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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900) - Contents
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    Ms 58, 1900

    The Law and the Gospel


    August 14, 1900 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in FLB 104; OHC 46; 1BC 1107-1108; 2BC 1005; 6BC 1099-1100; 10MR 328-331. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?” [2 Corinthians 3:1.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 1

    These words were written by the apostle Paul in the second epistle to the Corinthians. Some had charged Paul with self-commendation in his former epistle. Paul refers to this matter in putting the question to them if they thus judge his motives. Did he or his fellow laborers need any recommendation or testimony to their Christian character? Men had come in among them with letters of commendation from other churches, but the leading workers, the founders of these churches, the apostles of Christ, had no need of these epistles of recommendation. The Corinthians who had been brought from the worship of idols to the faith of the gospel were themselves all the epistle needed. The truth which had been brought home to their heart, the reformation seen in their lives in response to the labors of the apostle, was a testimony speaking to all nations, tongues and peoples. The Corinthian Christians were living epistles, known and read of all men.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 2

    Paul and his fellow laborers valued the Corinthian brethren as their testimonial. He loved them, for they were the fruits of his labor in Christ. The work of reformation in them was sufficient evidence of his authority to counsel, reprove, exhort, and command as a minister of the gospel of Christ. “Forasmuch,” he says, “as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” [2 Corinthians 3:3.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 3

    The conversion of sinners and their sanctification through the truth which they have received is the very best proof a minister can have of his genuine calling to the ministry. If these evidences attend his labors, he will need no better recommendation. The usefulness of a minister of Christ is declared by the fruit following his labors. The evidence of his apostleship is written upon the heart of the converted one, testifying openly through their reformed lives. Those who have the truth in the heart have Christ formed within, the hope of glory. They will be zealous for the truth they have professed. They will remember that their temper and conduct must correspond to the truth. As the truth unfolds more and more, the providence of God designs that His people should keep pace with it.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 4

    The ministers of Christ in our day should have the same fruit as their recommendation that the Corinthian church bore to Paul’s ministry. But in our day the fruit of many who profess the religion of Jesus Christ is pride, self-confidence, love of the world, self-boasting, censoriousness, faultfinding, bitterness, envy, clamor, evil speaking. Their deportment is in wide contrast to the character of Christ. Such an epistle to be known and read of all men is, alas, a sad testimony of the character of the ministerial labor under which these souls received their mold. Christ had no connection with these spurious conversions. In some instances, it is true, men may in their lives present such an epistle as will do no honor to God, while the minister under whose labors they profess to receive the truth may have been faithful, sincere, and thorough in preaching God’s Word. But this is seldom the case.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 5

    When men profess the truth and in their lives adorn it, copying the example of their Lord, they recommend the truth and the faithful ministers who preached it. The minister of Christ is greatly strengthened in his work by these seals of his ministry. It is the greatest honor to be found an able minister of the gospel of Christ. In this age of the world there are many preachers, but there is a wonderful scarcity of able, holy ministers, men who have that love burning upon the altar of the heart which dwelt in the bosom of Christ. But those whom the Lord has blessed with ability and power will not boast or be lifted up. They will acknowledge their entire dependence upon God. They have no sufficiency of themselves. Paul says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” [Verses 5, 6.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 6

    There are many ministers who lose their efficiency because they do not make God their trust. They do not rely upon His strength and have increased faith in His power. Many church members act unwisely toward the ministers. If a teacher of the truth has a measure of success in his labors, churches that have the benefit of his labors spoil him. He is petted and praised by the people, and begins to cherish admiration of himself. He imagines that he has superior qualifications and becomes careless. He does not watch unto prayer. Thus Satan obtains an easy victory over him.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 7

    Christ was man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. A minister of Christ will do the work of the Master. He will realize its importance and his own responsibility as one who has charge of the flock of God. In a degree he sustains to the church and to the world the same relation that Christ sustained. He will be interested in everything which concerns the salvation of men. He will work to bless his fellow men whom Jesus deemed of so great value as to leave heaven, leave His honor, His glory, and riches, and choose a life of poverty, shame, reproach, weariness, and suffering, in order to elevate man to His throne. Ministers of Christ should work in harmony with Christ, possessing His meekness and wisdom. They will relieve the miseries of their fellow men, winning them from a life of sin to a nobler, higher life, that they may finally obtain the reward of immortality.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 8

    Paul presents to his brethren the dignity of their calling. God had made them able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 9

    The greatest difficulties Paul had to meet arose from the influence of Judaizing teachers. These had made much trouble and caused dissensions at Corinth. Paul is writing to the church in order to settle their minds in reference to the gospel of Christ. The Judaizing teachers were continually presenting the virtues of the law and the ceremonies, exalting these above the gospel of Christ, and bringing Paul under condemnation because he did not urge upon the people the ceremonies that typified Christ and were therefore of no value since Christ’s death.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 10

