The Review and Herald

104/1902

March 4, 1875

Temptation of Christ

EGW

The conflict of Christ with Satan in the wilderness will be regarded with sacred interest by every true follower of Christ. We should have feelings of the deepest gratitude to our Redeemer for teaching us by his own example how to resist and overcome Satan. Jesus did not visit scenes of gaiety and feasting to attain the victory so essential to our salvation; but he went into a desolate wilderness. Many do not even contemplate this scene of Christ in conflict with the fallen chief. They do not enter into sympathy with their Redeemer. Some even doubt whether Christ really felt the pangs of hunger in his abstinence from food during the period of forty days and forty nights. RH March 4, 1875, par. 1

He who suffered death for us on Calvary's cross, just as surely suffered the keenest pangs of hunger as that he died for us. And no sooner did this suffering commence than Satan was at hand with his temptations. We have a foe no less vigilant to contend with. Satan adapts his temptations to our circumstances. In every temptation he will present some bribe, some apparent good to be gained. But in the name of Christ we may have complete victory in resisting his devices. RH March 4, 1875, par. 2

It is more than eighteen hundred years since Christ walked upon the earth as a man among men. He found suffering and wretchedness abounding everywhere. What humiliation on the part of Christ! For, though he was in the form of God, he took upon himself the form of a servant. He was rich in Heaven, crowned with glory and honor, and for our sakes he became poor. What an act of condescension on the part of the Lord of life and glory, that he might lift up fallen man. RH March 4, 1875, par. 3

Jesus did not come to men with commands and threatenings, but with love that is without a parallel. Love begets love; and thus the love of Christ displayed upon the cross woos and wins the sinner, and binds him, repenting, to the cross, believing and adoring the matchless depths of a Saviour's love. Christ came to the world to perfect a righteous character for many, and to elevate the fallen race. But only a few of the millions in our world will accept the righteousness and excellency of his character, and fulfill the requirements given to secure their happiness. RH March 4, 1875, par. 4

His lessons of instruction and his holy life, if followed, would stay the tide of physical and moral wretchedness that has so defiled the moral image of God in man that he bears scarcely a resemblance to the noble Adam as he stood in Eden in his holy innocency. Every prohibition of God is for the health and eternal well-being of man. In obedience to all the requirements of God, there will be peace and happiness unaccompanied with shame or reproaches of conscience. RH March 4, 1875, par. 5

But very few of the Christian world are following their Master in a course of humble obedience, progressing in holiness and perfection of Christian character. Intemperance and licentiousness are greatly increasing, and are practiced to a large extent under the cloak of Christianity. This deplorable state of things is not because men are obedient to God's law, but because their hearts rise in rebellion to his holy precepts. RH March 4, 1875, par. 6

Repentance toward God, because his law has been transgressed, and faith in Jesus Christ, are the only means whereby we may be elevated to purity of life and reconciliation with God. Were all the sins, which have brought the wrath of God upon cities and nations, fully understood, their woes and calamities would be found to be the results of uncontrolled appetites and passions. RH March 4, 1875, par. 7

More Than One Fall

If the race had ceased to fall when Adam was driven from Eden, we should now be in a far more elevated condition physically, mentally, and morally. But while men deplore the fall of Adam, which has resulted in such unutterable woe, they disobey the express injunctions of God, as did Adam, although they have his example to warn them from doing as he did in violating the law of Jehovah. Would that man had stopped falling with Adam. But there has been a succession of falls. Men will not take warning from Adam's experience. They will indulge appetite and passion in direct violation of the law of God, and at the same time continue to mourn Adam's transgression, which brought sin into the world. RH March 4, 1875, par. 8

From Adam's day to ours there has been a succession of falls, each greater than the last, in every species of crime. God did not create a race of beings so devoid of health, beauty, and moral power as now exists in the world. Disease of every kind has been fearfully increasing upon the race. This has not been by God's especial providence, but directly contrary to his will. It has come by man's disregard of the very means which God has ordained to shield him from the terrible evils existing. Obedience to God's law in every respect would save men from intemperance, licentiousness, and disease of every type. No one can violate natural law without suffering the penalty. RH March 4, 1875, par. 9

What man would, for any sum of money, deliberately sell his mental capabilities? Should one offer him money if he would part with his intellect, he would turn with disgust from the insane suggestion. Yet thousands are parting with health of body, vigor of intellect, and elevation of soul, for the sake of gratifying appetite. Instead of gain, they experience only loss. This they do not realize because of their benumbed sensibilities. They have bartered away their God-given faculties. And for what? Answer. Groveling sensualities and degrading vices. The gratification of taste is indulged at the cost of health and intellect. RH March 4, 1875, par. 10

Christ commenced the work of redemption just where the ruin began. He made provision to re-instate man in his God-like purity if he accepted the help brought him. Through faith in his all-powerful name—the only name given under Heaven whereby we may be saved—man could overcome appetite and passion, and through his obedience to the law of God, health would take the place of infirmities and corrupting diseases. Those who overcome will follow the example of Christ by bringing bodily appetites and passion under the control of enlightened conscience and reason. RH March 4, 1875, par. 11

If ministers who preach the gospel would do their duty, and would also be ensamples to the flock of God, their voices would be lifted up like a trumpet to show the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins. Ministers who exhort sinners to be converted should distinctly define what sin is and what conversion from sin is. Sin is the transgression of the law. The convicted sinner must exercise repentance toward God for the transgression of his law, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. RH March 4, 1875, par. 12

The apostle gives us the true definition of sin. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” The largest class of Christ's professed ambassadors are blind guides. They lead the people away from the path of safety by representing the requirements and prohibitions of the ancient law of Jehovah as arbitrary and severe. They give the sinner license to overstep the limits of God's law. In this they are like the great adversary of souls, opening before them a life of freedom in violation of God's commandments. With this lawless freedom the basis of moral responsibility is gone. RH March 4, 1875, par. 13

Those who follow these blind leaders close the avenues of their souls to the reception of truth. They will not allow the truth with its practical bearings to affect their hearts. The largest number brace their souls with prejudice against new truths, and also against the clearest light which shows the correct application of an old truth, the law of God, which is as old as the world. The intemperate and licentious delight in the oft repeated assertion that the law of the ten commandments is not binding in this dispensation. Avarice, thefts, perjuries, and crimes of every description, are carried on under the cloak of Christianity. RH March 4, 1875, par. 14