The Signs of the Times


February 13, 1893

The Plan of Salvation


The law of love is the foundation of God's government, and the service of love the only service acceptable to heaven. God has granted freedom of will to all, endowed men with capacity to appreciate his character, and therefore with ability to love him and to choose his service. So long as created beings worshiped God they were in harmony throughout the universe. While love to God was supreme, love to others abounded. As there was no transgression of the law, which is the transcript of God's character, no note of discord jarred the celestial harmonies. ST February 13, 1893, par. 1

But known unto God are all his works, and from eternal ages the covenant of grace (unmerited favor) existed in the mind of God. It is called the everlasting covenant; for the plan of salvation was not conceived after the fall of man, but it was that which was “kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested and by the Scriptures of the prophets according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known unto all the nations unto obedience of faith.” ST February 13, 1893, par. 2

The purpose and plan of grace existed from all eternity. Before the foundation of the world it was according to the determinate counsel of God that man should be created and endowed with power to do the divine will. The fall of man, with all its consequences, was not hidden from the Omnipotent. Redemption was not an after thought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam, but an eternal purpose, suffered to be wrought out for the blessing, not only of this atom of a world, but for the good of all the worlds that God had created. ST February 13, 1893, par. 3

Before Him who ruleth in the heavens, the mysteries of the past and future are alike outspread, and God sees beyond the woe and darkness and ruin that sin has wrought, the outworking of his purpose of love and blessing. Though clouds and darkness are round about him, yet righteousness and judgment are the foundation of his throne. ST February 13, 1893, par. 4

Through creation and redemption, through nature and through Christ, the glories of the divine character are revealed. By the marvelous display of his love in giving “his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” the character of God is revealed to the intelligences of the universe. Through Christ our Heavenly Father is made known as the God of love. ST February 13, 1893, par. 5

When man sinned, all heaven was filled with sorrow; for through yielding to temptation, man became the enemy of God, a partaker of the Satanic nature. The image of God in which he had been created was marred and distorted. The character of man was out of harmony with the character of God; for through sin man became carnal, and the carnal heart is enmity against God, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. To the angels there seemed to be no way of escape for the transgressor. They ceased their songs of praise, and throughout the heavenly courts there was mourning for the ruin sin had wrought. Out of harmony with the nature of God, unyielding to the claims of his law, naught but destruction was before the human race. Since the divine law is as changeless as the character of God, there could be no hope for man unless some way could be devised whereby his transgression might be pardoned, his nature renewed, and his spirit restored to reflect the image of God. Divine love had conceived such a plan. It was through Satan's misrepresentation of God's character that man was led to doubt the reality of his love, and came to look upon God as his enemy. As Satan had done in heaven, so he did on earth,—declared God's government unjust, the restrictions of his law unnecessary, and bade man, as he had angels, to throw aside the yoke and let the dictates of their own nature be their only guide and law. He promised liberty; but as he himself is the servant of corruption, he brought the race into bondage, to sin, misery, and death. He represented God as claiming all and giving nothing, as requiring men's service for his own glory, but denying himself nothing for man's good. ST February 13, 1893, par. 6

In the work of creation, Christ was with God. He was one with God, equal with him, the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person, the representative of the Father. He alone, the Creator of man, could be his Saviour. No angel of heaven could reveal the Father to the sinner, and win him back to allegiance to God. But Christ could manifest the Father's love; for God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. Christ could be the “day's man” between a holy God and lost humanity, one who could “lay his hand upon us both.” None but Christ could redeem man from the curse of the law. He proposed to take upon himself the guilt and shame of sin,—sin so offensive in the sight of God that it would necessitate separation from his Father. Christ proposed to reach to the depths of man's degradation and woe, and restore the repenting, believing soul to harmony with God. Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, offered himself as a sacrifice and substitute for the fallen sons of Adam though in this offering all heaven was involved in infinite sacrifice. But the Father so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that through his smitten heart a channel might be found for the outflowing of infinite love for fallen man. Man had become so degraded by sin, his nature so perverted by evil, that it was impossible for him of himself to come into harmony with God, whose nature is purity and love. But Christ redeemed him from the condemnation of the law, and imparted divine power, and through man's cooperation, the sinner could be restored to his lost estate. ST February 13, 1893, par. 7

The grace of Christ alone could change the heart of stone to a heart of flesh, make it alive unto God, and transform the character, so that a degraded child of sin might become a child of God and heir of heaven. Man had no power to justify the soul, to sanctify the heart. Moral disease could be healed only through the power of the great Physician. The highest gift of heaven, even the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, was able to redeem the lost. ST February 13, 1893, par. 8

The only hope for the fallen race was found in becoming reconciled to God. Satan had so misrepresented God that man had no true conception of the divine character. Christ came to the world, and in carrying out the plan of salvation, revealed the fact that “God is love.” ST February 13, 1893, par. 9

When the plan of salvation was revealed to the angels, joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. The glory and the blessedness of a world redeemed outmeasured even the anguish of the Prince of Life. Through the celestial courts echoed the first strain of that song that angels sang above the hills of Bethlehem,—“Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will to men.” And the lost pair in the garden of Eden, standing as criminals before the righteous Judge, waiting the sentence their transgression merited, heard the first notes of the divine promise. Before the life of toil and sorrow which sin had brought upon them was depicted before them, before the decree that the wages of sin is death was pronounced, they heard the promise of redemption. Though they must suffer from the power of their mighty foe, still through the merits of Christ they could look forward to victory. The mystery of the gospel was spoken in Eden, when God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” If Satan could have touched the head with his specious temptations, the human family would have been lost; but the Lord had made known the purpose and plan of the mystery of grace, declaring that Christ had bruised the serpent under his feet. ST February 13, 1893, par. 10

But not only had man come under the power of the deceiver, but the earth itself, the dominion of man, was usurped by the enemy. Through the plan of salvation, the sacrifice of Christ, not only was man but his dominion to be redeemed. Through the merits of Christ all that man lost through sin was to be restored. The time would come when there would be “no more curse, but the throne of God should be in it, and his servants should serve him.” The promise would be fulfilled, “The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forever.” ST February 13, 1893, par. 11

Through the plan of salvation a larger purpose is to be wrought out even than the salvation of man and the redemption of the earth. Through the revelation of the character of God in Christ, the beneficence of the divine government would be manifested before the universe, the charge of Satan refuted, the nature and results of sin made plain, and the perpetuity of the law fully demonstrated. Satan had declared that the law of God was faulty, and that the good of the universe demanded a change in its requirement. In attacking the law, he thought to overthrow the authority of its Author, and gain for himself the supreme allegiance. But through the plan of salvation the precepts of the law were to be proved perfect and immutable, that at last one glory and love might rise to God throughout the universe, ascribing glory and honor and praise to him that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. ST February 13, 1893, par. 12

(To be Continued.)