    Paul took them on their own ground. He says, “If the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? for if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.” [Verses 7-9.] The law of God given in awful grandeur from Sinai was the utterance of condemnation to the sinner. The transgressor died without mercy. The proclamation of that law and the repetition of it in the holy mount was so sacred and so glorious that upon the face of Moses was reflected a glory which the people could not look upon without pain, so that Moses covered his face with a veil.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 11

    “Much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.” [Verses 9, 10.] It is the province of the law to condemn, but there is no power in the law to pardon. The glory that shone upon the face of Moses was the righteousness of Christ in the law. He saw to the end of that which was to be abolished when type should meet antitype in Jesus Christ. In consequence of the transgression of the law of God, death was introduced into the world. The slain lamb typified the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world. The full significance of the typical offerings pointing to Christ was unfolded to Moses. Death came in consequence of sin. Sin was the transgression of the law.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 12

    Christ revealed in the gospel was the propitiation for man’s sins, the transgression of the law. His perfection of character was placed in man’s behalf. The curse of the law Christ took upon Himself. It was the seeing to the end of that which was to be abolished, that which brought to light the plan of salvation in Christ—it was this that illuminated the face of Moses. If the typical sacrifices, which were done away, were to be done away were glorious because Christ was revealed by them as the sin-pardoning Saviour, much more that which remains is glorious.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 13

    The moral law was bondage and death to those who remained under its condemnation. The law was ordained to life, that those who were obedient, walking in harmony with its claims, should have the reward of the faithful—eternal life.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 14

    Moses saw that only through Jesus Christ could man keep the law of God. Paul says, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death”—death to the sinner. [Romans 7:10.] The types and ceremonies, with the prophecies, gave ancient believers a veiled or indistinct discovery of the mercy and grace to be brought to light through the revelation of Jesus Christ to our world. The law itself would have no glory were it not that Christ is embodied in it. The revelation of Jesus Christ cast its glory back into the Jewish age. The law had no power to save. It was lusterless, only [i.e., except] as Christ was represented in the law as the One full of righteousness and truth.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 15

    And when Christ was revealed in His advent to our world, and died man’s sacrifice, type met antitype. Then the glory of that which is not typical, not to be done away, but which remaineth—God’s law of Ten Commandments, the standard of righteousness—was plainly discerned as immutable by all who saw to the end of that which was abolished.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 16

    Paul would have his brethren discern that Christ, pointed out in types and shadows, had come, and the greater glory of a sin-pardoning Saviour gave significance to the entire Jewish economy. Without Christ the law of itself was only condemnation and death to the transgressor. It has no saving quality—no power to shield the transgressor from its penalty. The full penalty of the law will be executed upon the transgressor if he does not receive Christ as his atoning sacrifice and personal Saviour.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 17

    The proclamation of the law upon Mount Sinai was a wonderful exhibition of the glory and majesty of God. How did this awful exhibition of God’s power affect the people? They were afraid. “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” [Exodus 20:18, 19.] They wanted Moses to be their mediator. They did not understand that Christ was their appointed mediator, else they would certainly be consumed.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 18

    “Moses said unto the people, Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” [Verses 20, 21.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 19

    The pardon of sin, justification by faith in Jesus Christ, access to God only through a mediator because of their lost condition, their guilt and sin—of these truths the people had little conception. In a great measure they had lost the knowledge of God and of the only way to approach Him. They had lost nearly all genuine sense of what constitutes sin, and of what constitutes righteousness. The pardon of sins through Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah whom their sacrificial offerings represented, was dimly understood by all, and had become entirely extinct in the minds of many.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 20

    Directions were given for building an altar for the offering of sacrifices, an service which had been almost wholly discontinued. While in Egyptian bondage the people’s ideas of sacrifice had been largely molded by the ideas of the Egyptians who had themselves learned from Israel when they first went into Egypt, but who had mingled with truth the falsehood of idolatry. They had most indecent practices in connection with the worship at their heathen altars. The law given in Eden and repeated on Sinai was essential for the Israel of God, for during the bondage in Egypt the claims of God and His commandments had been lost sight of. This is why the Lord uttered His holy law with an audible voice in the hearing of all the people. He desired that they should hear His commandments and obey them.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 21

    Especially were the Israelites plainly shown the sin of idolatry. The Lord commanded them, “Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.” [Verse 23.] “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of the other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” [Exodus 23:13.] “Behold, I sent an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.” Exodus 23:20-23. (Read the following verses to the close of the chapter.)15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 22

    The Lord said to unto Moses, “Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord.” “And he took the book of the covenant and read in the audience of the people.” [Exodus 24:1-4, 7.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 23

