Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)



Ms 1, 1892

The Divine-Human Nature of Christ


November 15, 1892

This manuscript is published in entirety in 6MR 334-343. +Note

The world’s Redeemer passed over the ground where Adam fell because of his disobeying the expressed law of Jehovah; and the only begotten Son of God came to our world as a man, to reveal to the world that men could keep the law of God. Satan, the fallen angel, had declared that no man could keep the law of God after the disobedience of Adam. <He claimed the whole race under his control.> 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 1

The Son of God placed Himself in <the sinner’s> stead, and passed over the ground where Adam fell, and endured the temptation in the wilderness which was a hundredfold stronger than was or ever will be brought to bear upon the human race. Jesus resisted the temptations of Satan in the same manner that every tempted soul may resist, by referring him to the Inspired Record and saying, “It is written.” 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 2

Christ overcame the temptations of Satan as a man. Every man may overcome as Christ overcame. He humbled Himself for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are. He redeemed Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall and was conqueror, thus testifying to all the unfallen worlds and to fallen humanity that man could keep the commandments of God through the divine power granted to him of heaven. Jesus the Son of God humbled Himself for us, endured temptation for us, overcame in our behalf, to show us how we may overcome; He has thus bound up His interests with humanity by the closest ties, and has given the positive assurance that we shall not be tempted above that we are able, for with the temptation He will make a way of escape. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 3

The Holy Spirit was promised to be with those who were wrestling for victory, in demonstration of all mightiness, endowing the human agent with supernatural powers, and instructing the ignorant in the mysteries of the kingdom of God. That the Holy Spirit is to be the grand helper is a wonderful promise. Of what avail would it have been to us that the only begotten Son of God had humbled Himself, endured the temptations of the wily foe, and wrestled with him during His entire life on earth, and died the Just for the unjust that humanity might not perish, if the Spirit had not been given as a constant working, regenerating agent to make effectual in our cases what had been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 4

The imparted Holy Spirit enabled His disciples, the apostles, to stand firmly against every species of idolatry and to exalt the Lord and Him alone. Who, but Jesus Christ by His Spirit and divine power, guided the pens of the sacred historians that to the world might be presented the precious record of the sayings and works of Jesus Christ? 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 5

The promised Holy Spirit, that He would send after He ascended to His Father, is constantly at work to draw the attention to the great official sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary, and to unfold to the world the love of God to man, and to open to the convicted soul the precious things in the Scriptures, and to open to darkened minds the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, the truths that as gold make their hearts burn within them with the awakened intelligence of the truths of eternity. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 6

Who but the Holy Spirit presents before the mind the moral standard of righteousness and convinces of sin, and produces godly sorrow which worketh repentance that needeth not to be repented of, and inspires the exercise of faith in Him who alone can save from all sin. Who but the Holy Spirit can work with human minds to transform character by withdrawing the affections from those things which are temporal, perishable, and imbues the soul with earnest desire by presenting the immortal inheritance, the eternal substance which is imperishable, and recreates, refines, and sanctifies the human agents that they may become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King? 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 7

The question, “What difference does it make what day we keep for Sabbath?” is often asked. Just the same as it did with Adam, <it made every difference> whether he should obey God and not eat of the tree of knowledge, or whether he should yield to Satan’s specious reasoning and say, “What difference does it make whether I eat of the fruit of this forbidden tree or the rest of the trees in the garden?” Adam’s sin in doing the very things the Lord told him not to do <was his disobedience and transgression and> opened the floodgates of woe to our world. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 8

The life of Christ is to be carefully meditated upon and to be constantly studied with a desire to understand the reason why He had to come at all. We can only form our conclusions by searching the Scriptures as Christ has enjoined upon us to do for says He, “they testify of me.” [John 5:39.] We may find, by searching <the Word,> the virtues of obedience in contrast with the sinfulness of disobedience. “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” [Romans 5:19.] 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 9

The Garden of Eden, with its foul blot of disobedience, is to be carefully studied and compared with the Garden of Gethsemane where the world’s Redeemer suffered superhuman agony when the sins of the whole world were rolled upon Him. Listen to the prayer of the only begotten Son of God, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I wilt but as thou wilt.” [Matthew 26:39.] And the second time He prayed saying, “O my Father if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” [Verse 42.] And the third time He prayed saying the same words. It was here the mysterious cup trembled in the hands of the Son of God. Shall He wipe the bloody sweat from His agonized countenance and let man go? The wail, wretchedness, and ruin of a lost world rolls up its horrible picture before Him. “And being in an agony he prayed the more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” [Luke 22:44, 43.] The conflict is ended, Jesus consents to honor His Father by doing His will and bearing His curse, the consequence of man’s transgression. He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Here was what was involved in Adam’s disobedience and what the obedience of the Son of God means to us. Adam did not consider all the consequences resulting from his disobedience. He did not set his mind in defiance against God, nor did he in any way speak against God; he simply went directly contrary to His express command. And how many today are doing the very same thing, and their guilt is of much great magnitude because they have the example of Adam’s experience in disobedience and its terrible results to warn them of the consequences of transgressing the law of God. So they have clear light upon this subject, and no excuse for their built in denying and disobeying God’s authority. Adam did not stop to calculate the result of his disobedience. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 10

