, that he might reach humanity. In the work of God for man's redemption, divinity and humanity are combined.

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