Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17

361/469

Ms 113, 1902

Tempted in All Points Like as We Are

NP

September 7, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in OHC 87; Ev 58; 7BC 908; CTr 217-218; 17MR 28. +Note

“Tempted in all points like as we are.” [Hebrews 4:15.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 1

Read carefully the first eleven verses of the fourth chapter of Matthew. It is the story of the battle between Christ and Satan. Christ came to this world as a man, to prove to angels and to men that man may overcome, that in every emergency he may know that the powers of heaven are ready to help him. He took the nature of man, with all its possibilities. We have nothing to endure that He has not endured. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 2

At His baptism the glory of God rested on Him, as a dove of burnished gold. Light from the throne of God encircled Him, while from heaven were heard the words, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:16, 17.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 3

Then Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and here His test came. He went into the wilderness to be alone, to contemplate His mission and work. By fasting and prayer He was to brace Himself for the bloodstained path He must travel. But Satan knew that the Saviour had gone into the wilderness; and he thought this the best time to approach Him. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 4

Before beginning His public ministry, Christ submitted to the fierce assaults of the enemy, knowing that without conflict there could be no victory. He consented to engage in the contest under any circumstances that the foe might require. “In all things He was made like unto His brethren.” He was “tempted in all points like as we are.” “In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” [Hebrews 2:17; 4:15; 2:18.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 5

The duel between Christ and Satan was fought in the wilderness, Christ with apparently not a friend to aid Him. Satan is subtle. Falsehood is his stock in trade. With all the power that he possessed he tried to overcome the humanity of Christ. Could he lead the Saviour to swerve a hair’s breadth from His allegiance to God, the victory would be his. The world would pass under his control. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 6

Satan charmed the first Adam by his sophistry, just as he charms men and women today, leading them to believe a lie. Adam did not reach above his humanity for divine power. He believed the words of Satan. But the second Adam was not to become the enemy’s bondslave. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 7

Adam had the advantage over Christ, in that when he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of degradation. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 8

Every device that the enemy could suggest was brought against Him. It was when Christ was in a weakened condition, after His long fast of forty days, that the wisest of the fallen angels used the most enticing words at his command in an effort to compel the mind of Christ to yield to his mind. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 9

“If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” [Matthew 4:3.] Here is the insinuation of distrust. In the tones of the tempter’s voice is an expression of utter incredulity. Would God treat His own Son thus? Would He leave Him in the desert with wild beasts, without food, without companions, without comfort? He insinuates that God never meant His Son to be in such a state as this. “If thou be the Son of God,” he said, “show thy power by relieving thyself of this pressing hunger.” “Command that this stone be made bread.” 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 10

In His reply, Christ made no reference to the doubt. He was not to prove His divinity to Satan, to explain the reason of His humiliation. “It is written,” He said, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Verse 4.] He met Satan with the words of Scripture. In every temptation the weapon of His warfare was the Word of God. Satan demanded of Christ a miracle as the sign of His divinity. But that which is greater than all miracles, a firm reliance on a “thus saith the Lord,” was a sign that could not be controverted. So long as Christ held this position, the tempter could gain no advantage. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 11

When Christ said to Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” He repeated the words that, more than fourteen hundred years before, He had spoken to Israel: “The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, ... and He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live.” [Deuteronomy 8:2, 3.] In the wilderness, when all means of sustenance failed, God sent His people manna from heaven; and a sufficient and constant supply was given. This provision was to teach them that while they trusted in God, and walked in His ways, He would not forsake them. The Saviour now practiced the lesson He had taught to Israel. By the word of God succor had been given to the Hebrew host, and by the same word it would be given to Jesus. He awaited God’s time to bring relief. He was in the wilderness in obedience to God, and He would not obtain food by following the suggestions of Satan. In the presence of the witnessing universe, He testified that it is a less calamity to suffer whatever may befall, than to depart in any manner from the will of God. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 12

“Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down; for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” [Matthew 4:5, 6.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 13

When Satan quoted the promise, “He shall give His angels charge over thee,” he omitted the words, “to keep thee in all thy ways;” that is, in all the ways of God’s choosing. [Psalm 91:11.] Jesus refused to go outside the path of obedience. While manifesting perfect trust in His Father, He would not place Himself unbidden in a position that would necessitate the interposition of His Father to save Him from death. He would not force providence to come to His rescue, and thus fail of giving man an example of trust and submission. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 14

Jesus declared to Satan, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” [Matthew 4:7.] These words were spoken to the children of Israel when they thirsted in the desert and demanded that Moses should give them water, exclaiming, “is the Lord among us, or not?” [Exodus 17:7.] God had wrought marvellously for them, yet in trouble they doubted Him and demanded evidence that He was with them. In their unbelief they sought to put Him to the test. And Satan was urging Christ to do the same thing. God had already testified that Jesus was His Son; and now to ask for proof that He was the Son of God would be putting God’s word to the test—tempting Him. And the same would be true of asking for that which God had not promised. It would be to manifest distrust, and would be really proving or tempting Him. We should not present our petitions to God to prove whether He will fulfil His word, but because He will fulfil it; not to prove that He loves us, but because He loves us. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” [Hebrews 11:6.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 15