    All repeated the words of promise spoken and they said, “All that the Lord hath said we will do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me in the Mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister, Joshua; and Moses went up into the mount of God.” [Verses 7-13.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 24

    Then the Lord gave Moses the directions in regard to building a sanctuary and the pattern of the ark also was given him. When the people saw that Moses did not come down from the mount, they became discontented. Their unbelief began to reveal itself in a marked manner. (See Exodus 32.)15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 25

    We can see why the Lord charged Israel not to make gods and not to practice idolatry nor even to suffer the names of other gods to pass their lips, for many of them were affected with idolatry, having witnessed it in Egypt. The absence of Moses revealed the true, deplorable condition of their minds. Yet not all joined in the idolatry. Some stood filled with disgust and abhorrence at the scene enacted before them. But Aaron did as the people desired him to do, and his sin was great. The Lord told Moses what was going on in the plain below. When Moses beheld the scene he broke the tables beneath the mount. He did this not in rash madness of temper, but from indignation too big for utterance. The breaking of the tables declared to the people that God had broken His covenant with them, and now they were exposed to His indignation. Moses destroyed their idol. After he had destroyed the object of their worship, he stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me.” (Read verses 26-35.)15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 26

    Were there in our day sudden retribution to follow transgression as in the instance when the punishment fell so heavily on Israel, there would be a wonderful reformation wrought. But as God bears long with the transgressor, and sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. In the withdrawal of divine favor because of Israel’s transgression we see how God regards all those who have had the light and yet have disregarded its claims. In the example of Moses we see an illustration of genuine sanctification. He does not take the position that Israel’s sin is not so grave and heinous as God has made it. He bows his soul in humility and says, Ye have committed a great sin. He acknowledges the aggravated character of the sin, while he throws himself and all Israel upon the mercy of God.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 27

    Here is a point worthy of the attention of all. Moses had to separate himself from the sinful people in order for God to communicate with him. Moses was continually reaching a high point of holiness when he deplored and repented for the sin of the people because they had trampled upon God’s law. God is as jealous for His holy law today as in the days of Moses. There is a time in human iniquity when it is necessary for God to interpose. We are not to excuse sin or to palliate it in the least. We are not to claim that God is too good and merciful to punish those who have set light and truth at defiance in transgressing His law. Those who thus justify the course of the transgressor show contempt for God’s law.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 28

    God is slow to anger. He gave the wicked nations a time of probation, that they might become acquainted with Him and His character. According to the light given was their condemnation for refusing to receive the light and choosing their own ways rather than God’s ways. God gave the reason why He did not at once dispossess the Canaanites. The iniquity of the Amorites was not full. Through their iniquity they were gradually bringing themselves to the point where God’s forbearance could no longer be exercised and they would be exterminated. Until the point was reached and their iniquity was full, the vengeance of God would be delayed. All nations had a period of probation. Those who made void God’s law would advance from one degree of wickedness to another. Children would inherit the rebellious spirit of their parents and do worse than their fathers before them until God’s wrath would fall upon them. The punishment was not less because deferred.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 29

    The ministration of the law written and engraven in stone was a ministration of death. The transgressor was left under its curse, with no hope of pardon. It had no glory of itself, but the promised Saviour, revealed in types and shadows, made that law glorious. When Christ bore the curse of the law, suffering its penalty, carrying to completion the plan of salvation whereby man could be exalted in the scale of moral value with God, so that he could keep God’s law and if obedient be accepted through the merits of Christ, then a halo of glory was shed upon the law, revealing to man its changeless and exalted character.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 30

    The law Paul declares to be holy, just, and good. [Romans 7:12.] The ceremonial law was to have no force after Christ died as a sin-offering. Yet it was connected with the ten moral precepts, and was glorious. The whole bears the stamp of divinity, and expressed the holiness, justice, and righteousness of God. The emblem of His divinity was reflected in the face of Moses when he came down from the mount, having in his hand the tables of stone with the law of God engraved upon the tables by the finger of God. The children of Israel could not look upon his countenance for the glory. If the ministry of that dispensation which was to be abolished at the death of Christ was glorious, how much more when the substance typified, the reality, was indeed reached—the life-giving, sanctifying spirit given through Christ to all who believe, how much more must that excel in glory!15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 31

    Paul did not represent either the moral or the ceremonial law as ministers in our day venture to do. Some cherish such antipathy to the law of God that they will go out of the way to denounce and stigmatize it, calling it an old thunder and lightning law. Thus they despise and pour contempt upon the awful majesty and glory of God.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 32

