The Signs of the Times

1109/1314

August 27, 1902

God's Justice and Love

EGW

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.... For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.... God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ST August 27, 1902, par. 1

After the fall of our first parents, Christ declared that in order to save man from the penalty of sin, He would come to the world to conquer Satan on the enemy's own battle-field. The controversy that began in heaven was to be continued on the earth. ST August 27, 1902, par. 2

In this controversy much was to be involved. Vast interests were at stake. Before the inhabitants of the heavenly universe were to be answered the questions: “Is God's law imperfect, in need of amendment or abrogation, or is it immutable? Is God's government in need of change, or is it stable?” ST August 27, 1902, par. 3

Before Christ's first advent, the sin of refusing to conform to God's law had become widespread. Apparently Satan's power was growing; his warfare against heaven was becoming more and more determined. A crisis had been reached. With intense interest God's movements were watched by the heavenly angels. Would He come forth from His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity? Would He send fire or flood to destroy them? All heaven waited the bidding of their Commander to pour out the vials of wrath upon a rebellious world. One word from Him, one sign, and the world would have been destroyed. The worlds unfallen would have said, “Amen. Thou art righteous, O God, because Thou hast exterminated rebellion.” ST August 27, 1902, par. 4

But “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God might have sent His Son to condemn, but He sent Him to save. Christ came as a Redeemer. No words can describe the effect of this movement on the heavenly angels. With wonder and admiration they could only exclaim, “Herein is love!” ST August 27, 1902, par. 5

Christ entered upon His mission of mercy, and from the manger to the cross was beset by the enemy. Satan contested every inch of ground, exerting his utmost power to overcome Him. Like a tempest temptation after temptation beat upon Him. But the more mercilessly they fell, the more firmly did the Son of God cling to the hand of His Father, and press on in the blood-stained path. ST August 27, 1902, par. 6

The severity of the conflict through which Christ passed was proportionate to the vastness of the interests involved in His success or failure. It was not merely the interests of one world that were at stake. This earth was the battle-field, but all the worlds that God has created would be affected by the result of the conflict. ST August 27, 1902, par. 7

Satan sought to overthrow Christ, in order that he himself might continue to reign in this world as supreme. And he planned and carried out the murder of Christ in the hope that the Son of God would not endure a death made as terrible as his cunning could make it. He thought to prove the truth of his assertion that Christ was not self-sacrificing. ST August 27, 1902, par. 8

Inspired by Satanic influences, men clamored for the Saviour's crucifixion. All heaven watched the successive stages of his humiliation,—His trial, rejection, and death. Satan laid every scheme, planned every evil, inflamed every mind to bring affliction on the Son of God. He it was who instigated the false accusations against One who had done only good; he it was who inspired men to commit the cruel deeds that added to His suffering. ST August 27, 1902, par. 9

Satan sought to make it appear that he was working for the liberty of the universe. He was determined to make his arguments so varied, so deceptive, so insidious, that every one would be convinced that God's law was tyrannical. Even while hanging on the cross, assailed by Satan with his fiercest temptations, Christ was victorious. He did not yield up His life until He had accomplished the work which He came to do, and with His parting breath He exclaimed, “It is finished.” The battle had been won. His right hand and His holy arm had gotten Him the victory. The blood of the innocent had been shed for the guilty. By the life that He gave, man was ransomed from eternal death, and the doom of him who had the power of death was sealed. ST August 27, 1902, par. 10

Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds. Then the prevarications and accusations of him who had once been an exalted angel were seen in their true light. It was seen that his professedly spotless character was deceptive. His deeply laid scheme to exalt himself to supremacy was fully discerned. His falsehoods were apparent to all. God's authority was forever established. Truth triumphed over falsehood. ST August 27, 1902, par. 11

Not merely in the minds of a few finite creatures in this world, but in the minds of all the inhabitants of the heavenly universe, has the immutability of God's law been established. Satan's course against Christ was heralded to every world. When the issue was finally determined, every unfallen being expressed indignation at the rebellion. With one voice they extolled God as righteous, merciful, self-denying, just. His law had been vindicated. ST August 27, 1902, par. 12

The heavenly universe had witnessed the weapons that were chosen by the Prince of Life—the words of Scripture, “It is written,” and the weapons used by the prince of the world—falsehood and deception. They had seen the Prince of Life deal in straightforward lines of truth, honesty, and integrity, while the prince of the world exercised his power of cunning, artful secrecy, intrigue, enmity, and revenge. They had seen the One who bore the banner of truth sacrifice everything, even His life, to maintain truth, while the one who bore the banner of rebellion continued to strengthen his accusations against the God of truth. The heavenly worlds and heaven itself were amazed at God's long forbearance. ST August 27, 1902, par. 13

When God expressed His abhorrence of Satan, and his indignation against him, the whole universe responded. They had been convinced. The last vestige of affection for the fallen angels had been uprooted; the last tie had been severed. The Lord had demonstrated His wisdom and justice in banishing Satan from heaven. ST August 27, 1902, par. 14

By his own course of action Satan has forged a chain by which he will be bound. The inhabitants of the heavenly universe will bear witness to God's justice in his destruction. Heaven itself has seen what heaven would be, if he were allowed to remain in it. All the unfallen beings are now united in regarding God's law as changeless. They support the government of Him, who, to redeem the transgressor, spared not His own Son. His law has been proved faultless. His government is forever secure. The Father, the Son, and Lucifer have been revealed in their true relation to one another. God has given unmistakable evidence of His justice and His love. ST August 27, 1902, par. 15