“Again the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” [Matthew 4:8, 9.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 16

This was Satan’s crowning effort. Into this effort he threw all his beguiling power. It was the charm of the serpent. He exerted the power of his fascination upon Christ, striving to make Him yield His will to him. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 17

In His weakness, Christ laid hold of God. Divinity flashed through humanity. Christ stood revealed as the Commander of heaven, and His words were the words of One who has all power. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” He said; “for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” [Luke 4:8.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 18

Satan had questioned whether Jesus was the Son of God. In his summary dismissal he had proof that he could not gainsay. He had no power to resist the command. Writhing with humiliation and rage, he was forced to withdraw from the presence of the world’s Redeemer. Christ’s victory was as complete as had been the failure of Adam. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 19

Christ knew of the long years of conflict in the future between man and his subtle foe. He is the refuge of all who, beset by temptation, call upon Him. Temptation and trial will come to us all, but we need never be worsted by the enemy. Our Saviour has conquered in our behalf. Satan is not invincible. Day by day he meets those who are on trial, striving by his wiles to gain the mastery over them. His accusing power is great, and it is in this line that he wins more victories than in any other. Christ was tempted that He might know how to help every soul that should afterward be tempted. Temptation is not sin; the sin lies in yielding. To the soul who trusts is Jesus, temptation means victory and greater strength. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 20

Christ is ready to pardon all who come to Him confessing their sins. To the tried, struggling soul is spoken the word, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] Thank God, we have a high priest who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, for He was in all points tempted like as we are. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 21

*****

Christ’s Manner of Working

When invited to a feast, Christ accepted the invitation, that He might, while sitting at the table, sow the seeds of truth in the hearts of those present. He knew that the seed thus sown would spring up and bring forth fruit. He knew that some of those sitting at meat with Him would afterward respond to His call, “Follow Me.” Ours is the privilege of studying Christ’s manner of teaching, as He went from place to place, everywhere sowing the seeds of truth. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 22

Because Christ carried the gospel to all people, because He accepted invitations to the houses of publicans, knowing that in this way only could He reach them with the message of heaven, the scribes and Pharisees said, “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” [Matthew 11:19.] “Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners?” they asked His disciples. [Matthew 9:11.] When Christ heard this, He declared, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] This was His vindication, and He kept steadily on with His work. And while the chief priests and elders scornfully rejected the truth He brought them, the common people heard Him gladly. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 23

*****

Holiness Unto the Lord

God has chosen men from eternity to be holy. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” [1 Thessalonians 4:3.] God’s law tolerates no sin, but demands perfect obedience. The echo of God’s voice comes to us, ever saying, “Holier, holier still.” And ever our answer is to be, “Yes, Lord, holier still.” 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 24

Holiness is within the reach of all who reach for it by faith, not because of their good works, but because of Christ’s merits. Divine power is provided for every soul struggling for the victory over sin and Satan. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 25

Justification means the saving of a soul from perdition, that he may obtain sanctification, and through sanctification, the life of heaven. Justification means that the conscience, purged from dead works, is placed where it can receive the blessings of sanctification. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 26

“The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” [Isaiah 32:17.] Knowledge of God brings power. It is by the virtue of the Word of God, as we put its truths into practice, that we are enabled to accomplish any good thing. Simplicity and godly sincerity win God’s commendation. The grace of Christ revealed in the daily experience shows that His words have been eaten and have become a part of the life. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 27

Go forward to perfection; living on the Word of God, the source of spiritual life. This word is to be received into the heart. Christ speaks of it as His flesh and blood. “Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life;” He declares, “and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me and I in him.” [John 6:54-56.] It is in obedience to God’s Word that we find eternal life. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 28

*****

How to Deal With the Erring

Those who listen to Satan’s insinuations are led to follow a course of action that places them in great peril. It is the duty of those who see their danger to help them as Christ would help them. But how often those who ought to restore the erring follow a course of action that drives them farther away from the Saviour. The tongue of accusation and slander is busy, and a mountain is made out of a molehill. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 29

O we need so much men who are wise in dealing with tempted souls! There are many prodigals needing the welcome of the loving father, not the cold repulse of the elder brother. Let us be afraid to be harsh and condemnatory. Before we speak, let us ask ourselves whether what we are about to say would be pleasing to Christ. There are angels hovering round these poor erring ones, seeking to lead them into safe paths. Let human beings keep their hands off, and give the tempted ones opportunity to recover themselves from the snare of the enemy. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 30

Among those who accuse, there are many who by their manner of dealing, have set an example that has led others away from rightdoing. Their course is more offensive to God than the course of those whom they condemn, because while professing to be upright in their dealings, they have done a strange work dishonoring to God. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 31