    It was Christ who spoke the law from Mount Sinai. The authority by which He spoke was expressly His own; yet it was the authority of the Father also. The Son of God cannot be separated from His Father. The law of God is the express character of the Father and the Son. He placed Himself on a line with the eternal throne, so that its glory was shed in clear rays directly upon Him and was by Him reflected back, mingled with the luster of His own greatness. While He stood forth distinctly in His own personality and spoke in His own name, He was one with the Father. His voice was the living oracle the center of glory. After He assumed humanity He said, “I am in the Father, and the Father in me.” [John 14:10, 11.] “No man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal him.” [Matthew 11:27.] “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” [John 14:9.] “I and my Father are one.” [John 10:30.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 33

    Paul said, “Seeing that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech; and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which was abolished.” This was Christ, the Righteousness of the law. “But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, the vail is on their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” [2 Corinthians 3:12-16.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 34

    As the Jews refused to accept Christ as the Messiah, they cannot see the significance of the sacrifices and offerings, and their ceremonies are meaningless. In stubborn unbelief the vail drawn by themselves is still before their minds. It would be removed, if they would accept Christ, the Righteousness of the law. The Christian world also have a veil before their eyes and heart. They cannot see to the end of that which was abolished. They cannot discern that in the death of Christ the typical offerings ceased because type had met antitype. But the moral law never was a type or shadow. The grand precepts of God’s law existed before He created man, and will continue as long as the heavens and the earth remain. The transgression of God’s law made the death of Christ essential to save man and yet maintain the dignity and honor of the law. Christ took upon Himself the condemnation of sin. He opened His bosom to the woes of man. He who knew no sin became sin for us.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 35

    God could not change or alter one precept of His law in order to save fallen man, for the law was His character. It was unchangeable, unalterable, infinite, and eternal. God gave Himself to save man. Christ, the dearly beloved Son of God, one with the Father, died for us, thus expressing the love of God for sinful man.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 36

    Men claim that God’s law died with Christ. Heavy is the veil which obscures their understanding. They are in a deception similar to that of the Jews. They cannot see to the end of that which was abolished. Pride, bigotry, and love of sin lead men to despise the foundation of God’s government, which is despising God Himself.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 37

    Paul says, “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.” [Verse 12.] He does not vail the truth in order to meet the unbelief of the people in reference to Christ. He exalts Christ, presenting Him to the Jews as the end of that which was to be abolished. He shows that their ceremonial sacrifices were of no avail, for type had met antitype in the death of Christ. As the vail in regard to Christ remained in their minds because of their unbelief—their unwillingness to accept of Christ—so it is with the Christian world in regard to the law of God. Their carnal hearts are at war with God’s law. They are not subject to His law, neither indeed can be. Only as they shall come into harmony with the rule of God’s government and obey His law, will Christ be of any avail to them. They may talk of Christ as their Saviour; but He will eventually say of them, “I know you not. You have not exercised repentance toward God for the transgression of His holy law, and you cannot have genuine faith in Christ the world’s redeemer, whose mission it was to exalt God’s law and through His own righteousness put men where it is possible for him to obey its precepts.”15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 38

    “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” [Verse 18.] Those who accept the gospel of Christ behold Him with open face as in a mirror. They see the mission and work of Christ in relation to the law and acknowledge the wisdom and glory of God as revealed in the person of His Son. The relation of Christ to the law is plainly discerned by but few. He is the sinner’s Advocate. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” [1 John 2:1.] The glory of Christ is reflected upon the law, which is a transcript of His character, and His transforming efficacy is felt upon the soul until man becomes changed to Christ’s image of righteousness and purity. He becomes a partaker of the divine nature, growing more and more like his beloved Saviour in all the heavenly attributes, advancing step by step in conformity to the will of God from glory to glory till perfected in heaven.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 39

    “Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, not handling the word of God deceitfully; but, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” [2 Corinthians 4:1-4.] The apostle greatly extols the ministry entrusted to him. He magnifies the grace and mercy of God which has been shown to him in his miraculous conversion and the sacred trusts committed to him as a minister of Christ. In view of God’s abundant mercies he is sustained under his afflictions, difficulties, and dangers. He has not walked in craftiness nor handled the Word of God deceitfully. He has been unselfish, showing no avarice or sensual indulgence.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 40

    He had not modelled his faith and teaching to suit the carnal heart. He had not kept back truths profitable to his hearers in order to make his preaching less offensive to them. He had not clouded the practical truths of God’s Word as the false shepherds always do so that their clear meaning should not be understood. On the contrary, with simplicity and feeling the weight of his calling, he had presented the truth, clear and connected, before his hearers in the most forcible manner to impress the mind, and to convict and convert the soul. As God’s standard-bearer he had endeavored to have his conduct in harmony with the sacred truths presented, that the truth might commend itself to every man’s conscience. By many conviction would be thrown off, hearts would rise up against the truth, be it presented ever so wisely. But the apostle would not permit this to turn him from his work or discourage him in his labor.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 41

