The Review and Herald

649/1902

December 20, 1892

Christ Our Hope

EGW

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. We are living in perilous times, and it does not become us to accept everything claimed to be truth without examining it thoroughly; neither can we afford to reject anything that bears the fruits of the Spirit of God; but we should be teachable, meek and lowly of heart. There are those who oppose everything that is not in accordance with their own ideas, and by so doing they endanger their eternal interest as verily as did the Jewish nation in their rejection of Christ. The Lord designs that our opinions shall be put to the test, that we may see the necessity of closely examining the living oracles to see whether or not we are in the faith. Many who claim to believe the truth have settled down at their ease, saying, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” But Jesus says to these self-complacent ones, Thou “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Let us individually inquire, Do these words describe my case? If so, the True Witness counsels us, saying, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” RH December 20, 1892, par. 1

From the description of the Laodiceans, it is evident that many were deceived in their estimate of their spiritual condition. They regarded themselves as rich, as possessing all the knowledge and grace that was needed; but yet they lacked the gold of faith and love, the white raiment of Christ's righteousness. They were destitute and poverty-stricken, walking in sparks of their own kindling, and preparing to lie down in sorrow. Jesus says to them, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works [when the glow of the love of God was upon you]; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” This warning would not be given if there were no danger of failure on the part of those who profess to be the children of God. RH December 20, 1892, par. 2

In unmistakable language our position is presented before us. Apart from Christ we have no merit, no righteousness. Our sinfulness, our weakness, our human imperfections make it impossible that we should appear before God, unless we are clothed in Christ's spotless righteousness. We are to be found in him, not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness which is through Christ. RH December 20, 1892, par. 3

But there is hope for every one; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If the love of God is not appreciated, and does not become an abiding principle in the hard heart to soften and subdue the soul, we are utterly lost. The Lord has no reserve power with which to influence man. He can give no greater manifestation of his love than that which he has given. Heaven's richest gift has been freely offered for your acceptance. If the exhibition of the love of Jesus does not melt and subdue your heart, by what means can you be reached? Has the love of Christ failed to bring forth an earnest response of love and gratitude? Then let it not remain in this condition of hardness another day. Open your heart, and receive Christ, the best gift of heaven. Let not cruel unbelief lead you to refuse the heaven-sent gift. Let not Christ say of you, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” RH December 20, 1892, par. 4

The heart of Christ is constantly drawn out in sympathy toward fallen man. While upon earth, his only mission was to save sinners. He had a deep abhorrence of sin, while exercising the tenderest compassion toward the sinner. He was grieved and wounded at heart because men failed to value and accept his love. The Majesty of heaven veiled his divinity in humanity, and passed from place to place through towns and cities, teaching the truth and working miracles, and though multitudes flocked to hear him, few were in sympathy with the lessons of truth he presented, which alone could save the soul. RH December 20, 1892, par. 5

How few have any conception of the anguish which rent the heart of the Son of God during his thirty years of life upon earth. The path from the manger to Calvary was shadowed by sorrow and grief. He was the man of sorrows, and endured such heartache as no human language can portray. He could have said in truth, “Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.” His suffering was the deepest anguish of the soul; and what man could have sympathy with the soul anguish of the Son of the infinite God? Hating sin with a perfect hatred, he yet gathered to his soul the sins of the whole world, as he trod the path to Calvary, suffering the penalty of the transgressor. Guiltless, he bore the punishment of the guilty; innocent, yet offering himself to bear the penalty of the transgression of the law of God. The punishment of the sins of every soul was borne by the Son of the infinite God. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world's Redeemer. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. In assuming the nature of man, he placed himself where he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, that by his stripes we might be healed. RH December 20, 1892, par. 6

In his humanity Christ was tried with as much greater temptation, with as much more persevering energy than man is tried by the evil one, as his nature was greater than man's. This is a deep mysterious truth, that Christ is bound to humanity by the most sensitive sympathies. The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon his divine soul. The sins of men called for retribution upon himself; for he had become man's substitute, and took upon him the sins of the world. He bore the sins of every sinner; for all transgressions were imputed unto him, though “he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” Though the guilt of sin was not his, his Spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men. RH December 20, 1892, par. 7

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” It is at the peril of our souls that we neglect the prescribed conditions under which we are called to work out our own salvation. It is only through Christ, who was made sin for us, that we can work out our own salvation; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. We are to co-operate heartily with God, by faith laying hold of the righteousness of Christ, which alone can save. The only way by which we may be saved is by becoming workers together with God. It is through the co-operation of man with God that the believer may come off victorious. We shall not be found guiltless if we are content to float along in the current of the world, submitting the question of our soul's salvation to those who teach the traditions of men and rely upon supposed evidences. Every soul is to put himself to the task of searching out the truth as it is in Jesus, to know it for himself by the study of the sure word of God. We are not to ask, What is the popular opinion? What saith brother A. or brother B. or any other man? What saith the fathers? But what saith the Lord our God in regard to the saving of the soul? And when we have found what saith the Scriptures, let us act upon the written word; for it is perilous to sit in judgment on the words of inspiration. That which has been written is for our instruction, admonition, and comfort. RH December 20, 1892, par. 8

Christ is the originator of divine truth. He knew the height and depth, length and breadth and fullness of the compassion of divine love, as no mortal man can know it. He knows the blessedness that sinners are refusing when they reject divine light, the horrors that will come upon the soul that refuses the truth of heaven. A heavenly feast has been spread for the hungry, but they refuse to eat. Christ alone knows what means the exceeding weight of glory which those who rebel against God, refuse to receive. The work of Christ upon earth was to seek and save that which was lost. Ever before him, he saw the result of his mission, although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the weight of sins of the world was to gather upon his innocent soul, although the shadow of an unspeakable woe was ever over him; yet for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross and despised the shame. He endured all this that sinful man might be saved, that he might be elevated and ennobled, and have a place with him upon his throne. RH December 20, 1892, par. 9

Men are contaminated with sin, and they cannot have an adequate conception of the heinous character of the evil which they cherish. Because of sin, the Majesty of heaven was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. Voluntarily our divine substitute bared his soul to the sword of justice, that we might not perish, but have everlasting life. Said Christ: “I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” No man of earth nor angel of heaven could have paid the penalty of sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man. In him divinity and humanity were combined, and this was what gave efficiency to the sacrifice made on Calvary's cross. Here it was that mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other. RH December 20, 1892, par. 10

Christ is called “the Lord our righteousness,” and through faith, each one should be able to say, “The Lord my righteousness.” When faith lays hold upon this gift of God, the praise of God will be upon our lips, and we shall be able to say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Then we shall be able to tell the lost concerning the plan of salvation, that while the world was lying under the curse of the law, meriting death, the Lord presented terms of mercy to the fallen and hopeless sinner, and brought out the meaning and value of his grace. Grace is unmerited favor. The angels, who know nothing of sin, do not understand what it is to have grace exercised toward them; but our sinfulness calls for the exercise of grace from a merciful God. It was grace that sent us our Saviour to seek us as wanderers and bring us back to his fold. RH December 20, 1892, par. 11

No works that the sinner can do will be efficacious in saving his soul. Obedience was always due to the Creator; for he endowed man with attributes for his service. God requires good works from man always; but good works cannot avail to earn salvation. It is impossible for man to save himself. He may deceive himself in regard to this matter; but he cannot save himself. Christ's righteousness alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God. This is the wedding garment prepared for you in which you may be a welcome guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let faith take hold of Christ without delay, and you will be a new creature in Jesus, a light to the world. RH December 20, 1892, par. 12