Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

February 1, 1874

The Life of Christ—No. 11

By Ellen G. White.

Jesus humbled himself to become man and to associate with sinful man and leave them a bright example to copy in his own perfection of character. He does not leave his people in darkness. He shows them the way. He travels the road himself, and invites us to follow. What condescension in the Majesty of Heaven! What amazing love for sinful man, that God's dear Son should leave the heavenly courts and come to a world polluted with sin, to save from ruin the guilty sinner!

In the submission of Christ to the ordinance of baptism, he shows the sinner one of the important steps in true conversion. Christ had no sins to wash away, but in consenting to become a substitute for man, the sins of guilty man were imputed to him. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” While God accepts Christ as the sinner's substitute, he gives the sinner a chance, with Christ's divine power to help him, to stand the test which Adam failed to endure.

Christ came to John, repenting on the sinner's account, believing in behalf of the sinner, that through the plan he had devised, of taking humanity, and in suffering and dying for man, the sinner would, through repentance, faith, and baptism, be accepted of God. He was buried by John in the liquid grave, and came up out of the water to represent to man, in his holy life, the true pattern for him to copy.

The steps in conversion, plainly marked out, are repentance, faith in Christ as the world's Redeemer, faith in his death, burial, and resurrection, shown by baptism, and his ascension on high to plead in the sinner's behalf. At the very commencement of his public ministry, he presents himself in the character he sustains to man throughout his mediatorial work. He identifies himself with sinners as their substitute, taking upon himself their sins, numbering himself with transgressors, and doing the work the sinner is required to do in repentance, faith, and willing obedience. What an example is here given in the life of Christ for sinners to imitate! If they will not follow the example given them, they will be without excuse.

Dear children and youth, your Heavenly Father and the dear Saviour are your very best friends. You have every evidence that it is possible for you to have of their love for you. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

God will not withhold anything from us that will really be for our good. Jesus would have us happy in this world, and enjoy with him the glory of the next world. God has given to children and youth invitations to surrender to him. “My son, give me thine heart.” A promise is given—“Those that seek me early shall find me.”

There are some young people who have Christian parents, and have been taught to observe the Sabbath from their childhood. Many of these are affectionate, and obedient to their parents, and have good principles; but they do not give their hearts to God; they do not profess the religion of Jesus Christ. Some feel that they are almost right, because they do not commit outbreaking sins, and because they live moral lives. But all children, youth, middle-aged, and aged, have a work to do in taking the steps in conversion for which Jesus has given them an example in his life. Christ's life was one of spotless purity; and yet he was baptized, and thus honored the ordinance of baptism, in order to fulfill all righteousness, and that he might be a perfect example for the repenting, believing sinner. There is no way for sinners to be saved but to go in at the door which Christ has opened for them. Says he, “I am the door;” “he that entereth not in by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

Dear youth, if you are unbelieving, and feel that nothing is required of you in repentance, faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and baptism unto his death and resurrection, you have no part with Christ. You are not adopted into God's family; but remain acknowledged children of the wicked one. All who live have sins to wash away. They may have good intentions, and good purposes; they may have noble traits of character and live moral lives; notwithstanding, they need a Saviour. Jesus speaks to them as he did to Nicodemus: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?” Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” True repentance of sin, faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, and baptism into his death, to be raised out of the water to live a new life, are the first steps in the new birth which Christ told Nicodemus he must experience in order to be saved.

The words of Christ to Nicodemus are not only spoken to him, but to every man, woman, and child, that should live in the world. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Paul, the inspired apostle, tells us, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” We are safe in following the example of Christ. But we are not safe in pursuing any other course. “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Willing obedience on our part God requires and will accept.

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