    If after all his efforts in accordance with the will of God the gospel so plainly revealed in God’s Word, and so plainly presented by the minister of Christ, were hid or covered with a veil, neither the truth nor the minister sanctified through the truth was at fault. But the carnal hearts of the people, their prejudice and ungodly lusts paralyzed their senses, so that they could not discern eternal things.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 42

    In this age of the world we find men and women professing godliness, even ministers and teachers, who refuse to understand the plainest Scripture statements. They refuse every ray of light which reveals that they have greater truths to accept from the Word of God, truths that involve a cross, and would make them in character and in faith more distinct from the world. They refuse to see the sacred claims of God’s law. In order to justify their course of conduct and their doctrines they misinterpret the plainest statements of Scripture. With the love of the world in their hearts and unwilling to make any sacrifice for the truth, they say, I cannot see, I cannot see.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 43

    To walk according to the law of the Lord would promote the reputation of a people for wisdom and understanding. Read Deuteronomy 4:1-9.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 44

    To all who refuse to open their eyes and hearts to the truth, the words of Paul are applicable, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” [2 Corinthians 4:3, 4.] The Christian world in general are crying, Christ, Christ, give us Christ; but the law of God we cannot see, we will not accept. The gospel of Christ is the image of God, it is the true representation of the Father’s law. In refusing the law, men refuse the Father whose image is borne by the Son. The greatest number of Satan’s subjects are kept from hearing the gospel. Many who do hear are through love of the world and the temptations of Satan led to oppose and reject truth in order to avoid the cross.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 45

    Satan is persevering and untiring in his efforts to keep the illuminating, transforming light away from the understanding and hearts of men. But those who do not wilfully oppose, those who like Paul, war against the truth ignorantly, may after a season become converted. Yet it remains a stern, lamentable fact that among professed believers as well as among unbelievers the enemy blinds the eyes of the mind to their ruin, because they have no disposition to investigate the inspired Word for themselves. The solemn inquiry should be in every mind, What shall I do to be saved? I must know for myself what is truth, that I may be sanctified through the truth and obtain a moral fitness for the higher life.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 46

    “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and are ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” [Verses 5, 6.] (Read to the end of chapter.) The object of the apostles’ ministry was not to exalt themselves. They did not covet authority, reputation, or preeminence. They preached Christ Jesus. This great and important subject was their theme continually. They hid self behind the cross of Christ. The great plan of salvation, the life and ministry of Christ the Author and Finisher of this plan, were exalted before them. Christ, Christ, yesterday, today, and forever, was the burden of their teaching.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 47

    If the ministers of today would cease to glory in self, and would exalt the cross of Christ, their ministry would be far more successful. But very few bear the burden of the message or have any just estimate of the worth of souls. If they can induce men to give one earnest look at the cross, and can impress the mind of the sinner so that he will obtain a distinct and full recognition of the Son of God crucified on Calvary to save perishing souls, everything is gained. Christ’s death testifies to the value of the souls of men. His life was the ransom paid for their redemption. The cross teaches the great lesson of salvation.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 48

    The example of Christ was perfect. There was not one inconsistent act in His life. In every precept taught, He was expounding His own life. He did not point the people to the tables of stone. He invited them to learn of Him, for He was the embodiment, the living representation of the law. He could say, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” Righteousness and truth never languished on His lips. He said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world that I should bear witness unto the truth.” [John 18:37.] Satan’s work was to make the truth of no effect.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 49

    He was a sinner because he transgressed the law. Since his fall his efforts have ever been to perpetuate sin. He seeks to make it appear that the law of God is not perfect, but a yoke of bondage, unjust and tyrannical. That Satan’s power might not be victorious, Jesus came to represent the law by fulfilling all its claims as the representative of the human race. Thus He showed that through His righteousness man might be righteous. Alive to all the horrors of our condition He came to save us by bringing us the message and the means of deliverance. He brought from heaven an assurance of complete salvation, that we might not perish but have everlasting life.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 50

    Many ministers today are not themselves saved by the truth they present to the people, for they do not practice the truths they preach. The apostles and evangelists were men of like passions with men of today. They were subject to temptation. Their bodies were subject to disease, susceptible to pain, suffering, hardships, and peril. Hunger and cold were as severe to them as to men of today. Fear, anxiety, and disquietude annoyed them as they annoy us. If Paul refused to glory in anything save the cross of Christ, this is also our privilege and duty. All that we have, came through the mercy of One who loved us and gave Himself for us. His whole divine and eternal Self is expressed in the law. Are then our unworthy selves and our all too much to give for Jesus? He died for us. Is it too much for us to live for Him and to have our life hid with Christ in God?15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 51

