Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 41, 1892

God’s Love For Man



This manuscript is published in entirety in BTS 12/1907, 02/1908, 03/1908, 11/1908, 12/1908, 01/1909. Used also in SC.

Many conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice, one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. The Creator has been pictured as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them. In the minds of thousands, love and sympathy and tenderness are associated with the character of Christ, while God is regarded as the law-giver, inflexible, arbitrary, devoid of sympathy for the beings He has made. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 1

Never was there a greater error. Nature and revelation alike testify of God’s love. It is from Him that we receive every good gift. He is the source of life, of wisdom, and of joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature. Think of their marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not only of men, but of all living creatures. The sunshine and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the Creator’s love. It is God who brings the bud to bloom, the flower to fruit. It is He who supplies the daily needs of all His people. In the beautiful words of the Psalmist: 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 2

“The eyes of all wait upon thee,
and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine Hand,
And satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”
7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 3

God made man perfectly holy and happy; and the fair earth, as it came from the Creator’s hand, bore no blight of decay or shadow of the curse. It is transgression of God’s [law] that has brought woe and death. Yet even amid the suffering that results from sin, God’s love is revealed. It is written that God cursed the ground for man’s sake. The thorn and the thistle, the difficulties and trials that make his life one of toil and care, were appointed for his good as a part of the training needful in God’s plan for His uplifting from the ruin and degradation of sin. The world, though fallen, is not all sorrow and misery. In nature itself are messages of hope and comfort. There are flowers upon the thistles, and the thorns are covered with roses. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 4

“God is love” is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green, all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God, and to His desire to make His children happy. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 5

The Word of God reveals His character. He Himself has declared His infinite love and pity. When Moses prayed, “Show me thy glory,” the Lord answered, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee!” [Exodus 33:18, 19.] This is His glory. The Lord passed before Moses and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” [Exodus 34:6, 7.] He is “slow to anger, and of great kindness,” “because He delighteth in mercy.” [Joel 2:13; Micah 7:18.] 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 6

He has bound Himself to our hearts by unnumbered tokens, in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, God has sought to reveal Himself to us. Yet even these but imperfectly represent His love. When all these evidences had been given, the enemy of good still blinded the minds of men, so that they looked upon God with fear; they thought of Him as severe and unforgiving. Then Jesus came to live among them, that through Him the infinite love of God might be revealed. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 7

Christ came from heaven to give to the world a correct representation of the Father. He says, “neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” [Matthew 11:27.] And [when] one of the disciples made the request, “Show us the Father,” Jesus answered, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” [John 14:8, 9.] 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 8

In describing His earthly mission, Jesus said, “The Lord hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” [Luke 4:18.] This was His work. He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. There were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house, for He had passed through them and healed all their sick. His work gave evidence of His divine anointing. Love, mercy, and compassion were displayed in every act of His life. His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men. He took man's nature, that He might reach man's wants. The poorest and humblest were not afraid to approach Him. Even little children were attracted to Him. They loved to climb upon His knees and gaze into that pensive face, benignant with love. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 9

Jesus never suppressed one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to accept Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 10

They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness, and sorrow so deep that it broke His heart. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. He never made truth cruel, but manifested a wonderful tenderness for humanity. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest compassion and regard to every member of the family of God. In all, He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 11

Such was the character of Christ as revealed in His life. This is the character of God. It is from the Father’s heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men. Jesus, the tender, pitying Saviour, was God “manifest in the flesh.” [1 Timothy 3:16.] 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 12

But we have, as it were, taken only a surface view of the life of Christ. It was to redeem us that He lived and suffered and died. He became “a man of sorrows,” that we might be made partakers of everlasting joy. [Isaiah 53:3.] God permitted His beloved Son, full of grace and truth, to come from a world of indescribable glory to a world marred and blighted with sin, shadowed with the shadow of death and the curse. He permitted Him to leave the bosom of His love, the adoration of the angels, to suffer shame, insult, humiliation, hatred and death. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 13

And Jesus bore all this untold sorrow that we might be changed to His divine image, and become the sons of God. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” [Verse 5.] Behold Him in the wilderness, in Gethsemane, upon the cross! The spotless Son of God took upon Himself the burden of sin. He who had been one with God, felt in His soul the awful separation that sin makes between God and men. This forced from His lips the anguished cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Matthew 27:46.] It was the burden of sin, the sense of its terrible enormity, of its separation of the soul from God—it was this that broke the heart of the Son of God. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 14

It was only by the death of Christ that the human race could be redeemed. Man had broken the law of God, and Christ alone could atone for the transgression. But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no. “God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son.” [John 3:16.] God suffered with His Son. In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of Calvary, the heart of Infinite Love paid the price of our redemption. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” [2 Corinthians 5:19.] “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” [John 3:16.] He gave Him not only to live among men, to bear their sins, and die their sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 15

Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who is one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is “not ashamed to call them brethren” [Hebrews 2:11]; [He is] our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father’s throne, and through eternal ages one with the race He has redeemed—the Son of man. And all this that man might be uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin that he might reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 16

The price paid for our redemption, the infinite sacrifice of our heavenly Father in giving His Son to die for us, should give us exalted views of what we might become through Christ. As the inspired apostle John beholds the height, the depth, the breadth of the Father’s love toward the perishing race, He is filled with adoration and reverence; and failing to find suitable language in which to express this love, He calls upon the church and the world to behold it. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” [1 John 3:1.] What a value this places upon man! 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 17

Through transgression, the sons of men became subjects of Satan. Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, the sons of Adam may become the sons of God. By assuming human nature, Christ elevates humanity. Fallen men are granted another trial and are placed where, through connection with Christ, they may indeed become worthy of the name, “sons of God.” 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 18

