From Heaven With Love


Ideas of God Mold Character

Their ideas of God molded their own character. As in their view He had no interest in man, so they had little regard for one another. Refusing to acknowledge the influence of the Holy Spirit, they lacked His power in their lives. They boasted of their birthright as children of Abraham, but of the faith and benevolence of Abraham they were destitute. Their hearts were not touched by the wants and sufferings of others. They lived for themselves. HLv 404.2

By His words and works, Christ testified to a divine power that produces supernatural results, to a future life, to God as a Father of the children of men, ever watchful of their true interests. He taught that God moves upon the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed the error of trusting to human power for that transformation of character which can be wrought only by the Spirit of God. HLv 404.3

In seeking a controversy with Jesus, the Sadducees felt confident of bringing Him into disrepute, if not condemnation. The resurrection was the subject on which they chose to question Him. Should He agree with them, He would give offense to the Pharisees. Should He differ with them, they designed to hold His teaching up to ridicule. The Sadducees reasoned that if the body is to be composed of the same particles of matter in its immortal as in its mortal state, then it must have flesh and blood and resume in the eternal world the life interrupted on earth. Husband and wife would be reunited, marriages consummated, and all things go on the same as before death. HLv 404.4

In answer to their questions, Jesus lifted the veil from the future life. “In the resurrection,” He said, “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” The Sadducees were wrong. “Ye do err,” He added, “not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” He did not charge them with hypocrisy, but with error of belief. HLv 405.1

Their ignorance of the Scriptures and the power of God He declared to be the cause of their confusion of faith and darkness of mind. Christ called on them to open their minds to those sacred truths that would broaden the understanding. Thousands become infidels because they cannot comprehend the mysteries of God. The only key to the mysteries that surround us is to acknowledge in them the presence and power of God. Men need to recognize God as the Creator of the universe, One who commands and executes all things. HLv 405.2

Christ declared to His hearers that if there were no resurrection of the dead, the Scriptures which they professed to believe would be of no avail. He said, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” God sees the result of His work as though it were now accomplished. The precious dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth from the grave to immortal life. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him. HLv 405.3

The Sadducees were put to silence. Not a word had been spoken of which the least advantage could be taken for His condemnation. HLv 405.4

The Pharisees, however, did not yet despair. They prevailed on a certain learned scribe to question Jesus as to which of the ten precepts of the law was of the greatest importance. They had exalted the first four commandments, which point out the duty of man to his Maker, as of far greater consequence than the other six, which define man's duty to his fellowman. Jesus had been charged with exalting the last six commandments above the first four. HLv 405.5

The lawyer approached Jesus with a direct question, “Which is the first commandment of all?” The answer of Christ was direct: “The first of all the commandments is ... Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” The second is like the first, said Christ, for it flows out of it: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” HLv 406.1

Both these commandments are an expression of the principle of love. The first cannot be kept and the second broken, nor can the second be kept while the first is broken. Only as we love God supremely is it possible to love our neighbor impartially. HLv 406.2

Christ taught His hearers that the law of God is a divine whole, not so many separate precepts, some of great importance, others of small importance. Love to God will be shown by obedience to all His commandments. HLv 406.3

The scribe who had questioned Jesus was astonished. Before the assembled priests and rulers he honestly acknowledged that Christ had given the right interpretation to the law. HLv 406.4

The scribe had some sense of the worthlessness of mere ceremonial offerings and the faithless shedding of blood for expiation of sin. Love and obedience to God, and unselfish regard for man, appeared to him of more value than all these rites. His decided and prompt response before the people manifested a spirit entirely different from that of the priests and rulers. The heart of Jesus went out in pity to the honest scribe who had dared to speak the convictions of his heart. “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” HLv 406.5

The Pharisees had gathered close about Jesus as He answered the scribe. Now He put a question to them: “What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?” This question was designed to show whether they regarded Him simply as a man or as the Son of God. A chorus of voices answered, “The Son of David.” When Jesus revealed His divinity by His mighty miracles, when He healed the sick and raised the dead, the people had inquired among themselves, “Is not this the Son of David?” But many who called Jesus the Son of David did not recognize His divinity. The Son of David was also the Son of God. HLv 407.1

In reply, Jesus said, “How then doth David in spirit [the Spirit of Inspiration from God] call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.” HLv 407.2