    The Monarch of heaven was crucified in shame. He suffered intense agony of soul and body that men debased by sin might be exalted through His righteousness and crowned with eternal glory. Christ became a servant in order that through a life of humble obedience fallen man might be made kings and priests of God, and come into possession of the incorruptible inheritance.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 52

    It is because the cross is shunned by the Christian world that they are so weak and inefficient. The earnest, constant view of the sufferings and death of God’s dear Son is the only means by which we may conceive of the depth of His love and the value of even one soul for whom He paid the infinite price. Remove the cross from the Christian and it is like blotting out the sun which illumines the day, and dropping the stars and moon at night out of the firmament of the heavens.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 53

    The cross of Christ brings us nigh to God, reconciling man to God, and God to man. The cross, the Father looks upon it, upon the suffering He has given His Son to endure in order to save the race from hopeless misery and to draw man to Himself—He looks upon it with the relenting compassion of a Father’s love. The cross has been almost lost sight of, but without the cross there is no connection with the Father, no unity with the Lamb in the midst of the throne in heaven, no welcome reception of the wandering who would return to the forsaken path of righteousness and truth, no hope for the transgressor in the day of judgment.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 54

    Without the cross there is no means provided for overcoming the power of our strong foe. Every hope of the race hangs upon the cross. In full view of the cross, taking in all that it embraces, the Christian may advance with the step of a conqueror, for light is before him in the cross, shining amid the woeful, discouraging darkness that enshrouds the world. When the sinner has indeed reached by faith the foot of the cross, when he looks to Christ who was lifted up to save him, then he may rejoice, for he has pardon. In his prostration at the foot of the cross he has reached the highest elevation to which man can attain.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 55

    Paul continues: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” [2 Corinthians 4:6.] Paul speaks as one who has an experimental knowledge of Christ and the Father. He refers to his conversion and to the change wrought in the minds and hearts of all the true followers of Christ. The same power affects the hearts of all. The length and breadth of the love of Christ is displayed in man’s redemption. The deep angry darkness of sin and guilt enshrouding man is lifted. The cloud of vengeance is rolled back. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, and His merciful lips utter the words of His Father, “Live, O ye guilty sinners, live. Your tears, your repentance, is accepted, for there is found a ransom.” The darkness like the pall of death hanging about the soul is transfigured, changed from threatening to glory. In the face of Jesus Christ is reflected the mercy of God.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 56

    The gulf of sin is bridged by the Son of the infinite One. The character of God, heretofore looked upon as awful and terrifying, now assumed an appearance of beauty and attraction, drawing to Himself the hearts of sinful but repenting and believing men. The glory of the Father shining in the face of His divine Son attracts the willing and obedient soul, and in response to the accents of parental love men make melody to God in their hearts.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 57

    Through the cross of Christ we learn that we have a Father who loves us with infinite and everlasting love, who pities us with the tender pity of a loving mother, and who draws us to Himself with more than a mother’s yearning sympathy for a wayward child. The Father gave His Son for our salvation. What self-forgetting generosity! The mighty Jehovah is revealed as a compassionate and forgiving Father.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 58

    The light of this knowledge, shining in the chambers of the mind and in the soul temple, is more valuable to us than all the learning to be acquired in schools of science or philosophy. The mind accustomed to dwell only upon the justice, the greatness, and severity of God, contemplates but one side of His character. His greatness appears in such contrast to our feebleness that we feel desolate and helpless. We fear that because we are sinners that His power may crush us, His justice may condemn us. His truth exposes our guilt, and we dare not lift our eyes before Him. But when we look upon the face of Jesus Christ we see light; there peace is expressed.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 59

    The god of this world has blinded the minds of men, lest they should discern in the face of Christ the light of God’s glory. The face of Moses was covered, that the glory of God might not shine forth to the beholders, for they were transgressors. Satan had control of their thoughts and their affections. But in the face of Jesus the glory of God is not displayed transiently as on the face of Moses, for that glory passed away. On the face of Christ it ever remained, and all who look may live. That glory may be reflected upon them. Christ our Righteousness sheds light and brightness and glory and joy into the law of God, for every precept obeyed is our expressed promise.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 60

    “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us”—even the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [Verses 6, 7.] The important mission of preaching Christ was entrusted to men, as the treasure to earthen vessels. God could have proclaimed His truth by sinless angels, but this was not His plan. He could have accepted only the ones admired by the world, those who possessed wealth, authority, and genius, learning and eloquence. But this also was not His plan. He chose the willing service of men of like passions with ours—men acquainted with poverty, hardship, and suffering, compassed with human infirmities; men who could sympathize with and reach persons of all classes.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 61

