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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1539—Christ's Sacrifice Testifies to Permanence of God's Law

    (Written December 30, 1897, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N.S.W. Portions of this manuscript appear in The Upward Look, SDA Bible Commentary, vols. 6 and 7, and in various Manuscript Releases.)

    I have a deep interest for every individual who is now making decisions to obey the word of the Lord. It is not the will or word of man that is to be received and believed, it is a “Thus saith the Lord.” The controversy is with the Lord.21MR 193.1

    Satan will use every subtle argument to deceive men and women as he did in Eden to deceive Adam and Eve. A lie will be made to appear a very desirable fact. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan said to Eve: [Genesis 3:2-5, quoted].21MR 193.2

    Adam and Eve both ate of the fruit and obtained a knowledge, which, had they obeyed God, they would never have had—an experience in disobedience and disloyalty to God—the knowledge that they were naked. The garments of innocence, the presence of light which surrounded them, a covering from God, had departed. They supplied the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for aprons.21MR 193.3

    This is the covering that all who have transgressed the law of God have used since the days of Adam and Eve's disobedience. They have sewn together fig leaves to cover their nakedness caused by transgression and sin. The fig leaves represent the arguments used to cover disobedience. When the Lord calls the attention of men and women to the truth, the making of fig leaves into aprons will commence in order to hide the nakedness of the soul of every transgressor.21MR 193.4

    The Lord Jesus Christ has prepared a covering, the robe of His own righteousness, that He will put on every repenting, believing soul who by faith will receive it. Said John, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Sin is the transgression of the law. Christ died to make it possible for every man to have his sins taken away.21MR 193.5

    A fig-leaf apron will never cover our nakedness. Sin must be taken away, and the garment of Christ's righteousness must cover the transgressor of God's law. Then when the Lord looks upon the believing sinner, He sees, not the fig leaves covering him, but Christ's own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah. Man has hidden his nakedness, not under a covering of fig leaves, but under the robe of Christ's righteousness.21MR 193.6

    Christ has made a sacrifice to satisfy the demands of Justice. What a price for heaven to pay to ransom the transgressor of the law of Jehovah. Yet that holy law could not be maintained with any smaller price. In the place of the law being abolished to meet sinful man in his fallen condition, it has been maintained in all its sacred dignity. In His Son God gave Himself to save from eternal ruin all who would believe in Him.21MR 194.1

    Sin is disloyalty to God, and deserving of punishment. Fig leaves sewed together have been employed since the days of Adam, yet the nakedness of the soul of the sinner is not covered. All the arguments pieced together by all who have interested themselves in this flimsy robe, will come to naught. Sin is the transgression of the law. Christ was manifest in our world to take away transgression and sin, and to substitute the pure robes of His righteousness for the covering of fig leaves. The law of God stands vindicated by the suffering and death of the only begotten Son of the infinite God.21MR 194.2

    The transgression of God's law in a single instance, in the smallest particular, is sin. And the non-execution of the penalty of that sin would be a crime in the divine administration. God is a judge, the avenger of justice, which is the habitation and foundation of His throne. He cannot dispense with His law, He cannot do away with its smallest item in order to meet and pardon sin. The rectitude and justice and moral excellence of the law must be maintained and vindicated before the heavenly universe and the worlds unfallen.21MR 194.3

    What is the justice of God? It is the holiness of God in relation to sin. Christ bore the sins of the world in man's behalf that the sinner might have another trial, with all the divine opportunities and advantages which God has provided in man's behalf. “Whosoever committeth sin,” says John, “transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him” [1 John 3:4-6].21MR 194.4

    I would call on all who would win heaven, to take warning. Do not devote your precious probationary time to sewing together fig leaves to cover the nakedness which is the result of sin. As you look into the Lord's great moral looking glass, His holy law, His standard of character, do not for a moment suppose that it can cleanse you. There are no saving properties in the law. It cannot pardon the transgressor. The penalty must be exacted. The Lord does not save sinners by abolishing His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and in earth. The punishment has been endured by the sinner's substitute.21MR 194.5

    Not that God is cruel and merciless, and Christ so merciful that He died on Calvary's cross to abolish a law so arbitrary that it needed to be extinguished, crucified between two thieves. The throne of God must not bear one stain of crime, one taint of sin. In the councils of heaven, before the world was created, the Father and the Son covenanted together that if man proved disloyal to God, Christ, one with the Father, would take the place of the transgressor, and suffer the penalty of justice that must fall upon him.21MR 195.1

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ did not come to change the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. He did not come to lessen the law of God in one particular. He came to express in His own person the love of God. He came to vindicate every precept of the holy law.21MR 195.2

    Christ presented to His disciples their exalted position in the world. “Ye are the light of the world,” He said, “a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” [Matthew 5:14-16].21MR 195.3

    Christ read the hearts of the Pharisees, who were bracing themselves to resist the light. Their prejudice against Him was strengthening; they were saying in their hearts, He is doing away [with] the law; we will have no such teaching. But while they were bottling up their wrath, there fell on their startled ears the answer to their unspoken thought: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill (every specification of the law). For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle will in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 5:17-19].21MR 195.4

    This is the judgment pronounced in the councils of heaven. Some have thought that the commandment breaker will be there but will occupy the very lowest place. He will not be there. Sinners will never enter the abodes of bliss. The commandment breaker, and all who unite with him in teaching others that it makes no difference whether they break or observe the divine law, will by the universe of heaven be called least among the human agencies. For not only have they been disloyal themselves, but they have taught others to break the law of God with impunity. Christ pronounces judgment upon those who claim to have a knowledge of the law of God, but who lead souls into confusion and darkness, both by precept and example. They are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, and making void the law of God through their traditions. “For I say unto you (My disciples), that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”21MR 195.5

    “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” As long as heaven and earth remain, not one jot or tittle will pass from the law. As long as there is a canopy of heaven above our heads, and the earth beneath our feet, there should be no argument or controversy over this question. Until this evidence is fulfilled before your eyes, you may be sure that the law of Jehovah will hold its exalted place.21MR 196.1

    “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee unto Jordan, to be baptized of John. And John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” In fulfilling “all righteousness,” Christ did not bring all righteousness to an end. He fulfilled all the requirements of God in repentance, faith, and baptism, the steps in grace in genuine conversion. In His humanity Christ filled up the measure of the law's requirements. He was the head of humanity, its substitute and surety. Human beings, by uniting their weakness to the divine nature of Christ, may become partakers of His character.21MR 196.2

    Christ came to give an example of the perfect conformity to the law of God required of Adam, the first man, down to the last man that shall live on the earth. He declares that His mission is not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it in perfect and entire obedience. In this way He magnified the law and made it honorable. In His life He revealed its spiritual nature. He revealed to heavenly beings, to worlds unfallen, to a disobedient, unthankful, unholy world, that He fulfilled the far-reaching principles of the law. He came to demonstrate the fact that humanity, allied by living faith to divinity, can keep all God's commandments.21MR 196.3

    The typical offerings pointed to Christ, and when the perfect sacrifice was made the sacrificial offerings were no longer acceptable to God. Type met antitype in the death of the only begotten Son of God. He came to make plain the immutable character of the law, to declare that disobedience and transgression could never be rewarded by God with eternal life. He came as a man to humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. But in no case did He come to lessen the obligations of men to be perfectly obedient. He did not destroy the validity of the Old Testament Scriptures. He fulfilled that which was predicted by God Himself. He did not come to set men free from the law; He came to open a way by which they might obey that law, and teach others to do the same.—Manuscript 145, 1897.21MR 196.4

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    December 13, 1990.

    Entire Ms.

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