We can stand down here, in 1892, and with the aftersight we are privileged to have, we can see what it means to disobey God’s commandments. Adam yielded to temptation, and as we had the matter of sin and its consequences laid so distinctly before us, we can read from cause to effect and see the greatness of the act is not that which constitutes sin; but the disobedience of God’s expressed will, which is a virtual denial of God, refusing the laws of His government. The happiness of man is in his obedience to the laws of God. In his obedience to God’s law he is surrounded as with a hedge and kept from the evil. No man can be happy and depart from God’s specified requirements, and set up a standard of his own which he decides he can safely follow. Then there would be a variety of standards to suit the different minds, and the government [would be] taken out of the Lord’s hands and <human beings> [would] grasp the reins of government. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 11

The law of self is erected, the will of man is made supreme, and when the high and holy will of God is presented to be obeyed, respected, and honored, the human will wants its own way, and to choose how far it shall [go] to do its own promptings, and there is <controversy> between the human agent and the divine. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 12

The fall of our first parents broke the golden chain of implicit obedience of the human will to the divine. Obedience has no longer been deemed an absolute necessity. The human agents follow their own imaginations which the Lord said of the inhabitants of the old world were evil and that continually. The Lord Jesus declares, I have kept my Father’s commandments. [John 15:10.] How? As a man. Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. To the accusations of the Jews He stood forth in His pure, virtuous, holy character and challenged them, “Who of you, convinceth me of sin?” [John 8:46.] 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 13

The world’s Redeemer came not only to be a sacrifice for sin, but to be an example to man in all things, <a holy human character.> He was a teacher, such an educator as the world never saw or heard before. He spake as one having authority, and yet He invites the confidence of all. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 14

The only begotten Son of the infinite God has, by His words, and His practical example, left us a plain pattern which we are to copy. By His words He has educated us to obey God, and by His own practice He has showed us how we can obey God. This is the very work He wants every man to do, to obey God intelligently, by precept and example teach others what they must do in order to be obedient children of God. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 15

Jesus has helped the whole world to an intelligent knowledge of His divine mission and work. He came to represent the character of the Father to our world, and as we study the life, the words, and works of Jesus Christ, we are helped in every way in the education of obedience to God; and as we copy the example He has given us, we are living epistles known and read of all men. We are the living human agencies to represent in character Jesus Christ to the world. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 16

Not only did Christ give explicit rules showing how we may become obedient children, but He showed us in His own life and character just how to do those things which are right and acceptable with God, so there is no excuse why we should not do those things which are pleasing in His sight. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 17

We are ever to be thankful that Jesus has proved to us by actual facts that man can keep the commandments of God, giving contradiction to Satan’s falsehood that man cannot keep them. The Great Teacher came to our world to stand at the head of humanity, to thus elevate and sanctify humanity by His holy obedience to all of God’s requirements, showing it is possible to obey all the commandments of God. He has demonstrated that a lifelong obedience is possible. Thus He gives <chosen, representative> men to the world, as the Father gave the Son, to exemplify in their life the life of Jesus Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 18

We need not place the obedience of Christ by itself as something for which He was particularly adapted by His particular divine nature, for He stood before God as man’s representative and tempted as man’s substitute and surety. If Christ had a special power which it is not the privilege of man to have, Satan would have made capital of this matter. The work of Christ was to take from the claims of Satan his control of man, and he could do this only in the way that He came—a man, tempted as a man, rendering the obedience of a man. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 19

Jesus says, “Follow me,” “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] Consider it not a hard duty. The commandments of God are His expressed character flowing out of a heart of love, of thoughtful plans that man may be preserved from every evil. They are not an arbitrary authority over man, but the Lord would have men as His obedient children and members of His own family. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 20

Obedience is the outgrowth and fruit of oneness with Christ and the Father. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:2-4. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 21

When we have unmistakably heard His voice and obey, every murmuring thought will be repressed; and we will obey, leaving all consequences with Him who gave the commandment. If, as we see the footprints of Jesus, we step in them, in thus following Him there is love and power. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 22

Bear in mind that Christ’s overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith. The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 23

Man cannot overcome Satan’s temptations without divine power to combine with His instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ, He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God’s Holy Law, and in this way He is our example. The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do through faith in God’s power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset. The Lord now demands that every son and daughter of Adam through faith in Jesus Christ serve Him in human nature which we now have. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 24

The Lord Jesus has bridged the gulf that sin has made. He has connected earth with heaven, and finite man with the infinite God. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3, 4. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 25

“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.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. The glory he [Paul] mentioned is character, therefore by thinking and talking of Jesus we become charmed with His character, and by faith we become changed from character to character. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” [Ephesians 4:23, 24.] “Ye are the light of the world ... 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.] We must practice the example of Christ, bearing in mind His Sonship and His humanity. It was not God that was tempted in the wilderness, nor a god that was to endure the contradiction of sinners against himself. It was the Majesty of heaven who became a man—humbled Himself to our human nature. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 26

We are not to serve God as if we were not human, but we are to serve Him in the nature we have, that has been redeemed by the Son of God; through the righteousness of Christ we shall stand before God pardoned, and as though we had never sinned. We will never gain strength in considering what we might do if we were angels. We are to turn in faith to Jesus Christ, and show our love to God through obedience to His commands. Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15.] Jesus says, “Follow Me.” “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] Jesus leads the way. Do not wait and continue in disobedience, hoping circumstances may change, making it easier for you to obey. Go forward, for you know the will of God. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 27

The fourth commandment is given for us to observe. The third angel’s message comes to us in warnings, entreaties, and threatenings. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb ... Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:9, 10, 12.] 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 28

John is shown that in these last days a remnant will be keeping the commandments of God. Where are they? In a description given of the workings of Satan it says, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” [Revelation 12:17.] Who are the people here specified? 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1892, par. 29