    The power of truth must not be accredited to men. The man must not be praised, petted, and glorified. The excellency of the power must ever be accredited to God, not to the superior endowments of men. This was why men subject to infirmities and suffering were chosen to meet men in the same condition as themselves, and as earthen vessels to convey to them the glorious truth. God will accept these apparently unattractive ones, and will let the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ shine upon them. He will make a revelation to man’s intellectual nature which will enrich his mind with the highest and most sacred knowledge, and will shed a flood of light upon the atonement. The beaming light of the Saviour’s countenance renders all things bright and glorious. The knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ is the consummation of all knowledge. “Every one that is of the truth,” said Christ, “heareth my voice.” [John 18:37.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 62

    Paul refers his Corinthian brethren to his experience in connection with the service of Christ. He seeks to impress their minds with the fact that such a life would not be chosen if he were prompted by selfish or mercenary motives. The Christian path was beset with difficulties and trials. His fellow laborers in the gospel were “troubled on every side, yet not distressed.” They did not regard their case as peculiarly discouraging. “We are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken.” God was their Helper, and He did not permit their enemies to triumph over them. “Cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” [2 Corinthians 4:8-10.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 63

    Although the apostles were often cast down in the conflict with evil men and the powers of darkness, yet they were enabled to press again to the conflict, having before them triumph or death in the effort. In their own bodies, in bruises and wounds and stripes received for the sake of Jesus, they carried the evidence of the crucifixion of Christ, that they were partakers with Him of His sufferings.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 64

    Their very deliverance and preservation under manifold difficulties and trials testified that Jesus lived, and because of His power they lived also. The life of Jesus was proved by their protection, deliverance, support, and consolation and fortitude to stand steadfast under so much trial, and as ministers of Christ endure danger and suffering for His sake.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 65

    Paul reminds his brethren that as Christ’s messengers they were constantly in peril, while the hardships they endured were telling upon their strength. “So then,” he says, “death worketh in us, but life in you.” [Verse 12.] While these ministers of the truth were wearing physically through privation and hardship, they were conforming to the death of Christ. But that which was working death in them was bringing life and spiritual health to the Corinthians. While the Corinthians were not suffering persecution, they were, through their belief in the truth, made partakers of life eternal through Jesus Christ. In view of this they should be careful not to increase the burdens of the laborers, and by neglect and disaffection add to their trials.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 66

    Paul continues, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written,” referring to the words of David: “I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” [Verse 13; Psalm 116:10.] Believing that the truth entrusted to him was a reality, nothing could induce him to handle the Word of God deceitfully, or to conceal the conviction of his soul. He would not purchase wealth, honor, or pleasure by a cowardly conformity to the opinions of the world. He was in daily expectation of martyrdom for this same faith which he had preached to the Corinthians. But he was not intimidated; for as Christ died and rose again, so the apostle had the assurance that the mighty power of Christ would raise his body also from the grave, and would accept and present him with all the faithful who had accepted his labors, to the Father. “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound the glory of God.” [2 Corinthians 4:15.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 67

    The apostles understood that their experience in suffering for the truth’s sake and their ministerial accomplishments were not to obtain gain or to aggrandize themselves. The self-denying love of Christ was to be so preached and practically carried out in their daily lives that many would be induced to accept the truth, and would thank God for the benefit received through these messengers of Christ. The hope of saving souls for whom Christ died preserved them from fainting or ceasing their efforts because of threatened dangers or actual suffering.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 68

    “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [Verses 16-18.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 69

    If the apostle could call his heavy trials light afflictions, and but for a moment, what can the Christian of today complain of? How must our trifling difficulties appear in contrast with the many afflictions of Paul for the truth’s sake? How many grieve the Spirit of God by their continual murmuring and fretfulness upon the slightest interference with their will and pleasure. Many pursue a course of careless indifference, as though there were no devil to lead them from the path of rectitude. They live for self, they work for self, they honor and glorify self. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. The soul he is bent on ruining he beguiles with visions of ease, selfish pleasure, profit, and power. He assumes any character to suit the emergency. In sacred history he is described as a destroyer, an accuser of the brethren, a deceiver, a liar, a tormenter, a murderer, that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. Satan has his allies, men who work to carry out his plans.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 70

    The apostles felt the power of the adversaries of souls; but though their physical strength was decreasing, yet they faithfully and unflinchingly declared the gospel of Christ. Daily they reflected more and more the image of the divine. Clad in divine armor the hero of the cross of Christ went forward in his path of duty, his heart invigorated by the truth of the gospel, refreshed by the dews of divine grace, opening and expanding to the beams of light shining in the face of Christ, and shedding forth that light like sweet fragrance upon all around him. Amid his pressing afflictions his voice of cheer shows him triumphant in the combat with visible and invisible foes. He fixes his eye upward, and beholds the heavenly reward. He does not linger over his trials and afflictions, but in a voice of joy and hope he sends down along the lines these words for our comfort:15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 71

    “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [Verses 17, 18.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 72