Such love is without a parallel. Children of the heavenly King! Precious promise! Theme for the most profound meditation! The amazing love of God for a world that did not love Him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul, and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God. The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite, and a tender pity surpassing a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 19

“Every human tie may perish,
Friend to friend unfaithful prove,
Mothers cease their own to cherish,
Heaven and earth at last remove;
But no change
Can attend Jehovah’s love.”
7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 20

But to make known to man the love of God and to bring them to share His grace—even this was not the only purpose of the Saviour’s life of suffering and death of shame. Results of yet deeper significance, of infinitely greater extent, flow from the sacrifice of the Son of God. By the death of Christ, not only is man set free from Satan’s power and uplifted from the pit of ruin, but the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law, are vindicated before the universe. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 21

The government of God is not, as Satan would make it appear, founded upon a blind submission and unreasoning control. It appeals to the intellect and the conscience. “Come now and let us reason together,” is the Creator’s invitation to the beings He has made. Isaiah 1:18. God does not force the will of His creatures. He cannot accept an homage that is not willingly and intelligently given. He desires that all the inhabitants of the universe shall be convinced of His justice in the final overthrow of rebellion and the eradication of sin. He purposes that the real nature and direful effects of sin shall be clearly manifested, to the end that all may be assured of the wisdom and justice of the divine government. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 22

When man, beguiled by Satan, disobeyed the divine law, God could not, even to save a lost race, change that law. God is love; His law is an expression of His character. To change His law would be to deny Himself; it would overthrow those principles with which are bound up the well-being of the entire universe. But in order to save the sinner, the Creator sacrificed Himself. The Father suffered in His Son. The measure of God’s love is Christ. The Saviour’s sacrifice was not to create in God a love that had not before existed; it was but the expression of a love which had not been appreciated or understood. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 23

The Son of God, in becoming man’s substitute, and bearing the curse which should fall upon man, pledged Himself, in behalf of the race, to maintain the honor of the law of God. The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through His mediatorial work He may save the sinner, and completely vindicate the claims of the [law]. His mission was to convince men of sin, which is the transgression of the law, and through the merits of His blood, and by His mediation, He was to bring them back to obedience. Through the sacrifice of Christ the law could be maintained, and the sinner could be pardoned, not only freed from the power of sin, but “renewed after the image of him that created him.” Colossians 3:10. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 24

The love and justice of God, and also the immutability of His law, are made manifest by the Saviour’s life, no less than by His death. He assumed human nature, with its infirmities, its liabilities, its temptations. “Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:17. “In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.” Hebrews 2:17. He was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Hebrews 2:16. He exercised in His own behalf no power which man cannot exercise. As man He met temptation and overcame in the strength given Him of God. He gives us an example of perfect obedience. He has provided that we may become partakers of the divine nature, and assures us that we may overcome as He overcame. His life testified that by the aid of the same divine power which Christ received, it is possible for man to obey God’s law. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 25

In Christ were united the divine and the human. The Creator and the creature, the nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus—the Son of God, and the Son of man. And having with His own blood paid the price of redemption, having passed through man’s experience, having in man’s behalf met and conquered temptation, having, though Himself sinless, borne the shame and guilt and burden of sin, He becomes man’s Advocate and Intercessor. What an assurance here to the tempted and struggling soul, what an assurance to the witnessing universe, that Christ will be, “A merciful and faithful high priest.” Hebrews 2:17. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 26

What an assurance also that He will be a righteous, a just, and compassionate judge. He who has measure the power of every subtle temptation of man’s cruel foe, who has borne every weakness to which man is subject, He who is a brother in our infirmities—will He not deal justly and tenderly with the soul that His own blood has been poured out to save? And such is the teaching of His own words when He said that the Father had “given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” John 5:27. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 27

The working out of the great plan of redemption, as manifest in the history of this world, is not only to men but to angels, a revelation of the Father. Here is seen the work of Satan in the degradation and ruin of the race by sin, and, on the other hand, the work of God in man’s recovery and uplifting through the grace of Christ. Every soul that develops a righteous character and withstands the power of the wicked one is a testimony to the falsehood of Satan’s charges against the divine government. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 28

Through the eternal ages the exaltation of the redeemed will be a testimony to God’s love and mercy. This is set forth in the touching and beautiful words of the apostle Paul. He says that “we are a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.” 1 Corinthians 4:9. “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, ... that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 2:4-7. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 29

And the apostle desires “to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, ... to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Ephesians 3:[9], 10. R. V. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 30

Through the eternal ages the offensive character of sin will be seen in what it cost the Father and the Son in the humiliation, suffering, and death of Christ. All the worlds will behold in Him a living testimony to the malignity of sin, for in His divine form He bears the marks of the curse. He is in the midst of the throne as the Lamb that had been slain. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 31

Not only men but angels will ascribe honor and glory to the Redeemer, for even they are secure only through the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the inhabitants of unfallen worlds have been guarded from apostasy. It is this that has effectually unveiled the deceptions of Satan and refuted His claims. Not only those that are washed by the blood of Christ, but also the holy angels, are drawn to Him by His crowning act of giving His life for the sins of the world. God’s dealing with the rebellion of Satan is justified before the universe. The justice and mercy of God are fully vindicated, so that to all eternity, rebellion will never again arise. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 32

Such is the import of His own words when, for the last time teaching in the temple, He said, looking forward to His approaching sacrifice, “now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me.” [John 12:31, 32.] “Will draw all unto me”—not only earth, but heaven, for of Him “The whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Ephesians 3:15. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 33

Thus God has “made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to the good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself; that ... he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” Ephesians 1:9, 10. 7LtMs, Ms 41, 1892, par. 34