Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850]


MR No. 833—Ellen White's Theology of Redemption

Comments on 2 Corinthians 3—The greatest difficulties Paul had to meet arose from the influence of Judaizing teachers. These had made much trouble and caused dissensions at Corinth. Paul is writing to the church in order to settle their minds in reference to the gospel of Christ. The Judaizing teachers were continually presenting the virtues of the law and the ceremonies, exalting these above the gospel of Christ, and bringing Paul under condemnation because he did not urge upon the people the ceremonies that typified Christ and were therefore of no value since Christ's death. 10MR 328.1

Paul took them on their own ground. He says, “If the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory” (2 Corinthians 3:7-9). The law of God given in awful grandeur from Sinai was the utterance of condemnation to the sinner. The transgressor died without mercy. The proclamation of that law and the repetition of it in the holy mount was so sacred and so glorious that upon the face of Moses was reflected a glory that the people could not look upon without pain, so that Moses covered his face with a veil. 10MR 328.2

“Much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth” (verses 9, 10). It is the province of the law to condemn, but there is no power in the law to pardon. The glory that shone upon the face of Moses was the righteousness of Christ in the law. He saw to the end of that which was to be abolished when type should meet antitype in Jesus Christ. In consequence of the transgression of the law of God, death was introduced into the world. The slain lamb typified the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world. The full significance of the typical offerings pointing to Christ was unfolded to Moses. Death came in consequence of sin. Sin was the transgression of the law. 10MR 329.1

Christ revealed in the gospel was the propitiation for man's sins, the transgression of the law. His perfection of character was placed in man's behalf. The curse of the law Christ took upon Himself. It was the seeing to the end of that which was to be abolished, that which brought to light the plan of salvation in Christ—it was this that illuminated the face of Moses. If the typical sacrifices, which were to be done away, were glorious because Christ was revealed by them as the sin-pardoning Saviour, much more that which remains is glorious. 10MR 329.2

The moral law was bondage and death to those who remained under its condemnation. The law was ordained to life, that those who were obedient, walking in harmony with its claims, should have the reward of the faithful—eternal life. 10MR 329.3

Moses saw that only through Jesus Christ could man keep the law of God. Paul says, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death” (Romans 7:10)—death to the sinner. The types and ceremonies, with the prophecies, gave ancient believers a veiled or indistinct discovery of the mercy and grace to be brought to light through the revelation of Jesus Christ to our world. The law itself would have no glory were it not that Christ is embodied in it. The revelation of Jesus Christ cast its glory back into the Jewish age. The law had no power to save. It was lusterless, except as Christ was represented in the law as the One full of righteousness and truth. And when Christ was revealed in His advent to our world, and died man's sacrifice, type met antitype. Then the glory of that which is not typical, not to be done away, but which remaineth, God's law of ten commandments, the standard of righteousness was plainly discerned as immutable by all who saw to the end of that which was abolished. 10MR 329.4

Paul would have his brethren discern that Christ, pointed out in types and shadows, had come, and the greater glory of a sin-pardoning Saviour gave significance to the entire Jewish economy. Without Christ the law of itself was only condemnation and death to the transgressor. It has no saving quality—no power to shield the transgressor from its penalty. The full penalty of the law will be executed upon the transgressor if he does not receive Christ as his atoning sacrifice and his personal Saviour. 10MR 330.1

The proclamation of the law upon Mount Sinai was a wonderful exhibition of the glory and majesty of God. How did this awful exhibition of God's power affect the people? They were afraid. “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:18, 19). They wanted Moses to be their mediator. They did not understand that Christ was their appointed Mediator, else they would certainly be consumed. 10MR 330.2

“Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was” (verses 20, 21). 10MR 331.1

The pardon of sin, justification by faith in Jesus Christ, access to God only through a Mediator because of their lost condition, their guilt and sin—of these truths the people had little conception. In a great measure they had lost the knowledge of God and of the only way to approach Him. They had lost nearly all genuine sense of what constitutes sin, and of what constitutes righteousness. The pardon of sins through Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah whom their sacrificial offerings represented, was dimly understood by all, and had become entirely extinct in the minds of many.—Manuscript 58, 1900, pp. 4-7. (“The Law and the Gospel,” August 14, 1900.) 10MR 331.2

The Relationship of Faith and Works—“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). I repeat the words of John—“Behold the Lamb of God”—that you may all contemplate Jesus. This, the cross of Calvary, is doctrine, it is the all-powerful argument. This is our message to the impenitent, our warning to the backslider—Behold Jesus. 10MR 331.3

Keeping his eye upon the cross, man, who has brought the message, may step to one side, for his work is done. It is then he will learn his lesson, and there by beholding, he will hate the sin that brought such suffering upon Jesus Christ. By beholding he contemplates and he will believe. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). The sinner sees Jesus as He is, full of compassion and tender love, and he becomes transformed by beholding this exhibition of suffering, because of the great love wherewith He hath loved fallen apostate man. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12, 13). Man's working, as brought out in the text, is not an independent work he performs without God. His whole dependence is upon the power and grace of the Divine Worker. Many miss the mark here, and claim that man must work his own individual self free from Divine Power. This is not in accordance with the text. 10MR 331.4

Another argues that man is free from all obligation because God does it all, both the willing and the doing. The text means that the salvation of the human soul requires the will power to be subject to the Divine Will power, which will can't be forced, but there must be cooperation of the human and divine agencies. 10MR 332.1

Man cannot possibly work out his own salvation without the ordained divine power, and God will not do for man that which He requires man shall do for himself, through his own earnest willing cooperation.... 10MR 332.2

The Lord has in His heavenly counsels set forth methods and agencies whereby His grace shall be at work through various influences for the saving of the soul of the sinner. But all these facilities will be ineffectual and powerless without the sinner's consent to be drawn, and he cooperates with the divine agencies. It is a united work, a union of the divine and human, dependent upon grace, and concurring with grace in willing obedience.—Letter 135, 1898, undated, to Brother Starr. 10MR 332.3

White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

January 29, 1981.