    The years of self-denial, of privation, of trial, affliction, and persecution, which Paul endured, he called a moment. The things of the present time were not considered worth mentioning when compared with the eternal weight of glory which awaited them when the warfare should be over. These very afflictions were God’s workmen, ordained for the perfection of Christian character. Whatever may be the circumstances of the Christian, however dark and mysterious may be the ways of Providence, however great his deprivation and suffering, he may look away from them all to the unseen and the eternal. He has the blessed assurance that all things are working for his good.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 73

    When these afflictions are dwelt upon the magnified, the soul is filled with distrust and repining. Unprofitable imaginings and worldly schemes and ambition for worldly honor or distinction will cause the mind to center upon temporal things and magnify temporal afflictions. But if the soul is absorbed in meditating upon the glorious plan of salvation, considering Him who was put to grief for our sins, who bore our sorrows and died our sacrifice, that we might have the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory—when we consider all this, we like Paul shall regard our heaviest sorrows and trials as light afflictions.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 74

    We may profitably consider the Son of God upon the cross, smitten, bruised, and dying, without a murmur, unresisting, uncomplaining, amid mockery and derision. And this is the Monarch of heaven, whose throne is from everlasting, and whose kingdom shall have no end. All this suffering and shame was endured for the joy that was set before Him, the joy of granting to man the precious gift that attracted the eye of Paul and caused all his sufferings to seem so insignificant as to be called light afflictions endured for a moment. When the mind’s eye is fastened upon the cross of Christ, the pledge of eternal reward will ennoble the whole nature of man. The glorious characteristics of a Saviour’s matchless love will melt and subdue the soul, and give that strength and power which will carry the soul above the things of time and sense.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 75

    If men in our day ever should subdue the pride and vanity of their hearts, and bring their souls into converse with things unseen and eternal, they must learn to estimate all temporal concerns in the light that shines from the cross. The mind must be trained to fathom the depths of the humiliation to which our great Exemplar submitted that He might make man the possessor of eternal riches. In dwelling upon things unseen in the plan of redemption, the heart will feel mighty throbs of a Saviour’s love, and will be ravished by the charms of His pure and spotless character.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 76

    The Holy Spirit irradiated the soul of Paul with light from heaven, and he was assured that he had an interest in the purchased possession reserved for the faithful. Paul’s language was strong. He was not able to find words of sufficient force to express the excellency of that glory, honor, and immortality which believers would receive when Christ should come. Compared with the scene upon which his mind’s eye was dwelling, all temporal afflictions were but momentary, light afflictions, unworthy of thought.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 77

    Viewed in the light of the cross, the things of this life were vanity and emptiness. The glory that attracted him was substantial, weighty, durable, beyond the power of language to describe. Yet Paul comes as near to expressing it as he can, that the imagination may grasp the reality as far as is possible to finite minds. It was a weight of glory, a fulness of God, knowledge that was measureless. It was an eternal weight of glory. And yet Paul feels that his language is tame. It falls short of expressing the reality. He reaches out for words more expressive. The boldest figures of speech would fall far short of the truth. He seeks the broadest terms which human language can supply, that the imagination may grasp in some degree the superlative excellency of the glory to be given the final overcomer.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 78

    Holiness, dignity, honor and felicity in the presence of God, are things now unseen except by the eye of faith. But the things which are seen, worldly honor, worldly pleasure, riches, and glory, are eclipsed by the excellency, the beauty, and resplendent glory of the things now unseen. The things of this world are temporal, enduring only for a time, while the things which are not seen are eternal, enduring through endless ages. To secure this infinite treasure is to gain everything and lose nothing.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 79

    It is the love of Christ that makes our heaven. But when we seek to express the love of Christ, language fails us. We review His life on earth, His infinite sacrifice for man, we think of the mansions He has gone to prepare for His obedient ones, and we are silent from amazement. We exclaim, O the heights and depths of the love of Christ! We linger beneath the cross, viewing the dying agonies of the Prince of glory, and we may have some faint conception of this expression of the love of God. We may say, herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and gave His Son to die for us. But after all our contemplation of Christ we are only lingering around the edges of a love that is immeasurable. It is like a vast ocean, without bottom or shore. It is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 80

    In all who follow Jesus, this love like a sacred fire is burning upon the altar of the heart, and it will be expressed in words and actions. It was on this earth that the rich glories of the love of God were displayed through Jesus Christ. And it is upon the earth that Christ’s followers are to reflect the love and light of Jesus. That which He lets shine upon them is to be expressed in its fullness in words and deeds. Thus it will attract minds from the things which are seen to the things which are unseen. The apostle continues, not with hesitancy and wavering unbelief, but with assurance, “For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” [2 Corinthians 5:1.]15LtMs, Ms 58, 1900, par. 81

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