Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

December 16, 1897

The New Commandment

Part 1.

Looking upon his disciples with divine love and the tenderest sympathy, Christ said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” Christ was striving to gain the confidence of his disciples; for he had important disclosures to make to them. Addressing them by the endearing term “little children,” he said, “Yet a little while am I with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

In one sense this commandment is not new, and in another sense it is. The same principle is seen in the first four and the last six commandments. But to the disciples it was new; for they had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. Christ saw that new ideas and new impulses must control them, that new principles must be practised by them.

What a love it is that appeals to fallen men! “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God showed his love for us by adopting our nature, in the person of his Son. God himself inhabited humanity, making us partakers of the divine nature, that by the incarnation and death of his only begotten Son, our adoption as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ might be fully accomplished. The origin of this wonderful achievement was his own spontaneous love.

The nature which Christ had taken upon himself he was now almost ready to carry on high, even to the throne of God. In so doing, he conferred on the human race an honor which we fail to estimate. Even the heavenly angels are not so honored.

The love of God was Christ's theme when speaking of his mission and his work. “Therefore doth my Father love me,” he says, “because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” My Father loves you with a love so unbounded that he loves me the more because I have given my life to redeem you. He loves you, and he loves me more because I love you, and give my life for you. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you.” Well did the disciples understand this love as they saw their Saviour enduring shame, reproach, doubt, and betrayal, as they saw his agony in the garden, and his death on Calvary's cross. This is a love the depth of which no sounding can ever fathom. As the disciples comprehended it, as their perception took hold of God's divine compassion, they realized that there is a sense in which the sufferings of the Son were the sufferings of the Father. From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two, yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character.

When our Redeemer consented to take the cup of suffering, in order to save sinners, his capacity for suffering was the only limitation to his suffering. But his humiliation as a man did not in the slightest degree take from his honored identity with the Father. While walking the earth in the form of a servant, he could still affirm, “I and my Father are one.”

The Saviour's humanity elevates all humanity in the scale of moral value with God. It brings God and man very nigh together. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” By giving his life to save fallen men, Christ gives all heaven to those that believe on him. By dying in our behalf, he gave an equivalent for our debt. Thus he removed from God all charge of lessening the guilt of sin. By virtue of my oneness with the Father, he says, my suffering and death enable me to pay the penalty of sin. By my death a restraint is removed from his love. His grace can act with unbounded efficiency.

For all who receive Christ as their personal Saviour, there is opened an ample channel, in which human and divine instrumentalities can co-operate to communicate to the world the tide of God's love. All glory is of God and belongs to God. Yet in Christ also there is all power. In him divine power is combined with humanity. Faith in Christ holds the reins of eternal obligation. It settles upon the soul with a love that is the unfolding of divine mercy, and wins us back to God. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Salvation through Christ is an infinite gift. There is no possibility of our receiving it by any merit of our own.

Mrs. E. G. White

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