On one occasion the Pharisees and scribes brought to Christ a woman whom they accused of having violated the seventh commandment. “Moses in the law commanded that such should be stoned,” they said; “but what saith thou?” [John 8:5.] Jesus read their thoughts. He knew for what purpose this case had been brought to Him. He knew that these would-be guardians of justice had themselves led their victim into sin, that they might lay a snare for Jesus. Giving no sign that He had heard their question, He stooped, and fixing His eyes upon the ground began to write in the dust. Impatient at His delay, the accusers drew nearer, urging the matter upon His attention. But as their eyes, following His, fell upon the pavement at His feet, their countenances changed. There traced before them were the guilty secrets of their own lives. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 32

The law specified that in punishment by stoning, the witnesses in the case should be the first to cast a stone. Rising, and fixing His eyes upon the plotting elders, Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” and stooping down, He continued writing on the ground. [Verses 7, 8.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 33

The accusers had been defeated. With their robe of pretended holiness torn from them, they stood, guilty and condemned, in the presence of infinite purity. They trembled lest the hidden iniquity of their lives should be laid open to the multitude; and one by one, with bowed heads and downcast eyes they went away, leaving their victim with the pitying Saviour. Jesus arouse, and looking at the woman, said, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus saith unto her, Neither do I condemn thee. Go, and sin no more.” [Verses 10, 11.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 34

Were Christ on earth today, would He not hear many words of condemnation and harsh judgment? Would he not see men professing to be His followers crowding those who have erred into hard places, giving them no opportunity to recover themselves? Were He to say to them, as He said to the accusing Pharisees, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” [Verse 7], would they not, even as did the Pharisees, go away one by one, filled with shame? 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 35

If one errs, and through skilful treatment is brought to repentance, let all receive his confession with a sense of what it cost him, and welcome him back with heartfelt joy and gratitude that he has been enabled to obtain the victory. Let every tempted soul, who has been weaving strange threads into the web of life, who has been doing that of which he would be ashamed could he see the result, remember that Christ is ready to pardon every one who comes to Him. But his sin must be repented of and restitution made. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 36

In dealing with those in error, let us treat them as Christ would, seeking by a loving, unselfish interest in them to win them to repentance. Let those who have set themselves up as paragons, though they know that they made crooked paths for their feet, repent and be converted, that their sins may go beforehand to judgment. Let their repentance be sincere, that when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, their sins may be blotted out. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 37

“Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” [Hebrews 12:1-3.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 38

There are those who, though young men and women in years, are but children in the knowledge of God. Weak in faith, inexperienced, they need the help of those whose opportunities for gaining knowledge have been greater than theirs. There are youth such as these connected with our institutions. Let those who have charge over them remember that they are to be patiently and kindly instructed. Show Christlike forbearance in dealing with them. Let your hearts be filled with an intense desire to place their feet in right paths. Do not speak to them as if they were your slaves. Treat them as children, inexperienced, ignorant children, just as verily in need of wise guidance as is the little child just learning to walk. Remember that you are not faultless, that many times you are in need of help. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 39

Those in authority have many lessons to learn. Many of them have brought into their manhood and womanhood the faults of their childhood. Let them be guarded in their speech. Let them curb their hasty temper. If they are surly, fault-finding, inclined to scold and criticize, let them strive earnestly to correct these faults. Let them learn to appreciate the value of self-control and sweetness of temper. Before they can expect to control others aright, they must learn to control themselves and to submit to God. Let them beware of prejudicing and hardening the youthful minds with whom they are dealing, making it impossible for them to be helped. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 40

Those overseers who need that some one teach them cannot lead the youth in the path to heaven. Let the one, who, grown to manhood, has brought into his life a stock of loveless dignity begin just now to be kind and courteous. Only thus can he hope to win souls to Christ. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 41

The youth in our institutions need the help of wholesome, encouraging words and unselfish deeds. Treat them as Christ’s children, whom He wants you to help in every time of need. They are very precious to Him. He gave His life for them. Make friends of them. Bring Christlikeness into your life, that you may help them. Give them evidence of your love. Patiently, tenderly, strive to lead them to Jesus. You know not the good you may accomplish by putting forth earnest, unselfish effort for them. “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.” [James 5:20.] 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 42

The Word of God is your guide. Study it carefully, and you will learn how to deal with the souls for whom Christ has died. By teaching those who are in need of instruction, by speaking to them helpful, encouraging words, by revealing a Christlike spirit, you are to perfect your education. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 43

Speech is a precious talent. Use it for Christ. Let your words be loving and sympathetic and the tones of your voice pleasant. Let the sweetness of Christ soften and subdue all that is harsh in your nature. Try to help others over hard places. Thus you will gain help. In imparting to others the blessings God has given you, you are yourself making advancement toward perfection of character. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 44

Let those who have any part to act in the training of the youth remember their own faults and mistakes and strive earnestly to be what they wish the youth to be. Let them be wise, pitiful, noble, in their treatment of those so greatly in need of help. Let them not forget that the youth in their care are in this life to be prepared for admittance into the royal family. 17LtMs, Ms 113, 1902, par. 45