The Signs of the Times


July 15, 1897

The Object of Christ's Sacrifice


Christ was sent to represent God in humanity. When he came to our world, his divinity was clothed with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity lay hold of the throne of divinity. Thus moral power was brought to man. When God's Word is understood by us, we shall better understand the work and mission of Christ, and shall be able to trace out his working in behalf of humanity. For our sakes Christ became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He descended in humiliation from depth to depth in our behalf until he reached the cross. He could go no farther in self-denial and self-sacrifice. It was impossible for divine condescension to reach a lower depth. This wonderful sacrifice moved all heaven, and can we look upon it without our hearts breaking at the sight? ST July 15, 1897, par. 1

Christ came to communicate the life of God to humanity. He declared, “I live by the Father,” my life and his being one. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; 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. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” ST July 15, 1897, par. 2

These words offended many of the disciples. Because of the earthliness of their minds, his words were insufferable to them, and they misinterpreted their meaning. “This,” they said, “is an hard saying; who can hear it?” Who can consent to any such talk? But Christ does not soften down his symbolical representation. All who desired could trace out the truths concerning his person and office. “Doth this offend you?” he asks. “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” In giving his flesh and his blood for the life of the world, Christ gives eternal life to all who will receive it in faith. No human being can be nourished by the food which another eats. Each must eat for himself. And so it is that in eating the words of Christ, each must receive for himself. Thus we eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. In obedience to his Word, we become partakers of the divine nature in the same way as our bodies are built up from the food we eat. Those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God become one in spiritual life with Christ. ST July 15, 1897, par. 3

Christ will receive all who come unto him by faith. Yet thousands are perishing in their sins, heedless and reckless in their disobedience of God's law. And many in their blindness become offended, because they are meeting a false standard. It is the loving and obedient heart that will come unto Christ; and his promise is, “Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.” ST July 15, 1897, par. 4

Altho the sacramental service is not mentioned here, yet it is embodied in the figures presented. As the believer celebrates the ordinance in spirit and in truth that keeps before the mind the crucifixion of the Lord, he is eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. Through faith these representations of Christ can be clearly understood. The Holy Spirit will prepare the mind and quicken the perceptive faculties to grasp the grand truths conveyed in them. ST July 15, 1897, par. 5

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” These men had joined themselves to Christ as learners. But their carnal mind interpreted literally the figure Christ presented. They were gross in their understanding. This we shall see in every age of the world. As long as time shall last, the wheat will be found among the tares, and the tares among the wheat. But “by their fruit,” Christ declares, “ye shall know them.” ST July 15, 1897, par. 6

The lesson that we are to learn is that whenever the counsel that God chooses to send is neglected, it will certainly place man in a position of distrust and suspicion. If he does not thoroughly reform the defects in his character, if he does not die to self, he will separate farther and farther from righteousness and truth. ST July 15, 1897, par. 7

We need not be surprised if we pass through a similar experience. Men who do not make Christ their all and in all, but have a superficial faith, will not understand the words of Christ. Many unite themselves with Christ expecting to secure some temporal advantage, but the Gospel requirements offend them. Not having united with Christ to do the will of God, they have no spiritual life. Had they received his word, they would have had understanding. Said Christ: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” ST July 15, 1897, par. 8

But not all of those who had heard and believed in Christ were to turn away from him. To his disciples Jesus said, “Will ye also go away?” Simon Peter answered: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon; for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” ST July 15, 1897, par. 9

The desire of the disciples was to be with Christ. “To whom,” said they, “shall we go?” Shall we go back to seek counsel of the formalist? We can not understand why so many go away. The thought arose in their minds that Christ had made a mistake in speaking words that would offend. These disaffected disciples, they thought, might have been held if Christ had not spoken so decidedly in regard to partaking of his flesh and blood. “But,” said they, “shall we leave the great Teacher? The scribes and Pharisees have dealt most unfairly with Christ. Shall we teach the tradition of the elders? Shall we take sides with them in lifeless formalism, in teaching for doctrine the commandments of men?” ST July 15, 1897, par. 10

Christ yearned over his disciples. He longed to have them come into sacred relationship with himself, and understand him. To believe in Christ is something more than a mere sentiment. It is a living faith in a personal Saviour, who can and will ransom from sin. The Saviour foresaw that in the hour of temptation every one of his beloved disciples would be severely tested, and he told them that his words would be understood after his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his ascension. “The Holy Ghost,” he said, will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” And he comforted them with these words: “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” ST July 15, 1897, par. 11

This assurance of our Saviour should be sufficient to teach us the importance of living the life of Christ in this world, that we may lay hold of the future immortal life. We should put every faculty of mind and heart to diligent effort proportionate to the value of the reward presented, even everlasting life. Our service for God is to decide our eternal destiny. ST July 15, 1897, par. 12

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” And is it not wholly appropriate that the same question should come to us, when so great love has been expressed for us in the gift of Christ as our ransom,—How shall we not freely give him all things? When such love has been expressed in our behalf, shall our love and gratitude be only as a ripple on the surface? ST July 15, 1897, par. 13

Of every Christian the Lord requires growth in efficiency and in capability in every sense. He has freely given even his own blood and suffering to secure our obedience. Do we strive to keep a vital connection with God, so that we shall realize our obligation? Do we feel that all we have is a loan from Jesus? It is not our own. We are stewards of his grace, placed in charged of his goods. Our talents must be used, not for self-serving, but in devoted, whole-hearted service for God. And it is only those who receive his Word, his life, who can do him service from pure and loving hearts. ST July 15, 1897, par. 14

Mrs. E. G. White