SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW)

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Chapter 4

3-6 (ch. 2:11; John 15:3). Satan's Bewitching Power—Justice demands that sin be not merely pardoned, but the death penalty must be executed. God, in the gift of His only-begotten Son, met both these requirements. By dying in man's stead, Christ exhausted the penalty and provided a pardon. 6BC 1099.2

Man through sin has been severed from the life of God. His soul is palsied through the machinations of Satan, the author of sin. Of himself he is incapable of sensing sin, incapable of appreciating and appropriating the divine nature. Were it brought within his reach there is nothing in it that his natural heart would desire it. The bewitching power of Satan is upon him. All the ingenious subterfuges the devil can suggest are presented to his mind to prevent every good impulse. Every faculty and power given him of God has been used as a weapon against the divine Benefactor. So, although He loves him, God cannot safely impart to him the gifts and blessings He desires to bestow. 6BC 1099.3

But God will not be defeated by Satan. He sent His Son into the world, that through His taking the human form and nature, humanity and divinity combined in Him would elevate man in the scale of moral value with God. 6BC 1099.4

There is no other way for man's salvation. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” Through Christ, and Christ alone, the springs of life can vitalize man's nature, transform his tastes, and set his affections flowing toward heaven. Through the union of the divine with the human nature, Christ could enlighten the understanding and infuse His life-giving properties through the soul dead in trespasses and sins (Manuscript 50, 1900). 6BC 1099.5

17, 18 (Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 1:6, 7; see EGW on 2 Corinthians 12:4). Trials God's Workmen—[2 Corinthians 4:17, 18 quoted.] If Paul, troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, could call his trials light afflictions, of what has the Christian of today to complain? How trifling are our trials in comparison with Paul's many afflictions! They are not worthy to be compared with the eternal weight of glory awaiting the overcomer. They are God's workmen, ordained for the perfection of character. However great the deprivation and suffering of the Christian, however dark and inscrutable may seem the way of Providence, he is to rejoice in the Lord, knowing that all is working for his good (The Review and Herald, May 6, 1902). 6BC 1099.6

I have been shown that in the future we shall see how closely all our trials were connected with our salvation, and how these light afflictions worked out for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (Letter 5, 1880). 6BC 1099.7

The Eternal Weight of Glory—The years of self-denial, of privation, of trial, affliction, and persecution that Paul endured, he called a moment. The things of the present time were not considered worth mentioning when compared with the eternal weight of glory that awaited them when the warfare should be over. These very afflictions were God's workmen, ordained for the perfection of Christian character. Whatever may be the circumstances of the Christian, however dark and mysterious may be the ways of Providence, however great his deprivation and suffering, he may look away from them all to the unseen and the eternal. He has the blessed assurance that all things are working for his good.... 6BC 1099.8

The Holy Spirit irradiated the soul of Paul with light from heaven, and he was assured that he had an interest in the purchased possession reserved for the faithful. Paul's language was strong. He was not able to find words of sufficient force to express the excellency of that glory, honor, and immortality which believers would receive when Christ should come. Compared with the scene upon which his mind's eye was dwelling, all temporal afflictions were but momentary, light afflictions, unworthy of thought. Viewed in the light of the cross, the things of this life were vanity and emptiness. The glory that attracted him was substantial, weighty, durable, beyond the power of language to describe. 6BC 1099.9

Yet Paul comes as near to expressing it as he can, that the imagination may grasp the reality as far as is possible to finite minds. It was a weight of glory, a fullness of God, knowledge that was measureless. It was an eternal weight of glory. And yet Paul feels that his language is tame. It falls short of expressing the reality. He reaches out for words more expressive. The boldest figures of speech would fall far short of the truth. He seeks the broadest terms which human language can supply, that the imagination may grasp in some degree the superlative excellency of the glory to be given the final overcomer. 6BC 1100.1

Holiness, dignity, honor, and felicity in the presence of God are things now unseen except by the eye of faith. But the things which are seen, worldly honor, worldly pleasure, riches, and glory, are eclipsed by the excellency, the beauty, and resplendent glory of the things now unseen. The things of this world are temporal, enduring only for a time, while the things which are not seen are eternal, enduring through endless ages. To secure this infinite treasure is to gain everything and lose nothing (Manuscript 58, 1900). 6BC 1100.2

18 (Colossians 3:2; Hebrews 11:27; see EGW on 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18). Seeing Him Who Is Invisible—Our minds take the level of the things on which our thoughts dwell, and if we think upon earthly things, we shall fail to take the impress of that which is heavenly. We would be greatly benefited by contemplating the mercy, goodness, and love of God; but we sustain great loss by dwelling upon those things which are earthly and temporal. We allow sorrow and care and perplexity to attract our minds to earth, and we magnify a molehill into a mountain.... 6BC 1100.3

Temporal things are not to engage our whole attention, or engross our minds until our thoughts are entirely of the earth and the earthly. We are to train, discipline, and educate the mind so that we may think in a heavenly channel, that we may dwell on things unseen and eternal, which will be discerned by spiritual vision. It is by seeing Him who is invisible that we may obtain strength of mind and vigor of spirit (The Signs of the Times, January 9, 1893). 6BC 1100.4